He Said/She Said
Is It A Friendship Or Relationship?
By Sean McConnor and Winter Kelly
May 1, 2003 - 7:43:00 PM

JennaSkarzenski_gettydate.jpg
Jenna Skarzenski / Canyon News
LOS ANGELES Derek works in an office with Rachel. After developing a buddy-work relationship, Derek asked Rachel out to a Saturday lunch. Rachel accepted. The two had a great date. Later, Derek finds out that Rachel has a boyfriend. Derek is furious as his values are such that he will not date a girl that has a boyfriend or is married. Rachel wants to continue their relationship, but Derek refuses. Should Derek ignore his lifetime values to be friends with Rachel, even though she has a boyfriend?

 

HE SAID:

by Sean McConnor

There is an ancient saying that goes way back ("Crossing the Rubicon") to ancient Rome. Once you cross this river, there is no turning back. Maybe this applies to relationships between people.

Derek obviously thinks a lot of Rachel. His pride is hurt because he became attracted to her as a friend and maybe thought they could be more. You know, movies, eating out and hanging out together. When she told him, she had the (dreaded word) 'boyfriend' his world must have collapsed.

Rachel, on the other hand, wants to remain friends with Derek. Obviously, she likes him or she would have terminated the relationship after the blow-up when he learned about her "boy". That is her prerogative because women do control the pace and type of relationships we men get into whether we like it or not. Sorry, guys, in this field, we do not have the control.

Okay. Derek likes being around Rachel just to talk with her. Seeing her must be exhilarating for him, but he is still angry. Nonetheless, he has to understand things may remain in the "friendship" mode indefinitely. Can he handle that? Only Derek's heart can answer.

Meanwhile, maybe he should just do what airplanes do when they cannot land and have to wait for clearance; they circle around and around, until they get the decision on the ground to land. Derek needs to chill out and see where his heart takes him before he "lands" (makes a decision). If Rachel is what he believes, he might be losing a gem and we know gems are hard to find.

 

SHE SAID:
by Winter Brooks

Boy + Girl = monogamous relationship? No, it does not.

We have so many people jumping into bed too soon, jumping into marriage too soon, and then endlessly jumping into divorce court too soon! Hence, we have a problem. When is society going to accept the concept that friendship can be sexless? Would Derek mind if Rachel were a guy with a girlfriend? Would he stop going out as friends to the movies or to lunch because he had a girlfriend? Does it make any difference that Rachel is a girl and Derek likes Rachel? What if Rachel were a lesbian? She might not even like guys romantically. So why would Derek just assume that Rachel was only going out with him for a romantic rendezvous?

So Derek has a crush on Rachel. OK, that happens. But is one going to deny him or herself the experience of a friendship because that person is unavailable romantically?

I get so annoyed when people continuously ask me if my male friends are more than platonic friends. They smirk and smile and often say, "Suurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre it's platonic" even though it is! I love people, both male and female, and I have no romantic interest in about 99 percent of my male friends. Just because I can go to the movies, have dinner, hang out and hold hands with a person does not mean that I am in love with them or anywhere near the thought of a relationship-commitment.

Oh, and it is real classic to have someone I am trying to be friends with, assume we are together. The way two people get together is communication, not just hanging out and chilling on a Friday or Saturday night. It is when one person says to the other person, "I like you more than a friend, let's get together." That simple sentence can do miracles. Until I hear that first hand, I never assume I am with any guy or that any guy likes me more than just a buddy to hang with.

If Derek terminates his buddy-like relationship with Rachel, then he obviously is one that denies himself the real meaning of life: to experience, feel, share, and love one another. Surely, one person cannot fulfill all your interpersonal needs.

 

 



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