I was asked the question the other day, 'can guys and gals be platonic friends?' It seems like a simple question but there are many layers to this particular conundrum. The answer is not a simple yes or no and in truth the answer can be taken on a case by case basis. Below I have listed a few examples as to why this becomes a complex reality.
Friends with exes. This is a natural response when a couple breaks up. After most of the dust settles many people offer the option of being friends. This is very difficult and in reality it often becomes troublesome down the road. If you manage to become friends after the break up at least one person in the relationship will most likely have residual romantic feelings. Now add the new people to the relationship dynamic (because you won't remain single forever). Ask yourself how the new people in your life or your exes' life will feel about the friendship. It may be painful but sometimes it is simply easier to cut all ties and move on.
The above dynamic is different than the idea of two people who never dated who want to be friends with someone of the opposite sex. If they are both being honest with themselves they will most likely admit that one or maybe even both have feelings of attraction for the other. Whatever that level of attraction is, it is important to make it clear to the other person you are looking to be friends with.
When that is addressed then boundaries need to be set. Setting boundaries is like creating expectations of how everyone is supposed to behave in the relationship. A rule book per say. If one person is not interested in the intimate level that another person is interested in it is important to make that clear before proceeding with the friendship.
Just as in the case presented above, it is also important to think of the other people that will become part of your relationship dynamic and how they will feel about your friendship with the other person. This can be a simple matter of including the other person in things you do with your friend or setting boundaries; but remember 'what is good for the goose is good for the gander.'
The other side of the argument is that having friends of the opposite sex can help to round out your social dynamic and maybe even smooth out some of those rough edges. Most can agree people of the opposite sex have differing ways of looking at situations. Not to mention, in business it is hard not to have differing relationships with other sexes. But that gets into the realm of interpersonal relationships and the difference between acquaintances and friends.
So in the end, is it good to have platonic friend relationships with people of the opposite sex? Yes and no. Again it is a case by case situation. One that, if you are careful and create the right expectations can be rewarding.
Jami McDonald Brumfield is a life and relationship coach as well as a hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner. Contact her via her website if you are interested in working with her one on one in a coaching session.
Sometimes the fiction can be fun too. Jami is also a published author. You can download her paranormal romantic thriller "Lone Wolf Rising" from Amazon by visiting her book page here.