Think of your best, best girlfriends.
Why do you consider these individuals your favorite humans? Your personalities are complimentary, your morals (or lack thereof) are in line, you’ve helped each other through tough times, and/or you probably share similar interests.
The relationship is likely mutually beneficial — both of you bring commonalities to the table creating a bond; a friendship.
With that being said, it is — not only unfortunate — but narrow and limiting to hold on to the prehistoric idea that men and women cannot be “just friends,” or better yet, platonic friends (because, honestly, using “just” before the word “friends” diminishes the friendship, and there really isn’t any need for that).
To be very honest, I may have been labeled a “man-hater” in the past, and have definitely uttered/typed/tweeted the phrase “I hate men,” albeit untrue. Realistically, some of my favorite people are, in fact, men (even straight ones). Further, I am unequivocally single. So, one might ask, “How do you have platonic male friends?”
By definition, platonic means free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of the opposite sex. The concept, for me, is not that far-fetched. There are PLENTY of men whom I hold very near and dear to me that I have zero sensual desire for.
Is surrounding yourself by people you vibe well with not important?
If it is, cutting out half of the population based on how they were born, rather than who they’ve become since then, seems limiting. Granted, things like biology and the constant, subconscious desire to procreate can cloud things, but these relationships can be healthy and beneficial.
Generally, women and men are raised significantly differently with varying societal norms influencing them throughout their lives. Thus, a friend of the opposite sex is going to offer a different view or perspective on most things. Think of all they can teach you about romantic relationships with members of the opposite sex to whom you are sexually attracted! Having genuine companionship with a member of the opposite sex — without being motivated by sex — can create a very honest environment that can be significantly different than that of your same sex friendships.
The support and encouragement from the opposite sex is different as well.
Not that it’s motherly or fatherly entirely, but consider the different relationships you’ve had with male and/or female parental figures and superiors. When it comes to dating, I think the majority finds members of the opposite sex to be challenging at times. Having friends of the other gender can offer loads of insight on your own dating life, and result in a much more balanced outlook on relationships. Further, activities with members of the opposite sex can only bring more variety to your life. My male friends might not (but prob would) get pedicures with me, and my female friends may not go to the driving range with me. That’s why I’m down for both.
Also, keep in mind what you bring to the friendship. You offer a female perspective and essentially could be aiding in all of mankind having a better understanding of their female counterparts. HONESTLY. Also, many females, should embrace and thank their current and/or former significant other’s best female friends, because as he sits and explains how crazy you are, the home girl can be there to pump his brakes and offer some insight on where you’re coming from. Personally, I don’t think I could ever date a man that doesn’t have close female friends.
I polled some of my friends via text as well as my super rad Twitter friends on their feelings regarding platonic friendships among women and men, and found very interesting responses as to what their favorite aspects of opposite sex friendships were. Over text, I received everything from male friends being able to get a long hug when they need one, to women making the best wing (wingwomen > wingmen), to having female companionship without feeling obligated to spend money or having the “What are we?” conversation.
@RaeWitte Sometimes getting to do different things. Having a different opinion/outlook on situations. Different advice. (& no estrogen)
— jillian (@jillianturtle) March 11, 2015
@RaeWitte Confirming I’m not crazy.
— Beau (@AdamTheHun) March 11, 2015
At the end of the day, I don’t even know why I need to tell people this. Most of the people I spoke to supported that gender doesn’t particularly effect their decision on who to be close to and invest time in. If the thought makes you uneasy, or if you don’t have many platonic friends — but are open to it — the keys to changing that are keeping your intentions and interests very honest and clear on both sides, and don’t get played.