The Pitfalls of Platonic Friendships
Can heterosexual men and women really ever be just friends? As displayed in “When Harry Met Sally,” the answer is a resounding no. This topic is one of great debate, polarizing the sexes in all discussions and across all platforms. If you simply google, “Can guys and girls be friends?” an abundance of websites appear with their own distinct interpretations of the issue.
Although men and women can go on to have great friendships, it will never be fully sincere. There is always an underlying romantic sentiment, even if it is only perceived by one of the two parties. It is no secret that all lasting meaningful relationships demand substantial effort, time and energy. Behind all intimate friendships are laughs shared, secrets unveiled and moments treasured; it is indubitable that in the midst of cultivating friendships between opposite sexes that the fine line between friend and partner will become blurred. Science is partly to blame as there is a natural degree of attraction that exists between people of opposite sexes, which can fuel a subconscious development of feelings. This is notorious for occurring in adolescent friendships when teens’ hormonal levels are peaking, leading inevitably to finding each other desirable. Also, being best friends implies both parties know everything there is to know about each other, building an impenetrable bond founded on trust. This level of friendliness means both individuals have seen each other at their worst and their best and are each other’s confidants. Does this sound like a relationship yet?
“Although it can be possible, it is not very likely because if two people are so close at some point they are bound to develop feelings for each other,” junior Patrick Ales said.
It is no secret that the greatest relationships take time to develop. Look at any romantic comedy and that will be the underlying plot, a man and a woman trying to make it work as friends, but never succeeding. The reason Hollywood plays on this concept so often is that it resonates as truth for all viewers, many having attempted the same impossible feat. Once a man and a woman’s relationship progresses into a strong friendship, secrets and emotions are revealed, putting both parties in a position of vulnerability. It is in these moments of vulnerability that romantic feelings begin to surface as one friend may feel a greater sense of trust in the other. These moments shift platonic love into something more, pushing the relationship out of one of pure friendship.
“If both parties try super hard, they could possibly stay best friends, but there is always an underlying sentiment,” junior Alex Anton said.
This does not mean that guys and girls cannot be good acquaintances. It is generally known that men and women can coexist without constant sexual tension; however, when the relationship develops into a best friendship, the people involved may get a little too personal, creating a romantic sentiment.
The Favorability of Friends Forever
It has often been said that males and females cannot be friends, more specifically best friends. Many people believe that eventually one party will fall for the other and ruin the friendly relationship. In reality, this is far from the truth. Over time, it has been proven that it is possible for a male and a female to be close friends, even best friends.
The idea that males and females are not able to be close friends is a belief that is from a much older time. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for male-female friendships to exist because of the fact that both schools and workplaces are almost all co-ed. Friendships form between classmates and colleagues, and over time they can get stronger.
“I have friends who are male and I would consider to be some of my best friends, and I have never really seen them in a romantic way, and they probably haven’t seen me in that way either. I like having close guy friends because guys are definitely not the same as girls, and there are benefits in being friends with guys that are not the same in female friendships,” junior Karina Wu said.
Although, just because they become friends it doesn’t mean that there will ultimately be romantic feelings. A male and a female initially become friends because of similar interests, activities, sense of humor, and above all circumstance. Physical attraction, which is an important factor in romantic relationships, is not important for friendships. Thus, if a male and a female enjoy each other’s company but are not physically attracted to the other, they can easily be best friends without the conflict of romantic interest.
Nevertheless, there are still people who are fervently opposed to the idea that males and females can be best friends. Those people argue that the levels of maturity that are needed for these friendships to form simply do not exist in a high school setting. While it is true that not every high school student is the prime example of maturity (which is expected due to them, well, being in high school) it is perfectly common to see solid platonic male and female friendships.
These friendships are often friendships that were formed in either elementary or middle school- in other words, a long time. When you have been friends with somebody for such a long time, they can start to feel like your sibling since you share so many childhood memories and have simply been around each other for so long. That being said, if a male and a female are so close that they consider themselves “siblings,” it is very unlikely that they will be romantically interested in each other, unless they enjoy incest. It is not my place to judge, to each his own.
All in all, there is no problem whatsoever in males and females being the best of friends. A friendship between the two genders doesn’t have to be theoretical, and it actually has its perks. You will never be attracted to everyone, and not everyone will be attracted to you.