Huh. I just accidentally found something I wrote almost three years ago, and didn't publish for some reason. Here it is -- my opinion didn't change since then.
It seems that I’m a freak.
I recently witnessed many discussions on how acceptable it is to pursue a friendship with someone you're interested in romantically, and I keep hearing opinions that are absolutely baffling to me. I hear things like: it's wrong, it's dishonest, it's not a "real" friendship, the other person will be rightfully furious at you when they find out, etc. etc.
It seems that, for all these people, friendship and romance are required to develop on absolutely distinct paths, right off the bat; otherwise, they see it as wrong somehow.
Example: Dan Savage said in response to one of Savage Love letters:
It's shredding, emotionally speaking, to make friends with guys in the hopes that something more will happen only to be rejected once you've invested a lot of energy and time in the friend you really want to fuck. It's also dishonest: your new friend will realize, once the pass is made, that you had designs on 'em all along, that you had an ulterior motive, and conclude that your friendship wasn't genuine.”
I'm sorry, I just completely don't get this.
I suspect that the difference between us is this: they see friendship as opposed
to a romantic relationship, like the two are mutually exclusive, whereas I see friendship as being a part
of romantic relationship. Moreover, it is an absolutely vital part – I can’t have romantic relationships without it. All
of my romantic relationships began with friendship!
Another point: friendship is not only a vital part of a relationship – it is also the most important one, by far! The most rewarding, the most fun, the most worthy to pursue. Whenever I really like someone, I’ll always be willing to give up the sex in order to be able to be their friend. And that is the main difference between me and the people that Dan Savage represented in that letter.
What Dan meant is probably this: if you could know in advance that the person will never sleep with you, you wouldn’t initiate friendship with them in the first place! The only motive for your “friendliness” was the chance to get in their pants! Now, if that was really your thinking, then, yes -- you were, indeed, dishonest, I agree with that.
But that is absolutely not how it works for me. When I am trying to become friends with someone, it is because I find them interesting and fun and I want to be their friend. Now, I may also
want to sleep with them; but I can’t emphasize the “also” enough. The romance is not mandatory – the friendship is. First, foremost and most importantly – I want to be their friend.
In fact, I’m quite disgusted with Dan’s words (for the very first time, actually – and I’ve read almost everything he ever wrote). For me, spending time and energy on a friend is its own reward... otherwise, what kind of friendship is that?! And regarding the emotional turmoil – yes, I agree, it can be not easy sometimes. But it’s totally worth it. (At least for me.)
This post has a dual goal:
If you’re my friend, and you realize that I’m in love with you – don’t conclude that my friendship is not genuine. It is.
If you are interested in me romantically, ask yourself: if a fairy told you that she looked into the future and I definitely won't sleep with you, ever – would that knowledge make you not want to be my friend anymore?
If the answer is yes – that you’re interested in my friendship only on condition for the prospect of sex – please, fuck off! I mean it – we’re not right for each other, I don’t need you in my life.
But it is completely okay if you are interested in sex – as long as you are interested in me regardless of ever having it.