December 17, 2012 12:42 PM   Subscribe

"I have a confession to make. I think I'm in friend-love with you. I don't want to date you or even make out with you. Because that would be weird. I just so desperately want for you to think that I am this super-awesome person because I think you are a super-awesome person" -- A single link webcomic by Yumi Sakugawa.
posted by MartinWisse (81 comments total) 102 users marked this as a favorite
You know how many times my actual friends have to reassure me that they don't want to fuck me?
posted by thelonius at 12:46 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh wow, that was just gorgeous. It made me feel almost a bit... panicky, or nervous, reading it? Wonderful stuff.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:47 PM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

I feel nerve-wracking emotional obligation like it was just cascading out of my left monitor.
posted by postcommunism at 12:53 PM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Hey, hey, hey....slow your roll, webcomic. I just want to be non-friends...
posted by inturnaround at 12:54 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm sad that I'm the kind of person who only feels this way about people to whom you could never ever conceivably say something like this to.
posted by cthuljew at 12:54 PM on December 17, 2012 [17 favorites]

Wow, it just keeps going and going (in a good way). I keep on thinking that the next row of frames will be the last one. There's something rather rhapsodic about that.
posted by LMGM at 12:56 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

I love the three frames of tea. It's just such a perfect graphic representation of an hour's (hours?) conversation in the kitchen.
posted by maryr at 12:59 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

I think this is how everyone on Metafilter feels about The Whelk.
posted by MrVisible at 1:01 PM on December 17, 2012 [43 favorites]

Well yeah.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:03 PM on December 17, 2012

I'd tell you who I feel this way about on metafilter but i'm 2 embarassed
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:10 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I dunno ;p MrVisible

Great find MartinWisse!
posted by infini at 1:10 PM on December 17, 2012

This makes my heart feel weird in a not-so-pleasant way. Maybe it hits too close to home.
posted by naju at 1:11 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

I am torn between "Aww, that is sweet, now it is hugs time" and a clawing need to GET AWAY RIGHT NOW.

I'm a skittish critter.
posted by cmyk at 1:12 PM on December 17, 2012 [8 favorites]

This also makes me feel strange. bittersweet. Ringed with truth.
posted by royalsong at 1:19 PM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Whenever I feel this way, I keep it to myself because I assume that nobody will believe me when I say that I'm not romantically interested, even when the other person is the same gender as me. It's sad. Most people I know never have a clue how much I love them. Self-protection above honesty, I guess..............
posted by Cygnet at 1:22 PM on December 17, 2012 [8 favorites]

posted by scratch at 1:22 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah...i was recently in a long distance relationship that ended and then the girl basically assumed that this is what our thing would evolve into...but not so much.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:29 PM on December 17, 2012

I guess I'm just a cold-hearted bastard, because that creeped me right the fuck out. That's the internal monologue people have three months before setting their "friend's" house on fire.

I loved the art, though.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:31 PM on December 17, 2012 [8 favorites]

I thought this was sweet...
posted by subdee at 1:33 PM on December 17, 2012


I feel it's safe to say she's not friend-stalking me, or if she is, she has no idea who I am.
posted by Metro Gnome at 1:33 PM on December 17, 2012

It's only creepy if you think of it as the letter-writer trying to invade every aspect of the letter-receiver's life. That's not what this says at all. The letter-writer is expressing a wish for a close friendship. And who doesn't wish for a really close friendship like that?

(Well, I'd rather have that and a significant other in the same person, because it sounds really time consuming and I'm not skilled enough at time management to keep up this kind of intense friendship and be romantically involved with someone else, but I can see how if you were this kind of intense person it might be better to split those roles so you weren't overloading one person. Plus, if you are organized and web-savvy it's not all that hard to keep in touch via twitter, tumblr, G+ and facebook simultaneously.)
posted by subdee at 1:44 PM on December 17, 2012 [6 favorites]

Huh, that describes a couple of my good friendships, except with a little less panic over sex. (I don't sleep with my friends as a rule, but generally if I like someone that much I am more or less attracted to them as a result, so if it worked out that we both wanted to fool around, that would be fine, but it's almost incidental to the relationship.)

