I was hanging out over at MWF Seeking BFF, where Rachel is on an official hunt for a new best friend, and that’s sparked some conversations among my own pals about how friendships change, evolve and how they’re harder to come by once you reach the age of mortgages and children. I remember the days of having a BFF — someone that knew everything, that you checked in with at least once a day, who was the one person you wanted to discuss every little life detail with.
And I really long for that again. I had that kind of friendship in high school, in college, and twice outside of college. And while I was in those relationships, I still went through the ups and downs of life, but was always buoyed knowing that there was someone who was unrelentingly in my corner.
Now, I find myself in the situation of having friends — some that I’d consider close friends — but due to drastically different lifestyles (them: husband and kids and me: gay, single, no kids), it’s just not the same since I find myself relegated quite often to what feels like second-class citizenship in their lives. And that’s not their fault … it’s just the way things work.
What to do? Make friends with similarly gay, single girls. Easy enough, right?
So, being new to the whole out of the closet thing, I’m starting to run across an issue that I never had when I was playing the role of a straight girl: can two lesbians really be just friends?
Much like the debate as to whether (straight) men and (straight) women can be friends without romantic or sexual tensions intruding on the relationship, it seems (to me) to be appreciably more difficult when it’s two women who are involved.
In the past, it’s been relatively easy for me to navigate these waters. I wasn’t “just friends” with too many guys (if I was, they were ones that I already had dumped) and so the relationship was always geared towards dating. The flip side of this – being friends with a chick – was easy too. Even if I was madly crushing on the girl, she was straight, so it didn’t matter — the beyond-friendship part existed only in my head, never to be acted on. Or on the off chance the other girl were gay she thought *I* was straight, so it didn’t matter there, either.
But now, as I try to forge new friendships with gay women, I find myself wondering, “I wonder if she’s thinking that my friendly invitation to go out and see a movie is more than just a friendly invitation?” or “Am I unwittingly sending out ‘I want to jump your bones’ vibes??” And how do you discuss those things without drowning in utter awkwardness?
Because to acknowledge that this woman, this person that you want to be good friends with, is someone you’d never consider dating, well, isn’t that a bit of an insult? To say, “I like you as a friend, but to date you?! HA! Good one!”
So, I find myself playing the game of making subtle suggestions for get togethers. You know, the breezy, “Shoot me a text if you’re bored” hoping that it’ll turn into something fun, or the cryptic, “I think I’m going to be in your area Saturday afternoon…” to size up the potential BFF, to see if you have the mind meld thing going and she understands that you want to be her best buddy and chit chat and hang out.
And then when those implied invitations get no response? I wonder whether A) she understood that it was an invitation or B) she really doesn’t want to be anything more than casual acquaintances or C) she’s legitimately busy or in some other way scheduled and can’t make it or D) I over-analyze this stuff too much and need a life.
Because, going from casual to real friends needs to be organic, doesn’t it? I don’t think that I can pass a note “Do you want to be my bestest friend? Circle Yes or No.” I don’t want to push myself on anyone. I want them to want to be my friend. If I had to ask, I’d be afraid that someone would go out with me just out of pity. And who wants that?
So, I’m currently in this no-(wo)man’s-land where I have some acquaintances, but I want more — but, just friendship. And I’m not entirely sure how to go forward. I’ve done the aforementioned implied invitations to no avail, and feel entirely too paranoid to just come out and say, “Hey I want to be your best friend. You in?”
Maybe I should start trolling Craig’s List or eBay… perhaps there’s a BFF out there for hire? I mean, really – wouldn’t that make things much easier? I’ll have to check that out.