They say that a girl and a boy cannot be ‘just friends’. And people take the saying way too seriously. What’s the big deal about it anyways? Of course a boy and a girl can be friends. But only till the famous ‘more than friends’ allegations start to surface. Most of the times, it’s the people around you who create such a pressure, that makes it impossible to be friends. Well, my arguments are not hypothetical. I have my share of lost and gained friendships rightly attributed to this saying.

Case 1. I was in Standard 10 then. I had a best friend who was a boy. We would fight, share food, study together and pretty much be the best of friends. He was the Head Boy. I was the Head Girl. Both would win all the extra-curricular and co-curricular competitions as a team. And people saw it as a perfect recipe for a relationship, or ‘more than just friends’ material. Though he was interested in one of my girlfriends, and I was the mediator between the two of them, tails started to wag. And in that tender age of ours, we failed to face the situation in a mature manner. To stop those talks doing rounds, we drifted apart. An uncomfortable and awkward mannerism took reign. And the friendship fell apart.

Case 2. I met this guy through a common friend. Our interests seem to match, and we could talk and talk and talk for hours at end. It was a beautiful friendship. And I liked it just like that. Everything was going great, till I sensed the dreaded thing approaching me fast. The guy started to send those signals. And I freaked out. Because I did not want to take it forward in any manner other than just being friends, and I did not want to be disappointed. I was torn between the two situations. Before it could get any worse, I told him very plainly, it can’t go on. Of course, he was disappointed. But I could not just let him have the hopes that a relationship will grow out of our friendship. For him, it was a seamless progression. But not for me. Yeah, we never spoke to each other after that.

Case 3. This is something completely opposite of the other two situations. I saw this guy in my coaching classes. Really dapper and suave. Very intelligent. Teachers’ favourite. In one of those lingering conversations after the classes, I told my girlfriends, I would really like to know that guy. It would be great to have him as a friend. And before I knew it, one of my dumb friends, who was dating that guy’s roomie, went up to him and told him something, contents of which I don’t know till date. Next day, I just got a call from her saying that she has told the guy that I like him. It freaked me out. Who the hell was she to do all that? and random other questions started to occupy my mind. Somehow, I braced myself, and gave that guy a call. Cleared things out, not knowing what was said, and whom does he believe, the dumb friend, or me! But I had never felt any lighter before! Slowly, we began to talk. And with the awkwardness of the possible-relationship-syndrome dealt with earlier on, there was absolute liberty to be oneself as mere friends. We are still friends. I can pick on him, talk to him about anything, crib endlessly, and share my happiness without being bothered about the ‘more’ in friendship. This friendship is a gift of chance, which I treasure.

Quite ironical, how the ways of the world work! But then, there’s something called living with it. I am just doing the same!

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