(Well, I'd rather have that and a significant other in the same person, because it sounds really time consuming and I'm not skilled enough at time management to keep up this kind of intense friendship and be romantically involved with someone else, but I can see how if you were this kind of intense person it might be better to split those roles so you weren't overloading one basket.)

I'm single, and the two friends I'm thinking of that I have this kind of friendship with are both in romantic relationships with some pretty clearly-defined boundaries. I think we are on opposite ends of that spectrum, but it seems to work fine for them to live with partners that they don't hang out with socially all the time.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:48 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ha - boy did this resonate!

For about 10 years now, my only socializing has been with my wife, her friends, her friends' spouses, and people at work. While they're nice, I don't consider them friends - well my wife for sure, but not anyone else. I used to have a handful of friends in college and university, but then things fizzled out the way they do. The only friend I had out of school and work was this one guy, who then "left me" when he met his wife.

While I'm eternally grateful for my wife, i must admit it's been a difficult run, not having a "buddy" with whom I can go out and hang out with or do non-couple stuff with. No one to help move, or help me move; no one to help build their garden shed or help me build my deck. No one with whom I can flip a few burgers and nestle a cold beer (or Pinot Noir). And sometimes you just want to connect on a deeper level with someone who you're not intimately involved with.

It really brought me down in the past, but I'm dealing with it better now. That being said, from time to time, I do meet a person who might possess all of my friend qualifications - same interests as me, similar ethics and morals. So then I'll say to myself, 'maybe I'll ask him out for a beer...'

And honestly, it's like asking someone out on a date - the prepared speech, the sweaty palms, the collar-clutching, the stuttering, kicking he dirt, looking at the ground the whole time. If I do go out, I make sure I'm dressed up nice, check to see if my hair parts the way I like it. Pick out a nice place I'm sure he'd like, and then pray to Good God that we have things in common. I laugh heartily at his jokes, am sure to ask him about himself, and try not to talk about me too much. I try to appear fun and confident. After our "date", if things go well, I wait by the phone for a phone call (which never comes); if I don't feel that connection, well, I let the guy down easy if he wants something more.

It's so silly sometimes, the way I feel about this. And I know i'm not the only one going through this. I cry inside and sometimes outside when I see someone else going through the same emotions as me. YOUR"RE NOT ALONE - I FEEL THE SAME WAY AS YOU! I want to say. But I don't. Because they'd probably be humiliated if they knew that I knew how they felt. But I watch and I see and I know. And I would cheer for them if it worked out for them. But it usually never does.

That need for a connection. That need for a bond. That cursed thing that unites us all and at the same time keeps us apart.

It's been so long. I forgot what a friend is supposed to do or supposed to be.
posted by bitteroldman at 1:53 PM on December 17, 2012 [148 favorites]

Wow, this hit close to home. I had this kind of friendship with a guy in high school for about a year, and then we ended up dating, and it ruined absolutely everything, and we couldn't be friends anymore, and the series of events that led to not being able to be friends with him is one of the biggest regrets in my life.

I think this is the first time I've ever teared up reading a webcomic at work. Dang.
posted by phunniemee at 1:54 PM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

There are like four or five guys in my life I can think of that I'd send this to, if it weren't a bit to on the nose with the no-sex-but-really-maybe-sex-if-only-I-was-gay-but-why-does-this-have-so-much-sex-in-it?-what's-"gay"-but-a-label-anyway?-let's-hold-hands-and-see-where-things-go-oh-wait-I'm-married-let's-just-be-good-friends of it all.

Still, thanks.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:10 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by fnerg at 2:16 PM on December 17, 2012 [14 favorites]

What a wonderfully simply way of meshing ken, kin, and monkey circle. Friend-love, got to remember this one.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:32 PM on December 17, 2012

Well, I never thought I'd reach that point in my life, but I am starting relate to this, I tell you what.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:34 PM on December 17, 2012

bitteroldman: I have the exact opposite problem to you. It's just about as depressing, but a lot more cliché. (Also, eponysterical.)
posted by cthuljew at 2:41 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by scratch

Scratch & Sniff! Eponysterical! Ha! Ha! Ha!

