I’m more convinced than ever that every person needs at least one Just Friends experience. I’ve been blogging a lot lately about Just Friends. A Just Friend is a friend from the opposite sex you treat just like any friend, but without the girlfriend/boyfriend drama. I’m more convinced than ever that every person needs at least one Just Friends experience. I would guess however, that less than 50% have a Just Friends relationship. There’s a reason for this. Just Friends relationships have to overcome several challenges before they can become successful.
The Challenges To Protecting A “Just Friends” Relationship
- The Culture Challenge
Think about all the movies you have seen that have to do with two people from the opposite sex. The messages we get from culture are often shallow and in some cases just flat out wrong.
In almost every movie they meet, supposedly fall in love, have sex, get mad at each other, get back together, and live happily ever after. Almost no movie or pop song talks about two people meeting each other and becoming best friends without the sex and drama. So after you’ve seen all these movies and listened to all the songs you begin to say, I guess that’s the only relationship I can have, a romantic relationship.But the messages we get from culture are often shallow and in some cases just flat out wrong. Yes we can have Just Friends relationships. They are not easy, but they are worth the work.
- The Developing Feelings Challenge
It is very important when you first start a Just Friends relationship that you and your new friend clearly define what this relationship is and is not. Unless there is a very clear understanding about your friendship, there is bound to be confusion over changing emotions from friendship to romance. Having these discussions where you talk about your feelings is not easy to do, but it is the only way to clear up any confusion that could turn from romantic feelings to hurt feelings.
Lately, one of my male friends in particular asked my advice about getting back with his ex and I told him it was a terrible idea, but he went ahead anyway and it hurts really badly and I asked myself why? because usually I just give my opinion and not care what the other person does. Then I realized that it was because I had feelings for him that I wasn’t ready to admit.-Nikki
Nikki is very wise. She is in touch with her emotions and no doubt has already talked to her best friend about these issues. Even though she has feelings for her Just Friend, there’s a good chance the relationship will last.
- The Sexual Tension Challenge
It is very easy for sexual tension to enter a Just Friends relationship. This is because as you get closer to someone, it’s easy to become more affectionate. So there ends up being more hugs, kisses, and touching than what is appropriate for a Just Friends relationship. When this happens, there is tremendous confusion and tension in the relationship. Unless the sexual tension situation is talked out and boundaries are set, most Just Friends relationships end.
If you take a look at the bigger picture, when there is sexual tension in that friendship, most of the time we end up losing a friend. -Heather
- The Challenge of Being Misunderstood By Others A final challenge to a Just Friends relationship is other people misunderstanding your friendship. It’s hard for some people to even understand a Just Friends relationship, must less accept it. It seems like everybody who sees two people from the opposite sex together hanging out must have a romantic relationship. And so they will say all these smart things about your relationship that puts pressure on both of you. Just remember when people make negative comments about your Just Friends relationships, they are the ones losing out, not you.
I want to challenge you to try and start developing a Just Friends relationship. Yes, they are challenging and you must show respect and discipline in them, but the advantages of a Just Friends relationship far out weigh the difficulties. Allow me to list a few rules you need to follow to help protect your Just Friends relationship.
- Have a conversation with your friend setting the boundaries for the friendship in the beginning.
- Never give into physical attraction you may feel, as there may be no point of return and the friendship is ruined forever.
- If you know your friend likes you, never taken advantage of those feelings for your own benefit.
- Remember your friend is of the opposite sex and some of your opinions and perspectives will differ. Respect your friend for their different opinions.