Its official, I have been diagnosed… with… Frienditis. (I know, that was a dirty trick. You can hit me later if you want.) What is this odd sounding condition? Let me tell you. Now you all know what a friend is, and if you don’t… well, I am sorry. Get off your computer and go meet someone new or watch Toy Story. I think the majority of you reading this know what –itis means, but for any of you who have never watched a TV medical drama in your life, adding the term –itis to a noun refers to inflammation, in excess, tendencies, obsessions, etc.
You might be thinking, “Frienditis, that just sounds like you are saying you have an inflammation of friends, that doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, quit complaining.” Let me explain why it is an epidemic that seems to be affecting not only myself, but also many young single adults today. Friendliness is a good thing, but as with anything, when used in excess, especially when dating is concerned, it can cause problems. Let me give you a few brief examples of symptoms/situations you might find yourself in and you can determine whether or not you also suffer from it.
Emotional Masochism – You continue to be friends with a guy/girl who clearly said no to a relationship with you. Yet they publicly complain on facebook about not having a boy/girlfriend, when that was clearly something you may have wanted with them. (Some people may refer to this symptom as simply, “idiocy”.)
Mistaken Interest – You are a nice person and enjoy conversing with other people. Sometimes, that “weirdie” member of the opposite sex you extended conversation to, automatically interprets your friendliness as a sign of interest.
Eternal Friendship – There is that certain friend that you have always felt something more for, but you never bring anything up because you “don’t want to ruin the friendship”. So, you continue to have a great friendship, but constantly wonder… what if?
Dating Phobia – Just the idea of a date sends chills down your spine. Its not that you are socially retarded (maybe you are) but just the pressure of an actual date sends you into a sweaty panic. When said “date” occurs, you end up stumbling over your words, talking too loudly, making stupid jokes, etc. So to spare humiliating yourself further, you just avoid dates and opt to “hang out” instead.
Commitment Avoidance –You love meeting new people, you love the idea of “the chase”, but when your target has been caught and starts to reciprocate your charms, you start to get uneasy, because you never really took into consideration that they may actually want something with you too. Now what? You run away. Or just say, “You are nice, but lets just be friends.”
The-One – It is my personal belief that the majority of these people live in denial. So I wont refer directly to them as I have in the other examples. These Frienditis sufferers have an elusive, perfect “One” that they have built in their minds eye, and they are waiting for that “One” to magically appear. They don’t even realize it, but every date they go on, they find some reason to not pursue them if they weren’t absolutely ideal or “the One”. Usually their excuses center around trivial things like, “She played with her hair too much.” or “He TiVos the Jersey Shore.” They take into account only minor annoyances, without looking at the big picture or the person as a whole. If they don’t have a trivial annoyance loaded to use, the default excuse is, “There just wasn’t any chemistry.” Anyone who is not “The One” is put directly into the friend zone.
Now (not that I am an expert by ANY means), I have a few words for each of these fellow sufferers. Also, I reserve the right to make up any words I want. Because this is America.
Emotional Masochists – Get rid of them. I am sure they are a great person, you fell for them, but fact remains, they didn’t want anything more with you. So don’t waste your time building a “friendship” when we all know sooner or later they will be posting about how in love they are and their relationship status will change from “single” to “engaged” within like a month or two. If they don’t want to make an effort to be in your life, then don’t waste your time and energy providing space for them.
Mistaken Interesters – This one is tough, because you can’t help that your friendliness was interpreted as actual interest. My recommendation is, don’t feed into it. If you are genuinely not interested, be clear about it and don’t say yes to a date or hang out, just because you feel bad for them or feel bad saying no. How much worse will it be when you have to avoid their phone calls/texts/them in public?
Eternal Friendshippers – Freaking just say something to them. I wouldn’t recommend spilling your undying love to them, that will most undoubtedly be awkward and end badly for you. But, just talk it out with them. A few things could happen…
1) They also have similar feelings, but were unsure of how you felt.
a) You try it out, and it is just too awkward so you go back to being friends.
b) You try it out, things are great, but then they end badly and you lose a friend.
c) You try it out, things work out for the best and you live happily ever after.
2) They do not have those similar feelings for you. Okay then, maybe you are a little heartbroken, but chances are you can still keep your friendship if you don’t go crazy on them.
My logic behind this is, you try it and you take your chances of losing that friend, because who knows if it could be really awesome. Reality is, if you don’t say anything and keep wondering “what if” sooner or later that person is going to find someone else and your friendship wont be the same. No matter what. It might still be good, but it will never be the same and you will continue to be plagued with “what if”.
Dating Phobes – It’s okay, just take it slow, be yourself. You are psyching yourself out and thinking way too much and way too far ahead. Do an activity you are comfortable doing, who knows; maybe they will enjoy it too. The chances of you actually marrying this person are pretty slim, so just relax, be yourself, and have fun. If you don’t, well, then you might hear about your date on the radio, with your date talking about their “most awkward date” and you as the subject. Eh, sorry ‘bout that.
Commitment Avoiders – Ah yes, the only thing I have to say to you is, just try it out. Work at it. If you really like them, put forth some effort. Yeah, maybe you have been hurt in the past. Yeah, maybe you are scared of things not working out. If you never try though, then how are you ever going to know what is beyond all the fun and games of carefreeness (I told you I was going to make up my own words. Deal with it.) I would bet that if they have similar feelings for you, then they would be willing to work with your “crazy”. Because lets not deny it, we all have our own “crazy”. If anyone claims that they don’t… run. Run far away. They are usually the craziest of them all. Consider yourself warned.
The One-ders (Thirty points to anyone who can guess this reference) – You have preferences in a partner, I get it. But are you seriously going to let those trivial things get in the way of getting to know someone potentially incredible? Okay, maybe there isn’t any chemistry, but did you really try? Or did you just look for the first offsetting thing and disregard all the other good qualities? Last time I took chemistry… I hated it, for the record…you needed to add one colored potion to the other colored potion to actually get a reaction. No matter how much I tried to get away with just setting the triangular flasks next to one another, I never could get an “A” in the class… I could turn that into a dirty joke if I wanted. I always balk at the excuse of no chemistry, because it is usually given after a first date… well no duh, it’s a first date, you are both usually awkward and stupid as it is. (Or maybe only my first dates are like that, oh well.) Anyway, if there genuinely is no chemistry, then fine, move on. Just make sure you are putting forth some effort. It is my personal belief that there is no such thing as an elusive “one”. If you put yourself out there a little, you may find that there are a few that you could find happiness with.
Who am I to be giving any advice? I am still single. Truth is, at one point or another, some more often than others, I have suffered/currently suffer from one of these symptoms. And I am very confident that I am not the only one. Dating sucks sometimes. Its scary and what it really boils down to is you are putting yourself out there to be judged (no wonder they called it ‘court’ship back in the day… Ba-doom-cha! I also make up my own jokes and laugh at them, hence, why I am still single). That is why the idea and act of being friends is so much easier; its means less pressure, less commitment, less judgment. I guess you just have to be strong enough and have enough confidence in yourself to say, “Who cares if they don’t like me for who I am. I am awesome and I deserve someone who wants to be with me.”
One day, I hope for myself, and all other sufferers of Frienditis, that we can find a cure, whether it be through changing ourselves, or finding someone who can stick around long enough to get past our illness.
Bracelets coming soon.
Also, go check out my friend Colton's blog, it is pretty great with lots of funny stories! www.oldsinglemormon.com (Where this post will also be featured soon)