OK, maybe I should have gone for the grande mocha Frapp instead of the vente.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:46 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Based on all of my life experiences to date, the author is totally lying about how platonic (s)he wants this relationship to be.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 2:59 PM on December 17, 2012 [15 favorites]

It was interesting to realize that I go a giddy stage of early friendship, where my friend is perfect and can do no wrong and they're all I want to talk about and my head is filled with fantasies of all the delightful experiences we're going to have together—just like with romantic interests. After a while, the limerance fades and I realize that they are normal, flawed human beings, and either I accept them for who they really are, or I find them terribly annoying. It's a good thing to be aware of.
posted by BrashTech at 3:05 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

This just made me miss the hell out of someone.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:10 PM on December 17, 2012 [11 favorites]

It has been my experience that real friendships (and real romances, for that matter) usually need to build up gradually. You regularly, casually spend time together, at work or in class or whatever, and each meeting brings you a bit closer, and then at some point something tips the balance and you're actual friends.

That's one of the reasons why making new friends (or finding new romances) gets harder as you age. When you're a teenager or in your early twenties, you have free time and you can afford to just hang out with somebody chatting about stuff. By the time you're 35, let's say, things are a lot more complicated. Either you have kids to worry about, or the person you're interested in befriending has kids to worry about. Even if neither of you have kids, you probably have a spouse and it just feels kind of weird to say, "I won't be home for dinner tonight, honey, I'm going to go have a beer with some random dude from work." You have responsibilities and routines, and the days seem much shorter than they did when you were 22.

Friendship is probably not going to just randomly happen anymore. You have to basically make a date of it, like bitteroldman up there, and then it's not a casual thing and you sit there trying to be "on" and "interesting" and it's pretty awful.

My advice for young people: Hang out. Shoot the shit. Waste time together. Make friends now, and never let them go.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:12 PM on December 17, 2012 [27 favorites]

I think I have something in my eye.... Oh. It's a bunch of tears.
posted by k8lin at 3:13 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

Without my friends like this, I don't know what I'd do. It wouldn't be a pleasant life, despite all of the other good things in it.

One of them in a mefite. Thanks for being amazing, sawdustbear.
posted by flaterik at 3:20 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Not wanting to feel this way over individuals isn't THE reason I come to MetaFilter, but I have just realized it may be A reason.

(In other words, thanks for giving me 1/1000th of a connection 1000 times.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:41 PM on December 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


I didn't know about this comic until I saw this post, but the text is essentially the same as the words that float in my head sometimes. There's that amazing person, and sometimes I think of how to tell them that I want to be friends. Trying to distill the message down to its core and make it sound dignified and not-creepy and everything else. I think this comic achieves that. Maybe it sounds a little sad, but I guess it would...

In any case, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one with a friend-crush.
posted by non-kneebiter at 3:48 PM on December 17, 2012

I've lately been having "oh my god why don't I have friends" freakouts, so this resonated pretty strongly with me.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:49 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ursula Hitler, I would accept your view, because it's sensible, but I never had friends in school, so accepting it would basically be a big "Go Write the Last Line of One Hundred Years of Solitude Fifty Times On a Blackboard" to myself.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:22 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Friendship is probably not going to just randomly happen anymore. You have to basically make a date of it, like bitteroldman up there, and then it's not a casual thing and you sit there trying to be "on" and "interesting" and it's pretty awful.

At 46, I cannot agree with this. Too many experiences in my life and in recent times contradict this theory.
posted by infini at 4:24 PM on December 17, 2012

A reply to a recent post on her Facebook page suggests that she is going to make a comic book for this comic. :)

Also geeze it's hard making real friends anymore when nearly everyone is just twiddling with their iPhones all day
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 4:27 PM on December 17, 2012

Based on all of my life experiences to date, the author is totally lying about how platonic (s)he wants this relationship to be.

I don't know. I've felt this type of platonic friendship crush a couple of times in my life - mostly in my teens, when your peers are even more important than they are at other ages - and it was never sexual. It was never with guys for one thing (I'm a straight woman) and as a moody teenager it was mostly born out of feeling alone and misunderstood and yearning for that kind of friendship and kinship that I associate moreso with my own gender for various reasons (coming from a family of women with pretty special relationships, and generally being more of a girl's girl) and then meeting a couple of friends who just really felt like kindred spirits in that kind of classic L. M. Montgomery sense. Not everything is about sex, even if the sense of clicking with the other person and being a little in awe of how great they are is similar in some ways to the beginnings of a romantic relationship.
posted by Lina Lamont at 4:31 PM on December 17, 2012 [6 favorites]

Fifteen years ago, I would have been rowing and partying and setting fire to a palette of phonebooks on a handball court, doing a full round of golf at the bars in town (1 bar, 1 hole, 18 different drinks). Or I'd have spent the night hanging out at a friend's house watching the blue channel since their cable was cut off and nobody felt like watching Tommy Boy for the umpteenth time.

