Saturday, January 24, 2009

Opposite Sex Friendships?

Can men and women be friends - platonic friends?

Some 83 percent of the people surveyed think that cross-gender friendships can and do exist, according to a 2001 poll of more than 1,500 members. And a 2006 study by Canada's Public Health Agency of nearly 10,000 Canadian children shows that they often start early, with 65 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls declaring three or more close opposite-sex friends by grade 10.

Post inspired by CNN story. Click here to read.

I have 3 close male friends:

Larry. We've been cool for over 10 years. I know all his business and he knows most of mine. We chat often, but because he lives in another city and we're both married, we don't see each other too much. Larry can be the most unbelievable a--hole sometimes, but I wouldn't have him any other way. God bless his wife.

Mike. Childhood friend since the 7th grade. Former goofy pest. Current tall good catch (no attraction, still). My father was very strict, but to this day Mike is the only guy other than my husband who can pop up at my parents' house whether I'm there or not.

Rodney. Rodney and I have been close since I was 19. We've stolen together (when I was young and dumb), cried together, laughed together, fought together (figuratively), fought others together (same disclaimer), and praised God together. Rodney's my 'brother by another mother' for real.

Platonic friends of the opposite sex are such treasures. Unlike most women, men don't usually hold petty grudges; they can lift heavy items; they're great last minute dates; they can be positive role models for single mothers with boys; and they typically don’t get overly emotional. You can learn a lot from a platonic male friend, also. I can't count the number of no-holds-barred conversations I've had and how much I've learned from the unfiltered male perspective.

Here are a few rules for maintaining a platonic relationship:

1. Be a confident and un-needy individual. It's much easier not to catch feelings for your male friend if you already get your share of healthy attention from men. If your friend is your main source of male attention — and if you only hang around him because you want him — please stop; you'll only end up frustrated.

2. No jealousy or possessiveness. The beauty of platonic friendships is freedom from the drama that can accompany romantic relationships. Drama tends to originate from from intense emotions, jealousy, and expectations that are not met. (Or boredom.) You can leave all of that at the door when you enter a platonic friendship. He's free to do his thing; you're free to do yours.

3. No attraction. Yes, all straight men want to hit it and might try at least once. It helps when there's no strong attraction in the friendship, though. Because all straight men are attracted to everything female (joke!), the burden lies on the woman not be attracted to her male friend. She can't imagine kissing her homeboy. And if she can imagine kissing him, she can't imagine respecting him in a relationship, or coming home to him, or anything that requires a lot of "quality time".

Note: If you're single, it's OK to imagine yourself with your platonic some point later in life! You never know what can happen in the future.... It's fine for single, sexy women to have single, sexy male friends! Consider him on standby in case you ever need him one day. (Just keepin' it real.)

4. Play your role. It's so important to respect your friend's romantic relationships and vice versa. Neither of you should intentionally overstep any boundaries in front of or away from your significant others. Again, you are friends because you can just go with the flow. There's no need to "show up" his girlfriend or wife. And he doesn't need to show up your man. There's no need to pull rank. EVER. And besides, in the back of your mind you know, "I'll be around when he/she is long gone anyway. So whatever...." ;-)

5. When you meet a new man, don't go blabbing that you slept with one of your male friends before. You never know how far you and the new man will go, so you don't need him remembering your "confession" when you get serious. Trust -- he will try his best to break those vital friendships that have been platonic for years. This isn't deceit or "playing games". It's called Keeping YOUR BUSINESS to YOUR self.

So yes, I definitely think platonic friendships between men and women can work. It aint for everybody though!

Note: Most of my Relationship posts are copywritten and excerpts from my upcoming book, "Don't Be Stupid: The Black Woman's Guide to Life".


  1. I would agree--platonic relationships are hella-hard, especially if you really dig that man or that women. You two are alone one thing you know it's over--no more platonic. Cool blog.

    Clayrn Darrow

  2. I have a few platonic friends too. Does it count if I lost my virginity to one of them?


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