Today I'd like to talk about something that can be a touchy issue for both men and women: the concept of "let's just be friends" or LJBF. I have a really different take on this than most people in the community ... which is because, to me, friendship is one of the most glorious things on God's green earth. I'm also convinced that the reason most guys are not successful at seducing women is that they never learned how to be truly comfortable with women as people. (Yes, I know there are exceptions, there are guys perenially "stuck" in the friendship category, but if you ask me, those guys have other issues going on that are beyond the scope of this post.)
So here are ten reasons to celebrate friendship:
1. No Expectations
Friends come and go, right? Sometimes we spend a lot of time with one person for a few months, then don't see them again for a few months. Do we obsess about it or get upset or call them names? Not usually. Why? No expectations.
2. No Sex
So much of the community is focused on sex and finding ways to have it. But let's face it, it tends to complicate relationships. Could I have sex with no expectations? Yes. The way I would do that is by sleeping with guys I don't have any real chemistry with. Would that serve either them or me? No, so I don't do it.
If I sleep with a guy I am really in to, am I going to have expectations? Yes. Do I consider that a bad thing? No, if I'm going to have that kind of relationship, I want it to be amazing. I want to be with a guy who is making me his first priority.
So for me, #2 goes along with #1. Keeping a relationship non-sexual means I don't have expectations, and the relationship is easy and non-stressful.
3. Lots of opportunities to develop intimacy skills in a low-pressure environment
Friendships, with both men and women, are a great place to practice relationship skills. Things like empathetic listening and compassionate communication.
4. You can never have too many friends
Friendship is beautiful because it is possible to have many friendships and honor all of them. Only rarely am I going to feel jealous because a friend goes out with another friend.
And I will add to this one a mantra that I believe is one of the long lost secrets of dating success and happiness: you can never have too many friends of the opposite sex.
5. Always someone to hang out with
If one person is not available, someone else will be.
6. Friends introduce us to other friends
The circle of friends keeps expanding, and you never know when someone you met casually through a friend will turn out to be your next relationship or business partner.
7. Friends introduce us to new ideas and activities
With a vibrant circle of friendships, we are constantly being exposed to new ideas, new activities, new venues, and so forth. For example, the friends I've made in the seduction community have invited me to a bunch of really fun seminars, bootcamps, and other events -- and each time I attend one, I make new friends.
8. Friendship is the true basis of all relationships
What is friendship, really? In my book, it's a non-attached form of loving acceptance, companionship, mutual respect, and affection. I don't think any romantic relationship can survive long unless it has a firm foundation of friendship supporting it.
9. Friendships enhance life
When I think about it, the fabric of my life is largely made up of my friendships. With men and women. Each friendship allows some aspect of myself and the other person to be expressed.
The metaphor I think of is that each of us is a hub, with our many relationships fanning outward as spokes. If we were too reliant on any one spoke, the wheel would not be stable. But when we have many spokes, the wheel has tremendous strength.
10. One never knows where friendship will lead
Our society focuses SO much on romantic relationships and sexual relationships. People focus on "dating" and "exclusive relationships" as the path to marriage and long-term commitment. Yet, at least in my own life experience, most of the men who have wanted to marry me are long-time friends. These are relationships where a deep trust and respect has developed over the course of several years of low-pressure (non-dating) interactions. Often there was a period of time where the relationship started out "romantic," got too pressurized such that we backed off into a friendship, and then somehow persisted and deepened.
I am increasingly convinced that men don't marry for sex. In most cases, they don't marry the hot "turbo" girl. Men don't marry for superficial characteristics. I'm more and more convinced that most men marry a girl who is a really good friend. A girl who is so happy with her own life that she doesn't even think about marrying him, until she is shocked one day he starts talking about it out of the blue.
You heard it here first, folks. You're not going to hear this in Cosmo magazine. You're not going to hear it from most people giving dating advice.
Friendship is where it's at ...
So what to do if someone LJBFs us? Realize it's not a big deal, remember you can never have too many friends, change the subject, and talk about something interesting or fun. If you're more advanced at this and can handle subtlety ... talk about other people you're dating, not as a way to make them jealous but as a way to remove all the pressure (your intent is key here). Make it obvious (and be sincere about it) that your interest in this person is genuine -- that you see them as a human being, not as a romantic or sexual object. Once people are sincerely connecting, things tend to become a lot more relaxed, and then whatever's meant to happen will happen.