When you're breaking up with someone, for pity's sake just break up with them. To grind someone's heart into powder and then want to "stay friends" is cruel and shows you have no capability of feeling for anyone but yourself.
I have a friend who was just walked out on by her husband of 10 years, who told her he never loved her. Then he had the incredible assholiness to say, "You're my best friend." Well, I would hate to see how he treats his worst enemy. This is callousness to the nth degree.
Once I had my heart broken by someone who insisted after the breakup we should stay friends. All that did was prove he didn't understand anything about what it feels like to love someone wholeheartedly, and have that person tell you he doesn't love you. We'd been together over two years. I threw his offer of friendship back in his face, just as hard as I could. (Later I tore up every picture I had of him, sprinkled the bits into the toilet, peed on them, and flushed. It was very therapeutic.)
Now both of these examples are men dumping women, but it's not limited to that. Women will use this same line when dumping men, same-gender couples use it too. Obviously the people mouthing that garbage have never had it used on them. It doesn't ease the breakup, which is what I hope they're trying to do. What it does is rub salt into the fresh wound. What it translates into is "I don't love you, but I want to hang around so you can still see what you can never have."
This isn't friendship, and I hope anyone who gets this line handed to them gives a piece of their mind rather than accepting the 'friendship.' I can think of a couple obvious replies:
"No, we can't."
"My friends treat me much better than this."
Anyone care to comment with their own reply to that line?