Platonic Relationships

Cameron: We’ve seen it played out on countless TV shows and movies, boy meets girl, they become best friends forever. They grow up and inevitably tension and jealousy arises, the boy confesses his feelings and the girl magically realizes she’s been in love this whole time. But why does it all have to end in romance?  

    Until the recently, close friendships between men and women have been frowned upon in most societies. Even today, in some of the stricter nations, it’s still highly discouraged if not outright banned. In America, due to a cultural shift it has become considerably more common. However, it’s still not as easy for us to have unstigmatized friendships between genders.  Due to how recently this kind of relationship, a close platonic friendship across genders, became acceptable, there aren’t many strong examples to show how it’s done.

    I am a straight man and my best friend is a straight woman. We spend hours of every day together and text each other while apart. We have a  large repertoire of inside jokes ever growing. We give each other advice and constantly help each other out. We act as sounding boards, giving each other a permanent place to test ideas, or to rant, or to vent. We’re each other’s shoulder to cry on. It’s gotten to the point that acquaintances and strangers constantly ask if we are a couple. The answer is a resounding no, but we are extremely close.   

Krista: There is no attraction on either side, no “friend zone” or sexual tension. It’s simple friendship formed from a common interest followed by joking assholery while also having each other’s back at the end of the day. My best friend and I both belong in each other's gender of interest, however we started our friendship based on mutual interests as opposed to sexual drive. The vast difference here is in sexual relationships attraction often comes first and is then followed by awkward texting and grasping at possible common interests. I started my friendship, as most start, with a common interest and went from there. There’s actually a lot of perks of having a guy best friend, I don’t feel obligated to get the salad or worry about eating like a lady, whatever I tell him he keeps secret, there’s never any gossip, and when we have a fight we say sorry and make up without any dirty girl fighting.  

Cameron and Krista: These friendships fail a lot, and there's a common thread on why. Whenever I see a platonic friendship fail it's almost always for the same handful of reasons. The most common way for this kind of friendship to fail is when one side goes into it with the sole intention of starting a romantic or sexual relationship. When this is the goal of only one person, a platonic relationship cannot happen no matter what the second person does. Platonic friendships thrive when there is a firm boundary that everyone knows won't be crossed. I can say just about anything to my best friend, knowing that she will understand it as I meant it, because we both know neither of us are going to cross this boundary. This all comes down to respect. If you respect the other person as a person, you generally aren't going to enter any potential friendship with the sole intention of a romantic or sexual relationship forming. That way there isn't any pressure on either party and a stronger relationship, platonic or otherwise, will form naturally.

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