This relationship question is as old as relationships themselves: can girls and guys really be friends? There are strong opinions on this from both men and women. Lots of people vehemently claim that men and women can be purely platonic friends, but many aren’t so sure.
Many people believe that cross gender friendships must harbor unrequited love somewhere, especially if one of the parties finds the other physically attractive.
Others feel that people are not that deep– a friend is a friend, and gender is irrelevant. Like anything to do with relationships, the truth of the matter depends on the friendship in question and the people in it. [Read: Opposite sex friendships – 24 rules, boundaries and where we go wrong]
So, can girls and guys be friends? The short answer is yes, but there is no denying that the situation can get dicey.
Without clear communication, there is a lot of room for people to get hurt. For example, one party may misinterpret the other’s intentions and be disappointed when the relationship doesn’t turn into something romantic.
The friendship will not work if the two parties want different things out of the relationship. [Read: How to stay friends with someone you love without losing your mind]
Guys and girls can be friends, as long as everyone is on the same page. Read on for tips on how to make sure your friendships with the opposite sex work.
If you want to be someone’s friend, that’s great. If you want to date them and/or sleep with them, that’s fine too, but you need to make your feelings known.
Telepathy is not real and if you act friendly, don’t be surprised when you are treated like a friend.
The so-called “friend zone” is not a real thing. A person who “friend zones” you is just a person who doesn’t want the same kind of relationship that you do.
Besides, a friendship is not supposed to be a punishment. If you view being someone’s friend as a consolation prize, then you are a pretty terrible friend! [Read: 25 ways to avoid the friend zone and build sexual tension from the very start]
They get a bad rap, but relationship labels can be very useful in avoiding hurt feelings in situations like these.
Luckily, confirming that you are “just friends” with someone isn’t as serious as the “what are we” talks of romantic relationships. If the friendship is going in the right direction, it may not be necessary at all. [Read: How to be just friends with a guy when he wants more]
But if you feel that the lines are getting blurred, just enforce that you want to be good friends with this person. If they’re really your friend, they will be happy to hear it!
A good, platonic friend of the opposite sex should be able to hang out with you and your partner without issue. If they are really your friend, they will try to be friends with your partner too– or at least be nice.
However, when it comes to guys and girls being just friends, you should consider it a red flag if your “friend” acts weird around your partner. The same goes for your partner–if they are not usually jealous but takes a dislike to your friend of the opposite sex, you should take notice. Often the people we love can pick up on things that we miss.
It’s normal to have sexual tension with people you find attractive, even your platonic friends. We’re only human, after all. While there isn’t anything inherently bad about sexual tension, it’s something that you should be aware of and keep a close eye on.
When people get in trouble is when they deny being sexually attracted to someone, and continue to carry on with them as if the relationship was platonic. You could wind up in a situation where you are tempted to act on your impulses.
There is no shame in taking a break from a relationship because the sexual tension is too intense– in fact, it shows a lot of self-control and maturity. [Read: How to stay friends after a kiss and decide the way forward]
When it comes to knowing if guys and girls can be just friends, you need to remember that boundaries are different for everyone, but there is one golden rule: if you wouldn’t do it with a friend of the same sex, don’t do it with a friend of the opposite sex.
Do you hold hands with your bros? Do you sit on your female friend’s lap? If the answer is no, then don’t do it with your friend of the opposite sex.
There are variations on this theme, of course. Many women go to nude spas with their female friends, but would be horrified for their male friend to see them naked. Men might discuss things with other men that they would never dream of talking about in front of a woman.
Whatever your boundaries are, just be sure to stick to them and to be wary of any “friend” that doesn’t want you to. [Read: What do guys think of their female friends? 17 honest secrets revealed]
Try as you might, one of you might develop a crush on the other. Unfortunately, these feelings are the death knell of a platonic relationship.
The reality is that you cannot have a platonic relationship with someone who wants more from you. The power balance of the relationship is too skewed– the person who wanted more will feel rejected *or “friend zoned”* and might even lash out at the other person for not giving them what they want.
It’s not very friendly behavior. In addition, the person who wanted the platonic relationship will feel lied to, led on, and tricked. They wanted a friend, and instead got an angry suitor.
It is true that guys and girls can just be friends, but if one of you develops a crush, it’s time to call off the friendship. If you do it right, you may be able to rekindle it after some time has passed. [Read: 23 ways to not fall in love with someone who will end up hurting you]
As stated above, get your partner’s input on how they feel about your opposite sex friends. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there are two reasons to do this.
