Art courtesy of  Renuka Chalk .

Art courtesy of Renuka Chalk.

In this 21st-century world, often our quests for love merge with those of friendship. But is that really a bad thing?

So often these days, we hear about that guy. You know, the one that your friend is dating, who is a complete douchebag and doesn’t treat your friend right at all. He always kills the vibe, plus he went to school with your cousin, you think, but you’re so not about to ask. Yeah, I hate that guy. Another trope that never fails to grace our lives at some point or another is that of the sweet soul, who has somehow saddled themselves with a friendship group full of demons. You know, when you’re dating someone and their friends are the actual worst people alive, and you don’t see how someone so excellent could be friends with such monstrosities. The worst.

What I think we don’t hear enough about, however, is when the opposite of that happens. You know, when you’re seeing a guy and his friends are the coolest people alive, and you love spending time with them and they always invite you out, and they got you a birthday present and they really shouldn’t have, darl. It’s a gratifying feeling when the person you shave for has a dynamic group of friends, and you can count your lucky stars that you’ve just added a whole new circle into your life.

Except, well. It can get kind of awkward, I guess, when you realise that your guy doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the group. You know, that feeling of when you’re on your lunch break, and you decide that this week is the week for a cleanse, and you go to Coles and buy a single banana and it looks great in the shop surrounded by all the other bananas but you don’t need all of them because just one is enough, and then you leave and you’re so happy with your one banana but then you look at it and it’s actually underripe and weirdly-shaped and you just miss all of the other bananas. Trade the bananas for boys, and suddenly you’ve got a picture of my dating life so realistic that not even Édouard Manet could encapsulate it.

I am someone who will fall head over heels in the time it takes for the boy to utter his name, because I’m a hopeless romantic who soaks up attention like a sponge. But my love for these boys is as fleeting as it is sudden, because more often than not, I actually end up completely bewitched for this boy’s friends, and he just ends up being a warm cuddle later on.

My first ever boyfriend shopped at General Pants while sipping on a soy latte, and went on to study Communications; he was nothing too out of the ordinary - bar his group of friends, who were full of life and unadulterated fun; they welcomed me in without any hesitation, something that I’d never experienced before. It was intoxicating to have this whole new group of friends. I grew to get along with these guys so well, I was always invited to parties and even hung out with just his friends once or twice. When we eventually broke up, one of them messaged me to tell me that he’d be sad I wouldn’t be around anymore. Fast forward to almost a full three-years later where I saw a bunch of them at a party. They all ran up, shouting my name while pulling me in for kisses and hugs. One of them actually teared up at how excited they were to see me again. We spent the night sharing drinks and stories of our past and recent shenanigans, and I can comfortably say that I missed his friends - but not him in the slightest.

The concept of friendship is misunderstood and way more complicated than it has to be. It’s always portrayed as a group activity, but these days, it is pretty hard to find a fully- formed group of appealing individuals that you want to hang out with, and want to hang out with you in turn. Is it really so bad if I use boys to find them?

I’m not kidding when I say I do this a lot. The last boy I went home with ticked all the boxes on paper - saccharine-sweet and very pretty - but his best friend, well, she was my soulmate. And of course, while there isn’t anything wrong with the boy, I cherish the opportunity to make new and lasting friendships more than I value one-night stands and casual dating. Friendship offers a beautiful form of affection and fulfilment, and it shouldn’t be encumbered because the meet-cute doesn’t agree with general sensibility.

I have a lot more love left to give to so many more people who have yet to waltz into my life; who will impact my soul more than the boy I fall asleep next to. I don’t want to stop falling in love with people’s sense of humour, or their dance moves on a night out, or the way they talk about their passions, or the way their face lights up when their eyes fall on their significant other. Maybe I’m wrong, but I am happier leaving a relationship with more than just a broken heart (and Gonorrhoea that one time). Life is better with friends by my side, regardless of how I meet them.

This article appeared in The Comma’s 2018 Annual Edition. Read more here.

This article was written by Lachlan Parry. You can reach him here.