“Just friends.” It seems like a very simple concept of two mutual people accepting that’s all it is. Accepting there is no physical or emotional relationship between you two. Accepting that feelings don’t exist.
But what happens when feelings are there? When one person falls for the other? What happens when you throw the mix into it of a casual hookup? What happens when you fall head over heels for someone and they can’t be what you need?
The words, “just friends,” will make anyone cringe. Because anyone who has ever been there, knows maintaining a friendship comes when the other person just doesn’t feel the same way. You can’t change it so you’re forced to accept it.
You are forced to harbor these feelings within you and hope they stay dormant. But that isn’t an easy task to do.
There is nothing more painful than uttering the words “I love you” to someone who you know won’t say it back.
So why even say it?
You say it because it’s the purest love there is and it’s so rare to find. You say simply so they know, knowing you won’t gain anything out of it.
But it comes baring a pain you don’t deserve.
You are forced to be this person for them and be there for them while they pick and choose how they want you. And with that, comes blurry lines and mixed signals and the other person coming and going as they choose. Confusion is present as they try to figure out how they feel, you’re falling harder.
There are so many times I’ve looked at texts and things and analyzed it to the core. Thinking there’s gotta be something there. Screenshots sent. Friends following with me. I was convinced it wasn’t in my head and I wasn’t the only one feeling this. But regardless of how many mixed signals I came across, it never lead to where I wanted it.
I learned “just friends” is a cop out. “Just friends” is an excuse. “Just friends” is you telling someone you can treat me how you’d like and I won’t change how I treat you.
And I didn’t. I let people walk all over me say and do what they wanted and I still desperately tried and never altered how I treated them. In my mind, I thought I will never let someone’s mistreatment or love they couldn’t reciprocate affect the way I love. But loving that way leads to a lot of pain I didn’t deserve.
And all they have to say is “just friends” to justify it.
They are under no obligation to you because they aren’t dating you. So they treat you how you let them, knowing very well you’ll never say something about it.
And it’s a silence that broke me every time. It was being unable to explain heartbreak because there wasn’t a label attached to everything I felt, so why should I be this upset? It’s the tears no one knew I was crying. It was the pain of looking at someone and being unable to formulate the words of I want to hate you but I love you more than anyone, even after everything you did to me.
That’s painful love in the cruelest form.
It’s the plans that got canceled last minute. It’s the event they swore they’d come to. It’s the birthday I was standing there alone and I didn’t get the only thing you wanted. It’s the excuses and the apologies and someone consistently falling short. But we were “just friends,” so it shouldn’t have hurt.
And in return for being selfless, you’re forced to hear things you don’t want to about people they are interested in, all the while you’re questioning yourself wondering what exactly falls short.
Strength towards them comes in the form of complete self-destruction because here you are holding onto someone who doesn’t respect how you feel.
If they did respect how you felt at all, they would never mention someone else. If they did respect how you felt, they wouldn’t use you every time someone else lets them down. If they did respect how you felt, they wouldn’t use you to fill some emotional void as they break your heart to fill the empty parts someone else left them with.
What you are doing is brave, kind, and beautiful. To love someone without having to make them yours doesn’t make you stupid or foolish.
You are so much stronger than anyone realizes. But you don’t have to be.
And I know everyone tells you different things. “Move on.” “Let go.” “You deserve more.” And in your heart, you know you deserve the same love you give this person. But there’s something about them you just struggle to walk away from.
There really is a love present even if it isn’t reciprocated. And sometimes we let the people we love get away with things others might not be able to.
But the love you deserve and pine after, won’t be one that leaves you empty. It won’t be one that uses you. It won’t be one that ignores your texts because they feel like it. Love will never call you a “friend” because anyone who truly loves you will want to be with you and want you to be theirs and no one else’s.
You don’t deserve I love you followed by but…
“But I need you.”
“But I’m not ready for someone like you.”
“But I don’t want to hurt you.”
“But I like having you as a friend.”
They like having you there. They like knowing they can turn to you. They like knowing someone cares when they don’t have to.
Everyone likes attention. But not everyone deserves yours.
When you choose to allow a friendship to continue when your heart is invested in someone, what you are really doing is devaluing yourself and what you deserve while prolonging getting it.
I know you think you need this person. I know you think you love them. I know right now you can’t imagine your life without them. But maybe the reason you haven’t found love is because you are holding onto someone who is preventing you from finding it.
It hurts to let go. Trust me I know it does. But when holding on to someone hurts you the same way, why not try something different this time?
You deserve more than just being their friend. You deserve the type of love and affection that will heal the scars this person has caused.