Welcome To The Friend Zone: A Twitter Guide To The Reply Guy

If you have spent some time with me recently, you know that Twitter has become my medium of insanity.  And in that insanity, I took on the role of the delusional Twitter addict and continued on with a description of the people who inhabit this beautiful delusion.  But I was told I did not adequately spend time with one of the most meaningful, or most meaningless of classifications.  Because I only spent two paragraphs to describe one of the most prevalent, important, and yet often overlooked members of the Twitter community.  I neglected the reply guy by limiting the description of this gentle giant.  So let’s get to it.  Welcome to the Friend Zone: A Twitter guide to the Reply Guy.

So when I last spoke about the Reply Guy, I focused on the two aspects of the Reply Guy which are essential to understanding who their nature.  First, the reply guy replies to a select group of women that he has interest in.  They can drop in and out of your frequent reply list.  That’s who they are.  And next, they are nice guys.  So, if they have any interest in a particular woman, they are more than likely already friend-zoned by a particular person.  They are the guys who validate the women who are around the Twitterverse on a regular basis.  It’s a part of who they are.  They cannot but help it.

But those two tidbits about the Reply Guy doesn’t fully tell the whole story.  It does not really go into the full classifications of all the Reply Guys out there.  And it can be an oversimplification of a much more complex and unique individual that inhabits the net.  Because Reply Guys come in all shapes and sizes.  And they become Reply Guys for all kinds of various reasons.  Will I be able to do the Reply Guy justice by giving him his own post?  Who knows?  But I will give this unrequited gentleman his due, damn it.  This is that due.

Welcome To The Friend Zone: A Twitter Guide To The Reply Guy

Welcome To The Friend Zone: A Twitter Guide To The Reply Guy

Let’s go back to take a look at who the Reply Guy is.  Because the truth is, the reply guy comes in all shapes and sizes.  They can be the super-thin nerd who continued being a nerd far after high school.  They can be a sweet rotund gentleman who all the girls adored as their friend and confidant.  Or they can be the average-sized, good looking man who works out at the gym every so often, has developed a bit of a dad bod, but still carries himself well.  It really doesn’t matter what the guy looks like.  Because a good reply guy can be anyone.  But who are these reply guys really?  And why do they become them?

The answer to the first question about Reply Guys isn’t very simple.  What type of guy is a reply guy?  There are five basic types of reply guy: married and unhappy; married and flirtatious; single and empathetic; single and lonely; and single and flirtatious.  Each has subtle variants within them.  And no post could contain all of the variants of these gentlemen.  But let’s look a little deeper about the five types and who they represent.

Married And Unhappy Reply Guy

A good deal of the gentleman reply guys out there are married and unhappy.  They fall into the reply category because they need some kind of validation.  They don’t go about it by showing pictures of themselves though.  Whether it’s for fear of being discovered, or because that’s not a very successful male maneuver, one can only guess.   But this Reply Guy starts engaging with all of the various women he finds attractive, hoping to get some kind of response.  Nothing makes them happier than when they get this response.

Although an unhappy married Reply Guy often comes off as a bit desperate.  They are craving the attention they get because they miss the attention at home.  So, they respond hoping for some kind of response in return.  I’ve seen a gentleman get emphatic about needing a response and I’ve seen them straight out begging for it on their own timelines.  These are Reply Guys because this is what they crave.  If they are unhappily married and yet do not have this desperation they wear, they aren’t Reply Guys.  They are married players.  But that’s a whole other topic.

Married And Flirtatious Reply Guy

Welcome To The Friend Zone: A Twitter Guide To The Reply Guy

These reply guys are married and open about their situation, to begin with.  And they will flirt and flirt with you as long as the day goes on.  But they will most likely never end up in your DMs.  That would be a step too far for this flirtatious married Reply Guy.  They love making you feel good about themselves.  And from this, they get a bit of a high.  At the same time, they know their place in the world.   They know they aren’t there for more than some harmless flirtation.  And hopefully, they know not to let things get too out of hand.  (Although I’ve heard some twitter stories where Mr. Married Flirt Reply Guy stops becoming that and just turns into Mr. Flirt . . . and that’s dangerous.)

But mostly they just engage.  They enjoy the company of the people they are with.  And a little modest flirtation is just fine.  They have no intention of taking it anywhere other than to feel good as the flirtation goes back and forth.

