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.