Can Girls And Guys Be 'Just Friends?'

Can Girls And Guys Be 'Just Friends?'

I love my guy friends, but I'm not in love with them.
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The age old question: can girls and guys be friends without ending up having feelings for each other? Can they really just share a purely platonic friendship? Society has a fascination with mixed-gender friendships that arises from the social stigma that boys and girls cannot be close friends without having some type of romantic tension between them. Movies, television shows and romance novels parallel this notion that spending a significant amount of time with an individual of the opposite sex will manifest in romantic feelings towards them. Taking the time to analyze these notions can illustrate just how inaccurate these ideas are.

First and foremost, the principle that girls and guys cannot be purely platonic friends is based entirely on heteronormative concepts. It makes the assumption both people in the friendship are heterosexual and will "consequently" be attracted to each other. Are individuals in the LGBTQ community immune to this phenomena? If this is the case, then homosexual people can only be friends with the gender they are not attracted to. What about people that are bisexual? This argument then claims these individuals can have no close friendships that are entirely platonic.

Evidently, the social stigma surrounding boy-girl friendships is oversimplified; it offers complete disregard for other sexualities and is thus disproven by this fact. So, while boy-girl friendships at times may result in something more, there's no definitive rule that these relationships cannot be purely platonic.

Throughout my life, I've always had one or two close male friends. It offers a nice balance between my group of girl friends, and having guy friends is a different kind of relationship that I really cherish. This means I am constantly subjected to the remarks "Are you two dating yet?" and "You guys like each other, just admit it!" These may be amusing at first, but having to defend your friendship on a daily basis gets old, quickly. On top of that, you then get called out for being "So defensive."

Essentially, any response or reaction you elicit to such remark ends in you somehow having feelings for your guy friend. It's frustrating to have other people tell you how you feel about your own relationships. It can even cause strain on such friendships when your peers constantly tell you that you guys "have to" like each other.

It becomes awkward at times to hangout with a group of people together, when you know they are constantly overanalyzing each interaction with you and your friend in the hopes of it being something more. A sincere move such as offering me a jacket when I'm cold or a beer when I run out is met with "Oh my gosh... he loves you. That's a husband move right there." Any time a significant other is involved, they despise the respective best friend, or at the very least are jealous of the close nature of the friendship. People don't realize what the "appropriate" dynamic between a girl-guy friendship is unless they experience it firsthand, because media exposure defines what is and is not culturally appropriate.

I genuinely believe everyone should have friends of different genders. Male friendships and female friendships have been proven to be inherently different. Women focus on thoughts and feelings, and men are more group-oriented. Being close friends with a girl allows a guy to have an outlet to share feelings and personal reflections, something they may not get with "the guys." Men confide in women, and the emotional rewards they reap lead to higher levels of self-esteem and personal growth.

Being friends with men is highly beneficial for women, too. Hanging out with my guy friends is always more lighthearted, casual and care-free. They're protective--like older brothers--and are way better at keeping secrets than any of the girls I know. Most importantly, they give me insight into how other guys think.

I love having guy friends.

At the end of the day, a friend is a friend. Someone who you can call when you're upset, hang out with when you're bored, and trust with your secrets. We can hangout and do crazy things, or sit in silence comfortably and just enjoy each other's presence. Gender should not have any effect on friendship.

I love my guy friends, but I'm not in love with them.

You can have a close relationship with a friend of the opposite gender, and have them just be your person. No romance, no strings attached.

Just friends.

Cover Image Credit: tumblr.com

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Being A Lesbian Sucks

To women who say they wish they were a lesbian; you don't.

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My girlfriend is not a man, obviously so because she is my girlfriend, emphasis on girl. Society has been conditioned with men holding the power. In a world dominated by men being a lesbian has more problems than just homophobia.

There is an automatic assumption that because we are not with a man we are single. Without the dominating presence of a man other men feel safe to come on to women in lesbian relationships, whether they know we are together or not. We aren't always in a safe situation to say we are together so if he doesn't pick up on the social cues it only gives us two options: politely laugh and attempt to remove ourselves from the situation or say we aren't interested. Both options are equal in undesirability and saying we are uninterested can lead to them just pushing harder. The boyfriend card usually works, but lying about our relationship makes us feel terrible.

The fetishizing of lesbian couples and threesomes are a problem because of media and porn. They hyper-sexualize lesbian relationships until they are nothing but sex. From this the winning question, "Do you want to have a threesome?" With the assumption both or one woman in the relationship is a lesbian and not bisexual, pansexual, or etc. A threesome with a man is completely out of the question. The thing about lesbians is that we like women not men, a threesome with a man goes against our identity as a lesbian and makes no sense. And even if both women are bisexual a normal man wouldn't walk up to a straight couple and pop the question of a threesome. So don't do it to us.

We also find ourselves being disrespected as a customer in a professional setting. Men in job positions belittle women who are at the mechanic, the lawyer, the doctors offices, and the bank, for just a few examples. They assume we don't know anything and are ignorant, so they treat us with no respect. They attempt to manipulate us for this and that to achieve their own personal gain. Without a man lesbian couples are even more subject to this because we don't get any respect. A man will be immediately respected and in a healthy relationship he can establish a power balance with his woman partner to the person in charge. Lesbians, (and other single women) don't have these short cuts. We have to establish ourselves then and there for having worth and show we deserve to be treated like full grown adults. Hopefully we also have the knowledge to not suffer from manipulation.

The difference in skill sets is something that can be a problem for everyone in this sexist society. We associate pink with girls and boys with blue. Girls with cooking and guys with tools. Most of us were taught different things and learned different skill sets. Most women I know, including me, don't know how to change a tire. How many young men go off to college having never done laundry in their life? With lesbians we usually don't know an important skill that was specifically taught to men. We might not know cars, or tools, or how to tile a floor. We are set back in our development as fully functional people in a unit. We lack key skill sets that were predetermined for men, unlike straight couples where there is usually a balance of skill sets.

The problems that arise from lesbian relationships are problems associated with a male dominating society and the gender division we face along with it. To abolish these we have to achieve equality and work on teaching the generations to follow that women are just as good as men. It's tough being a woman and a lesbian even harder.

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