The first is to find out if you have a jealous, unreasonable partner.
If you find that your partner is constantly grilling you about your friends of the opposite sex, your coworkers, and even family members–the problem is not your friends of the opposite sex. Your problem is that your partner is controlling and jealous, and you should dump them.
The second reason to ask your partner about your friends of the opposite sex is to genuinely get their opinion.
Your partner doesn’t need to love all of your friends, but they should at least know why you like hanging out with them. If your partner suspects that your “friend” is looking for more, they may open your eyes to a situation you are not seeing.
They don’t have to adore your friends of the opposite sex, but they should trust them– and you.
There is an idea, proliferated by romance novels and rom-com movies, that guys and girls can’t be friends, and a person seeking a platonic friendship can be “won over” over time.
It suggests a sort of dating loophole where a person who wants a relationship just pretends to be a friend and sooner or later, the relationship will morph into the one they want it to be! [Read: Are we just friends or is he interested? 16 signs to know for sure]
While it is true that some romances do start as friendships, there is more fantasy than reality to those stories.
The reality is that when someone tells you what they want, believe them. People rarely change their minds, and when guys and girls say they just want to be friends, they mean it.
Friendship is not a flower bud, waiting to blossom into a sexual or romantic relationship. Friendship is its own flower, take it or leave it. [Read: How to be friends without crossing the platonic line]
If you want someone to be your friend, you should treat them like your other friends. You should not use them as an emotional stand-in for a romantic partner.
How do you know if you are doing that? Well, do you find yourself texting this person every second of every day? Are you two constantly together? Do you spend more time with them than anyone else? If so, that doesn’t sound like a normal friendship.
With some exception, you should treat your friends of the opposite sex no different than your same sex friends. If you find yourself treating your so-called platonic friend more like a partner, ask yourself why you are doing that.
Are you using your “friend” as a stand-in until something better comes along? Are you lying to yourself about your true feelings? Whatever it is, get to the bottom of it quickly before any emotional damage can be done. [Read: 19 signs of a taker in a relationship – Are you a taker or a giver?]
Some people really struggle having meaningful friendships with the opposite sex, which is pretty silly when you think about it. To rule out friendship with half of the population because of vague anxieties is a tough way to go through life. It’s an easy way to miss out on wonderful people and good friendships.
That being said, guys and girls have been just friends since the dawn of time and will likely continue to do so. But it varies from person to person. You can be wonderful friends with one member of the opposite sex, and be completely unable to maintain a friendship with another person.
The important thing to remember is to not generalize. Every person is different, and every experience you have will yield a different result. Just because some friendships don’t work out, doesn’t mean that being friends with the opposite sex is pointless. [Read: 14 platonic friendship rules to be just friends without the drama]
Honesty is the only way your friendship is going to work. You and your friend need to be completely honest with each other. Communication in any relationship is essential, so you need to know where they stand and what they’re comfortable with.
This is a blade that cuts two ways– as you want them to be respectful of your boundaries, remember to be respectful of theirs. [Read: How to set boundaries with friends without hurting or insulting them]
This one should be obvious, and yet it must be said. You love your friends and of course, you want the best for them. But when you are dealing with a friend of the opposite sex, you must tread lightly with certain subjects. One of those is who your friend chooses to date.
When it comes to guys and girls being just friends, a true platonic friend should have no issue with their friends dating. In fact, they should be happy for them. But if you find that you cannot stand who your friend of the opposite sex chooses to date, then you have to keep it to yourself.
If you criticize your friend’s partner, or are rude to them, you are going to come off as jealous and petty, even if you are right. This is just the sad reality of the situation.
You might even end your friendship when their partner makes them choose between them or you. *hint – they usually choose the person they are sleeping with*
So unless you are asked for your opinion on your friend’s partner, keep your thoughts to yourself. And try to be nice to them, even if you think they are kind of a drip. After all, it’s the friendly thing to do. [Read: The guy best friend – Is he good or nothing but trouble for a girl?]
If you decide that you want a platonic friendship, you need to stick by your guns. That means you need to treat them as a friend and not someone to flirt with when you are bored, or someone to boost your ego when you are down.
No one likes to be toyed with, and mixed signals can lead to hurt feelings–which isn’t something you should want to do to someone you care about.
[Read: Sexual tension between friends – How to handle it like a pro]
Now that you know that it is possible for guys and girls to be just friends, it’s time you implemented some of these tips into your friendship. You may find that your best friends were right in front of you the whole time!
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