This Is What You’re Really Asking, When You Say Can We Be ‘Just Friends’

 Brandon Woelfel
Brandon Woelfel

The term ‘just friends’ are never just that. Not in this generation.

It often comes in the form of everything blurry then lines you choose to put down, only to cross over then retreat.

But when you ask me to simply be your friend, this is what you’re asking of me.

You’re asking me to look at someone I love every single day and deny what my heart knows to be true.

When you’re asking me to be just friends, you’re asking me to lie, lie to myself and lie to others. You’re asking me to be some best-kept secret.

You’re asking me to settle for ‘almosts’ and casual relationships, when you know I want and need more.

You’re asking me to break my own heart every time we’re together.

You’re asking me to be strong but in reality, everything about you makes me weak.

My head knows you’re a mistake but my heart is already yours if ever you should choose it.

You think it’s just a conversation that kills time on your end but every time your name appears on my screen my heart skips a beat a little.

You’re asking me to forget about the past, that simply seems to repeat itself every time we end up alone or are drinking.

You’re asking me not to hope for something when you’re the only one I’ve ever wanted.

You’re asking to reserve a spot in my heart that makes it hard to even look at anyone else.

So when you say, ‘just friends’ you aren’t asking that.

What you are asking is if it’s okay to keep doing exactly what we are doing but you don’t want a label associated with it.

You’re asking for a relationship without the elements that make it one.

You’re asking for the physical parts of a relationship when I’m already emotionally invested.

You’re asking if it’s okay if you only half care.

You know I love you. You know I’ll do anything you ask of me. You know I’d play whatever role you ask me too, even if it breaks my heart to do so.

So when you ask to just be my friend, what you’re really saying is you’re okay with me dating other people and hooking up with people who aren’t you. But you don’t want to hear about it.

But that moment it gets late and you want me, you want me to drop everything to appease you and your temporary needs. But then it turns into some fight when I can’t.

When you ask to simply be my friend, what you’re really saying is ‘I’m going to answer or ignore your texts when I feel like and I can because there’s no label between the two of us that binds me to you.’ But that rule only applies to you.

You’re asking not to meet my parents. You’re asking to want to meet my friends. You’re asking to be a part of my life but you don’t want to be fully a part of it.

You can’t ask that of me and I can’t do that.

The thing about ‘just friends’ is you can’t go there if you’ve been everywhere else with someone.

The thing is, I can’t be your friend. And if it’s selfish of me to want more, that will be the only selfish thing I ever do because I’ve always put you first.

But I have enough friends. And the difference between you and them is they don’t make me cry myself to sleep at night.


So no I can’t be your friend. And I refuse to apologize for that. Because if you cared about me even a little you’d never ask that of me.

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

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