So is it possible for men and women to be just friends?
I'm midway through Mike Gayle's newest novel, Brand New Friend, which poses the question, "Can men and women just be friends?" and presenting both sides of the argument regarding the age-old situation. After all, we can always assume that when both sexes get together, a modicum of sexual tension arises; however, as someone nursing a healthy friendship with both men and women, I am of the mindset that yes, it is possible to be "just" friends.
However, I have fallen in love with a couple of guy friends, back when I was still young(er) and a lot more naive when it comes to the difference between males and females. And I suppose that for a lot of couples, their story inevitably starts with, "Well, we used to be really good friends..." But I also think that hooking up with your guy friends will tend to complicate the social structure of your group, especially if you do share a number of mutual friends. And what I hate more than anything in the world is when people start taking sides and it all degenerates into a His Friends Versus Her Friends, with a lot of backbiting and nasty looks and cold silences. I've lost a lot of friends that way.
A part of me would like to believe that a lot of things are forever, and that includes friends. I would love to be in my thirties or forties and still have the same core group of friends, people who are important to me and with whom I've shared a lot of high points and low points in my life, and who know me inside and out. I'm glad that my cousins are also my good friends - now there's something to treasure, these people who have known me since we were babies. One of my best friends is someone I've known since seventh grade, and another one has been with me since our early years in high school. And if there's one thing I've learned in the 21 years I've been here, it's that real friends accept you despite your flaws, despite your dark side, and forgive you when you've done something wrong.
*enter rambling part*
Sometimes, a part of me wonders how it all works, this line between friendship and love, if there is that prize-winning formula that we can follow and everything will turn out all right, a Happy Ending of sorts. Sometimes I wish I had a lot more control in the matter instead of leaving it all up to fate. Last night, a friend of mine said that it's hard to live in the present - the past is just hindsight, and the future is something that's still quite nebulous. But living in the here and now is something that's both frightening and exhilarating. For me, living with the future in mind is what scares me - I'd like to know what I'm going to be up against, what I have to prepare for.
But sometimes, it's the element of surprise that's interesting, that reminds you that the universe can and will blindside you when you least expect it. Right now, I'm learning to acquire a modicum of discretion and of hesitation, of knowing precisely what I am worth, and of being confident that everything will turn out all right in the end. I'd like to hope that the universe is kinder than this, that happiness is a choice, and that there is something to look forward to before "all other lights go out."