One late night, after speaking to my current lover who is stationed in Iraq, I began to contemplate what it means to be in love. This is what resulted: what I feel to be a realistic question and possible answers. Of course, you must remember that these are merely my opinions, and I would be glad to take comments and incorporate them into another section of ramblings.
And how is a friend different than a lover? Exactly what makes a lover better or more important than a friend that we are so picky about whom we choose to be in love? Or is it the other way around, and friends are more important because we will accept anyone as a friend and we will keep that person. I stand steadfastly to the concept of unconditional love and forgiveness in friendship. Once you come to understand a friend, you can see how they are acting, and it may be annoying, but it can also be ignored because there should be more positive than negative. They are allowed to be themselves.
When making friends with a person, how much do you really limit? There is no website that tries to match a person on 29 dimensions of friendship. Most friends are made unintentionally: at school, near house or apartment, in a grocery store. And there are even “one night stands” when it comes to friends. Consider the customers in line at the bank who strike up a conversation because this person appears to be nice enough. They may never see that person again, but is not their life just a little better because that one day they were able to have a conversation with a stranger and confirm that all people aren’t assholes? And we are happy when we have friends. Many people are more content to be with friends than in a relationship. Many people see relationships as different than friendship.
That is because we expect from our lover what we would never expect from a friend. No one is angry with a friend if that friend doesn’t like the same bands, or TV, or hobbies, or food. No one is angry with a friend if the offer to be invited over has been declined because of too busy a schedule. No one is angry with a friend if there has been no verbal or physical contact over a long period of time. And yet with friends, there is an obligation to listen and to talk. There are comfort and advice.
Somewhere along the line, we separated our priorities and learned to judge openly who we want to date. There is so much close-mindedness. How can a person be friends with an Arab, but vow to never date a black woman? How can someone dismiss completely the possibility of being homosexual or bisexual, but have friends of both genders and be equally as close to a woman as men? How can a person be friends with someone of an entirely different temperament than themselves, but then meet a potential date who doesn’t like rock climbing as much as they do and totally disregard them?
It is not that friends and lovers are the same people. A person once said to me “A hug is not longer just a hug. It’s a hug”, and so I can guess that it is pretty universal that every little action and word is changed when that friend or stranger becomes a lover. It’s not sex. You can have sex with a friend, and it stays nothing more than that.
Why can we not look at a lover as we look at our friends: openly, unconditionally, and with forgiveness in our hearts?