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Parallax - Advice

November 12, 2001

Friends & Lovers

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Can friends fall in love...a true love that lasts forever? If things don't work out, can they salvage their friendship with the classic platitude, 'We can still be friends...'? Well, someone once sagely observed, 'Friends forever? Lovers never!' And our platonic pair has plenty of friendly advice along those lines.


More than just friends?
Pros & Cons.
 Date: 11/12/01

Friendly attraction...
Mixed reaction.
 Date: 11/12/01

The logic of love?
What an oxymoron.
 Date: 11/12/01

More from last week...
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More than just friends?

Dear Conversely,

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of friends getting together in relationships?


Her view:

Dear Just-Asking,

First, let me say, 'The disadvantages far outweigh any small advantages that may exist.'

More specifically, let's have a look-see. Disadvantages:

1. There is the loss of that precious shoulder to cry on while serving as dumper or dumpee. This is particularly unpleasant when you are the dumpee. And, by the way, shoulders to cry on do not grow on trees. You can be stranded and dumped, all at the same heart-wrenching time. Have fun complaining to your mother.

2. Your newfound significant other already knows you. And that means you - not the splendid and witty dating you - but the slob he/she has been hanging out with for years. Your flaws are out on display. By date one, you are replete with a thousand peccadilloes and a reputation that precedes you. Sure, there is increased familiarity, which has no doubt led to the impromptu soiree. However there is no real mystery or magic. You are furniture. You are the default, "I couldn't get a real date…so wanna make-out?"

3. What about your mutual friends? No doubt you are part of a little group that embraces both of you. Well, upon break-up - and you will break up - the individual members of your little group will select which half of the broken couple they'll keep. They will make this decision based upon who is more fun and who has behaved the worst. Ergot, there's little option for you to behave badly as your friends will receive continuous report cards. Upon break-up, would you really want to be on the losing end of that proposition - sans significant other and little group all at once?

4. That awkward day after.

I think I've made my case but let's have a look at the swell, other side. Advantages:

1. You have already met each other's families so there are no awkward first meetings.

2. You can order your pizza without inquiring about toppings.

3. You already dislike all the same people and mock them endlessly.

4. You like the same movies, or at least some things, which is the reason you are friends.

5. And there is the convenience factor - no new phone numbers to memorize, no new locations to learn. Life is the 'same-old' and habits are preserved. Convenience is key, and these are advantages, I admit. However, there are no real winners.

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His view:

Dear Just-Asking,

It's not about advantages or disadvantages. Friendship is appropriate in some cases and inappropriate in others.

When there is no attraction between Joe and Jane…well, let them be pals. Let them go out and party. Let them walk together to class and compare notes about past and present lovers. No one cares.

If the attraction is only one-way, being friends is a big cop-out. Being friends with someone you lust for is just a halfway house, a step down, an unsatisfactory compromise, a purgatory. It's not really friendship because one of the two will always be hoping for more and doing things (favors, errands, things-friends-do-in-general) for motivations that don't belong in a friendship.

If there is mutual attraction, staying friends is condemnable (unless prior commitments get in the way, of course).

But using friendship as an excuse to avoid romantic entanglement when both contestants clearly want the latter is stupid and cowardly. They reason that rejection by an unknown is bad enough; imagine being rejected by your own best friend?

Although it sounds convincing on the surface, most so-called friendships are too unstable to ever survive. Jane and Joe are like atomic particles - held in check by an artificial constraint, but itching to reach their natural state.

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14% of Men agree with HER VIEW and 86% with HIS VIEW.

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