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- Minus Eleven -

EMILY: Hey, are we best friends?
JONNY: Of course. You're silly.
EMILY: Yeah. I just wanted to make sure.

The kids in my Mothers' Ministry class make me very jealous. Everything is so simple and straightforward. If they like playing with someone, they tell that person. If they have a best friend, they proclaim it to the world. If they love something, they talk about it (even if that means changing the subject from Jesus to Trucks).
Friendships are also simple and unruffled. I think sometimes, they're more loyal than their teenage counterparts. Gender doesn't matter, age differences don't matter, clothing and social status makes no difference.

JONNY: >kisses top of Emily's head<
EMILY: >barely notices<
JONNY: >seriously< I gave you a kiss.
JONNY: That's how I tell Mommy I love her. I love you, too.
EMILY: Okay, Jonny.

When the above conversation took place, there were three girls in the room. The other two looked at each other, rolled their eyes, giggled something about "Puppy Love", and then one of them started a conversation about this cute boy in her Bio class, who she has never spoken to but apparently idolizes.
That entire scene (like many things) made me angry on several levels.
  1. They were patronizing a 6-year-old friend relationship -- that had more substance to it than the one girl's "adoration" of Bio Boy.
  2. It wasn't "Puppy Love", I promise you that. Jonny just felt that same kid affection towards Emily that he did toward his mother. And I'll tell you... if any of my guy friends loved me as they loved their mother, my job as Female Friend would be a success.
  3. I was enjoying the scene before those two started gossipping. Kid-watching is one of my favorite sports. The purity and innocence... very refreshing and the best entertainment/thought-provoker out there.
When, while growing up, do we lose the ability to be open and sincere with our friends? Or do we lose permission, and having lost the approval of the world subject ourselves to its expectations of second-guesses and reserved affections?
(note that when I use words like "affection", "love", and the like in this post, I am using them in a Platonic sense. This is not a post about romance. Also, this is mostly a post about guy-girl friendships, though some of it applies to same-sex friendships as well.)

Guy-girl friendships are disbeleived, mocked, and made out to be cover-ups for romances.
Being in a phileo relationship of this kind, I feel quite strongly about the misconceptions and aspirations cast. It angers me. Nothing makes it easier for others to call you a liar than a close, platonic, opposite-sex friendship.
I can't tell you how often I've had variations of the following conversation:

GIRL: So... what's with you and ______?
ME: We're friends.
GIRL: Like, "friends", or, like, "friend friends"?
ME: >inwardly rolls eyes< We're just friends. Normal friends. He's probably my best.
GIRL: Oh, come on Brenna, you can tell me! It's okay, I won't tell anyone!
ME: Really. That's all we are. >weary sigh<
GIRL: >looks skeptical< I don't know, Brenna. You two are always, like, making eyes at each other.
ME: >grits teeth< No, we don't. Some people don't need words to say everything.
GIRL: And you totally finish each others' sentences, you know...
ME: So?
GIRL: So you totally like him!
ME: >shakes head and inwardly pleads with God, asking Him to smite girl<
GIRL: >looking coy< It's okay, really. Anyway, I think he might like you.
ME: First, if he did, it wouldn't be any of your business. Second, if I did, it wouldn't be your business. Third, what POSSIBLY makes you think that anything in either of our lives is any of your business? And FOURTH, the first three points are irrelevant because you are speaking NONSENSE. We are JUST FRIENDS.
GIRL: Uh huh. Sure. >winks<
ME: >ready to kill her< Look... he's like my brother, okay???
GIRL: Micah? Nuh-uh, _____ is waaay cuter than your --
ME: >close to tearing out hair< NO! I mean... I mean that >speaking slowly and anunciating< He. Is. Like. A. Brother. To. Me.
ME: >sighs in relief<
GIRL: Soooooooo... if he's like your brother......
ME: Yeah?
GIRL: Well, like, you wouldn't.... you wouldn't mind if I kinda liked him? Because he is TOTALLY hot, and if you don't have dibs ---
ME: >slams head into nearest hard surface< Yes. Yes, I would mind.
GIRL: >victoriously< SEE? I KNEW IT! YOU SO TOTALLY LIKE HIM! >squeals<
ME: >prays for patience<

....and that scene continues until I get fed up enough to leave (which should probably happen much sooner than it ever does.)
Do you see how often I get called a liar, there? I cannot STAND being called a liar. I cannot STAND people presuming to know my feelings when they have such little understanding of me or the situation.

One memorable occasion, a friend of mine badgered me so much that I completely lost it and mildly yelled/cussed her out for 5 minutes straight.
And yes, I feel bad about it.

Even those who understand seem to be set on messing stuff up. One friend, we'll call her "Amy", gave this advice:

AMY: Well, if people give you that much trouble, why don't you just pretend to be a couple, and then everyone would stop bothering you!
ME: >laughs< I think that might cause more problems than it would solve, Amy.

Another friend, "Lexi", had the following to say:

ME: I told you before, we're just friends. I suggest you drop it. Now.
LEXI: Well... you should totally STOP being >air quotes< "just friends", because you would TOTALLY be the CUTEST pair EVER.
ME: >facepalm<

Why do people think they know better than the two who are in the relationship? Why do people think they HAVE to throw their $0.02 in our faces? Why do people think it's up to them to point out our stupidity for NOT "being together"?
Maybe... just MAYBE we're happy being friends? Maybe Phileo is preferable to Eros at the moment? Maybe it's less complicated? Maybe we don't WANT TO DATE, PERIOD? Maybe we know our own feelings better than all the commentators and don't need their advice to live a happy life?
Maybe we're 17, goshdarnit, and prefer friends to significant others. 

My point here is that people mostly don't have brains when it comes to this kind of thing. Either the world in general is so hopped up on hormones that they can't see straight, or I'm the crazy one and Platonic Opposite-Gender Relationships do not exist. (This would be a pity, because then all but one of my exceptional friendships would not exist...)

Why can't people just leave us alone?

Why can't we all be 6 again?


P.S.  I had to get it all said and out of my brain before I imploded. You see, "If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad." (Lord Byron)


  1. They just don't understand. They don't have either the knowledge, wisdom, maturity or understanding (or some combination of the above) that sometimes being friends is more convenient, simpler, and preferable to being "friends". I think that if we could honestly express our feelings without fear of negative connotations being associated with said expressions our friendships would be not only simpler, but more sincere and more meaningful. It's the loss of innocence that makes honest expressions of love and affection (platonic here) impossible. And boy do I wish I could be 6 again. =P

  2. Yeah, your mom would be happy too. She'd have your blonde bowl cut back.

  3. And I think I looked extremely cute. ::sniff::

  4. I never said you didn't!!!
    Calm down. I agree with your mother. You were adorable.

  5. "Maybe we're 17, goshdarnit, and prefer friends to significant others."


    With you here ALL THE WAY!

    I almost SCREAM every time.

    I've come to the conclusion that the bigger a deal I make of it, the more determined they get.

    Now, I shrug and say, "old friends," as casually as possible before gradually changing the subject.

    "So I can have him, then?" is answered with, "Go ask his mother," because that will probably expel any remaining doubts.

    =D Don't you just love that?

    Platonic relationships DO EXIST!!! '

    And I would keep believing in them even if they didn't. =P


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