Tuesday, April 7, 2015

the placeholder BLOW OFF

I met Jenny through mutual friends in July. A few years younger than me, Jenny and I quickly bonded over our shared dislike for someone with whom I attended college and with whom she attended high school (probably a bad sign to have something negative as the foundation of any friendship, but I digress). We had a lot of fun—she introduced me to a bar I now love, she hosted gatherings at her place, I attended a fundraiser with which her extended family is involved…good times were had all around.

Jenny would occasionally complain about her single status and how it prevented her from enjoying certain aspects of her life. I couldn’t really relate, because, in her words, I “do stuff.” I think that what she meant is that I have no problem doing things alone. Sure, it would be nice to share memories while vacationing (as well as the cost of the hotel room...) and it's not like I'd mind having an automatic plus one at weddings and events. But I really enjoy myself regardless of whether or not I'm coupled up.

Come fall, Jenny fires up an OkCupid profile. By Christmas, Tyler (interesting fact: he taste tests cheese for a living) has taken her on three dates and is the frontrunner. By MLK Day, they’re official. Jenny's birthday celebration is celebrated amongst friends, but nearly two months have passed without any real effort on her part. A text may be sent (“I was in your hometown today!”) but the reply (“Awwwww!!! How did it look? And how was your weekend?”) is left hanging. She may say she’ll join us at the bar—the very bar she introduced me to—, but when it comes down to it, our mutual friend (who does show up) delivers the message that Jenny and Tyler were just not feeling up to it.

I’m sure she’s keeping in better touch with her closer friends—we met less than a year ago after all. And surely I’ll see her here and there. I’m truly happy she’s (what I can only assume to be) enjoying her relationship. But this type of friend—we have all known him or her at one point in our lives—can make others feel like they were just placeholders until they were in a new relationship. It’s totally cool to want to be in a relationship. I want to, too. But my question is, what happens when the relationship ends? Or even before it ends, wouldn’t it be kind of nice to have other people to hang out with on occasion?

I hope I’m never the type of person who sees my friends—and on a greater scale, my life—as a placeholder until I meet my next boyfriend. Life is way too short to ever feel like I’m not living my life to the fullest, and my friends are way too valuable to me to ever make them wonder if they were just a placeholder.

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