You know how when your male friends take about meeting a nameless, genderless "friend", and they think you don't realise it's a date, or someone they're fucking, or want to be fucking, or are embarrassed about fucking?
The trick, chaps, is to just name them e.g. My mate Griselda. Not my friend Griselda, unless it's followed by, you know, Griselda, who goes out with Tom. Otherwise, it sounds like you're shagging them. Or want to be.
** On the flip side, male acquaintances who don't name their friends... Probably just trying to avoid having anything in common with you, barr your acquaintance, it makes it so much neater to awkwardly avoid you post the functional shag that they acquaintanced you for in the first place. Just because it never happens, does not mean that is not the design.
** Everyone does this, not just men. Probably.