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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I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists

I believe that I am a strong woman, but I also believe in a strong man.
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Beliefs are beliefs, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm all about girl power, but in today's world, it's getting shoved down our throats. Relax feminists, we're OK.

My inspiration actually came from a man (God forbid, a man has ideas these days). One afternoon my boyfriend was telling me about a discussion his class had regarding female sports and how TV stations air fewer female competitions than that of males. In a room where he and his other male classmate were completely outnumbered, he didn't have much say in the discussion.

Apparently, it was getting pretty heated in the room, and the women in the class were going on and on about how society is unfair to women in this aspect and that respect for the female population is shrinking relative to the male population.

If we're being frank here, it's a load of bull.

SEE ALSO: To The Women Who Hate Feminism

First of all, this is the 21st century. Women have never been more respected. Women have more rights in the United States than ever before. As far as sports go, TV stations are going to air the sports that get the most ratings. On a realistic level, how many women are turning on Sports Center in the middle of the day? Not enough for TV stations to make money. It's a business, not a boycott against female athletics.

Whatever happened to chivalry? Why is it so “old fashioned" to allow a man to do the dirty work or pay for meals? Feminists claim that this is a sign of disrespect, yet when a man offers to pick up the check or help fix a flat tire (aka being a gentleman), they become offended. It seems like a bit of a double standard to me. There is a distinct divide between both the mental and physical makeup of a male and female body. There is a reason for this. We are not equals. The male is made of more muscle mass, and the woman has a more efficient brain (I mean, I think that's pretty freaking awesome).

The male body is meant to endure more physical while the female is more delicate. So, quite frankly, at a certain point in life, there need to be restrictions on integrating the two. For example, during that same class discussion that I mentioned before, one of the young ladies in the room complained about how the NFL doesn't have female athletes. I mean, really? Can you imagine being tackled by a 220-pound linebacker? Of course not. Our bodies are different. It's not “inequality," it's just science.

And while I can understand the concern in regard to money and women making statistically less than men do, let's consider some historical facts. If we think about it, women branching out into the workforce is still relatively new in terms of history. Up until about the '80s or so, many women didn't work as much as they do now (no disrespect to the women that did work to provide for themselves and their families — you go ladies!). We are still climbing the charts in 2016.

Though there is still considered to be a glass ceiling for the working female, it's being shattered by the perseverance and strong mentality of women everywhere. So, let's stop blaming men and society for how we continue to “struggle" and praise the female gender for working hard to make a mark in today's workforce. We're doing a kick-ass job, let's stop the complaining.

I consider myself to be a very strong and independent female. But that doesn't mean that I feel the need to put down the opposite gender for every problem I endure. Not everything is a man's fault. Let's be realistic ladies, just as much as they are boneheads from time to time, we have the tendency to be a real pain in the tush.

It's a lot of give and take. We don't have to pretend we don't need our men every once in a while. It's OK to be vulnerable. Men and women are meant to complement one another—not to be equal or to over-power. The genders are meant to balance each other out. There's nothing wrong with it.

I am all for being a proud woman and having confidence in what I say and do. I believe in myself as a powerful female and human being. However, I don't believe that being a female entitles me to put down men and claim to be the “dominant" gender. There is no “dominant" gender. There's just men and women. Women and men. We coincide with each other, that's that. Time to embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: chrisjohnbeckett / Flickr

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Just Because I Am Quiet Does Not Mean I Am Weak

If you assume that loud is strong and quiet is weak, you're in for a rude awakening.

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Earlier this week I did an exercise with a few of my sorority sisters where we chose words to describe each other. One of the girls got to me and she said "powerful." At first, I was really confused. No one has ever used a word like that to describe me. People that have known me for a very long time might say "confident." I've even had people use the words "mysterious" or "intimidating," but never powerful.

She went on to explain that, while I'm not necessarily powerful in the sense of being physically strong or even bossy, but that my being a naturally quiet person doesn't make me weak. And after I thought about it for a second, I realized that she was completely right. I'm not weak. I don't let people walk all over me. I stand up for what I believe in. The older I get, the less afraid I am to be who I am.

I'm very thankful to have people in my life that understand that and see those kinds of things in my personality that I don't always notice about myself. But her statement also got me to wondering, how many other people see me and do think that my being quiet makes me weak? How many people see true introverts in their lives (I consider myself to be more of an ambivert) and think that they can be easily swayed or taken advantage of?

I am writing this article for those people. The people that believe that any girl that isn't always "loud" or "goofy" is somehow less than or has less of a personality. The people that think they can determine someone else's emotional strength based on how outgoing they are. The people that are convinced that someone who is quiet can't be a leader. The people that think that because I don't always have something to say that I'm scared to speak, or not confident. The people that never even take the time to get to know the more outgoing side of me because they label me from the beginning as "quiet."

You are wrong.

I am not weak. I am not a pushover. I am not a follower. My quietness doesn't mean that I am afraid to lead, or that I can't. I have seen and experienced things that some of you will never understand. I am not bored or uninterested. I am not stuck up.

So maybe I'm not always smiling. Maybe I seem a little intimidating or mysterious at first. I don't mean to seem rude or bored. Silence doesn't bother me. Sometimes, I just prefer to listen. It's a lot easier to get to know someone when you simply listen to what they're saying. It's okay to be a listener sometimes. Having a quiet nature is just a part of who I am. It is not all that I am.

I am also confident. I am a good listener, which makes me a great leader. I am funny in a way that you don't notice at first. I care about people. I stand up for what I believe is right. I am unashamed of who I am. I have a story to tell and I will not be ignored or interrupted. You cannot walk all over me.

I AM powerful, not in spite of my quietness, but because of it.

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