Do you love your friendship, or do you love them?
By Madeleine Lake
Some say “If it’s meant to be, then it will.” I often questioned if this were true if I had half of the equation. Can something happen between two friends if they have never explored anything more? I don’t want to spoil it, but the answer is yes.
Chances are if you are reading this, then there is someone in your life that you may feel more toward than you’re willing to admit. The good news is, is that you have an inclination to how you feel about this person, that’s half the battle over. It’s not an easy journey, but it is a worthwhile one. Treat this as a little guide to help collect your thoughts, or perhaps gain the confidence to confess your feelings to that special someone.
Ask a hundred people who their ideal partner is and I guarantee they describe their best friend. Ask the same people if they’d explore a relationship with their best friend and you’ll be met with an array of answers. There is a unified quote amongst women who find out their partner has cheated, “It’s always the one they tell you not to worry about.” The forever mistrust in your partner’s friend. This gut feeling we women all share is nothing to deny, we are not paranoid, but this article is for those of you in what I call ‘The waiting room’ and I’m here to help you leave.
When readers were asked if they’d consider a relationship with a friend, 83% said they would, friendzone who? One voter added, “Some of the things that could contribute to your happiness are hiding in plain sight.” So why do we not always see them in that light? The answer is not black and white and has a lot to do with hedonism.
Hedonism is the ‘pursuit of pleasure and self indulgence, it is an ethical theory that pleasure is the highest good and proper aim of human life.’ There is a mechanism known as ‘hedonic adaptation’ whereby humans quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. I believe the same can be said of relationships.
It has become human nature to seek out the best thrills, this can often be why toxic relationships can blossom sourly. The constant ups and downs like a roller coaster, as you fearfully enjoy the highs and lows until you’re sick. Although we become aware of the lows, we focus on the highs and ignore the flaws. I’m here to say your feelings toward those highs and lows are absolutely valid. But often, you can choose the wrong person to feel adventurous. I often contemplated this myself, why had I always sought validation from strangers, from men I had spoken to for a short period of time. It felt like I was doing anything to feel alive, and I wanted to do more than exist. I realised how miserable seeking validation can make you feel. When you seek constant approval, you put your value and worth based on something so shallow such as looks.
You can trade someone up for looks, but do you truly gain happiness? I would argue not.
Looks can be an initial motive, but it’s never been a reason for anyone to stay. Think about the last person you loved and ask yourself what you loved about them, it can tell you a lot.
The way someone can make you feel holds far greater merit than any superficial quality. We are like piñatas, the goodness within, often the wrong person can beat it out of us so that they profit from our sweetness.
Hedonism in many ways has pushed me to develop as a person, however I feel it has ruined a lot of good things in my life and made me wonder why they aren’t exceptional. I realised I was looking at love in the completely wrong way. I decided to analyse my friendships and relationships, every flirty encounter and I started to think. Had I denied what was always in plain sight? Perhaps.
To me, platonic friendships rarely exist, unexplored ones perhaps but my guy best friend came to mind so often. We had never explored our friendship fully, so I wondered if we should’ve. You may also feel the same, after speaking to a lot of men in my life I have come to learn that they often hold out for a potential opportunity in the future, whether they state their intention or not. You may be unaware that your friend is actually platonic… in your eyes only.
Many of you may not look to meet someone outside, everything is digital and easier.
I’ll admit, I hate dating apps, I feel like I’m on a shop shelf, putting people in my basket then having them removed from my bagging area before I can figuratively and literally check them out. I want to meet someone naturally, no social media, no wondering if they may or may not like me. Try this as an interesting thought, out of those you have dated by meeting naturally versus online, which were the most enjoyable relationships? Mine were the ones where we met naturally, I argue this because there are no expectations, you don’t expect them to look like a picture, speak the way they type, nothing. There is something enjoyably awkward and thrilling about meeting someone without social media. This raises the question to whether your friend is a good romantic option as there is no judgement.
When it came to my best friend, I knew we were attracted to each other, unconditionally there for one another, so was it so wrong for me to imagine a possibility between us? So we made it one.
