A FEW years ago, there was an essay which went viral online via email messages and social networking sites such as errr… Friendster and Multiply. It's titled "The Meantime Girl."

You have probably read it online, and if you did finish it to the end of the piece, you were probably somebody who was able to relate to it.

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For those who don't get what I'm saying, here's a paragraph from the piece:

"She's not one of the guys, not a tomboy, but you don't look at her as a 'real' woman, either. She's not bitchy enough, moody enough, or sexy enough to be seen in the light. She's too laid back; too easily amused by the same things your male buddies are amused by. She's too understanding, too comfortable. Doesn't make you feel nervous or excited the way a 'real' woman does. But she's cool, nice and funny, and attractive enough that when you're lonely and need intimate female companionship, she’ll do just fine." (Taken from http://www.angelfire.com/stars5/themeantimegirl/.)

I was, am, and will forever be a meantime girl. Unabashed, no apologies, no regrets. It was coincidence or fate that made me one.

In high school, I was in a section for more than three years, with 24 guys and just 5 other girls. What choice did I really have?

Yes, I did cry a couple of time because who would really want to be around loud, overbearing, smart ass, adolescent guys all the time, right?

But I eventually embraced the idea and thus began the transformation of Ria into the meantime girl. I was the girl the guys turned to help them out in the courting a girl.

I was the one who aligned the stars so my guys could be with the girl they picked. I wrote and delivered love letters, helped think of flowers and gifts, and other stuff that would make the girls happy.

And when I did my job well, I would be abandoned for the girl and her friends. I would be left alone to do the same job for another guy. But when things did go wrong, I'd still be the one they could depend on to finish their school tasks or correct the grammar of their papers or improve their projects, or maybe to win the heart of another girl.

If you are a meantime girl, or a guy's girl, a guy's best girl, listen to (or rather, read) me carefully, itaga mo ito sa bato, iukit mo sa iyong isipan – Hindi ito magbabago!

Ten years after high school graduation, I am still the meantime girl. I am still the girl the guys forget to greet, text, or ask about when they have their lives to live. But I am still also the girl they call, text, or chat with when their lives get boring or when their relationships get too confusing or complicated.

I am still the girl they call to have a drink with, do things with, talk things about.

But I am done with getting sad, feeling abandoned and insecure. I have embraced it.

It's who I am. It is who you are. Trust me. It's futile to go on wishing things were different, that they'd still be sweet, caring, and available for you even when they have a relationship with another girl. You are just the friend.

If your experience is different than mine, you, my friend, are the lucky exception. Guys don't mean to hurt you. They're just that way. Learn to accept it. Do not get insecure; do not compare yourself with the girlfriend. Not even when she's a total b*tch who doesn't deserve your precious friend.

Yes, he is just your friend. And you, you will probably be always just a friend. Things like these rarely change. You see, most guys are programmed to categorize girls into "just friends" and "girlfriends." Ganun talaga sila.

Imagine this: I slept in a room with four drunk guys and nothing happened, not one even dared or attempted to kiss me. Not even when they were too drunk to remember where we were because I, and you Ms. Meantime Girl, will always be just a friend to these guys. Just half a notch different from being a sister.

So stop getting hurt. Stop the pity party. Accept your role in his life. If you do it well, prepare yourself for a lifetime friendship.

If you don't want to be a guy's friend or meantime girl, do not be one.

As my friend said, do not be a friend if you don't want to be "just a friend." Do not be too kind. Do not be always available.

Do not be just one SMS away. Do not come rescuing him when he feels blah and sad. Do not console him when his b*tch girl breaks his heart. Do not baby him. Stop yourself!

Otherwise, embrace your status, be the meantime girl. Do not get hurt. Do not get brokenhearted when he sees another girl whom he will waste his time with while you sit in a corner asking yourself why he didn't notice your new haircut, why he doesn't notice that you have been in love with him all these time.

For more doses of Ria, visit Life With Ria at http://riajose.wordpress.com.