Let’s Just Be Friends
The worst speech known to mankind (and womankind mind you!) is that which begins with “let’s just be friends”. Jerry Seinfield and Eminem are strong protestors of this ego-shattering and heart-wrenching talk that the opposite sex gives you just before they let you know you don’t stand a chance in hell of having your feelings reciprocated.
At first you feel that sharp breaking of your heart and then you hear that loud crashing of your hopes and your first reaction is generally to feel sorry for yourself.
Eventually you realise that you’re not the kind to play victim and so the only natural reaction is to get really pissed off at the person who obviously didn’t appreciate your efforts to tell them how you feel!
It’s so easy to lash out when you’re hurt. That dull ache that sits in your throat makes you want to scream in frustration and the weight on your shoulders makes you want throw a punch at everything and everyone who gets in your way. You rack your brain for valid justifications but the only one you keep coming back to is that you simply weren’t good enough… or that you were too good (depending on how good your ego treats you).
Either way, no conclusion helps you get that person out of your head as you struggle to accept that they… just want to be friends.
I recently bumped upon the blog of someone I’d run across a couple of times. Not knowing him well enough to have any concrete opinion, my impression of him however was of a really cool guy, the kind I’d introduce any of my girls to. Poetry, verses and generally great pieces of writing is some of the stuff I based my opinion on (that and the fact that he looks good in a suit!). Imagine my shock when I read something completely out of context labelled: Male Values.
Yeap you guessed it: Due to an unfortunate heartbreak, our buddy decided to turn against the whole female race:
“Virgins were too much work to be bothered with”, “picking out a girl is like grocery shopping” and my absolute peeve: “there should be a law that every man should be allowed to have sex with any woman who wears a short skirt and low cut blouse.”
Of course if you’re a guy, you might find some of this “male-talk” amusing. If you’re the skirt’s boyfriend, brother, best friend or the skirt herself… you might just feel the urgeto put out a death warrant on the asshole that decided to classify all women the same... degrading! Would you ever treat a cat the same way you would treat a tiger? Hell no… I kindly reminded our writer that he probably wouldn’t take too kindly to me referring to every male as: “a walking penis I can bend and shape at my will!”
After seeing red, I decided to do my community service for the day and do society a favour by setting the kid straight! I decided to comment my opinion on his male values. Translation: I let him have it!
I expected two of the following reactions: either he slandered me on his blog or he would send me hate mail (tough statements call for tough comments – only dish out what you can swallow I always say!). However, I was surprised, impressed and slightly relieved by the mature e-mail I got (There is hope for men after all – hehehe… There! I generalised, here’s your opportunity to get back at my comment!).
It seems our young writer just had a bad case of the sour grapes and not so far from the mature world as I’d feared! In fact, I’d say that after he’s vented, he might just handle things pretty well. I’m rooting for you kid!
Through times countless friendships have been screwed up on account of developing attraction by one or both parties. It isn’t by chance that Billy Crystal in “When Harry Met Sally” made a point of saying that men and women can’t be friends. Someone eventually ends up wanting to sleep with the other and it screws things up. I once had a friend who said the validation of a friendship depends on the time it takes for the hormones to override someone’s system. Of course when love is involved: the consequences double in damage!
Picture the following scenario:
Great friends; the kind that tell each other anything and everything and understand each other on every level. Somewhere along the line (probably after you saw him shaking his thing on the dancefloor) you realise that you might just want some more:
So after months of consideration, you eventually find the courage to take the plunge and tell him how you feel. Taking great pains to look good, wearing that perfume you know he likes and your hair the way he thinks it suits you… you hide your sweaty hands and blurt out that your feelings go beyond friendship.
And then comes that damn speech “I care about you but…. Blah blah blah… let’s just be friends”
And now you sit around wide awake with your world half asleep wondering what the hell to do with your feeling wishing you’d never opened your mouth in the first place!
The End? Game Over?
Why is it that people mistaken this speech for the end?
The person to proclaim their undying love forgets that while they’ve been planning the moment for months, it might probably never passed their friend’s mind. In fact their first reaction might probably be: “It hit me like a ton of bricks”…
Just because you’ve been fantasizing 24/7 doesn’t mean he has! How would you react in his shoes? And yet you choose to give up so easily…
When women complain that men don’t fight for them… this is exactly what they’re referring to! Instead of him sticking around to see if you change your mind, he finds a quick replacement… or turns into a monster!
Imagine yourself wanting to work for a certain company… are you going to accept the first “no” they give you or will you keep sending your CV until you get the position you’re looking for? Perseverance means you’ll either get the job or land something better in your searching process.
If you truly care about the person; face it: your feelings aren’t just going to disappear! And obviously it hurts like hell when the object of your affections speaks about someone else… but if your friendship is one of understanding, there should be no problem in keeping the “love” topic off limits. Why create distance? You know you’re not going to forget the person in any case and chances are that if you stick around, you might just be giving the person a chance to realise what they’re missing out on. Give the person enough reasons to love you… and they just might. Basically you give them the opportunity to toy with the idea that you’ve been toying with the last couple of months: taking the friendship to the next level!
All is fair in love and war! Don’t get mad… get even!
Distract yourself with a new friendship without letting go of the old one. No one likes having their space stolen in a person’s life no matter how small it may be. It’s one way of getting the object of your affection to realise how much they miss you, how much you mean to them. If all else fails, you’ll end up with a new friend and time will take care of healing your wounds without losing any friends.
It’s simple: no lies, no manipulation, no resentment and no self-pity. Be yourself, maintain as best you can the friendship and let time write its fate. Note: I said it was simple, not easy. Anyone know of any other honest solution?
While it’s true that the “let’s just be friends” speech is one of the hardest for any love-struck human being to withstand, the fact is that your attitude will define how much you truly lose or gain from it. If nothing else is understood from the above writing remember this: Just because a person doesn’t love you the way you love them, doesn’t mean they don’t love you the most that their heart allows.
PS: A note to all my very close guy friends: thanks for helping me prove them all wrong about male-female friendships. I love you all the best a friend or a sister ever could!