10 Guys Sound off on Friendlationships

I finally had a chance to watch (500) Days of Summer a couple of weeks. I liked it as much as I thought I would…which is a LOT. I shouldn’t have been surprised at how much I could relate to it, seeing as how that scenario is becoming more and more common. A little aside: I WAS surprised by how much I really liked the cinematography, the lead characters, the ambiance, the music…oh I could go on and on. The movie reminded me of a conversation I had , as part of a personal project a month earlier with 10 different guys, one evening  in the dining hall.

Someone once told me about Dr. Albert Ellis who got over his fear of talking to women by going up to 100 women, making conversation and asking them out. Yeah, he got rejected by all of them, except for one who stood him up. Idecided to work on one my fears as well, which involves having a conversation with a random person. So, one night at dinner, I went up to 10 different guys I’ve never met and asked them questions about relationships, more specifically friend-lationships. I asked them 3 specific questions:

1. Do you know what a friend-lationship is?

2. Do you think it’s more common on campuses than the general public? If so, why?

3. Who do you think gets hurt more, the guy or the girl, why?

Surprisingly, most of them were receptive and answered every question. Some even talked to me about other stuff having to do with relationships. So, here’s a short somewhat-of-a transcript of our conversations.

1. Do you know what a friend-lationship is? What do you think about it?

After getting blank stares for a couple of times, I would explain what it is. It’s that awkward no-mans-land in a relationship where you’re neither complete platonic friends nor boyfriend-girlfriend. When you ask someone in a friend-lationship about it, they might say, “we’re just talking” or “we’re just hanging out…a LOT”. Though it makes your belly full of warm feelings, it’s often full of empty promises and physical (and sometimes emotional) closeness, without the guarantee of anything stable. Some of the guys said that they call it a “friends-with-benefits” situation (I like saying” friend-lationship” better). Almost all of the guys said they were cool with it. As long as the girl was willing to put up with it, they see no problem, whatsoever. Many said they hated “the talk”: the dreaded conversation about “what are we?”. The thought of putting labels on things drove them nuts, they said.

2.  Do you think it’s more common on campuses than the general public? If so, why?

All of them said “yes”. Their rationale was that, there’s so many people on campus and many opportunities to just have fun, no one wants to be tied down. Being in a labeled relationship, many feel, cuts them off from, you know, seeing what else is out there. (I snickered a couple of times during the conversations, but they either didn’t notice or didn’t care)

3.  Who do you think gets hurt more, the guy or the girl, why?

All the guys, except for one, said that it was the girl. Many said it was because, usually she knows that it’s not going anywhere, and she just doesn’t want to admit it to herself.

And that’s how I got over my fear of talking to random strangers about random things such as relationship issues. I might just do it again. Many of them were really interested in the subject and wanted to ask me about what girls think about friend-lationships. I specifically talked to just guys because I’ve had countless conversations about the same scenario, only with girls. Friend-lationships are more common that I thought. Way to bring it to light, (500) Days of Summer!

One question I should have asked, that I’m asking now: How do you know if you’re in a friend-lationship, or heading towards that path?

Photo: courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures via WeHeartIt

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One Response to 10 Guys Sound off on Friendlationships

  1. Paula says:

    I just watched this movie too–yesterday. It left me thinking about what difference does it make to call a relationship something or to not put a label on it at all…and what happens if you think you are on a friend-lationship, but you realize you both love each other…does that mean you are must go on to have a serious relationship? When you talked to the boys, it seems that they thought the benefit of being in a friend-lationship is that you are “allowed” to go what else there is around. But in the movie, it was more about their feelings–the girl was not sure whether she loved him. You just got me thinking on that…

    Congrats on all your posts. I like how you discuss a great variety of topics. Keep the good work!

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