“Just Friends”

Before I get started, let me say, this is NOT another one of those posts of “things never to say.” But I have noticed a trend that bothers me a bit. We talk about how digitalized kids have become, how “friend” has come to mean someone you talk to on Facebook rather than someone you hang out with, how difficult it is for “kids these days” to make lasting, meaningful connections with real-life friends.

Within the next 45 seconds, name 5 pairs or sets of famous friends in the media: movies, shows, etc.

It’s hard, isn’t it? We rarely portray friendships—everything is sexualized. It was happening even when I was growing up. I remember reading The Lord of the Rings and loving more than anything the friendship between Frodo and Sam. Years later, when the movie came out, most viewers assumed they were gay, because obviously how could two people love each other so much without being in love?

At least some of the fault probably begins at home. How are we parents demonstrating that friendship is important? Heaven knows it’s pretty much impossible to make time for friends when you’re a parent, but that means that most kids are growing up seeing the romantic relationship model (as parents interact with each other) more than any other. It becomes the ideal, which is seen even in innocent questions such as, “Are you two just friends?” as though there’s something subpar about friendship—like it’s the poor man’s substitute for a romantic relationship, when very often the two kinds of relationships have very little to do with each other.

So let’s stop being “just friends” and start just being friends. Maybe it’ll catch on.