Friends don’t ghost. Everyone in a romantic relationship is essentially living in a constant state of will-they-or-won’t-they-ghost-me? fear. There are never any guarantees that your significant other won’t wake up one day and split. But that isn’t the case with friends. Real friends don’t ghost, and there’s a lot of comfort in that simple reality. There’s never any sexual tension.
Maybe you drunkenly made out one night in college, but your relationship with your bestie is otherwise sex free. When you’re not at all responsible for meeting someone’s sexual needs, hanging out is a lot less complicated. You don’t have to sit there wondering if and when they’re going to make a move, if you’re missing some kind of cue that they’re desperate to get in the bedroom, or if you’ll disappoint them by deferring sex until morning because you really are that tired. You can stuff your faces without thinking about what you’ll look like naked. Since it doesn’t matter whether or not you look or feel sexy, you can feast with total abandon whenever you eat with friends. Who cares if that extra order of fries makes you feel gross, or that ice cream sundae was totally unnecessary? Just unbutton your pants on the ride home and bask in your bloated glory.
You can watch Netflix together and actually chill. When your bestie texts “Netflix and chill?” it’s not a euphemism. They actually want you to come over so you can sit around watching Friends or Master of None and be lazy with them. There’s never any underlying subtext for you to uncode within their messages. Plus, you don’t have to worry that they’ll hit pause and feel you up right as the plot’s heating up.
Boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, but a friend is always there. Even if a friend starts dating someone seriously and is suddenly a lot less available to hang out because they’re always with their boyfriend or girlfriend, most romantic relationships eventually end. So you can count on your friend to eventually reestablish their place in your life as a constant ally and go-to plus-one. It might take a day or so for them to mend their broken heart post inevitable break-up, but the two of you will revert back to your old ways in no time. You can rely on each other for social media love without seeming cheesy. A true friend will “like” every single thing you post, and also comment with an appropriately enthusiastic message (e.g. “OMG you’re fucking gorgeous I love u so much!!!,” or “#canibeyou”). You don’t have to wonder if other people will think it’s corny of you to tag them in anything, or that your back-and-forth is annoying. Friendship isn’t at all lame like romantic love can be. You can be your weirdest self without stressing that they might break up with you. Your best friends all accept you as is, weirdness and all. When you’re together, you don’t have to worry that your behavior’s secretly being catalogued and divided into some mental pros-and-cons chart that may or may not lead to your eventual breakup if the scale tips too much the wrong way. So break out into dance spontaneously and push the envelope with inappropriate jokes all you want. They’re not sitting there judging, or wondering how their mom or dad might respond to your antics. You never ever have to dress up for each other. Maybe it’s been a day or two since you last showered, or your sweats haven’t been washed in a week or so. Doesn’t matter. You can show up to a friend’s house in any state of shabbiness, wearing whatever the hell you want. They’ll take you at your smelliest, sneeziest, and least fashionable. And that’s a beautiful thing. There’s never any financial tension. You never have to guess if they’ll pick up the whole check, or who’s paying for what when you go out with a friend. You splitsies pretty much everything, no questions asked. Financial transactions between friends aren’t tainted by gender stereotypes or societal conditioning. For the most part, they’re wonderfully plain and simple. You can love them for who they are without worrying that your kids will inherit their flaws. Since you’re not going to make babies with your friends, you can love them for exactly who they are, flaws and all. You don’t have to pretend that you’re not at all worried that your kids might inherit their weird left toe, or their learning disability. When you don’t have to think twice about your gene pools merging, another’s person’s quirks are especially loveable.