Tag Archives: friendship

Crunching the Umbrella and Spinning the Reinvention Treadmill

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

Back on March 8th, the day before I published my Genealogy of Queerplatonic, Siggy published a response of his own to the whole discussion, titling the post as “Death of the coiner” (an allusion to Barthes’ “Death of the Author”). In Cor’s addition onto that post, co wrote:

my main response is that it’s useful and arguably necessary for us to document and continually notify people of the pattern of semantic drift in words having to do with rejecting models and how they are reinscribed within those models to be less threatening

This post is about the same thing and that same dynamic: the pattern of ambiguous gray areas and umbrella words getting crunched into narrower redefinitions, leaving the need for their original ambiguity unmet, and paving the way for others to come along and try to reinvent the wheel.

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On “friendship”

In our conversations about norms, standards, desires, and expectations for relationships, such as in the conversations around queerplatonic and alterous, I’ve seen a lot of comparison against friendship as a familiar point of reference; it’s a term you’re supposed to be already familiar with, as groundwork for the mapping of other terms in relation to it. A lot of the times, when invoking it in this way, people will talk about “friendship” in ways that bother me with their implications. So, because I’ve gotten to thinking about that some more, I’ve returned to asking: what is friendship? We–

Wait– Hold on, wait– No, come back–

Darn. I think I just lost a reader.

Well, for those of you who are still here: in thinking about this, I’ve so far come up with about five (some potentially intersecting, some not) different models for what someone might mean by friendship — and I’m not even sure exactly which one I prefer out of the bunch.

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Living Situations & Relationship Expectations

I feel lied to.

I had heard, from sources I don’t remember, never to move in with people you consider friends.  I don’t know how widespread this advice is, but it’s definitely a thing that I’d heard and was on my mind, right at the time that a friend asked to become my roommate, several years ago.  And so it became the cause for hesitation and ambivalence.

Because what I’d heard was: don’t move in with your friends.  You don’t want your friends as roommates.  Just because you’re friends doesn’t mean you’ll live well together.  You’ll end up annoying each other in petty roommate ways and it will destroy your friendship.

I didn’t want to destroy my friendship.

I was terrified of that happening.

So I dragged my feet and thought about declining what ended up being a really, really, really good deal.

Here’s my experience: moving in with my friend didn’t destroy my friendship.  It made every night feel like a sleepover party.

As of the end of last month, I’ve done it again — moved in with another friend.  I was worried about it this time, too.

I guess that advice has really stuck in my mind.

I even saw someone giving the same advice this week.

You know what I realized, though?  Not once, ever, have I ever seen someone say, “Don’t move in with your romantic partner.  It will destroy your relationship.”

What I see, sometimes, instead, is talk of “when” is the “right time,” the right stage, the right passage of time before it makes sense for two romantic partners to move in together.  When.  Not if.  And certainly not “never.”

I’ve seen talk of moving in before getting married being potentially detrimental, but blanket generalizations of “never”?  Never seen it.

It’s accepted to warn people of the dangers of moving in with friends — yet also believe those dangers dissipate in the case of romance.

I feel lied to.


the superpower I didn’t know I had

The other day I was talking with a friend and someone else about this event that’ll be going on out in the desert this summer, and they let slip that a lot of people at that event like to walk around naked, since they’re “away from society’s rules” and whatever.

So I said I could never go to an event like that, then, because I really dislike seeing naked people.

And my friend looks at me and jokes, “You could just take off your glasses.”

Ah, yes.  My own personal censorship program.  Thanks.

Strategies of Defining QPPs

I’ve recently seen some posts in defense of queerplatonic and alterous again (sorry, didn’t save the urls), and it’s made me think some more about different strategies people use in queerplatonic apologetics — that is, in making the case for why words like queerplatonic are worthwhile to have.  I think of them as operating under two main modes.

(note that I dislike the choice of components for the word “queerplatonic” for various reasons, but that’s not the point of this post)

One of these modes, as I was saying, describes queerplatonic partnerships in terms of a romance without certain attributes associated with romance.  For example, lacking romantic feeling, or not based on romantic sentiment, or some other absence of something romantic.  In this mode, a qpp is not a friendship.  It may be a semi-romance, or not a romance, but the key element of this mode is that the emphasis on “NOT friendship.”

The other mode describes queerplatonic partnerships in terms of a friendship with certain attributes not associated with friendship.  For example, going on sensual dinner dates, sharing a bed, kissing, planning a day of celebration for the relationship, getting legally married, raising a child together, or the relationship otherwise being accorded more value, commitment, or importance than friendships are typically “allowed.”  A relationship doesn’t have to involve marriage or the like to be qp, but that’s a frequently cited example to demonstrate the depth of divergence from friendship norms.  To me, the concept of “queerplatonic” isn’t (or doesn’t need to be) bound to a specific relationship narrative or set of practices so much as a personal choice on behalf of the partnering individuals to demarcate their relationship as somehow distinct from their other friendships + from what they’ve been told a friendship should be.

The first mode stakes the relevance of “qpp” on the relationships it describes being “NOT friendship,” i.e. not “reducible” to “friends” or “best friends,” for which there are obviously preexisting terms.  In doing so, it typically involves a metric in which qpps, being mutually exclusive with friendship, are also ranked as “more” than friendship, necessitating that an upper limit boundary be placed on the intimacy/importance/commitment of friendship.

The second mode, on the other hand, would suggest that such an upper limit boundary is bullbutter.  If a qpp can be described — incompletely, but accurately — as friendship, then defining that exceptional friendship as queerplatonic proclaims a resistance to that arbitrary cap on what “friendship” can mean.  It says — that cap is fake, and here’s your living proof.  It says friendship is many-splendored and diverse, even in the face of relationship norms that would contest otherwise.

The first mode counters qpp-mockery by defining “friendship” as too inaccurate to contain qpps, which it accomplishes in turn by defining friendship as shallow.

The first mode counters qpp-mockery by highlighting a political/ideological difference between the labeling of “qp partners” and “best friends.”

A post brought to you by my impatience with what queerplatonic apologetics has become.

Communication Dance

In lighter news, here’s another story about me and my friends.

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AA: Ace/Non-Ace Relationship Ambiguity

[cw: sex, in specifics]

BD wrote in:

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tfw you’re combing your stats and you find someone you know referring to you in text as “a friend of mine.”

<3 <3 <3

in lighter news

Recently someone asked “Are you two dating?” because I was cuddling my new friend at the game table.

Friendship flirting

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while…

I’ve seen plenty of talk of friendship analogues for crushes, significant relationships, and even orientations, but you know what I haven’t seen any talk of?

Friendship flirting.

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