Just Friends

It’s a pretty common story: two people meet. One person wants to be friends, the other wants more.

Conventional wisdom says that it won’t work for them to be friends (or at least the voice that shows up in my head and presents herself as conventional wisdom says this). Conventional wisdom says that you’ll be tempted to accept the offer of friendship, but you really shouldn’t — you’ll still have feelings and he/she still won’t have feelings, and you’ll just end up hurt and disappointed. Conventional wisdom says the best thing to do in the long run is to walk away, at least until you don’t have feelings for the person anymore.

This all seems very logical, but is it actually true? Is it actually the wisest thing to do?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

In this case (because of course these mental meanderings are about what’s going on in my life right now), it felt really uncomfortable to share my feelings in the first place. It feels even more uncomfortable to stay in contact with this person knowing that those feelings are not reciprocated.

Does this mean it’s time to run away?

Not necessarily. If I’m honest with myself, it’s only time to run away if I believe that feeling uncomfortable is something I want to avoid.

And I don’t believe that. I’ve found that allowing myself to experience discomfort is actually a requirement for growing in the way that I want to.

If I want to grow from this situation, the question becomes “why does this make me feel uncomfortable?”

As usual, what’s making me feel uncomfortable are the stories that I have about the situation. And oh boy, do I have a lot of stories around this one. The main one seems to be saying, “ok, it was really brave of you to be open and honest and vulnerable by sharing your feelings, but now we’re done. This is the time where any self-respecting woman with even a shred of dignity acknowledges that she’s not getting what she wants and goes to find it elsewhere.”

Which begs the question, what is it that I really want?

I want to trust myself in all circumstances.

I want to follow my intuition in all circumstances.

I want is to show up and be open, authentic, and vulnerable in all circumstances.

What does that look like here?

My intuition tells me that it’s safe to continue showing up openly, authentically, and vulnerably with this person. Not only is it safe, it’s an important part of my growth.

The question becomes, do I trust myself enough to do it?