Single And Empathetic Reply Guy

Some people are just very sensitive people.  They see what’ s going on around them and they feel the need to respond and bring healing to the issue.  These guys come around and see lots of people looking for love, validation, comfort, etc.  And so they see a need that they can fulfill.  They want to help out as many people as they can to feel as good as they can about themselves.

They aren’t necessarily insecure.  But they do put themselves out there to make people feel good about themselves.  They are sensitive to the feelings of others.  They are the premier example of a nice guy.  Their problem comes from being empathic.  Any empath who reaches out to others can end up confusing empathy for other, more intimate, feelings.  Once they do, everyone ends up getting hurt.  The empath, the person who they were trying to help . . . everyone.

They aren’t dangerous in and of themselves.  It’s just they walk a fine line and need to make sure to keep a healthy distance away from any consideration of a relationship with a person.  This means that the reply guy needs to remind themselves daily or be reminded that what they do is uplifting and great but not about getting into a deep connection with someone.   Keep things friendly and encouraging, without delving too deeply into the dark waters.

Single And Lonely Reply Guy

This reply guy is out there looking for a connection.  They will say nice things about all of the women around them, hoping against hope that one person will find some level of interest in them.  These are your puppy dogs.  They will love you, care about you, and express a great deal of interest in you.  They might get into a barking match, claiming a bit of territory they think they need to mark up.  However, if they feel like they are in a dog fight with someone else, their bark is worse than their bite.

With heavy competition or the feel like you just might not be “that interested” in them, they will drift and find someone else that catches their eye.  You have to realize that they are lonely, so they will gravitate to the person who will give them the most attention at any given moment.  So, it’s really not difficult to get them to move on, despite their apparent loyal nature.  Ultimately they are lonely, so they find comfort and solace where it is given.

Single And Flirtatious Reply Guy

Welcome To The Friend Zone: A Twitter Guide To The Reply Guy

This reply guy likewise will be in and amidst the TL’s or the DM’s of many a suspecting and unsuspecting female.  Some of them come at you overtly, and some covertly.  They all will be flirting with you and many other women at the same time.  They love the attention they get from this, but they secretly hope for something more.  I feel like the single and flirtatious category is probably the largest group of Reply Guys out there on Twitter.  But they have a wide range of who they are, even amongst themselves.

I think the single and flirtatious reply guy comes in a Heinz 57 variety pack.  Some of them are too flirtatious for their own good.  Or are just so bad at it and come at it in such an over-sexualized manner out of the gate there comes an immediate turn-off.  And then there are the intermediate ones who flirt a lot but never seem to get anywhere.  You can tell these based on the excessive amount of likes on their posts without much engagement aside from a click on the like button by the other party.  This Reply Guy exists along a spectrum depending on how successful they are in the flirting department.

The more successful flirt of the bunch, you may think fit better into the role of flirt or some other category.  But you can always tell the single flirt Reply Guy from the other categories because they don’t know what to do with the attention given to them if the person they express interest in actually gives them interest.  It starts to become a never-ending dance with this person.  Nothing ever really moves along.  You may fool yourself into believing they are just being sweet.  But these Reply Guys have a deep-seated fear of what the future would actually bring them if they got what they secretly wanted.

So, just when you feel like things should be moving along, they might back off and start responding to some other person for a while.  Or they might never get to the point of actually considering engaging with you in a meaningful way by exchanging of numbers or planning a meetup.  More than likely, they won’t even reach the level of DMs and will keep things just on the level of your TL because they wouldn’t know what to do in a DM were they given the ability to talk to you there.

Why Reply Guys Become Reply Guys

It’s one thing to discuss who the people are that inhabit the Reply Guy universe.  I’m sure we could find them at school.  They are probably the shy kid who couldn’t find his voice.  Well, Twitter has given this guy a voice, without the corresponding fear which would creep in if they had to say these things aloud or in public.  But, so far, we have just described the look and feel of a reply guy.

There comes another level of the Reply Guy, should you care to get this deep.  And this is why does the Reply Guy become a Reply Guy in the first place.  There are some more obvious reasons for that.  I think for some it’s the first place they feel like they can compliment someone without feeling awkward about it, or possibly getting punched in the face.  Twitter frequently can feel like communication without consequence.  Hence, these Reply Guys get their first taste of communication freedom.  We all know the woefully inadequate and awkward flirt.  Well, this flirt now gets to practice without fear.  Maybe he improves his game and goes beyond his station.  Most likely he finds a way to awkwardly flirt in the Twitterverse as well.

