Per as usual, I urge you to read the post which I am commenting on in its entirety .
I have a great deal of respect for Matt's opinion, but upon discussion with Matt I have come to personal conclusion about the "let's just be friends" situation. At great personal risk, I will extol what I believe to be the situation with the "let's just be friends" ending of relationships, something I have been on both the imparting and receiving ends of.
Relationships are menacing and messy beasts, even in the most casual form, wrought with such well known hazards as emotions. Matt points out several situations in which the "let's just be friends" (hear after referred to as LJBF) is utilized by a selfish party as a means to place the other person on the back burner while he or she indulges in their hedonistic desires with whatever brand of pond scum seems most available at the moment. Frankly, I do not wish to deal with this group, as I have never faced this situation and find this to be the work of a tricky brand of weasel, from whose extinction society as a whole would undoubtedly benefit.
The second group is what I do wish to deal with here. As I mentioned previously, relationships are a very tricky species. Frequently you find yourself with what you percieve to be a fire with a water soaked log on it, smoke and steam hissing out of what appears to be a smoldering and dying fire-- do you stick your hand in and try to flip the log around? No- this seems foolish the other side could be covered with red hot coals ready to give you a third degree burn. Like asking what is in sausage or oysters, you are better off not knowing.
LJBF is not a synopsis of the situation, as some people mistakenly believe, but rather of proposal of what to do now. I once dated a girl who was constantly in the practice of discussing our relationship and my personality in excrutiating detail. Although I had a great fondness for her and a strong hope for the relationship, this very behavior contributed heavily to the eventual bad ending of our association- resulting in a mutual anomisity. As I said- people rarely enjoy being picked apart and analyzed unless it is done in a positive light and relationships are not very different (See sausage metaphor), you are better off not discussing what made it work or fail in too great a detail.
LJBF generally occurs at a stage when a party has already made up their mind that they are in the smoldering log situation. Despite the initial promise of a crackling and cozy fire, things are not working out as they had hoped and it is now time for them to throw another log on the romantic fire-- they would like you to stay on as a friend to see if things don't pan out in a different aspect (as opposed to getting a welding glove, grabbing you quickly and running through the kitchen to an open back door where they tose you in the deep snow and then douse you with a bucket of tap water, then beat you with a metal poker to ensure no hot coals remain). What I view the LJBF situation as is a proposal. There is no analysis of the past situation, because frankly that would be very dangerous. Much like a general sending an emissary to the opposing side's field marshall proposing a mutual truce, you offer a chance to end the situation now and return to your respective homes with the situation frozen as is. You are not analyzing which mortar blast made you decide that perhaps you no longer wished to fight- but rather suggesting you both live to fight another day. You are saying- "Listen, the best thing in this situation is that I propose we become friends." Personally, I believe this can be a very positive endeavor. I have become friends with one or two people with whom I was romantically involved and I consider the whole experience to be a natural and zesty enterprise, as Russell would say "adding value" to my life and hopefully theirs.