Friends, lovers, or nothing: What to do when bestie turns beau
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 10:02
For every situation, there is a suitable line from a song. John Mayer said it best: “Friends, lovers or nothing. There can only be one.”
And while I’m still mad at him for breaking Taylor Swift’s heart, that boy sure has a way with words and making us face life’s painful truancies.
But let’s be honest. Women are fickle and men are clueless, qualities that are not of much help when a man and a woman who were formerly in the friend zone start to feel a twinge of romantic feelings for one another.
In a perfect world, two buddies in such a pickle would act like grownups and have a rational, concise conversation about the situation where they would come to a consensus on how to proceed.
However, this is not a perfect world and if men and women could cease the game playing and work out their issues so easily there would be no need for Lifetime movies.
After several tried and failed friendships-turned-courtships of my own, I have to wonder: Can a guy and a gal really just be friends, or do they eventually either have to fall for each other or part ways? And, does developing these feelings for a friend serve as a death sentence for the whole relationship?
James, 26, claims, “The only guy friend a girl can have is if he is happily married and still maintains a friendship with her. Other than that, the guy will always want more.” Well, if that isn’t the most frustrating news I have ever heard.
I suppose we should have seen it coming. We have watched it unfold in countless romantic comedies, from Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to more modern examples such as “Friends with Benefits,” “No Strings Attached,” “He’s Just Not That Into You,” of course, “Just Friends,” and these are only a few examples from my personal collection of chick flicks.
Some of us are indeed aware of the Hollywood cliché of finding true love, but you may or may not have noticed a deeper Hollywood cliché that has been subliminally tainting our idea of what successful relationships are: finding true love in a friend.
As I flip through my mental filing cabinet of people in my life, I can’t recall ever having a friendly relationship with a guy that I was not at some point attracted to as more.
It seems it happens to the best of us and upon further reflection, I am no exception.
I have fallen victim to the brightly colored romantic comedy billboards that perpetuate the idea that yes ladies, your perfect man is out there.
And you know what?
He’s closer than you think!
Then through a series of convenient circumstances the mutual attraction will become clear, but not before some great misfortune or misunderstanding will occur that complicates the relationship.
But not to worry, the music will swell and someone will deliver an impromptu speech on how much he or she is in love with the other.
They will realize they really are perfect for each other, share a passionate kiss and live happily ever after. Roll credits.
In the end, it all boils down to attraction. People choose their friends based on commonalities they have, interests they share.
Rarely does someone associate themselves with others who they don’t believe are in the same league as themselves. In choosing our friends we could be choosing someone with qualities we value, not unlike the ones we look for in the person we will spend the rest of our lives with.
With this mindset it’s no wonder friends fall for each other more than leaves fall from a tree. On the other hand, a 2011 Michigan State University study found that a mere 10 percent of friendships that turn intimate actually end in committed relationships.
Those aren’t the greatest odds, but the same study also found that in 74 percent of intimate friendships that fail romantically, the pairs were able to stay buddies.
I suppose an answer can be found in any random sampling of rom-coms.
For those of the number-inclined breed, answers also lie in anthropological studies. But, alas, the only definitive answer is in trial and error.
Best guy buds aren’t a dime a dozen, so don’t go sleeping around with everyone in your fantasy football league. The only way to know if your newfound crush will flourish or flop is to give it a try, but be upfront about your feelings and expectations before you lock lips.
Nobody likes a sneaky Sally. In the event you begin to lose sight of this hallowed advice and fall back down the rabbit hole, just throw on some John Mayer.
“Friends, lovers or nothing. There’ll never be an in-between. So give it up.”