Age-Old Question: Can Men and Women Maintain Platonic Relationships?

I live in a big city, so I walk a lot. The other day, I overheard a conversation between two guys who were walking a few paces behind me.  They were discussing some sort of conundrum that one of the men was facing.  It had something to do with his desire to change his relationship status with a female friend from “platonic” to “romantic”.  I hadn’t been paying a whole lot of attention to their discussion until I heard Conundrum Guy say “Anyway, I told her that I cherish the friendship.”

Call me a cynic or whatever you will, but this line was enough to have me laughing on the inside – I didn’t want to collapse in hysterics right there on the street, shocking and wounding Conundrum Guy.  It’s obvious to me, however, that this guy is letting his crush believe that he values her friendship above all else, when, really, he just plans to hover in the hopes that she will eventually give in and see him as more than just a pal.

If we’re being honest here, we need to acknowledge the fact that many men will say almost anything for a chance to get into a woman’s pants. Also, once said girl has rejected them, however nicely, dudes who are certified assholes (I don’t have stats but I hope it’s a minority) will passive-aggressively attack with petty insults and meanspirited digs.

Oh, you think I’m too cynical for my own good? You’re probably right, but also, I’m right.

This post isn’t about that, though. It’s about the debate regarding heterosexual male-female friendships.

All I ever hear about is how it’s ultimately impossible for  men and women (usually in a very heteronormative context) to be friends. When you think about this rationally, it’s idiotic. Tons of gay men have lifelong friendships with each other without having romantic or sexual feelings for each other (despite what ignorant people would have you believe) – same with gay women. If the sexual/romantic thing had any weight, gay people would have issues with every friend of the same gender that they know – and that’s the opposite of reality.

From my own personal experience, I’ve had a lot of amazing and successful friendships with straight males. However, in my case, I admit that many of them, if not most, were solid after either a romantic dalliance was over and dealt with.

By “romantic dalliance”, I don’t mean it has to be mutual. But if one party has a thing for the other and it’s resolved or moved past by the friends in question, then things can move permanently to a healthy platonic relationship.

Unfortunately, I can recall situations where friendships didn’t last because the guy was bitter after realizing we’d never be a thing. The aftermath was as I described earlier in this post. Petty, insulting, unnecessary.

Others (MOST others because I grew up in a super cool city) were cooler.

The one instance of a friendship with a guy that I was able to come up with where there were no romantic feelings, is not necessarily legit – because he literally cut ties with me once he got into a serious relationship. He indicated verbatim that he was cutting ties because of the relationship, but the abandonment was due to the behaviour of a mutual friend of ours, who basically had sexually harassed him throughout our three way friendship. I honestly don’t blame him for cutting me too, through fear of having to ever deal with her again.  This mutual friend is toxic as fuck (no longer my friend either, btw).

Also, NO, Hank Moody groupies, sexual harassment is not hot, even when the harasser is a woman – I feel like you need that spelled out.

The only reason I can think of that straight people believe this Mars-Venus theory is that people are bad at identifying what they do based on choice, versus human nature.

My conclusion, I guess, is that I do believe in platonic friendships between straight men and women. I think the opposing argument is just an excuse and cop-out for insecure and weak people. ✌🏼️


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