The Girl Who’s Just a Friend

Recently, I’ve had several conversations with girlfriends of mine, who all happen to be in a variety of different relationship statuses (stati? Hah, they both sound weird). Interestingly enough, it’s come up several times about the identity we as women take on in our relationships. This idea of a role that we play in our when we are dating. I think this is so interesting! So naturally, I wanted to write about them…but please, realize that I pass absolutely no judgement. I mean, having been in only one long-term relationship that was never really that functional, the last thing I want to do is come across like I know what I’m talking about. Because I don’t, I have no idea. These are just simply ideas that I find intriguing, and of course, this led me to consider the identity I’ve taken on as well, even if I’m not currently in a relationship.

For example, there’s the girl that believes she can’t commit/is afraid of commitment. This girl has been in several successful relationships with great guys. Everything goes well for 3, 6, sometimes 9 months…and then, all of a sudden, I’m at dinner and she’s explaining to me that it just didn’t really work out for reason ‘this’ or argument about ‘that’. I’m not saying some of the break-ups were valid, but there have been times I wonder if she were looking for a way out. She claims to be a “free spirit” and hates being tied down, completely opposite of me, but nevertheless I hope some of that open-mindedness rubs off on me.

There’s also the girl who believes she has become the one before the one. She’s had several good relationships with guys, and she is the best kind of girlfriend: beautiful, easy going, successful, romantic. The connection ends for various reasons…but then, it usually happens that the next relationship her former beau ends up with becomes the one that leads to marriage. This friend of mine is starting to think that she will never be ‘the one’, yet always lead her significant other to their future ‘one’.

I have a couple of other friends who openly identify themselves as fixers. They crave a relationship where they can fulfill a motherly role, and consciously (or sometimes sub-consciously)want to try and fix that fatal flaw in their significant other. I’ve been there, wanting to change something so bad about a person you would do anything you could to make it work. Usually, this relationship ends in demise (including my own, obviously). As they say, “no one can change another person, it is up to only themselves”.

Although in my last relationship I realize now that I was essentially a fixer (however futile that was), both before, during, and since that relationship I would classify myself in a different category. Drum roll please! I am: The Friend. I was ‘the friend’ to my ex before we dated…while married I was ‘the friend’ to several guys who were trying to date friends of mine…since divorcing I have become ‘the friend’ to guys regarding their ever-changing interests. It’s a precarious position I find myself in again and again, often times having to provide harsh realities or honest opinions to both the guys and/or the girls they’re pursuing.

Being this ‘friend’ definitely has it’s pros and cons…I mean, I know that these guys value my opinion and I’ve been told they see me as an “awesome girl who deserves the best”, whatever that means. I have deep, honest relationships with them and I truly value our friendships. They say all the right things about love and dating, only it’s never directed towards me. It’s not even that I want to be in relationships with them, in fact, it’s usually not the case. The cons? Oh, don’t worry, I’m getting there. It’s so frustrating to hear all these great ideas about love, and what dates they should take the girls on, and how they write songs for them, and so on and so on…I only hope that one day all these ideas I’ve heard will pay off and I can use them on someone that I’m interested in. Haha, it’s only fair, right?

My life is seriously like a corny chick-flick sometimes, only I have yet to have my happy ending where I get the man. (Ahem, the right man…that is.) A small piece of advice I would offer to guys who have a girl that’s ‘the friend’ regarding relationships: just make sure that you’re truly being a friend to this girl, and not just using her to run ideas by or to get in closer with the other girl that you think you’re interested in. If you do take advantage of your friend…you’re not only guaranteed to not get the girl your interested in (she’ll make sure of that, I promise), you’ll lose a friend in the process as well. And listen to her, remember that your judgement is most likely off a little bit because, well, let’s be honest: you’re probably not thinking clearly with all those hormones running around in your body.  Chances are – she’ll save you a lot of time, money, and emotion in your ‘epic quest’. (Yes, I’ve had guys refer to getting the girl as an ‘epic quest’. It was weird, I told him that.)

Sigh. Men.

Just kidding, we’re all crazy. Crazy for wanting this thing called love that makes us do stupid things, makes us act crazy. We forget what our purpose is, what our priorities are, what’s good for us. The interesting thing is that none of us HAVE to take on any sort of identity…except for who we really are. We aren’t destined to be a “fixer” or a “free spiriit” or just a “friend” forever…(that alliteration was completely unintentional, but awesome). We are all free to just be the real us in our relationships. My girlfriends are all amazing women, I only hope that we can break free of this mold we’ve created for ourselves and be happy in our true identities.

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