Twelve years ago I would have been getting out of work as an engineer - living in a house with 22 engineers, throwing parties where the jaws of life were used to cut off the roof of a Ford Tempo to make a hot tub, brewing our own house beer, and hanging out at Bukowski's, the Sunset, or whatever the pool hall was that was right next to the sunset. We'd have been alternating between LAN parties and nights on the town.

Nine years ago, I would have been cooking, hanging out at Noir or Chez Henri, Bukowski's or the B-Side after the kitchen was squared away with the rest of the staff, shooting the shit. I'd probably have been sipping scotch and gunning Guinness and brown ales. Many a night would end in the adventure of collecting one of the guys from a heroin den in China Town. Then I'd bike home to hang out with my socialist roommate, my stand-up comedian roommate, and my architect roommate. We'd finish the night talking and go to bed as the sun was rising.

Five years ago, I might have been playing a bit too much WoW, but socializing with my guild nonetheless. Every once in a while I'd probably have gone out after work with some co-workers. I'd have spent a few weekends hanging out with some old college buddies, but I definitely didn't keep in as close touch as I should have.

So its 7:21 PM. I've just put the kids to bed. My wife is due home in about 40 minutes from work. Today I spent two awkward hours at a holiday party bowling. I didn't get a beer because I knew I'd be the one putting the kids down, plus drinking with co-workers is not really entertaining. Sure they're fun to talk to from a we have work in common perspective - but meh... that's it. I'm not looking to find a best work friend, and I'm pretty certain the feeling is mutual. In about 15 minutes I'm going to get working on finishing up a presentation I'm giving tomorrow on variable reduction and regression modeling. I called my best friend from high school on my ride home from work. No answer. He had a kid a couple of weeks ago, and called me two days ago, but we have yet to have our schedules intersect. Then I called my best friend from college. Similar story... except I originally called him when I didn't get in contact with my other friend. My wife will be home in a bit, and that will be cool - but... well... folks have said it - its important to have a bromance

Right now I'd kill to have someone that would want to spend time with me, because I'm lonely, and I've got to imagine there is someone out there that is in the same boat as me.

And yes, I love my wife, and I can look at her and I think wonderful things. But the biggest thing I think about, is that I want the same thing for her - for her to have the freedom to go hang out with a few friends... But, like me, we stand at the chicken and egg question: how do you go out without friends, and how do you have friends if you don't go out. And realistically, I don't want to go out to a bar, or to play a video game... I want something more. Something that involves power tools, and washing cars on the weekend...

Is it too much to ask for?
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:49 PM on December 17, 2012 [14 favorites]

I'm struggling with this now too. All I read about online is how people are sooooo busy and much too busy even for their closest friends and so sick of the many thousands of social engagements they're forced into every week via facebook. It makes me feel like just asking someone to hang out is being presumptuous and overbearing. Forget about just telling someone that you like them a lot and want to be good friends outside of where you met them. It's not a creepy sentiment in my head but it sounds creepy if you're not in my head. But as someone who has only transitioned a friendship out of its place of origin once or twice I'm not sure how you're supposed to do it.
posted by bleep at 4:49 PM on December 17, 2012 [7 favorites]

Wow. There's a good number of people in here finding some personal resonance with this post. Makes me wonder if I should be concerned that I can't relate to it at all - not even a little bit, really.
posted by Evernix at 4:50 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Holy cow you forty-somethings (and older!) who would love to have friends like this - join a tabletop game club or movie club, or Local Liberals or something, or Rail at the Youth Club? (Or MeFi meetup?) Or start one! Friends-in-the-making will almost certainly be there.

