not alone: just Friends?

not alone series

This week’s prompt: Is it possible to be “just friends” with a guy?

It sounds like such a simple question, and it is so short, too! I’ve debated this very idea with friends (guys and girls) more times than I can even count, especially in the last few years. Do you want to know what I’ve come up with: absolutely no consensus whatsoever. In the absence of a consensus, I’ll share with you my thoughts and tales of my life thus far…

My short answer is this: if the guy is engaged or married it is possible to be just friends. If not, then the waters get muddy.

My longer answer: I have loads of guys who I am honestly and truthfully just friends with, period. No romantic anything. However, 90% of those guys are either dating one of my best friends, married to one of my best friends, or just plain married. Or they are priests (because, you know, Catholic!). I can honestly say that I’ve never had a thing for them and I’m almost 100% certain they’ve never had a thing for me.

But what about my not married guy friends? Yea, that’s what the water gets muddy. There are some friends of mine that there is zero romantic attraction. For whatever reason we just don’t click like that, we can be great friends, but that is it. Whether it is religion (or lack thereof), a difference in where our lives or going, or the fact that I hate their baseball team, there’s nothing romantic there and we can just be friends. Perhaps a more accurate description would be that we are more like siblings than anything else.

Then there are those guy friends that, well, aren’t just guy friends. On one side of the fence or the other there is some attraction, some desire to escape the so-called “friend-zone” and move into “relationship zone”. I’ve been on both sides of that fence and quite honestly, no matter which side you are on, it sucks. I’ve watched some of my best guy friends (the ones I’d been secretly…or not-so-secretly pining over) date, and then marry my best friend. I’ve been guy’s confidants when they cheated on their girlfriend or when they weren’t so sure about the relationship, you know, when everything in me wanted to scream this song in their face.

not alone just friendsI’ve been that person who confided in their best guy friend about every. single. jerk. that has come along, only to find out that the guy I’d been confided in wanted me…but I didn’t feel the same way. Let me tell you: being just friends with a guy is tricky. BUT…I believe it is possible, and dare I say it: I believe it is necessary.

How is it possible to just be friends with a guy? In a word: honesty. It starts with being honest with ourselves. With the guys I was pining over I had to learn to be honest with myself and how I was feeling about them. Then I had to decide to do something about it. Did that mean that I suddenly became their stalker? Nope, in most cases it meant distancing myself from them and forging deeper friendships with others. It meant that my friendship with that guy didn’t take up all of my free time, even though we were still friends.

When it comes to honesty, we also have to learn to be honest with each other. In college there was one guy in particular I was really sweet on and I will always admire how he pulled me aside and asked me how I felt about him. I couldn’t lie and when I ‘fessed up, I appreciated (and still appreciate) how honest he was with me about where he was at. His honesty allowed us to remain friends, despite the feelings that I had for him. (And eventually those feelings faded as we both realized that a relationship wouldn’t have worked out anyway.)

Furthermore, I believe that being “just friends” with guys is necessary. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the friendship and guidance of guys who have been my friend over the years. Their wisdom, the way they look at the world and problems, have all shaped me and made me who I am today. Being friends with a guy – and nothing more – may be difficult, but it is oh-so worth it.

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