On rare occasions a “just friends” situation can lead to a romantic relationship. However, those situations depend largely on two things: proximity (i.e. capitalizing off of his vulnerability) and an already established attraction. Sometimes folks, particularly those that just got out of a bad situation are not in a space to start a new relationship. But in general, a “Just friends” means that while he may like you, thinks you are a cool person and enjoys your company BUT he is not interested in you beyond that. Or it could mean that he kind of likes you romantically, however he wants to keep his options open to either the woman in his past that got away or some other chick he has been fawning over. Whatever way it is defined, a “just friends” label will ultimately put you in the category of a safety net.
Sure as women, we desire the relationships that are built off of being with a person, for whom the mental and emotional attraction is just as strong as the physical one. Which is why we can date and fall madly in love with a man, who might look like Shrek’s bigger and uglier brother but can make us laugh. However, that’s not how God, in his grand plan, decided to build men. Despite their insistence that they are capable of looking beneath a woman’s exterior, for the most part, men are really full of it. Generally speaking, it is face/body combo first; personality and whatever other attributes you have to offer comes second. It sucks but in the words of Michael Jackson, it’s just human nature.
That’s why in these type of situations; I can appreciate a man’s partial attempt at being honest when he drops the “let’s just be friends” line. But it still doesn’t mean that it is not a tough pill to swallow, especially when you were hoping for more. That is why it is important that once he utters that line, you must break all contact with him immediately. That means, no phone calls, no Facebook/Twitter stalking him and definitely no sleeping together. It also means for you to not get mad, or try to hurt him. And definitely don’t go blowing up his phone in the middle of the night with the jealous incoherent messages. Instead just thank him for letting you know and cut your loses while you are ahead.
Because ultimately it isn’t about him, it’s about you and establishing a relationship on your own terms. And while he may have his standards in what he wants in a woman, you have your boundaries in what you will not tolerate in a man. I’m not saying that eventually down the road, after some times has passed, that you can’t ever be friends. Hell, giving yourself space from your “friend” may make you re-evaluate why you ever liked him in the first place. And you may not want to be real friends. But as long as you feel something substantial than you should give yourself permission to sit out of the game for a bit. Being in a “just friends” situation, knowing that you want more, is only torturing yourself with the false hope that he will come around in the future. Most importantly, it is cock-blocking you from finding the guy out there, who is ready to define a relationship outside of just friendship.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.