Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association….characteristics include affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. – Wikipedia

How many people have had this happen to them: You get involved with someone you like, you’re intimate, you go out, you text/talk on the phone, you feel a connection and you’re thinking and acting like you’re an item, but somewhere down the line your partner blurts out, “This isn’t a relationship. We’re just friends.”

This could happen right from the start, they may casually spit out that they’re not looking for a relationship, or it may pop up after you’ve been intimate and you’ve already started thinking you were a couple.  There’s nothing particularly wrong with having a booty call, as long as you’re both on the same page, but some people can’t do booty calls. They just aren’t wired that way and if you’re the type that wants a relationship, but you’re willing to just accept what they give you, while hoping for more, then you’ve got a really big problem on your hands.

You Don’t Take Your Booty Call Out To Dinner

My girls and I were having brunch one Sunday and my friend Isabel asked, “Who was that guy I saw you having dinner with last Friday?” A big smile came on my other friends face as she said, “That’s Alex. We’re not going out. We’re just having sex.”

“Oh honey,” Isabel said. “You don’t go on a dinner date with your booty call.” We were all in hysterics and it was starting to feel a lot like an episode of Sex and the City and once we stopped laughing we debated the topic of booty calls and realized Isabel had a really valid point.

She explained that a booty call is just that – it’s not a relationship, it’s all about sex and nothing more.  You’re not romantic partners and you’re not friends.  You’re two people that both fully agree that you want nothing more than a physical relationship. There are no feelings involved. You don’t plan your life around your booty call. You don’t plan a future together. You don’t give birthday gifts, you don’t lend your booty call money, or talk about your goals. You don’t hold hands, go out on dates, or act like you’re in a relationship.  In order to maintain your booty call you keep it simple and you don’t blur the lines.

You Don’t Sleep With Your Friends

I have plenty of friends both male and female that are esthetically pleasing, but I don’t want to have sex with any of them.  With all of my friends there is a basic feeling of mutual trust, reciprocity, kindness, support, empathy, and a great desire to spend time together, where we can be ourselves and have fun. We buy each other gifts and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. We build each other up and make each other laugh. Friendships are supposed to be positive and lift us up.

Most relationships start out as friendships, as both parties get to know each other, but eventually, it leads to a full-fledged relationship, or it ends. They aren’t supposed to start and end somewhere in between.

When you get involved with shady people they like to live in Ambiguity Land. They like to blur the lines. They like to take advantage of all that you have to offer, while offering you nothing in return.  A lot of people fully agree to enter into a relationship, that looks a lot like a relationship, yet isn’t a relationship, with the hope that it will grow into something more in time. When you accept a relationship all on someone else’s terms, don’t expect that to change and suddenly be on your terms. Even if you threaten to walk away, things may change briefly, but you can rest assured that things will very quickly go back to the way they were before.

Get Your Free Pass to Disrespectfulville

Once you’ve been placed in the, I like you enough to sleep with you and take advantage of you, but not enough to legitimately date you, category don’t ever expect to be upgraded to girlfriend/boyfriend status. You’re not getting that promotion now, or in the future. When you accept that kind of agreement, that tells the Shady’s of this world that you don’t respect yourself enough to demand better treatment. Only a shady person would enter into a  relationship knowing that you want and expect more, while fully knowing that they will not deliver. Someone with integrity would be straight up with you and concerned that your feelings don’t get hurt.

People that don’ t care about you, or respect you, have no problems standing you up, or taking from you.  When you accept less, when you really want more, it gives the other person a license to be disrespectful.

“Oh I missed your birthday? I know you got me a nice leather jacket for my Birthday but – well we’re just friends, so it doesn’t matter that I didn’t get you anything.” Wait. What?  “What’s that? I stood you up. Well you know how it is. I met this other girl. You and I are just friends anyway.” Oh no you didn’t!

What about friends with benefits Sav? That’s another term for a booty call and a Hollywood movie. In the movie starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, they both wanted more than a booty call, they were both just too scared and damaged from past relationships to dive into one – they eventually ended up together – but again that’s Hollywood not reality.

The point is, if my friend buys me a Birthday gift, you better believe I’m getting them a Birthday gift. Friendship is about reciprocity. Friends don’t look to use you, and they are not inconsiderate. Even with booty calls there is a certain level of trust and respect. So if your friends and your booty call treat you better than your part-time boy/girlfriend then you have to realize that you are not with someone that truly cares about you.

The truth is your McShady wants you somewhere in relationship-no-man’s-land, because if you’re good with just being a booty call and not caring – they don’t get the supply they’re after. They’re not getting your love, your affection, or your resources. Let’s be really honest here – most of us have been conditioned to share our resources with our romantic partners, more so than with anyone else. Users know this. Sure if your brother asks you for $100 you’d lend it to him, but you’d expect it back. You’d do the same with your friends and again you’d be sure to get it back, and not want to make a habit out of it, but with someone that you have romantic feelings for – that $100 leaves your fingertips a heck of a lot easier and often you have no expectation of ever getting it back.

Mr or Mrs McShady wants you in that little space where they know you’re hoping for more and you’re willing to overlook a lot of bad  behavior to get it. It’s there where they are so willing to oblige your desire for more, because this is where they get the most out of you. That’s why you’ll get the mixed messages and why you only hear, “But we’re just friends,” when you object to their behavior, or you ask something of them.

Never Be Complicit in Any Activity that Erodes Your Self-Esteem

There is nothing, save child birth and a dying tooth nerve, that is more painful than unrequited love.  When you love someone and you want to give them your all and they gladly take what’s on offer, but give little in return, that’s a recipe for heart break. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, this will compound the belief that you aren’t worthy of love and that you just aren’t good enough.

Some people want someone so badly that they are willing to take them at any cost. Knowing that they want you, but not enough to officially declare it, will slowly eat at you from the inside. The careless way they disregard your feelings will be like daggers in your heart. The inconsiderate way they go on about their business, as if you are not even a consideration will gnaw on you. The very word “friend” will grate on your last nerve and it will feel like you’ve been stabbed in the heart every time they say it. Never give someone you can’t trust the keys to your emotions.

There is no one on this planet that is worth sacrificing your self-esteem over. Sometimes we may think this is a better alternative than loneliness, or we may be feeling really vulnerable, or we may just want to have someone love us, but none of these reasons are an acceptable enough excuse to settle for less than you deserve, or allow yourself to be used. The cost to your self-esteem is far greater than a roll in the hay with someone that can’t make up their mind about you.

When you’re involved with someone, who acts like they’re in a relationship, when they want something from you and then acts single, when it suits their purpose, you have to walk away. If they don’t consistently and purposefully add value to your life, but instead cause you pain, then they are not meant for you. And you have to be brave enough and care enough about yourself to stop the madness.

If you want a relationship then say you want a relationship upfront. It will save you both a lot of time and a lot of heartache down the road and it puts an end to any ambiguity. When everyone’s cards are on the table, there is no room for misunderstandings. Relationships aren’t 50/50, or 10/90 they’re 100/100 and either you’re both all in, or your both all out. Never settle for less.

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Written by Savannah Grey

Savannah Grey is a Freelance Writer, a Hypnotherapist, Consultant, Sports Fanatic, and Philosopher and has a degree in Psychology. She is the founder of www.esteemology.com, a website dedicated to educating and healing survivors of abusive relationships.