If you decide to explore a possibility I urge you to prioritise communication. For those of you out there worried about ruining things, you have to go in with no expectations and set boundaries. You need to discuss what happens if it goes either way, or you both agree to see where it goes. I myself, suffer from anxiety so I constantly worry about how I have made other people feel, so if you are a fellow sufferer, this one's for you. Be open and be honest, I shared my doubts throughout and spoke my mind. This person knows you inside and out so don’t lie to them. If you didn’t lie to them prior to this, now is certainly not the time to start.
You can often be worried that perhaps you may kiss and it will be terrible, the truth is how will you know unless you try? The ironic part about the familiar is that you are never ready for the unexpected. I was not disappointed, I was surprised in the most wonderful way. I’m not sure what’s next but some people are worth making risks for.
For those of you readers afraid of heartbreak, I don’t just have the t-shirt, I founded the company. Losing someone great can be agonising, but I have finally learned “It is better to have loved and lost than to never loved at all”. Pain is human, to be vulnerable is powerful. That same person you believe will tear down those walls could be the same person helping you learn what love is. If your best friend is that person for you and you know you want to make that step, I call it ‘the waiting room’ now, you can choose to stay here or you can make an appointment.
You may have watched ‘13 going on 30’ and wanted what Jenna had with Matty, I wondered what their relationship could’ve been if she had realised earlier, had she not been able to go back in time. I ask you to contemplate the same, if you have no feeling that is fine. But I feel some of you may secretly long for more, that is fine too. One voter stated, “It’s not that all friends are romantic options, but there could always be one.” Perhaps you are looking for perfection, he added, “Everything else is either a quality or an imperfection, which we all have.” I ask you to recognise how this person makes you feel.
Platonic friendships can be beautiful, they should be like a bra, supportive, uplifting and make you feel and look great. You don’t need the bra to have great ones, but when you’re working out and things get painful, sometimes you just need that extra bit of support. You don’t need to explore them further if you wish, but I hope Reader, that there is someone you may wish to explore it with one day because it is quite extraordinary. You may just leave The Waiting Room and find yourself much happier, or to a sour end. I hope it is the first option.
You do not need someone to complete you I may add, the love you think you need is not something you can find from another, it’s the unconditional love you need to have for yourself, I know it’s worth the most.
For those of you in The Waiting Room here’s
a quiz below to get you thinking.
The one or none?
This quiz is to help you discover if this friend is part of the plan of the platonic or the romantic.
1) When you receive good news would you say they are one of the first to know?
Yes! Easily one of the first.
Hmm, I would tell them but probably not one of the first.
No, I’d only mention it in passing conversation.
I would post it hoping they’d say something first.
2) Would you say you’re honest with them?
Yes, all the time.
I find it hard to be honest.
Not about my romantic life.
3) Are you attracted to them?
Yes, looks and personality.
In a way I can’t explain.
4) If they asked you out on a date, what would you say?
I would maybe say yes, but I would feel nervous.
I would go with no expectations.
5) If they tried to kiss you, would you kiss them back?
Only to see if it was there between us.
I don’t know.
6) Would you feel weird if they got into a relationship?
I would have to be in the situation to know.
7) Why wouldn’t you consider them as a romantic option?
No answer is here for you, only you know this one.
A = 5 points
B = 3 points
C = 0 points
D = 1
There is an undeniable bond that could be explored between you two. You are attracted to them in a lot of ways and you are open to exploring what is next. What’re you waiting for?
13 - 19 points
There is a connection there, you are unsure of exploring it. You own The Waiting Room and don’t know if there is a strong enough connection to start something. You would need a push in order to explore what is between you two. Overall you are comfortable with the friendship you have and can be very honest toward them, sometimes frank when they need tough love.
Below 12 points
You are comfortably friends, perhaps purely platonic unless explored. You are not as open as you would like to be but regardless respect each other’s boundaries and do not cross the line. You are happy for their achievements and share them on the basis that you support each other. You are more attracted to them for their personality and value them dearly.
Points aside, if you are reading this article then only you know the answer. It is okay to be scared, but know you are not alone.