It is difficult to be friends when you fancy the person and wish to get closer to them but they are holding you at arms’ length, or vice versa. It is a clear mismatch, and in any mismatch one person is losing out, so friendship isn’t possible because it has an unequal and superficial foundation.
The Basis of True Friendship
Genuine friendship originates from understanding another’s needs and aspirations and appreciating their pain and joy. It comes out of being able to empathise with them, in both good and bad times. Such knowledge and response are not possible until one knows another for a while and feels comfortable with their presence. Thus true friendship is highly unlikely with anyone we do not know well. When it comes to members of the opposite sex, or instances where there is clear attraction, friendship is the last thing on the cards because the feelings of attraction will overwhelm all other platonic ones and get in the way of real friendship developing.
When we are attracted someone we can always fool ourselves that should the attraction not prove mutual, it can then turn into friendship and everyone will be happy. But this rarely happens between two strangers seeking to be appreciated and valued by one another. In any failure to have mutual attraction, one person is bound to feel rejected and so friendship is unlikely in such a scenario because he/she will not feel motivated to get to know the other any better. Their sense of rejection will propel them elsewhere to get the affirmation they seek.
Lovers and Friends
Another reason for seeking ‘friendship’ in the first instance is the desire for control.
To prevent being ‘hurt’, some people believe that seeking friendship first keeps pain at bay. But if there is going to be hurt, no amount of having friendship at the beginning is going to stave off the pain. Such hurt usually comes when we are at the familiar stage in relationships; when we take each other for granted or when one or both parties begin to lose their app
eal. Not at the start of the relationship. So seeking friendship first is really delaying the inevitable in a superficial way, especially where one fears commitment, and has little to do with the desire for real friendship. We cannot replace sexual feelings with friendship because friendship is enduring while fancying someone is likely to be short-lived. Putting the two together is a contradiction in itself, especially when true friendship is only possible when the exciting feelings of romance have taken their course and we appreciate the person as someone truly valuable in our journey because we have grown to like/love them more.
Next time you are seeking friendship first, ask yourself why you need lots of ‘friends’ instead of lovers. You might be surprised by the answers you get. Not only that, look back at all the dates that have failed to live up to expectations and count up all the real friendships that emerged from them. You are likely to find that once there was any kind of rejection involved, friendship would be the last thing anyone wanted at the time!