The Ladder Theory

by Tobe Hitch on March 17, 2009

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Here’s an interesting concept in the dating world, The Ladder Theory. The ladder theory is ultimately quite simple: men have one ladder, women have two ladders. The ladder represents our willingness to “date” someone. For instance, the higher someone is on the ladder, the more likely we are to date them. The lower they are, unfortunately, the less likely we would ever consider pursuing a relationship with them.

If both male and female had one ladder, it would make things infinitely easier! However, girls have both a friend’s ladder and a “potential” ladder, whereas guys put all their cross gender relationships on the same ladder.

Basically, when a girl meets Guy X and Guy Y, she quickly evaluates both and then determines that Guy X is a guy she sees as someone she could “hook up” with while Guy Y is a guy she would never hook up with. As a result of these conclusions, each guy finds a spot on their respective ladders. Guy X is on the “potential ladder”, and Guy Y is on the “friends ladder”.

Here’s the kicker, the part that (for many guys) sucks a heck of a lot in this theory. The Girl, generally speaking, is willing to spend just as much time and show just as much affection toward the guys on her friend’s ladder as she does with the guys on her potential ladder. The reason this sucks is because the guy who’s on the friend’s ladder can’t tell whether the girl is interested or not, because she’s willing to invest and spend so much time with him!

To make matters worse, the girl usually fails to adequately notify Guy Y that he is only a “friend”. This is usually because girls really like the attention that Guy Y’s would give her. She is in denial that he “likes her”, and puts off confronting that reality as long as possible. Because of this lack of communication, the guy on the friend’s ladder begins to shamelessly pursue this girl only to find out to his horrible misery that…SYKE. He got dissed. And he fails. At life. Sucks to be the guy on the friend’s ladder.

Guys on the potential ladder can usually make a move successfully on the girl, unless he does something stupid that turns the girl off.

Now, on the other side, guys have only one ladder. These are the rules: when a guy meets a girl, she is either on the top of the ladder, or the bottom of the ladder.

Although this seems similar to the girl’s ladder, the key difference is that girls on the bottom of his ladder will not get “special attention”. As a matter of fact, guys really only spend a huge amount of time with girls on the top of their ladder. Furthermore, while guys can almost never make it from the “friends ladder” to the “potential ladder”, girls adjust positions on the one ladder a lot easier based on which girl gives the guy the most attention.

So in summary, girls, when they first meet a guy, place him on one of the two ladders: friend, or potential. Guys place a girl on the top or bottom. Girls can shift positions on the ladder, but guys are pretty much stuck on whatever ladder they start on. Well, let me state that you can switch ladders, but it takes a LOT of work, effort, energy, depression…most of the times, it’s not worth it. Good luck and happy hunting!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

myclue March 17, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Are these comments moderated? You power hungry bastard, you.

thaoster March 17, 2009 at 11:15 pm

oh man. you’re funny. you should write more. when work life sucks, reading these posts brightens my day. :D

JenRoh March 18, 2009 at 8:12 pm

ahahaha! this was hilarious. i’m glad someone actually wrote the ladder theory all out.
from a girl’s perspective: if guy y did something really impressive… or some key attribute was revealed that she didn’t notice before, guy y could actually jump the distance and land on the upper part of the potential ladder.

Karolz March 21, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Lol…oh man…lol

Paula March 23, 2009 at 8:57 pm

haha, you’re hilariously bold about this. maybe that is a reflection of the male bitterness you alluded to. in any case i think you should write a PC dating guide. then dan lee could change his graph and PC people would live happily ever after.

Rajan March 25, 2009 at 9:42 pm

LOL at Paula’s comment!!

a1chemist April 5, 2009 at 4:40 pm

i totally agree with the ladder theory. thanks for explaining it without the curse words! that was much appreciated :)

“Guys, because we by nature are less complicated then girls (omg i am so gonna get in trouble for these sorts of comments.)”

^^ hahaha. no, I’m a girl and I must say we can be pretty darn complicated. but question for you:

“However, when a girl is near the top of their ladder, and the girl throws out subtle suggestions, guy becomes an enraged hormonal maniac, and all the sensors of “I need to get married now” begin to consume him. He starts to give Girl X a ton of attention.”

^^i need to get married now? really? a guy thinks that? i thought only girls feel such pressure.

“…SYKE. You got dissed. And you fail. At life.” – hahaha! that was hilarious

your post was so entertaining!

Polprav October 16, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Hello from Russia!
Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

MzTisa January 5, 2010 at 3:38 am

haha funny. its true. the 2nd i meet a guy, i think can i imagine my self sleeping with him, if not. “friend”.

twinkle January 26, 2010 at 10:25 pm

you almost got me but you lost me at “FRICKING” in “COMMUNICATION IS FRICKING IMPORTANT!”

Amirshearer March 10, 2011 at 5:20 am

ah, you have enlightened me, my friend. I’ve always been confused about a girl’s psyche. She’s not interested in the guy, yet she gives out these signals. Thanks for making me understand! You are awesome!

S January 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

I don’t agree. I have a guy friend who spends a lot of time with me and I’m like the Queen of his friend zone.

Tobe Hitch February 7, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Sorry to hear “S”. There are always exceptions to the rule. I think I say that in my post. :D I think this theory applies for the norm, but definitely is not applicable to every single person alive. I highly doubt that any theory of social interaction lives up to those standards. relationships are by nature unique and circumstantial.

Sunita June 3, 2012 at 1:16 am

Awsum 1….nd its absolutely true in certain cases….sumwat true in sum cases!!!

Kristopher August 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Say a guy has a number of characteristics which predispose him to being instantly placed on the friend ladder, however high, and he can’t really expect to be put on the potential one. If he’s willing to do the labor, how do you suggest he switch ladders?

Beth Moore November 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

Entertaining, but I really hope girls wouldn’t lead guys on who are on the friend ladder! I certainly NEVER would. I’ll let a guy know exactly where he stands in my life . . . or rather on my ladder! :)

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