Is it possible for a heterosexual guy and girl to be “just friends”? This question is still an ongoing debate today. Some people believe it’s possible as long as one of them is in a relationship with another person. But what happens when you have two single people form a friendship? It would be wrong to deny that it creates a different dynamic. On the surface, it’s labeled as a friendship and nothing more. What happens underneath the currents?
Centuries ago, platonic friendships between cross sexes didn’t exist. When men and women interacted, the goal was only to reproduce and sustain the human race. But in modern age society, men and women are forced to interact and get along with one another. In school, work, and in the public realm in general. Basically, learning to form friendships with one another is essential to surviving today.
A study was done in which various pairs of male and female friends were interviewed. They were asked what it is that they seek in a friendship. Needs, such as emotional support, stimulating conversation, humor, optimism, and criticism were touched upon. It was easier for the participants to figure out what it was that they individually needed in their friendship. But when the tables flipped and they were asked what the other person needs in their friendship, it took them a lot longer to figure them out. The thing about friendships and any form of bonding in general is that it’s so easy to be egocentric and focus only on yourself. It’s one reason why friendships often disintegrate when things aren’t being reciprocated.
Then, when asked if the pairs of cross sex friends were physically attracted to one another, some of them didn’t hesitate to admit that they were. In fact, some of them explained that it has been discussed between them at some point. But because they value the friendship more than acting on their hormones, the intensity built between them remains a territory neither member is willing to traverse. Basically, it’s like dancing with someone —but not letting them come too close, creating just enough space to prolong the friendship in as comfortable a manner as possible.
I think it’s better to be upfront and honest in that sense. Otherwise, it’s like walking on eggshells the whole time. Part of having long-lasting friendships is being open about what is actually happening between you and the other person. It’s actually amazing how far human beings have evolved socially.
I think the most devastating part is when one becomes friends with the other person and has wishful thinking. They hope that somewhere down the road, they will eventually become more than just friends. The thing about any form of wishful thinking is that it comes with a lot of consequences. You have to be prepared to live with them, regardless of what happens.
My word of advice is to not even go there unless you’re willing to risk a perfectly good friendship. But I think in circumstances like that, if it seems almost unbearable and your romantic feelings for that person is that intense, it’s a lose-lose situation. Because on one hand, you want to tell them, but you’re afraid of rejection and of ruining what you two have in that very moment. And on the other hand, even if you decide to never tell them, you’ll be stuck with those feelings on your own. It’s awful.
If the person is really that important to you, be willing to accept the rejection if the time comes and you just want to blurt out the truth. But you have to be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I going to be okay to continue being just a friend to them if the feelings aren’t reciprocated?” If you’re not and find it to be too painful, then I advise you to walk away. You have to do what’s healthy for you. In situations like this, you have to be honest and realize you never actually wanted to form an actual friendship with the other person, but a romantic relationship.
I think overall, it is possible for a guy and girl to be just friends. But two people have to really want to form that stable friendship to let it sustain instead of being ruined by the element of physical attraction. It has to be mutual and there has to be a lot of respect for the other person. I think a lot of it also has to do with maturity. You have to be willing to make it work with the other person. It’s not necessarily about detachment so much as it is about being honest about where you want to hold all the other baggage that isn’t related to your friendship. Bottom line is that the baggage will always exist. It’s all a matter of where you’re deciding to put it at the end of the day.
SoulPancake (Director). (2014, May 12). Can Men and Women Be Just Friends? | The Science of Love [Video file]. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
Edited by Viveca Shearin