Just friends?

So, I just went through an interesting experience. One that I’ve been through before, but this time was a little different. The guy from my Chivalry Lives! post has officially told me he “just wants to be friends.” Not gonna lie, I saw it coming – he went to Chicago to visit a “good friend” of his and took three days to call me after he returned.

Not a huge deal, as we’ve only been seeing each other for about a month and I’m moving in August. But still caused me to think a little bit.

I’ve heard it before – “Let’s just be friends.” It’s a classic “I’m not really into you,” or “I met someone else” line. However, this time was a little different.

He meant it.

He went on and on about how he has so much going on in his life (blah blah) and how he’s under a lot of pressure (blah blah) but that he doesn’t want to lose me as a friend. 

I said I understood, and he needs to do what’s best for him, but that I’m not sure we can “just be friends.” (My dad always says, “You can never have too many friends, Lauren.” But this is a little different.)

You see, I’m somewhat of a believer that it is very difficult for a guy and a girl to “just be friends.” Especially after they’ve already been seriously more than friends. I rarely talk to my exes because there will always be some emotional tie between us. We’ve shared ourselves with that person in ways that we don’t normally share with our friends. It’s nearly impossible to break that tie, and you definitely can’t just forget it ever happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of guy friends. But, they’re my friends now because we’ve “been there, tried that” and it didn’t work. Blame the sexual tension that inevitably exists between men and women. And you’ve also got the jealousy factor.

I probably couldn’t count the number of times I see relationships end (or at least turn into a fight) because of jealousy of a “friend” whether it’s the guy’s friend or the girl’s. Many times, it’s difficult to distinguish friendship from something more between a man and a woman. And more times than not, someone in the “friendship” always wants more.

Do I think it can be done? Yes. Is it very tricky? Absoultely.

Women and men can be just friends if:

 

  • They don’t go out late at night often. Nighttime is breeding ground for sexuality and, especially if alcohol is involved, is generally bound to transform into something “more than friends-ish.”

 

  • They have lunch instead of dinner. Lunch is pretty much a safe bet. It’s in the middle of the day, most of the time you have to get back to work, and there’s not the “we’re on a date” feel.

 

  • They touch minimally. Even hugs these days can be deemed inappropriate behavior. Touching can send different messages – sometimes messages that you don’t want to send. As Phil Vassar says in “I’ll Take That As a Yes,”) – A little hug leads to a foot rub/Then a hot tub/Then a french kiss on a bear rug

 

  • They don’t share many secrets. Secrets create emotional bonds. Once emotional bonds are formed, they’re difficult to break. It’s best to keep your secrets to your same-sex friends or your significant other.

So, yes, it’s possible to be “just friends,” but not probable.

This guy didn’t quite get it. I asked him, “Do you think you could be around me and not kiss me, not cuddle with me, not hold my hand?” He said, “No, probably not. But why can’t we do all that and just be friends?”

In my book, you can’t have it both ways. C’est la vie. 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

KirAsh4@Twitter May 24, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Now see, here’s someone who actually understands. Being a guy who’s gone through his fair share of breakups, some mutual and others not, I’ve rarely kept in touch with my exes. There is one exception: my ex-wife. And the only reason is because of my daughter. Other than that, I’ve had that same question posed, “Can we be friends?” And I’ve always asked, “Do you think we can?”

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to still be in touch with some of my exes, however there’s just so much that one goes through in a relationship that trying to make it work as friends afterward is just … odd. Like you said, there’s the stuff you share only with someone close (could be secrets, could be other). There’s the intimacy – I can never look at a friend without thinking “I’ve seen you naked.” There’s just too much.

So to you I’ll say, take it for what it is. Reflect on the wonderful evening you had, and now it’s time to move on.

And yes, chivalry does still exist. Ask any number of my past encounters, relationships or not.

Reply

Chris Botti June 2, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Oh come ON! I agree with part, being friends with Exes is tough, but if you feel comfortable enough to share a secret at lunch, you should probably go out to dinner. Oh and, your right, guys dont have “just friends’ were all tryin to get some. So…wanna grab some lunch? lol

Reply

anna December 18, 2009 at 6:37 pm

friendships with exes are possible, but usually only after 6 months to a year of not having any contact with them whatsoever. that’s the only thing that’s worked for me. moving across the country helps too.

Reply

Joanna July 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm

hahaha….yes.

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