Or girl friends… But you see, that blank space joining the two words is definitive: it speaks volumes about the boundaries within that relationship, and how those two interact.
Modern day pop culture has brainwashed and robbed society of so much; there are many beliefs that are deeply engrained in our minds because of the standards that are set by what we see on our television screens. For some reason, we’ve been made to believe that platonic relationships are hard to come by, and even more of a challenge to maintain: like one of those “one in a million” scenarios. Rom-coms tell us that one way or another, one of the two individuals in the relationship are bound to develop romantic feelings for their friend, or worse so, as according to Friends, the two may end up in bed!
I don’t keep many friends, and in that relatively small circle of mates, there are probably more gents than ladies… The reason? Many female friends = drama – that is a guarantee! I’m a non-confrontational girl, and a serial avoider of conflict: I like to think that after some time, as friends, we understand and know each other enough to co-exist peacefully, with only one or two hiccups along the way. So I thought I’d share a few reasons why I think platonic relationships are pure gold, and also, why we should fight for them as we do romantic relationships.
Practically speaking, male (or whatever your opposite…) friends are good for the things we can’t, or choose not to do ourselves. If you’re a single lady, you need to know that there are one or two men you can rely on (say, you don’t have brothers) to help have a look under your bonnet when your car gives you problems, or to help change a flat tyre if you run into a puncture late at night. Unfortunately, patriarchal constructs would have it that men are conditioned to be more clued up in mechanical matters: I know how to kickstart a problematic car, but please don’t ask me about the technicalities of differences in voltage between two car batteries; or whether the black cable is positive, or the red is negative – I should know, but I don’t, and I’m grateful for my friends who do! Also, [this is mighty useful] boys lift heavy things .
Male friends will open your eyes to the workings of a man’s mind. They are like a scientific experiment – pose a hypothetical question to get answers about how to act on a situation between yourself and a guy you may like… More often than not, you’re going to get accurate advice on what is actually going on, and what you, as a girl, are blind to.
Anyway, it’s always good to learn to view life from different perspectives. I’ve mostly enjoyed hearing about flops girls have made under the influence of A grade infatuation: although I’ve been guilty of the same things, it’s always a pleasure to hear about the experience from a guy’s perspective – every time, I find it both laughable and depressing!
Boy friends will help maintain your sanity in your singleness. I really enjoy spending quality time with my friends, and the physical touch that comes with human interaction. Hugs, shoulder squeezes, pats on the back, back tickles, fist bumps, affirming pats on the knee and encouraging hand squeezes always make my day. If we’re not exchanging any of these, then we may as well just chat via Facebook messenger or iMessage, and we can FaceTime when our fingers grow weary, hey? I love hugging my female friends because we can maintain our embrace for as long as we desire, without it getting weird; with my guy mates, however, the perk is more on their flat chests, beefy arms and strong shoulders: these three ingredients make for incredibly comforting hugs – with the right relationship, and clear understanding, you can probably get away with a drawn out, sigh-inducing, comfort giving hug… But it’s probably best to keep these meaningful, but professional.
I hate that this is true, but I know I can trust most of my guy friends to drive better than I do. So, when the going gets tough and I’m tired of driving, it’s good to know that there’s someone in the passenger seat to whom I can give the car keys, without fear for my safety or general comfort. [I hope a few of my friends share the same sentiment about my driving, although, these days I’ve been driving as though I’ve only just learnt to pilot a car.]
My guy friends make good substitutes for the older brother I don’t have. There’s a sacred emotional security about platonic relationships that people from the outside may not understand; it’s in the unspoken understanding that you’ll always be there for each other, and the absence of threat by the introduction of new significant others or life changes. It’s the knowledge of availability, after a long bad day, being able to drive to a friend and vent your day’s frustrations only to be encouraged to keep your chin up, and press on. It’s the intimacy of shared dreams and thoughts, quiet late-night conversations, with the complete absence of eroticism.
I love my boy friends, although there are very few that I would tell at this point. I’m crossing fingers, toes and eyelashes that nothing will come between us, or change things for the worse.
Do you think it’s possible to share a longstanding relationship with the opposite sex, without either one falling prey to romantic emotions? Also, how do you navigate them with the addition of a girlfriend or boyfriend in your life?
Please, share your thoughts with me!