As J–Hus made clear to us that he ‘wanna get friendly with her…’ and definitely not meaning just as a platonic friend, I wanted to raise the question of whether men and women can indeed just be friends at all.
I have a couple of really good friends that are guys. They are my confidants, good company, kind people, and as you would expect, tick all the boxes that a friend does. I don’t get close to very many people, but the ones I do become close to, I consider very dear and important to me. However, there was a time when something more had happened with one of the boys. The thing is, is that we have got past it and not really let it affect us – long term.
So, one of my best friends is a guy I’ve known since I was four years old. He made a pass at me when we were drunk, in a manner that made me believe that he had real feelings for me when all he wanted was sex. It made things a little awkward at first, and confusing, as I then had to question how I felt about him. We talked it over, realised that we value each other as people and being in one another’s lives more than falling out over this, and are now fine.
You see, friendship whether it be between a guy and a girl, two guys or two girls, is a form of attraction. We like the people we become friends with – that’s why we decide to be friends – we mesh well with them, as they tend to have similar views, attitudes, personalities etc. making things click. So, for two heterosexual people who become close friends, I don’t think it is unusual to confuse this attraction with thinking it is something more. I don’t necessarily think it means that you can’t be friends though.
It also raises the question if we ever just see people platonically. It’s said that men think about sex every 7 seconds but what if they were to think about their best friends in this way? Don’t we tend to think about people sexually whether willingly or not? It doesn’t necessarily mean we are considering having a relationship with them or that we have romantic feelings for them either. It’s animal I think. We are designed to procreate and continue the population… maybe not… just me then?!
From my experience with my best friend, I’ve realised that when I really think about it, I don’t want to be romantic with him. Like with most of my guy friends, I don’t consider making an effort in my appearance when seeing them – I mean with these guys, I barely brush my hair – however with a guy I’m dating, I do and I want to, too. I make an effort to talk to my boys, because they are my confidants, they are the people that know me best, and who’s thoughts, opinions and support I treasure and value. I just don’t want to crawl into bed with them, and I think if they thought about it, they wouldn’t want to with me either.
I think it is also – sometimes, I mean, excluding me – easier if the friendship starts at an early age. If you are childhood friends, the dynamic is often that much different. You’ve grown up together, and simply put see one another as family. The older you get, I can understand this being harder, and easier to mistake for romantic, but not impossible.
However, what about the subject around friends you have hooked up with or even just kissed? Can you go back from this? Can a guy and a girl just be friends – close friends – if the other has a partner? Do these friendships become inappropriate, because they encroach or possibly compete with the intimacy that is expected from a long-term relationship? How do you tackle underlying attraction, that is felt between two friends who don’t want to push the boundaries for a multitude of reasons? Or quite simply, are we just seriously overthinking this?
Oscar Wilde famously wrote “Between men and women, there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.” I disagree. I think in general, men and women can just be friends, and be close friends at that. I think as sexually charged animals, we make mistakes, such as my story, but I think that is more of a natural instinct as an animal rather than one of romantic feelings. I believe that when you become close with someone, you naturally care and emulate feelings that the outside world mistake as romantic – protective, argumentative, celebratory in terms of their success – is really just a non-romantic form of love. I also think that if the friendship is that important enough – and when you know, you know – little mishaps can be resolved and forgotten.