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Friday, June 10, 2011

Battle of the Sexes: A Look at Platonic Friendships & the People who LOVE Them

Part Uno.
Picture it: Girl and Boy have been friends for 4 years. They met on their first day of college and have been "like brother and sister" ever since. Girl gets new job. Girl and Boy go to happy hour to celebrate. Girl drives. Boy lives close enough to walk. Girl has too much to drink. Boy is too drunk to drive but lives around the corner. They are responsible and sh*t so Boy invites Girl to "sober up" at his place. The two walk 4 blocks to Boy's apartment. Girl borrows Boy's t-shirt and boxers and the two crash in the bed together. A few minutes after midnight, Boy rolls over and sticks his hands in Girl's pants. Girl is outraged. Boy is shocked that girl is outraged. Boy spends the next day living his life. Girl spends the next day calling her girlfriends to console her.

I overhear Girl sharing her disgust with Boy and decide to blog about it. Sue me. You will lose. Moving on. . .

Listening to the outrage in Girl's voice reminded me of a similar experience I had not long ago. My reaction was parallel to hers.  In my case, I had shared intimate feelings, my deepest secrets and my biggest shortcomings with Him so when he crossed the line and told me he wanted to be more than friends I was HURT. Oh yea, I cried. Raine cried. I wanted him to be my best friend but I did not want him to fall in love with me. I felt BETRAYED.
How could he listen to me whine about all the men in my life knowing all along he was waiting for the moment to tell me the truth??
How could he take advantage of me like that? How could he keep that kind of secret from me?

Surely if I had known he was my friend because he had an ulterior motive I would not have shared as much as I did!

Then I came back to reality. 

Platonic friendship are beneficial for both sexes. For women, we tell our male friends about our "troubles" with other men and get an honest perspective. For men, they tell us about their "troubles" with the other sex and we help them translate another woman's actions. A disconnect occurs between the two sexes because of a lack of communication. It is essential that the two people involved are clear about what they both expect from the friendship. This also means both people must be completely honest with each other. If you do not want a friend, don't play the role. Also, the "friend" label means different things for men and women.  For women, it means we no longer see him as a sexual being. If he is our friend, we don't emasculate him but  but it does not mean he stops seeing us as such. For men, they see us as confidantes and maybe even one of the guys but they NEVER stop seeing us as a sexual being. Its a hard lesson, but it must be learned. If you do not share a mother and/or father he is not your brother! YOU will never stop being a sexual being. If opportunity knocks and he opens the door do not be upset with him.

Understand that but-for the friend label, she would swing from chandeliers and bare it all for him. This is true even when a few shots of Patron are involved. Most of us would rather sacrifice sexual satisfaction in favor of maintaining the status quo of our friendships. For suitors, the "friend" category is equivalent to sexual death. In fact, escaping the "friend" label requires nothing short of a miracle. That topic will be discussed in a later post. Women put men in the "friend" or sometimes even the "like my brother" category and we think that means he is no longer a sexual being. The devil is a lie.
We are woman. He is man. We were created to be together. Our friendships do not change nature. 
Perhaps the side of the story that gets the least amount of sympathy is the plight of the male friend who crossed the proverbial line.  By confessing his love, he may think he is living out a scene from a movie. He takes a HUGE risk because if she does not feel the same way, she will be devastated and he will lose his best friend. Once again, the man is portrayed as the antagonist.

In a time of Disney fairytales that failed to tell us how to balance our relationships when real life events happen, things can get confusing. We all dream of marrying our best friends, or at least I know I do. Have you ever considered dating your best friend? Have you ever dated your best friend? Would you ever date your best friend? I'm listening...

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