Those used to be the two words I dreaded the most as a young man in love. It was always the end of the road for romantic intentions and almost always the end of the friendship too. As an old man it has come full circle to me and I see both the hope and despair attached to the definition as it registers in my heart. With the experience of years I can look back and see that friendliness is better than bitterness, wholeness is better than broken ness and the passage of time smoothes over the jagged edges of shattered hearts. Friends that I thought I had lost are still there.
Its funny because the "just" in the phrase 'just friends' implies a diminished capacity for the relationship and I suppose in many ways it is. Certainly there can be no more passionate desire to be together that takes over, like a life of its own and crowds into most every thought. No more sharing of all hopes and dreams. If it was a one sided love imagination then it is probably just a brush off, but if it was the tamping down of mutual love where circumstances no longer allow the fire to burn out of control then maybe, just maybe its a lifeline to some future date.
The friends part of it is surely the tricky part. What is a friend? How do friends act? I am friendly to everyone I can possibly be friends with. I want to remain friends with all who have become dear to me over the years. But I am guilty of getting caught up in the day to day gyrations of life and not allowing myself enough time to stay intimate with even my bestest friends and my beloved family members. I want to be a better friend and I want to be there when someone needs me.
Life is constantly moving forward and I guess my best hope is and will always be the golden rule. Looking back at the triumphs and frustrations gives the true perspective, and I can honestly say that everybody I ever cared for in the past I still do. Everything that I ever did must have had a reason, even my selfishness has taught me to be less selfish. There is so little I would change if I could and its mostly just my reactions that have betrayed me and need to be controlled. Wisdom is hard fought for and every lesson is precious, just like every moment in time.