Friends > Lovers… When It Works and When It Doesn’t

Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

You’ve heard the term, “Friends first.” It describes the couples in the world who had a platonic start. Friends of friends, or colleagues, their relationship began in the friend zone. Over time, these couples built a camaraderie through mutual interests or experiences; and their connection blossomed into romantic attraction, interest, and love. Today, their bond is stronger because they were friends first. They legitimately get along and enjoy each other’s company. They care about each other, they have each others’ best interests at heart, they don’t want the other to suffer or to feel confused. They communicate, they sacrifice, they forgive

Friends > lovers can work. It has worked. For many people. 

But it can also be a trap.

The camaraderie one feels with a friend can feign the building blocks of a relationship. But the building blocks of a relationship look much, much different. Friendship stakes are generally low. Relationship stakes, at least in the adult world, are not. 

When your friend bails on you a couple hours before brunch, it’s #nbd. They’re not feeling good, maybe hungover from the night before… bummer, but you’ll catch ‘em next time. 

When the boyfriend-wannabe bails on you a few hours before the date… it IS a #bd. Not cool, bro. Definitely especially not cool if it happens multiple times in the early stages of the relationship. Also not cool if it happens in tandem with other dumb stuff.

This is because expectations have transitioned. The stakes have changed. What’s acceptable friend behavior is not acceptable boyfriend-wannabe behavior. The dangerous thing… is when one party doesn’t adjust accordingly. When one party is stuck in friendship dynamics and friendship expectations, despite living a real-life dating scenario. 

I’ve been that person. I’ve been that person in the dating scenario with an original friendly someone… a guy that I get along with, that cracks me up, that I’m attracted to… but that someone doesn’t understand the way one treats a friend is different from the way one treats a wannabe-girlfriend. And because of the original connection, I was temporarily blind to and accepting of his tepid behavior.

A real wannabe-boyfriend is solid. He follows through. He communicates, he calls. He makes an effort. And if something gets lost in translation, as things sometimes are, he tries to fix it.

And if he doesn’t… ladies… he doesn’t “wannabe” anything at all. Not really. Not enough.

I’m 34. I’m happily independent and single, but I do want to find love. However, love goes hand-in-hand with respect. To me, that means I’m wanted not just when it’s convenient to his schedule or only when I’m in a good mood… This man wants all of me, all the time. 

To quote the Notebook: “So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, every day.”

I deserve this kind of love. We all do. 

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