A secondary reason for the existence of Reply Guys is these people need a place to flirt along with some anonymity.  The Married Reply Guys need a location they can flirt around in and not look horrifically awkward.  Whether because they feel like it’s a safe place where no harm can come to them with the Married and Flirtatious Reply Guy, or it’s a place he can get away from his spouse and his own personal identity in the Married and Unhappy Reply Guy, Twitter gives them a location to flirt.  But along with the location it gives anonymity for them.  They don’t have to be recognized or spotted.  And if they use FaceApp, they can pretend to be a whole new version of themselves.

The third and final reason why a person becomes a Reply Guy and makes me question my blogging and Mr. Flirt Guy cred is it’s easier to respond to things put out there than to create your own content.  Let’s get real, so much of what gets put out over Twitter is rehashed content from someone else’s rehashed content.  As Ecclesiastes states, there is nothing new under the sun.  The philosopher of Ecclesiastes would tell you now, “I told you so.”

It’s hard to come up with genuine, original content.  Aside from the debate about whether anything can be genuine, even if what you put out isn’t an intentional copy of the material of someone else, it’s hard to keep up doing that.  Sometimes it’s easier to take a step back and comment on what other people are putting out there.  And with several hundred million people out there posting on Twitter, if not a billion, you have plenty of thoughts out there to take a look at.

As a “Reply Guy” you can be fun, pithy, and entertaining, without having to go too deep into the creative process.  It’s far easier to be funny or a critic on Twitter than it is to put yourself out there.  And so the timid Reply Guy finds this platform freeing for his purposes.  He gets to be the “real him” in such a way where he doesn’t have to worry about who he really is.  He can be whoever he wants, and yet not have to display the real him at any point in time.  This factor makes being a Reply Guy appealing.

What To Make Of The Reply Guy

Welcome To The Friend Zone: A Twitter Guide To The Reply Guy

Are Reply Guys good or bad?  Do they represent a bane on the existence of Twitter?  How should we reflect on the Reply Guy?  As far as Twitter is concerned, they are baked into the platform.  You would not have people fighting over these people if they were not.  After all, these people help drive others to your content whether through likes, replies, or retweets.  And getting yourself out there, for the most part, is the name of the game on Twitter.  So they are here to stay, whether we want them to or not.

As a blogger who does create his own original content (even on Twitter), and yet finds himself sympathetic to these sojourners on Twitter, I wonder often about who I would be if I didn’t feel the need to keep being creative and doing something original.  Would I be a reply guy?

Or, maybe we should look at it in a whole other way.  Would we all be Reply Guys under the right circumstances?  Would we find us replying out of loneliness, a need for affirmation, or some other need for approval?  Am I so different from the Reply Guy?  Do I find myself so far apart from them I cannot relate?  I’m not sure I have the answers to all these questions, but they fill the mind as we bring this Ode to the Reply Guy to a close.

Wrapping Up Welcome To The Friend Zone: A Twitter Guide To The Reply Guy

I admit, as I began this ode to the Twitterverse, I thought I could get in and out a lot easier than this.  But in truth, the essence of any human being, and any human interaction is as complicated as it would be to count the sands of the seas as they swirl about the ocean in endless pools.  Writing it is a fool’s errand.  Even if trying to come up with a description is useful, it doesn’t account for every interaction or every human being within the interaction.

At the same time, the Reply Guy certainly got short shrift with a two-paragraph description, without the complexity of what it means to be a reply guy, and who those people might actually be.  So, I thank my friend for spurring me on to give them the full credit they deserve.  Because at the end of everything, the Twitter Universe would be a little less without the Reply Guy.  Hence, we are grateful for them.  The Reply Guy Abides . . . and I take great pleasure in that.

Welcome To The Friend Zone: A Twitter Guide To The Reply Guy

Taking On Welcome To The Friend Zone: A Twitter Guide To The Reply Guy

What has your experience with the Reply Guy been?  Would you consider yourself a Reply Guy?  How would you add or subtract to this list of attributes?  And the ultimate questions: does the Reply Guy ever get the girl?

If you liked this post, please be sure to click the like button at the bottom as well as leaving us a note in the comments.  And be sure to check out some of our other Twitter odes including Confessions of a Male Twitter Addict, and A User’s Guide to the Twitterverse.  Share with some of your friends.  And finally, follow us here at the Guide to get the latest social media, parenting, movie review, fitness, food, and lifestyle posts we have every week.  Thank you for stopping by.

Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, The Single Dad’s Guide to Life

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