I'm about 4 years with my boyfriend, and we rarely go out. I'm happy about this for now. But I've also been receiving the local European Boardgames Meetup email twice monthly because one day I will go.
posted by Glinn at 4:59 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like how this strip is resonating differently with people at different phases of their lives. Right now I'm in the new-parent-with-negative-free-time phase, and it really hit me in the "where have all my old friends gone?" spot like bitteroldman above. But I'm sure in my twenties it would have hit me in the "where are all my new friends hiding?" spot.

Another round of sweet sadness, for all my friends!
posted by otherthings_ at 5:12 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah not all of us are 40, thanks. And it's easy to make acquaintances, but that's not what we're talking about.
posted by bleep at 5:24 PM on December 17, 2012

I like the reference to No-Face in 'Spirited Away'.

Back in the olden days, before social media, we would sometimes have awkward feelings for our friends, but eventual physical separation allowed these feelings to gently fade away. I feel sorry for the kids these days, the new technology makes them have a tougher time negotiating their social world than I did (which wasn't easy). But the kids are great (they're mostly smarter than I was, at their age).
posted by ovvl at 5:32 PM on December 17, 2012

I have a friend -- a strictly platonic, will-always-be-platonic -- friend who makes me feel this way, but I feel weird forwarding it because I'm afraid it would be seen as creepy.

Oh well, at least I know it's true.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:41 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I wouldn't send this to anyone who you want to keep returning your phone calls. The message I get from it is "I am a black hole of need and loneliness and YOU are the perfect person who will save me from my unhappiness". I'm sure that's not what is intended, but that is how it strikes me.
posted by thelonius at 5:46 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

I don't think this is a total rorschach about wanting close friends - the gist of the panels is definitely 1) this is neediness to an uncomfortable degree, 2) unreliable narrator especially with the non-platonic stuff, 3) desperate and lonely vibes a la Chris Ware, 4) social media drawing people together and drawing people away. To the extent that we find something recognizable in it, it should unsettle us quite a bit. Brilliant stuff.
posted by naju at 5:56 PM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

My reaction to this is so, so complex.
It doesn't sit easy.
Something about the "that would be weird" bit.

Is it bad to think that if you crossed some arbitraty line, and snuggled up on the couch together watching TV wouldn't be the worst things in the world if they made you both happy and content for a while?

It has meaning, but it doesn't need to become a thing worthy of fretting in Ask.Me over.

Relationships are complicated, but it sometimes feels like we have codified them too much.
posted by Mezentian at 6:13 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

Is there a missing panel that says "Meanwhile, I will date some asshole and then frequently want to discuss the fantastic sex we are having." ?
posted by stifford at 6:56 PM on December 17, 2012 [7 favorites]

Yeah not all of us are 40, thanks. And it's easy to make acquaintances, but that's not what we're talking about.

I suspect this is directed at me, and honestly I did not mean to offend. However, "acquaintances" is much closer to "what we're talking about" than not actually meeting any other people ever. I understand that getting out into the world is very hard for some people, but I felt very touched by many of the stories here and wanted to offer some little thing, no matter how foolish.
posted by Glinn at 6:57 PM on December 17, 2012

I'm about 4 years with my boyfriend, and we rarely go out. I'm happy about this for now. But I've also been receiving the local European Boardgames Meetup email twice monthly because one day I will go.

I used to subscribe to Netflix by mail. My queue was about 90 movies deep. I realized, that there were movies that I wanted to see, that I meant to see - but that I just never made the time to see because well... there were other movies that I wanted to see more - or other things that I wanted to do. And so, I just added those new movies to the front of the queue. Since then, I've canceled my Netflix subscription, despite there being a mess of movies on the queue that for the life of me - at one point I really wanted to see, but you know - things get in the way, and they get put off, and it becomes hard to make the time.

Or we realize that my Netflix sequitir was not really about netflix. Or you change jobs, or move cities, or your friends move away, or you get married, or have kids or bits and pieces of any of those... And you realize that all those moments of "I meant to do that" didn't ever happen. And you find yourself with a handful of friends spread out across the world, with responsibilities that root you to a location, and similar realities for them as well, and this notion of getting to see them, that the bromance relationship you had with them can continue becomes almost a caricature of its self...

