A Rose By Any Other Name


Friend. Partner. Lover. BFF. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. Close friend. Casual friend. Acquaintance. Casual acquaintance. Confidant. Relationship. Romantic relationship. FWB. Frenemy. Ex. BFAM. SFAM. Female friend. Male friend. Platonic friend. Platonic relationship.

People like to put names on the relationships they have with other people. These names perhaps give them a sense of safety and predictability. You know what to expect. You know what the boundaries are. You know what is expected of you.

There is just one problem. At least for me, no relationship fits neatly into any one of those categories. In fact, think every relationship I have with those people I know is unique.

Let’s use the word “friend” as a generic term to describe all of the above. Because Facebook. It won’t even try to classify every one of my friends with one of “the words”. I’ll try something simpler: closeness. I know that some of my friends are closer than others. But even the way closeness is measured is unique for each of my friends.

Miss T and I are very close emotionally. We text a lot. We understand each other. We always have each other’s back and are always there to talk when the other one needs to talk. But we rarely see each other in person. And that’s fine.

Miss G and I were very close physically, but not emotionally. We could have a hug and a kiss that makes everything in the world seem OK. But we are incapable of taking about close emotional subjects.

Miss L and I are close emotionally and were close physically, but neither to the extent of miss T or Miss G. We don’t talk on the phone, but we see each other in person, maybe once or twice a year, and it’s always pleasant.

Mr. A and I get together in person quite often. We can discuss anything, and we can give each other advice. But the discussion never gets deep and personal and emotional.

Mr. W and I used to talk every day about everything. But, we drifted apart and now we only write on each other’s timelines on Facebook. But we still both care deeply about the other, would be there if the other one needed us.

Mr Y and I text with each other from time to time, sometimes about personal stuff. We see each other in person in group activities. But never alone just the two of us.

Miss R and I used to be very close physically and emotionally. That was over 25 years ago. Now we talk on the phone sporadically. But when we talk, it is always for hours and is very deep and intimate.

Miss E and I only see each other at group events. We’ve talked on the phone maybe once or twice. We never text. We’ve never been together just the two of us. But we have a closeness that lets me know that we genuinely care about each other, and would always be there to talk if the other one needed us.

I could go on and on describing the rest of my friends, and they would all be different, unique in their own way. I could try to label each of these relationships with one of the words. But why? I know what each person means to me. I know how we interact. I know the boundaries are (for the most part). I’m just happy to enjoy them for what they are. Who cares if it has a name?


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