17 July, 2007

Love and the "guy" friend

Ever have really close friends that are men? Ever tell them that you love them? I have not. It is not that I don't love them, as (and only as) friends, but I would never tell them "I love you," because I know that the relationship would be drastically altered forever. Nothing would ever be the same!

It isn't that these aren't bright guys. They are. It is simply that they can not get their mind around the reality that they can "love" a friend and that "love" in this context does not mean romance, marriage, commitment, expectation. It simply states, I care about you. They see no reason to vocalize that as they know it to be true. Words are simply not necessary.

These guys like things just the way they are. Our friendship offers them a situation in which they can be completely and 100% themselves - expected only to be themselves.

What is about men and the "l" word that brings them to a state of panic and anxiety? Have women tortured these poor beings relentlessly with expectations and conditional acceptance/love? Did we, as a species, at any time tell them that once the "l" word is mentioned, everything changes?

I do hope that I am exaggerating.

But am not sure that I am.

I have had man a many tell me things that he would not tell the woman that he loves for fear that she would... not love him anymore? Leave? Think worse of him for being himself? When does love take on the guise of restriction, judgment, expectations? Why is it easier to have a meaningful and close friendship with a member of the opposite sex than to actually "love" them?

is it the idea of "commitment?"

Female friends say it to one another all the time.

No worries guys. Everything is status quo. I don't "love" you. That would be, well, silly! But I am curious as to why the idea of "love" between friends is... unspeakable.

For men, I guess it is just stating the obvious?


JustRun said...

I think it's weird with men, even in a romantic relationship. Like you say, it's obvious to them. They show love (caring, etc.) by action anyway. Me? I'm just a big schmuck and tell people I love them all the time no matter what. If anyone has been scared or put off by this, they certainly haven't told me so.

Sarah Ashlee said...

That's funny and seemingly true. With guy friends that I've had, it always feel, to me, that there is something wanted (romantically) on the other end. If I told them that I loved them...well, I think all Hell might break free. Anyway, what you say about men in relationships is true to my experiences. Men want to show you they love you and, while that's fine for me, sometimes I want to hear it.

Bre said...

M and F are two of my dearest friends in life. In fact I'd say that they're the most important men outside of family members in my life. When I tell M that I love him he just shrugs and makes a joke "I know, women can't help but to love me!" or he just smiles and says nothing. With F it's different - he's a very very private person emotionally and protects his heart more than he should have to. Once when very drunk he told me "I know you mean that you love me, but I have a hard time believing that it's true... I guess I believe you more than I believe most people."

They don't say that they love me in so many words, but they do go out of their way to do little things to let me know.

But then also, I'm very open and chatty about my feelings and they're rather stoic guys.

2xA+r0n said...

When Harry Met Sally

Harry Burns: I've been doing a lot of thinking, and the thing is, I love you.
Sally Albright: What?
Harry Burns: I love you.
Sally Albright: How do you expect me to respond to this?
Harry Burns: How about, you love me too.
Sally Albright: How about, I'm leaving.

Mike said...

Interesting topic. I have no problem telling someone I love them. But to a friend? I guess for me it crosses some wierd boundary. I have many female friends of which we are very close. I have lusted after a few (for another entry), but never said I love them. Love and sex just seem to go together with the opposite sex in my screwed up mind.

Leiselb said...

You bring up some great questions....I have no idea what men think when they use that word. Every time I've heard it from a man it's been the first step toward him leaving for some unexplainable reason. And the weird part? I was never the one to say it! It was something they felt compelled to say....and then...welp...big gulps, eh?

Let me know if you ever figure out the answer. ;)

Beth said...

I had a really good guy friend in college. When I would tell him that I loved him, he would get embarassed, roll his eyes, and say,"There you go again-throwing around that L-word!" But there was that one time, when he broke down and told me out of the blue that he loved me, too. It only happened once, though.

matthew said...

That's ridiculous. These boys have been taking too many hints from pop culture.

I am a 100% heterosexual man but I appreciate a hug from a man or woman now and then.

My oldest buddy and I have a lot in common. He lived w/ a pretty girl for a couple of years and then, after I stole her, I lived w/ her for seven years.

It took him 30 drinks and some strippers one night in Vegas but he did tell me he "loves" me.

And that's a beautiful thing.

justacoolcat said...

This is why I only make friends with robots.

Michael C said...

Don't worry, I don't tell my male friends that I love them either...

Ba Doozie said...

hmmmmm, interesting topic and points, I wonder why the love thing is so relentlessly confusing

Scotty said...

The word, the feeling, the emotions, they are all different. I mean, everyone has a different definition of 'love'. No two people will define it the same way, no two people will have the same emotions that go along with it. This, I think, is the reason that many have different views on it. Some use the word frequently, some... not so much. Some like to say it, some like to show it, others choose to hide it.

Throw a man in the mix, and we all know everything goes to hell :)

Seven Seas said...

Love means many things to many people. I personally find the word is used enough that it has lost much of it's meaning. Guess that is neither here nor there though, never had much truck with words, actions speak louder and much more clearly. I care for many of my friends (male and female) and will tell them that. Saying "I love you", on the other hand, is a great bit deeper.

brandy said...

Whoo good post. I have a guy friend who I do love. And I've told him. And it's not weird. However, this guy friend was also someone who was once more than a guy friend, so we've already hit the awkward max in our relationship. Maybe you just need to sleep with a few of these guys, then go back to being just friends and the 'i love you' suddenly isn't such a big deal? ;) Worked for me.

The Exception said...

Just Run - It is great that you are so open. Everyone knows just how you feel, which is a plus.

Sarah Ashlee - Luckily I don't need to hear it, but it is weird that there are times when I feel like I can't say it. It just means something that they don't want to hear I guess, even though I don't mean it that way.

Bre - I love having great guy friends. One guy friend said he loved me one time - and I know he had been drinking as he would not have said it otherwise. Men do show love differently while women are more than happy to say it!

2xA - I love that movie!

Mike - That thinking is my experience with men. Even if we have slept together, they don't want to hear that I might love them because... ew... that brings in all the relationship stuff that they never wanted to begin with. (Even though it is not what I mean in saying it)

LeiselB - sigh, I wish someone would give me a lot of money to study such issues. Not sure I would find answers, but I would love doing the research as men fascinate me.

That is, really, weird though. A man who says he loves you first, and then leaves? Interesting.

Beth - WOW, hang on to that moment!! At least you dared to tell him. I am so not that brave. I just assume that they know how I feel and let it go.

Matthew - It only took thirty drinks eh? In my experience, men will say just about anything after thirty drinks! ;)

JACC - There is a bit of wisdom in your selection, but you can't grab a cool one with a robot or go on an enjoyable road trip.

Michael C - Now, were you to tell them, that might really freak them out! ;)

Doozie - Because it involves men? I honestly don't know. Me, being the analyst that I am, have had conversations about the definition of love or what it means to me, with people before I have told them I love them. It totally removes the romance but, everyone knows what I mean when I say it. (Except these guy friends who get caught up in their own definition I suppose)

Scotty - Could not have said that better myself - and a man just makes the whole situation that much more interesting.

Seven Seas - I think that part of the issue is that "love" is one word in English that is supposed to cover a range of emotions, ideas, actions etc. It has lost its meaning and is possibly over used because there is no other word to use as there are in other languages. For such a precise language, English is very vague when it comes to words such as love.

Brandy - Hum, not sure their wives would like that! ;)