An issue that I have become very intrigued with over the last couple years is the idea of whether or not guys and girls can be “just friends.” I took it for granted that of course this is possible, but after seeing several psychology articles from different sources come out that said new research says otherwise, I began interested in what the real answer might be and the reasons behind it. The basic argument behind the idea that guys and girls can’t be friends is the notion that if a close friendship is developed, there will be sexual tension and eventually one will fall for the other. Another reason I heard shifts the blame to the men, saying that what men really want from a friendship with another girl is sex. Therefore, is it actually possible to have a friendship with someone of the opposite sex that is 100% only a friendship and no attraction whatsoever?
Really the only way to figure this out is to look at things on a personal level, aka my friendships with girls. There are different levels of friendships, however. I have had classmates that I became friends with, coworkers that I became friends with, and then friends that I actually hang out with and stay in touch with on a consistent basis. I would say that it is definitely possible to be just friends with classmates and coworkers, but then again that depends if you consider someone you only interact with in a public/professional setting a friend. Where it gets more complicated is the friendship on a personal level, outside of school or work or some club. The first major factor in this situation is relationship status. I’ve had female friends who have boyfriends, and when that is the case there is no tension at all because it is pretty clear what the situation is, and it is even easier when I am friends with the boyfriend as well. So the final scenario in question is the one where both friends are single and have a close friendship on a personal level. This is a tricky situation, because a lot of relationships do actually start as friendships, so it would be tempting for at least one of the friends to at least think about the possibility. It also gets complicated if one friend wants to be more than friends while the other only wants to be friends, aka the classic “friendzone” situation. I can’t really speak to this situation on a personal level, but I would like to think that it is possible to be just friends since there are some really chill girls out there. Nevertheless, it remains a fascinating question psychologically.
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