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Anyone else hate this phrase as much as I do? "Just" friends. As if friends is somehow lesser to the holy grail of romance. 

Recently, my best friend from high school met a guy that she likes. She was busy texting him when we were hanging out. She wasn't listening to me. I've never felt alone with her before, not even when we were both just on our phones sitting silently in the same room. But this time I did feel alone. Because she wasn't really present with me. 

I get it, intellectually. First crushes are fun and exciting and addicting. 

But I was just hit in the face with the reminder that when my friends all have partners, I'm "just" a friend. And sometimes it feels like that's all I'll ever be. Just. 

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Posted (edited)

Yeah. I hate the phrase "just friends" too, I've kind of been thinking about it a lot recently... It makes me feel like no matter how hard I try, I'll always be "just" a friend. I'll always be inferior to a romantic partner, and if my friends had the opportunity to trade me for a romantic relationship they would do it in a heartbeat. I can only love people platonically, never romantically, and it feels like that will never be enough. 

Edited by queer_kaleidoscope
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Not only do I hate it, but its number one on my list of silly things people say to aros. To me those two words perfectly reflect the epitome of amatonormativity. The phrase is so subtle yet so condescending. Its such a common phrase though and I don’t think people even stop to consider the implications because romantic relationships are saturated into societies mind as THE ideal relationship for EVERYONE. The phrase is casually stating, romance is superior and friendships are obviously second best so me and you are just here for the time being until I feel the romo with someone type of thing. Where does that leave the rest of us? It leaves us with the fact that we feel disposable, no matter how long we knew the other person, how loyally we stick around throughout the changes of life etc. If Romance is so important than the natural consequence is friends being treated as 5th wheels. Its not fair or reasonable to believe allos attitudes can or will fundamentally change in any way, maybe just a little more respect for friendships would be nice. The best thing aros can do is to encourage more emphasis on friendships in media, books, the arts etc. because I think we are definitely living in an over romanticized world as we are also living in an over sexualized one. In my opinion the average human state has a little more balance, not a lot, but a little balance towards seeing the good in friendship. Maybe more than I am willing to give humans credit for but its hard to imagine people seeing friendship as almost equal to romance, dare I say equal. No way.... 

I know friendship use to be very important because I have an ancient book called Cicero on friendship, and the book describes friendship as the greatest good humanity can aspire to. “There is nothing better and more enjoyable than friendship in this world.” Marcus Tullius Cicero 

Wow.... Also it’s a pretty nice book if you want a philosophic and practical view on how an ideal friendship works and can also make you the best version of yourself. Thats all I have to say.

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Whenever people inquire about my friends and ask if we are ‘just’ friends I respond with ‘no we are GREAT friends’. I really hate the way it is phrased >:(

As for how your friend is ignoring you, that really sucks yeah. But if it is any consolation your friends will probably settle down at some point and then those pink tinted glasses wear off. I have a lot of friends who are couples and I always make a point of befriending their partner so I can double the amount of friends I have ;) Hanging out with an established couple means you won’t feel like a third wheel, unlike when they are a ‘fresh’ couple.

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There are different kinds of relationships. I will never understand why people add "just" before saying that someone is a friend. Friends can be the most important people for each other, why underestimate such a lovely relationship? I am demiromantic, and I have a romantic partner, but she isn't more important than my best friends. I do different things with her, and it is a different kind of relationship, but not more important than the rest. 

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On 6/7/2022 at 5:25 AM, asexualpanda27 said:

Anyone else hate this phrase as much as I do? "Just" friends. As if friends is somehow lesser to the holy grail of romance. 

Yes, I hate it. But this would be an understatement.

Edited by DeltaV
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1 hour ago, alto said:

I find myself saying it from time to time even though I hate it.

Me too occasionally. Just goes to show how ingrained into our society it is. And the worst part is (in my opinion) that most people don't even realize what it means when they say it. They don't mean it in a diminutive way, and yet that's exactly what it means. Most people don't even recognize what they're saying or how hurtful it is every time I hear it.

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On 6/12/2022 at 5:13 AM, asexualpanda27 said:

Me too occasionally. Just goes to show how ingrained into our society it is. And the worst part is (in my opinion) that most people don't even realize what it means when they say it. They don't mean it in a diminutive way, and yet that's exactly what it means. Most people don't even recognize what they're saying or how hurtful it is every time I hear it.

Yeah exactement. I remember a discussion about it and the person saying it just didn't get the problem.

But that's something a lot with alloromantic people. Try to enlight them on amatonormativity and they will tell you "no, we and society are not like that".

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2 hours ago, nonmerci said:

Yeah exactement. I remember a discussion about it and the person saying it just didn't get the problem.

But that's something a lot with alloromantic people. Try to enlight them on amatonormativity and they will tell you "no, we and society are not like that".

I'd just tell them that seeing the problem is like seeing your nose; alloromantic people have just blocked it out and can't see it unless they happen to focus on it.

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2 hours ago, Deltalorian said:

I'd just tell them that seeing the problem is like seeing your nose; alloromantic people have just blocked it out and can't see it unless they happen to focus on it.

That's a really good metaphor! I'm gonna start using that

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19 hours ago, Deltalorian said:

I'd just tell them that seeing the problem is like seeing your nose; alloromantic people have just blocked it out and can't see it unless they happen to focus on it.

I also start to using that.

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I think for many people, they say "just friends" because there aren't many things they'd do with friends compared to what they'd be willing to do with a romantic partner. This is mostly referencing sexual activity, but it can be other stuff as well - taking them out to eat, buying surprise gifts, living together long term. For many people, being friends with someone limits what they can and can't do with them - particularly for men. Men are less likely to be physically affectionate with friends and less likely to be as emotionally vulnerable with them. This would therefore create the false idea that friendships are inferior to romances, in large part due to the societal boundaries on what is and isn't acceptable for friends to do. Aros face this pressure, too - QPRs exist as a way to make a relationship with someone that doesn't have to restrict itself to the boxes of being friendships, romances or even sexual relationships for some. This is just my thoughts on why the phrase originated.

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