I’ve never been one of those girls with more guy friends than girl friends. I don’t trust girls who say “I hate hanging out with other girls.” I think everyone needs at least a few lady friends. But lately I’m realizing that the “we’re just friends, no really we are” type of guy friend is extremely valuable. There are some people who believe that guys and girls can never be just friends, but I disagree. At some point you’re probably going to have a “guy friend” who isn’t actually a guy friend. He’s either a crush or a hookup buddy or a kind-of boyfriend or something. But I’m realizing that an honest-to-goodness, totally platonic guy friend can exist, and it’s a valuable friendship to have. Friendships with guys provide everything you get from a friendship with your best girl friend, but they have their unique qualities too. For example:
1.) They’re refreshing: The other day I was out at lunch with a guy friend. We covered various topics including jobs, life plans, doing long distance, and appropriate age gaps in relationships. As we were talking I realized that his take on these topics was very different from what I was hearing from my lady friends. Not better or worse, just different. It was really helpful to hear a different perspective. I think I was able to offer him some different takes on things too, so it was a good conversation for everyone involved.
2.) They’re relaxing: Being in the various stages of dating can be extremely stressful. You’re constantly thinking, “Wait, is he going to kiss me? Do I want him to kiss me? Does he like me? Am I okay if he doesn’t like me?” All of these questions and uncertainties make it hard to just enjoy wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Dating is one of the least relaxing things around. When it’s understood that you and the guy are really just friends it takes the pressure off and you can both relax and have fun.
3.) They’re different: I know many times when my friends and I get together we do things and talk about things that are of interest to women. Obviously with a guy friend you’re not doing these womanly things. It’s refreshing to change up your routine.
However there are a few ways that your “just friends” relationship can go awry. Things to be aware of:
1.) Significant others (respect them): Theoretically, should your significant others be cool with platonic friendships? Yes. But this doesn’t always happen. If one or both of you is dating someone, make sure the significant other understands the nature of your “just friends” relationship. Invite the significant other along, don’t monopolize all of your opposite gender friend’s time, and don’t do anything the significant other may find questionable (my friend couldn’t understand why popping into Victoria’s Secret with her taken guy friend was frowned upon).
2.) Developing feelings: The “just friends” friendship only works if you truly are just friends. If one person starts to develop feelings, things get complicated quickly. If you sense that one person is developing feelings, have a chat about what this friendship means and where it’s going. If you’re both developing feelings that can work too, but realize that the friendship is changing.
3.) Feeling used: Just because this person is a guy, doesn’t mean he can be your stand-in boyfriend. And vice versa. Appreciate the friendship and everything that comes along with it, but don’t use him as a shield from your family’s hundreds of questions about your relationship status. It’s great to take your friend to a formal or party if you know you’ll both have fun. It’s not great to start asking him to go to every family wedding and anniversary party just so your Aunt Mildred leaves you alone. Your guy friend also shouldn’t expect you to be his go-to date for every boring function or event.
Do you think guys and girls can be just friends? Do you have truly platonic guy friends in your life? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or find me at Life with Lauren.
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