Most of us have an ex, or two, or twelve. Whatever the case may be, chances are not everyone from your past falls into this category. You went out a couple times, but were never really exclusive. You hooked up, but to even call it a friendship would be overstating things. You hung out everyday for a little while, but the exchange of bodily fluids was at an absolute minimum. These are the people (in my particular case, guys) who I put into the “almost” category.
They had the potential to be an ex, had the stars aligned and things turned out differently—but they didn’t. And now when you’re telling your friends about that time with the guy from the place you can accurately refer to him (or her) as an “almost.” Despite the obvious advantages in retelling stories since there is no longer that awkward pause where you try to explain the exact dynamics of your non-relationship, the simplicity of the word naturally leads to a simplicity of the emotions involved.
Much like calling a rejection a work of fate. It puts the whole experience in perspective. If he wasn’t really your boyfriend then you don’t really need to plague yourself with doubt about your oh-so-charming attributes when he doesn’t call. There is no breakup with an Almost, only a drifting out of your life. If he was so boring you’ve tried to block those hours out of your memory then you never have to admit to anyone that he was your boyfriend again. If your girlfriend went to parties without you and made out with random strangers, you would be understandably upset, but when your “almost” does it you can happily hope that at the end of the night they will come home to you sloshed and half-naked. You know, or not.
This restructuring of titles and pigeonholes opens up some new options for the future, too. Go ahead and go out with the guy that no one you’re related to or friends with should ever meet—he can be an Almost and you can get a good night out of it. Since an “almost” is a total absence of classification you can do what makes you happy and non-awkwardly introduce each other to people without confusion.
This is not to say that an “almost” can’t become a proper, exclusive, significant other since, as the name suggests, that person was almost something and could possibly still have the potential to be. But commitment is entirely at your discretion.
Since I am currently fairly occupied with being very busy and important, I may spare an evening sometime soon to go find myself a new “almost”—so much less work than a boyfriend …