So you do go to join a local group, but it isn't the same. Making friends at 36 and making friends at 21 (or hell, even 26 or 29) is a daunting task. At some point, sure, my kids will find a friend, and I'll hang out with some other adult solely because our children are the same size (Louis C.K. reference). Otherwise its just a "I've seen you at Soccer practice, lets hang out." I'm lucky, my kid will pick someone with similar interests to mine. This is that thing of 30s/40s where life isn't what you want it to be. There's no going back to no accountability of yesteryear. My schedule for friendship is locked down no longer by my choosing, and short of driving to Nebraska to safe-haven my children (something I wouldn't want to do) there is a limited amount of me in my schedule. Would I trade my kids and wife away for that? No... But I haven't forgotten what it is like to have friends - and when you meet someone who hell yes I'd like them to be my friend - well - that's what this thing is about...

Try to join a softball league in a town you don't really know anyone in. Its awkward and self-conscience anxiety provoking exercise in gym class where you get to be picked last - mostly because you don't know anybody.

Anyway, I get what you are saying - and I remember back to the day where I rarely went out and that decision was on my terms.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:26 PM on December 17, 2012 [12 favorites]

This is okay except for the hugging part. Clingy hugs make me twitch unless they are from kittens.

humans no touchy
posted by elizardbits at 7:29 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

This really does stir some complex reactions in me. To be perfectly honest, the most prominent are bafflement & agitation.
posted by Evernix at 7:30 PM on December 17, 2012

What is it about people that makes them fall in love, or friend-love, from afar? All that happens, every time, is that after obsessing over what a person might be like, how they would get along together, what sort of things they would do, their imaginings clash completely with reality. Even if you do end up being friends, or going out, you have to ditch your imaginary person and get to know the real one, which is immensely harder than just finding out who that person is to start with.

Want to know whether someone could be a friend, or a lover? Ask them out. Go do something together. The dating process is there for a reason, folks; use it. Grab lunch, talk a while, before your expectations lead you to the kind of bizarre fantasizing that this strip indulges in. Lunch is pretty painless. If they're not someone you're into, you get to move on, without having to deal with all the pieces of your fantasy falling out around you. If you like each other, great. You've got a friend, a lover, someone to do more stuff with.

"Are you doing anything for lunch?" is much more likely to get you a friend than "I'm totally obsessed with becoming your friend, and will be crushed if you don't feel the same way."
posted by MrVisible at 7:50 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I texted this to four of my closest, dearest, married, straight girl friends. And posted it on Facebook stating that I wasn't going to tag it for obvious reasons. A shitload of friends have liked it on Facebook and begged me to tag them.

Not one of the chicks I texted has replied.

Awkward turtles all round.
posted by taff at 7:55 PM on December 17, 2012 [12 favorites]

Yeah, I wouldn't send this to anyone who you want to keep returning your phone calls.

I agree, as long as you're talking about someone you don't have this kind of relationship with. I just sent it to my two friend-love-type friends and one of them immediately said it was the sweetest thing she'd ever seen. It's not a kind of relationship I have - or would want - with everybody, but when it works, it works.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:56 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

30 years ago, in high school, I made the best friend I've ever had. We kept it platonic because neither was very attracted to the other, and because we realized we had something special. Then we went to the same college and wound up as lovers for a year, until everything ended in bitterness. I have never gotten over the heartbreak of meeting up with her in the subsequent years, probing for a spark of that old connection and finding nothing.

Recently, after 2 decades of no news, I came across a book she's published. The things I loved about her back when we were kids shone through on every page. I sent her a Christmas card, with congratulations on the book and a newsy letter about my wife and kid and what I've been up to, but what I really wanted to do was declare my undying friend love. Because I am quite sure I will continue missing her until I die.
posted by NoiseTrader at 8:18 PM on December 17, 2012 [13 favorites]

If someone ever expresses this sentiment to you, don't walk away. Run. As fast as you goddamn can.

This person will monopolize all the time you should be spending looking for a real mate. Don't worry, they'll change their mind about wanting to "swap saliva" with you -- after you've gone on and found love, and they've found themselves over 30 and still alone.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:43 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

bitteroldman, this is you
posted by granted at 10:33 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think what's not being said here is that dating can be profoundly unpleasant and friendships can be ridiculously fun.
posted by effugas at 11:01 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

I can think of someone who makes me feel this way. Mostly because if we got together romantically, it would be ultimately doomed due to the ol "you want kids and I don't" thing. So I can't go there. And most friendships are gonna outlast your sexual relationships anyway. If I wanted the dude to be around in my life longer, I'd want to avoid going there. my experience, as said in When Harry Met Sally, "the sex part always gets in the way." So we're not even friends.

