robinellen (robinellen) wrote,

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Middling on friendship versus love interest...

That could be read a couple of ways, but yesterday morning, I heard an interesting talk on the radio. They were discussing a woman (I'm guessing a young-ish woman) whose 'best friend' had gone behind her back and hooked up with the guy she had a crush on. The big debate was all about whether or not this was a friendship breaker.

Like many of these types of questions, I think most of us have been there (on one side or the other). I definitely have -- and here's my story (though I won't tell you which person is me):

Girl A and Girl D were best friends. They spent all their time together and lived together. They even had a few classes together, and because they both came from the same town, they drove to and from college every weekend together. In many ways, they were truly kindred spirits.

Enter Boy. He had a class with both girls, and they all became friends. They would get together and study for class and even try and do fun things together. Girl A quickly developed a crush on Boy. She didn't tell him, but she told Girl D. For a while, Girl D helped Girl A plot how to get Boy's attention. Girl D, meanwhile, was going through a rough patch with her high school boyfriend. He was not treating her well, and she was feeling unattractive, hurt, and generally miserable. Girl A wished she could help; other than listening, there wasn't much to do.

Boy was also developing a crush -- on Girl D. Like Girl A, he didn't say anything, however. After a couple of months, Girl D began flirting with Boy. She didn't mean to -- the situation with her boyfriend made her almost desperate for positive male attention. And although she didn't think of it at the time, the thought that she could steal that attention from another girl was very appealing.

It only took a few days before Boy tried to get Girl D alone -- and he kissed her. She kissed him back, of course. They decided to start dating, even though Girl D had a boyfriend and even though she knew Girl A had a crush on Boy. When Girl A found out -- she caught them kissing -- she was devastated. She couldn't believe her best friend would do this to her. She didn't understand why one boyfriend wasn't enough.

So back to the question of friendship versus love interest. I have some pretty strong feelings about it -- not surprisingly. First, I have to say that I think friendship should come first. But that doesn't necessarily mean to me what it might to others. I look at it a couple of ways.

1) Everyone has crushes. They come all the time, especially when we're young. It seems like we're always crushing on someone, and for me (at least), many of those crushes were pretty superficial. I don't mean I only liked the way someone looked; I mean that I would pick one thing about the guy (which I often hardly knew) and kind of fixate on that. It could be his smile, his ability to do math, his love of the outdoors -- anything. I was a little ADD when it came to crushing on boys, and I don't think that's unusual.

2) A true friendship between two women is a rare (for me) and beautiful thing. To find another woman who doesn't need to complain or compete or be catty -- someone who will support and love and accept, that's worth its weight in gold. As someone who didn't have any close friends until my roommate in college, I knew how valuable it was (and is). No crush is important enough to destroy that type of invaluable friendship.

3) Very few crushes turn into a love deep enough to withstand time and circumstances. (Um, obviously, or I'd be a polygamist.) I've heard people say (as a couple did on the radio, yesterday) that you're choosing between a potential mate and your best friend. I don't think so. And I don't think either girl should look at it that way.

So, which girl do you think was me? I will tell you how it ended: Girl A and Girl D are still very close friends. Neither has any idea what happened to Boy. He was history before the end of the semester. Girl D realized she shouldn't have put Boy's attentions as a higher priority than her friendship; she knew early on (within a day or so) that he wasn't 'The One.' Plus, Girl D realized she'd rather have Girl A's friendship than Boy's 'boyfriendship.'

Girl A also knew Boy wasn't 'The One' for her, either; she knew crushes come and go quickly. Despite her hurt feelings, she accepted Girl D's apology. They both agreed that from that point on, they'd back off any boy the other 'liked'; but more importantly, they'd talk about those feelings and help each other decide if any crush might have potential to be more. Because the most important part of their friendship was helping each other find happiness and joy.

The interesting thing -- from yesterday's radio show -- is that one lady called in and said she'd been in that scenario. She'd been the one who went for her best friend's crush -- and she ended up marrying the guy! Her best friend stopped speaking to her, and they still aren't speaking. I have to say, the best friend didn't quite get the point of being a true friend. A true friend wants nothing more than for her friends to be happy and to find joy. Obviously, if that guy was meant for one girl, he wasn't meant for the other.

What say you? Which girl was I -- and what do You think about friendship versus love interest?
Tags: friends, love
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