The other day, I was listening to a conversation about how to talk to children about poly and partners. One of the people in the discussion said that she introduces all of the people in her life, friends or partners, as friends when she introduces them to her kid. Some of them are more significant parts of her life, and some of them are less, some of them stay the night, and some don’t, some of them sleep on the couch when they stay the night, and some of them don’t, etc., but the thing they have in common is that they are all friends.
I really like this idea, partially because I think it’s a good way to be honest without being complicated, and partially because I’ve been seriously thinking about starting to use this type of language for all of my partners and friends in my life in general as well. Labels are complicated, and the majority of my experience has been that they cause more complications than they solve. I don’t think I’ve ever had a situation with someone where I felt like it fit perfectly into a particular box.
“This is a Friends-With-Benefits thing, case closed!”
Things never fit perfectly. Another idea that came up in the same discussion: in friendships or relationships, sometimes you want to spend a lot of time together and sometimes just a little. Sometimes you’re incredibly attracted to a person and sometimes you’re not very attracted to them. Sometimes you’re incredibly emotionally attached to a person, and sometimes you’re not. There are all of these different spectra on which relationships with people can vary, and they never seem to fit perfectly within labels.
Just about all of them fit neatly into “friendship”, though, so I wonder if it might be less stressful and more useful just to refer to all of them that way, and let the rest be whatever it is. I wonder if that might help me let things be whatever they are instead of wasting time sorting through a pile of inadequate boxes.