I hear you, cartoonist. But in real life...not gonna happen, probably.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:05 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

jcreigh: It gets harder? Harder than this?

I'm sorry, but I would have to say it does. If you're lucky (and you work at it) you do become less shy and self-conscious as you get older, so it's not so hard to meet people. But it does get harder to grow those meetings into something real and lasting, because you just don't have as much time to kill getting to know each other.

Everybody will tell you to start saving for your retirement when you're young... But I wish people had told me to get serious about making friendships when I was younger too.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:20 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

This person will monopolize all the time you should be spending looking for a real mate.

Are we like Highlanders? Can there be only one?
What is this concept of a "real mate" of which you type?
Because it sounds like the beginnings of a very co-dependent relationship I would walk briskly away from.
posted by Mezentian at 11:24 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

There's a Craigslist section for this kind of thing.
posted by LogicalDash at 2:53 AM on December 18, 2012

Aw, it's about having someone you really like and being able to talk to them about pretty much anything and no horrible judgements (just little ones; no-one's perfect, after all) and being able to share mutually enjoyable things and no.awkward.pauses. That's not creepy.

I've got one friend like this (hello Colin!) but I'm the world's slackest friend so we don't catch up nearly as often as we should. He'd appreciate this comic, without a doubt.
posted by h00py at 3:12 AM on December 18, 2012

ovvl - That's an interesting observation, as the person who currently makes me feel this way is pridefully unplugged - not on facebook, doesn't carry his phone. We also met in a situation that required close physical proximity.

I know this feeling, but it requires frequent in person time with the friend-crush to develop in me.
posted by rainbaby at 4:13 AM on December 18, 2012

I've lived retrograde from the established order in that my core group of friends in the last decade are all ex-boyfriends. We got all the sexual tension out of the way, had tumultuous and occasionally exhausting relationships, and now we're just this cluster of dark stars, fading away into the infrared in some middle-aged galactic backwater, picking the same double-cooked pork off the menu at the Chinese place where we always go, where the waiter knows us well and must sometimes wonder what glue holds this strange group together. We no longer have to ask for chopsticks, which now come automatically to our table, and T. no longer awkwardly asks for more fried noodles in that autistic way he does things, announcing the desire without a "please" or "excuse me." P. will sit in the same corner of the booth and will kick me if I raise any of the political subjects that set me and T. into loud counterpoint.

Sometimes, when the stars align, I can get T., P., and the more recent A. together at the duckpin bowling lanes or the small town sports bar where mechanics, career military, and drag queens come together for drag bingo night, but that's maybe a biannual occurrence. I live in an old town, a block off the dying Main Street that's lately suffering from metastatic beauty salons, and I can take the dog, step out for hours, and walk the alleys and lesser by-ways looking for little adventures, but there's not much to do here. Not so long ago, I could call my friends together, pile into the aging, multicolored Citroën, and go road farming all day, a term used by my former best friend R. in his Indiana days, referring to the joyfully wasteful process of pointing a car in a random direction and driving until the sun set.

The mobile folks get the wild hair for new destinations and move on. Those in the reproductive set, even the most dogged independents, produce offspring and insist that things will not change, but they do, particularly when you're increasingly perpetually single and they get that deranged parent vibe, in which the house is littered with plastics in primary colors and everything is sticky and the toddler just adores you and wants to inoculate you with every strain of influenza virus that's recently been cross-bred from something less traumatic in the petrie dish of daycare.

"That's just middle age," says A., with that tiring authority that comes from his recently crossing over into an age group starting with a six. "Maturity demands a dignified solitude."

"Speak for yourself, old man," I say. "I've got a good seventeen years before I surrender to a dignified solitude."

He and I have a decent rapport, but he makes me feel like I'm definitely on the wrong side of the peak of my existence, except for my writing, which gets better because writing requires age and experience. Lately, I'm beset by issues of work and home life, and I feel stuck and like the resilience that smoothed over the idiocies of my young life is no longer there. I recall the way friends and I would sit on the phone, watching TV and doing commentary, and am reminded that I have accumulated nine thousand rollover minutes on my cellphone because it all rolls over.

