I’m sure those with email or have friends with email have gotten wind of this article written by Susan
Nikaido on the widespread phenomenon appropriately entitled “Just Friends?”. With all the reaction the
article has gotten from those victimized by the epidemic and those men who seem to live it, I thought,
“Wait a minute maybe the topic deserves another shot!”
Nikaido starts her article by defining the phenomenon: boy and girl meet and they start spending a great deal of time together. They watch movies, go to the grocery or to the talyer together, hear mass, have
breakfast, lunch or dinner together. It often extends to picking each other up or bringing each other home
if the need arises. Their different circles of friends accept that inviting one means inviting the other and no one seems to have a problem with that arrangement. She’s number three on his cellphone’s speed dial (home, work, girl). She’s the first person he thinks of when sending those god-forsaken text jokes. He calls her up three or four times a day, at the very least, and the conversation usually lasts for hours. Sounds familiar?
He begins telling her about the deeper things in his heart and invites her to share at this level as well.
He sends her mushy ‘friendship’ cards and tells her that she means a great deal to him. He may become a
little affectionate: the hugs begin to linger. The relationship has become wedged between friendship and
M.U. (mutual understanding). After a long while and a million questions from her friends, the girl musters
enough courage to ask the boy that mllion-peso question: “What’s the deal between us?” Translation:
“Ano ba talaga?”
Of course, that question which obviously meant to jolt the man into thinking: “We do have to define this
relationship. We can’t be in limbo forever, therefore I’m going to ask her to be my girlfriend!”, only makes
him panic and run for his life. To her surprise, he does a quick about-face. He insists they are just friends. After that, he avoids her, leaving her hurt and bewildered. She feels rejected * she has lost not only a romantic interest but worse, a close and trusted friend. As she feels stupid.
Joe, a man asked about the phenomenon, explained this by saying, “We were getting close, and it scared me.”
Single guys are normally on the look-out for women who are “girlfriend-material” so when they meet someone who they are not 100% certain fits the bill, they enter the Just Friends relationship. He starts
calling her up and they start doing the boyfriend-girlfriend activities together. In his mind, they’re not dating and they’re definitely just friends. To her, he’s probably just waiting for the right time to propose and she’s sure he’s in love with her. Herein lies the confusion.
The Just Friends arrangement is great for the one who says “of course not, we’re not dating!” Results of a
random survey show that the guy usually plays this part. He happily goes on calling her and being with
her, not knowing the extent and depth of her feelings for him. A plausible explanation for the fact that
men are mostly the victimizers is that women do not normally choose to be with someone for a prolonged
period of time if there is no attraction involved. If the attraction is not enough to bring the relationship
one step further, we make sure from the very beginning that the guy does not mistake our closeness as “more than friendship.” Why waste time?
Guys, on the other hand, gladly enter a Just Friends relationship because it’s convenient * having a
quasi-girlfriend without the commitment. It’s like a country club membership without having to pay for
anything especially if she allows intimacy into the relationship. For the guy, it’s icing on the free cake. “In effect, he is asking her for the rewards of a dating relationship * companionship, emotional intimacy, even affection * without the responsibility.
He is playing with her heart and her heart will probably get broken.” Guys might think, “If she gets hurt because I told her that we’re just friends, it’s not my problem. I never said anything to make her think that I want to become her boyfriend.” The heartbreak here lies in the fact that not only is the potential romantic relationship destroyed, but so is the friendship.
The logical thing to do for all those who have unfortunately gone through something as endlessly heartbreaking as being told after many months or years of “great friendship,” “Huh? What are you talking
about? We’re just friends!”, is to run like hell. Stop seeing him/her! The situation is like a hole you dig for yourself * the longer you stay there, the deeper the hole becomes and the more painful it gets because you know as well as I do that he’s just going to keep calling you, seeing you, and texting you. The only way you can save yourself is if you can effectively take control of your emotions and develop a life outside of your relationship with the man.
He’ll complain and make tampo but just smile and say “I’m busy, eh” whenever he asks you to go with him to the dentist (like you used to). The balance this will create should enable you to quickly get over him once he finds someo! ne he actually wants to become his girlfriend because he will. He may wake up one day and realize that you’re the one or he may not. Until then, you’re lunching in Tagaytay with your other
Turning the tables around, the fair thing to do if you find yourself spending time with someone interesting
enough to go out with but you’re just not sure, is to be completely honest with that person, especially if
you have a feeling that the other person wants something more than friendship. The trick is to be straight and firm without sacrificing tact. You must be able to control the urge to see him/her all the time. Usually, the feelings of the other person get sideswiped by this time and we can avoid this if, from the very beginning, your were upfront with him or her.
You might say, “But I enjoy her company! Why should I sacrifice my desire to be with her?” Listen, there’s
nothing as vicious as unconsciously or consciously leading someone on for your own personal gain. There
will never be an excuse for it. Find other people to hang out with (even if they’re not half as fun or as smart as she is). Be like butter and spread yourself around. Remember, what we’re trying to avoid here is
the eventual pain you’re going to inflict on her later, plus, we’re trying to protect the friendship.
Now, take this time out to find out what exactly this woman means to you. If the feeling she gives you is
the warm, fuzzy, safe, sunshiny type, then you love her as a friend and clearly, that’s all you want. She’s definitely your pal, your buddy, your ka-tight, your ka-G.
But if the feeling you have for her inside consumes you, makes your heart pound whenever she’s around,
tortures you whenever she’s not, and makes you slightly insane with the thought of her being with another guy and now that you’re apart, has made your heart ache so much you can hardly breathe, pare, you’re in love with her. What next, you may ask?
Whatever you feel for her, gather the guts and tell her. She’s been your friend for so long * that’s the least you can do.
And then, you may say, “But what if it doesn’t work out in the end?” What if it does? Live dangerously!
Take the risk! Hopefully, by now you’ve made up your mind. Now don’t try to be smart by saying “I need to
spend time with her to find out how I feel for her.
Find this out on your own! By this time, I’m sure you can already distinguish between romantic love and
companionship. If you still can’t, stay the hell away from her. Your confusion only means one thing *
you’re not in love with her.
The sincerity in your objective if all you want is to be friends with her should be manifested in how you
treat her. Susan Nikaido says, “But what if a guy does only want to be friends * or wants to develop a
friendship before he decides to date? It’s pretty simple. He just treats the woman like all his other friends. He doesn’t spend more time with her or call her more often than he does his other friends. He usually invites other people along when he gets together with her. He doesn’t pick up the tab when just the two of them go out. He avoids compliments that might communicate she is “special” to him. He lets her know he spends time with other women. He’s extremely careful about showing any physical affection * even playful shoves or hugs.”
I still believe that a platonic relationship between a man and a woman is possible but only if the level of
their love for each other is the same and as clearly defined as night and day. Both parties should take
care in treating each other as friends, if that’s truly where they want to go. The in-betweens should not be allowed to get in the way to avoid needless disappointments, hurts and unmet expectations. In the end, there are very few rules to be followed in maintaining a “really just friends” relationship: Be fair, be true, be honest * and be certain.