Remember that Alicia Keys’ song that goes I think I’m jealous of your girlfriend. Although she’s just a girl who is your friend? That’s me. I’m a girl friend. That’s two words and one space and is never meant to be confused with the no space, girlfriend, type. Except that space seems to confuse people all the time.

So you’re “just friends?” people routinely ask. Or when hearing you complain about your perma-single status, your best friend, mother, cousin, or great aunt suggests what about that nice boy you always hang out with?

People! There’s a space between the girl and the friend for a reason. And maybe that space is due to time or distance or circumstance or the fact that we don’t like each other that way, or a myriad of other reasons. Either way, it’s still there. We’re only friends. Not friends [insert wink here].

Sometimes the space was added after the fact — always the hardest scenario for a girlfriend— we used to like each other, but it was a disaster so we added the space and went back to being friends.

I had a friend like this once. I was a senior in college and he was a sophomore and we got along. Like perfectly. And he dated other girls and I occupied myself doing whatever it is that I do (since dating is definitely not it). He kissed me once and I characteristically flipped out, became extra awful, and stopped speaking to him which made us the opposite of friends, no space. I graduated, moved to Japan, realized I was a drama queen, and sent an email of apologies. We added a space and became friends again and eventually modified it with best.

He dated plenty of women during this time and I kept myself occupied. I moved back to VA after 5 years and we got the opportunity to hang out more frequently — he even went on a date with my BFF (I knew that was going to be a train wreck) and I dogsat his crazy Husky after it was neutered while he took his girlfriend to Florida. The point of this story: there was a definite space that neither of us wanted to close; we were happily friends. Until…

He met a girl– a girl he really liked. I met her too and then moved to Germany and he (and eventually she) moved to Japan. Even distance doesn’t separate friends. So we kept in touch. I moved back to the states and he got engaged. For his birthday, I went to post to his wall on FB and realized I’d been unfriended — uninvited from his life after 7 years of friendship. The ensuing phone conversation was our last. It’s just Facebook! he said, never grasping the simple logic that if his wife didn’t want us to be Facebook friends, then being real friends was definitely out of the question.

That was three years ago. I still have a couple of close boy (several spaces) friends — men who I respect and admire, but I’m more guarded now. I’ve even established some rules in dealing with the girlfriend/wife issue.

1. No secrets. I’m your friend and in the same way I know about the women you date, they should know about me. Not in a my-friend-is-the-best-woman-in-my-life kind of way, but in a general this is one of the people I enjoy spending non romantic time with.

2. I’m single. That should also be said and quickly followed by: Jada is always single. Yes, it’s weird, but its also true and should be further qualified with she’s not waiting for me to dump you so that we can be together.
Better yet, I’ll tell her.

3. We should meet (only if he’s serious about you). Not because I need to approve or disapprove of you dating, but because you’d like to meet his friends and if you meet me, you might be more likely to realize that I’m not interested in him.

How do you deal with your significant other’s space friends?

4 Comment on “Girlfriend vs. Girl Friend

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