Tuesday, August 15

Third Parties

There are certain groups of people who are, romantically speaking, off limits to those currently single. Some are obvious, like those already in a relationship (unless, of course, you're SRK or Rani), those that are too young or too old, or those that just plain aren't interested in you back.

There are less obvious groups as well though. Like those not compatible in a more practical sense (due to religion, culture or family), or those that will bring you nothing but trouble and grief no matter how attractive they are on paper. The group I want to talk about here, however, I like to call Third Parties.

This is that group of people who, in theory, have nothing to do with these matters (unlike, say, family who are rather more legitimate) but in practice actually have quite a big influence on any decision you may make. I know it's a bit of a reach but maybe an (admittedly contrived) example will help demonstrate what I mean here:

  • Boy and Girl are good friends already.
  • Girl likes Boy.
  • Girl makes her feelings clear to Boy.
  • Boy doesn't like Girl in that way and tells her so.
  • Boy and Girl remain good friends.
  • Boy, however, does like Girl's Sister. Oh yes.
  • However Boy cannot do anything 'cos he doesn't want to hurt the feelings of Girl.
Where Girl is the Third Party in this case. Now Girl could be perfectly mature and adult enough to wish nothing but happiness on Boy and her Sister. Or Girl could be over Boy (like, hello, he was SO last week) and have already found someone else to obsess on. However, unless this is made explicit, Boy has no way of knowing and being the considerate soul he is will carry on protecting Girl.

Extremely Dawsonesque and unrealistic right... or is it? I think people avoid forming relationships based on these Third Parties all the time. A slightly different example is how some guys will never move in on a girl whom their best mate has already made clear he's interested in. Love triangles are sticky enough without the risk of hurting someone you consider to be your good friend too. I think it happens more often than we realise, but is just a bit too subtle to see each time it does.

It doesn't even have to involve geometry: the third party might not even like the other guy or girl or see you in that way, but if they're involved in your life enough that particular relationship could be a problem for them anyway. Close friends hold these implicit "veto rights" over each other pretty often I think.

So, ok, they do exist. But is this a reasonable situation to be in? Some may argue that making someone feel bad for a few days is a small price to pay for something that may prove to be much greater in the long term. And then if they're a real friend it shouldn't matter anyway. And if we all always allowed others to dictate who we like and who we don't we'd quite probably never get anywhere, so something has to give eventually. On the other hand, for some, a good known friendship is much more important than a potential love. So bros over hoes for the guys and vice versa for the girls.

I guess it all depends what's on stake at the time - whether the friendship etc really does mean that much and whether there really is something else there worth risking it for. However you look at it, and whether it's something that concerns you on a personal level at all, I suppose it's just one more aspect of relationships that make them so blummin' interesting.