You’ve made it to college and you meet a guy, he’s pretty cool, but neither has officially earned the title of “bro” yet. You’re testing the water, making sure that everything about this dude checks out. So far, he doesn’t have a collection of knitting supplies, Angry Birds stuffed animals, or play minecraft. In general, you two have fun and will hang out in the future, “fo sho.”
1. You unofficially decide to be “bros.”
You’ve moved on from lunch dates and now you’re really getting to know this guy. You play football together, talk about all the times you’ve got your “dick wet,” and above all, you pass out on his couch after a night of heavy drinking, and he’s totally cool with it. And on top of that, you spend the entire next day together, talking about how drunk you both were and how you were both unbeatable at pong, even though that’s not true. This is the start of a brand new world, and you and your new “bro” are taking it head on, one “no homo” at a time.
2. You and your bro become assholes to literally everyone around you.
Whether it’s stealing skateboards like a double-0 agent or kicking holes in walls of a random party you just showed up to, you’ve done a lot of it. And the best part about it is, your friendship benefits while taxing the emotions of the faceless people around you. It’s you two against the world and you’ll be damned if you can’t “smash brews with your bro tonight.” Going on these dates makes you hopeful for a call tomorrow, so the fun may resume.
3. You go on crazy adventures as bros.
Time goes on and you find yourself stranded on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, trying to flag down a boat to take you to the mainland, hoping that the car you half-abandoned is still where you left it. Or you visit a cousin of yours together, and you get so high with him you think you’ve got a grape stuck in your lung and you need to go to the hospital. These situations may seem random but you put yourself into them, hoping that once you make it out afterwards, you two have a good story to tell everyone back home. The bro inside of both of you is coming out, and so is your inner bromance.
4. You start complimenting your bro on his physique and appearance.
You’ll hear yourself say things like, “Bro, when you were doing those skull crushers in the gym yesterday, you totally had some sweet little muscles on the back of your arm that totally compliment the definition of your tris.” Furthermore, you get excited when you do bicep curls. Outside of the gym, don’t be surprised when you suggest that your bro get a Mohawk. Women usually get to a man’s heart through his jeans, but other men can get there through his home-made tank top.
5. Being naked in front of your bro becomes acceptable.
The only time a bro is allowed to get naked in the presence of other bros (aside from being sh-tfaced) is in the locker room, which becomes especially true the older you get. But now, the locker room extends into social hour on a Friday night. Stopping in between a hook-up session with a sorority girl, butt naked, to ask your bro for a condom becomes the natural order of things. He doesn’t mind the elephant in the room because he knows your elephant needs a regular sized condom. And he doesn’t mind the open relationship.
6. Your bro starts making plans for your future together.
You don’t know it yet, but you’re planning your wedding right now. Plans are to go to open a bar in Costa Rica, write a book together, or maybe just buy a dual-ownership dog someday. Consider it your life after your honeymoon. You’ve been bros for two years and he thinks you’ve at least got two more in it together. You begin to think about your own future, though, and if your bro can get you there. A car is only good if it can get you from point A to point B. So what if your bro can’t get you to point B?
7. Things start to get weird, and you and your bro get into silent fights.
The relationship is starts becoming… odd. Maybe you’ve realized that you’re in a bromance, maybe you haven’t, but you do realize you and your bro don’t have certain things in common. You’ve got your own plans and your bro’s got his. Something’s happened. You both know what it is but neither one of you will bring it up. Maybe you’ve grown up and he hasn’t? Maybe you’ve decided that family is important and he thinks otherwise? Whatever the case may be, you have second thoughts about your bro.
8. You divorce your bro.
Silent fights lead to extended periods of not talking to one another. Sometimes, in class or in the gym, you wonder if your bro still has those little muscles on his tricep or if he still wants a dog. You’re sad, but alright because you can do what you want now. You’ve matured. You think that you’ve moved on to better things and he’s still at the same place. Slowly, the extended periods of silence become permanent periods of no communication at all.
9. You decide it’s time to walk away, bro.
Looking back, you were an asshole to nice people. You did drugs and things that you didn’t want to do. Your life went in a direction you didn’t want it to go in. So you walk away. It was fun while it lasted, and maybe you miss some of the things you did, but you can’t be the bro you once were. You’ll write your bro a letter someday, telling him how sorry you were for everything, that things didn’t work out, but not now. Because you do actually care about him still, but in a different, more distant way. Your bro was what you needed then, but not anymore. It’s time to move on.
This post was originally published on Thought Catalog.