I am brilliant at making acquaintances who are fun and interesting and full of adventure, and more brilliant at remaining so distracted and worn out that they are destined to always be acquaintances, familiar faces at bustling events, and friends online, responding warmly to my erratic bon mot on facebook and other sites. Is this really middle age? I suspect it was back in the grim ages of the Eisenhower years, or the sad, lonesome life of people in the 1800s, when you were supposed to just grit your teeth and put away childish things, suffering in silence for the promise of a perfect life in heaven with Christ. Maybe we've just set up a ridiculous expectation in the world after baby boomers, in which we're supposed to work hard and play hard and revel in the tedious nostalgia of how great things were (not like now, when everyone's a hipster and fake, unlike how sincere and amazing we were), where we're clinging desperately to every shred of illusory youthful exuberance because the commercials tell us we should.

My father, as far as I know, never had a friend in his adult life. He set the pattern for me in that he had an immense collection of acquaintances who loved and respected him. He was affable, fun, and avuncular, told good stories and gave good adventure, albeit in lesser and lesser doses as his business overwhelmed his access to time. At his memorial service, the line to speak wrapped around the church. In life, though, it was just us—just kids, just my mother, and our home compound, his workshop, and the last big project, restoring his '46 Aeronca Champ, though he didn't live long enough to pull back on the stick and feel it lift off from the rough airstrip at Laurel Suburban Airport. In the last years, I would occasionally be drafted as confidant, but it was an awkward experience.

It's possible that close friends, not mates, are something that are just engineered into our youth by social evolution and eliminated in adulthood by capitalism, but I miss it. For myself, I know my reluctance to drive into the city for socializing suffocates my potential friendships, but I'm just not built for the urban pace, and I don't drink, so hanging out at bars is a waste, and so I get closer to my dog and my bicycle and think of ever-wittier things to post on facebook and twitter to vent that lonesome energy and can't help but wonder if this is the way it goes from here on.

This time, though, I'm mixing things up.

"I will have crispy beef," I say, and hand my menu to the waiter.

Score one for new adventures.
posted by sonascope at 4:43 AM on December 18, 2012 [31 favorites]

Receiving that comic from a friend would freak me the fuck out.
posted by datter at 5:54 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, for all the cool talk about loneliness that this comic started here, I have to agree with datter.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:10 AM on December 18, 2012

On the one hand - yes, this does make me feel nostalgic and wistful for more close friendships (or, rather, more free time for me to spend WITH close friends, and more free time for them too).

But on the other reminded me a looooooooooooooooot of the guy from this XKCD strip, which makes the whole thing suspect.

A lot of people hear this kind of "no, I swear I just want to be friends" from people with ulterior motives, sadly.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:17 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

A lot of people hear this kind of "no, I swear I just want to be friends" from people with ulterior motives, sadly.

This has been scientifically proven.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:43 AM on December 18, 2012

posted by cell divide at 10:56 AM on December 18, 2012

However, "acquaintances" is much closer to "what we're talking about" than not actually meeting any other people ever.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Friendship.
posted by ersatz at 11:38 AM on December 18, 2012

A lot of people hear this kind of "no, I swear I just want to be friends" from people with ulterior motives, sadly.

This has been scientifically proven.

Oh bullshit. I'm not saying that this doesn't ever happen. Of course plenty of people (in my experience) mostly people who never figured out how to get past the awkward crush stage) who confuse crushing with being a good friend and it almost never goes well in the end, but most people grow the fuck up and are perfectly capable of not confusing friendship and wanting to rub their private parts together. Just because you never did doesn't mean it never (or even rarely) happens.

(That said, this comic is very creepy and very cute at the same time and does really touch where on some fundamental strangeness of humanity + fundamental strangeness of modern internet life meet, and I love it and am icked out at the same time.)
posted by aspo at 11:42 AM on December 18, 2012

This immediately reminded me of Letterman's disbelief of the platonic relationship between Fred and Carrie.
posted by Cheezitsofcool at 11:48 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Please turn your electronic devices off as we...   |   Willie and Trigger Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments