We have all heard and said the phrase, "we are just friends". What does that mean to you? I can only hope that others share my opinion of what it really means to be a "friend". If so, there is no need for a just. A true friendship is one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, and fulfilling relationships you can be part of. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but I often take offense when people say, "we are just friends". What the heck. People say "just" when they are blowing something off. I mean, right? If you are hanging out with someone that prompts you to say "just" before saying "friend", maybe you ought to refer to them as an acquaintance. Someone you are friendly with but would be okay if you never saw them again.
Think about it. "What are you watching". If it's important to you, you will call it by name. "Oh, I'm watching Kings". If it's a lame Lifetime movie (you should not be watching them, by the way), you may say, "Oh, just some movie".
What separates a friend from "just" a friend? Even a boyfriend or girlfriend is a "friend" by default. It's tacky to refer to them as your "lover". "Significant other" is just weird. I have MANY significant others. Come on. A friendship goes through many life cycles. I think that is the hardest part for me to accept. Not all "friends" that enter your life are meant to be there forever. I treat friendships (with both men and women), like a marriage. I'm in it for the long hull, people. I have intentionally cut "friends" out of my life. I treated these situations like true break ups. I listened to sad songs, ate Ben and Jerry's, you know-the usual. I always know and hope, that one day our paths will cross again. Yes, even with those people that I once swore I "hated". Because, at one point...it was right. They were right. Everything worked. Then one day it just stopped working.
The dust will settle. It may take 5 minutes or 5 years, but one day you will wake up and say..."I miss this person". You forget why you cut them out. You only recall the good memories. Something reminds you of them. You are left with the decision...put them back into the game or leave them on the bench.
I think in our early 20's we often hang out with people that share similar interests with us. Our grade school friends may be far away. You drift apart. You meet these "new" friends at parties, in class, through other friends, etc. You share no history, just a promising future. Interests can change like the weather, as can circle of friends. People that were always in your life, you no longer have a desire to be around. I'm not talking about one major "blow out" fight over a guy, or an argument that seemed REALLY intense at the time. It's pretty hard to describe...I know the feeling, just not the words.
In our mid 20's-early 30's, before a lot of us "start a family", we are a bit more picky about who we associate with. When we befriend people of the opposite sex we see them as potential mates, not just prom dates (eh....or office party dates). We want our core group to truly enrich our lives, not just pick up a round of drinks on a Saturday night. After I cut out some girls from my life (you know you who are and you know who I'm talking about), I was sad. I missed all of our good times downtown, uptown, and all around. We really caused a scene everywhere we went. They are beautiful, outgoing, and smart girls...but, it just stopped working for me one day. Like falling out of love, I fell out of friendship. You can care about someone without having them in your life (as weird as that sounds). I take comfort in knowing that.
I asked myself this question: If I were to meet _____________ for the first time tonight, would I want to be friends with them? I think many of us keep people in our lives because of shared history...when that is all you have. When you are more fond of the memories of people than you are of them...it may be time to reevaluate the relationship. I mean, right? Or is that what true friendship is-sticking with each other through thick and thin? Like a marriage...it needs work. When both parties are not in it anymore...you make the choice. Whether you act on this choice is a different story. Enter stage left the "awkward friend conversation". You know, the standard questions "what have you been up to", "where are you working"...black and white answers dangle where colorful dialog once stood. Is this making sense to anyone?
I think about all the people, men and women, that I have deeply and whole heartily cared about in my life. Each and every single one of them never left the "friend" realm. I have friends in my life that I could see myself being with forever more than guys I have casually "dated". Some people jump right into a romantic relationship and skip the foundations of friendship. What exactly are they basing the relationship on? (actually, don't answer that. We all know...)
I don't know where I was going with this. Maybe I sang "just a friend" a few too many times with my "friend", Biz. "Just Friends" is one of my favorite movies. Not only is it hilarious, it really hits home with me. Can't forget Gavin Degraw's song, "Just Friends". Another favorite. I guess my point is this. Think before you speak. Is this person "just" a friend? Are they like a Lifetime movie that you can start watching at any given point and mindlessly stare at? Or, are they your favorite show? Surround yourself with the favorite shows...even if you DVR them...don't miss an episode and enjoy the reruns.
You all know how obsessed I am with this song:
And this man: