Monday, April 14, 2008

The When Harry Met Sally Debate

The RedEye addressed this recently and figured that I should cover it here because it's definitely applicable to my life.

Can men and women just be friends? Yes...sort of. 

One of my best friends is a guy. And being a single girl with a single guy friend is not always easy but it can work.

My guy in question is not really a friend or a boyfriend. It's more like a "heterosexual life partner" or "life partner" as he calls it. It's like dating the guy without the boyfriend benefits. 

Now I won't lie here, I did at one time have a mini crush, or thought I did, on this guy. But when I met him about 2.5 years ago, we worked together. And after a bad past work/dating experience, I wasn't going to go there again. I would rather have him as my friend than nothing, especially if the dating thing didn't work out. I've ruined past male friendships because I thought I was in love with them and when it turns out they weren't in love with me or I didn't actually love them back, it just got messy.

But it's hard to be "just friends" when you're out with couple friends or even just boy/girl-crazy single friends. I've been called his "work wife" and that we're an "old married couple," especially when we accidentally order the same thing on the menu and then say, "want to split it instead?"

He's my "plus one" to friend's parties and me being his guest to a Christmas party caused quite a stir. When my dad came in for a visit, my partner met up with us to try and get Wicked tickets. And this is the first guy, friend or otherwise, that my dad didn't hate, which both of us immediately picked up an uncomfortable way.

I've not had a physical thought about this guy, which is why it's so comfortable to be around him. He's seen me cry, go out without make-up on and even came over to watch a movie with me when I was so sick that I could barely move.

He's great and a great friend, but he's not perfect. He's let me down at times and made me so mad I could scream. He, like me, is actively trying to date, but he's exhibited twinges of jealousy when I had a guy interested in me, much like I do when he's circling around a girl. When he asked me once (while drunk) what I thought about a girl he was checking out, my only response was, "if you're into dating a girl with a horse face, she's great."

I'm not proud of this statement, but I said it and I stand by it. It just came out in the wrong way.

But somehow this works. Not that I don't hope for more from another guy, one that I can be close to just like my partner but have the boyfriend benefits ;) 

So I guess there is no real answer to the question, but I think honestly that guys and girls can just be friends. Romantic feelings at some point in the friendship are probably inevitable, but rather than act on them, you figure out a way to get past it and not have it ruin the friendship. Boundaries and communication are key. 

If this guy were to ask me out on a real date, I don't know what I would say. But fortunately I don't have to worry about it. And as much as I love him like a buddy and a brother, I try not to let it keep me from any other cute guy that walks into my life. Again, boundaries are key.

Sooooooo any thoughts from you all?


Jenn said...

Oh my gosh. This will be the never ending debate as many factors need to be taken into consideration.

The simple answer? I don't think it's possible. At some point or another one of the two will want something more. It may have started out that way or it may grow into that. Regardless, non-platonic feelings are felt at some point of that friendship thus changing the dynamic.

My best friend is a guy. But it began with us crushing. Then we were friends. Then he was crushing and I was not. Now we're friends. But I always suspect him of crushing still.

A previous case was another guy friend. We started as much more, but ended up friends.

I don't think these situations count because they never began platonic.

It's really complicated and call me pessimistic but I don't believe it can be done. Bleh. There's so much to be said about this. Too much!

shoesaplenty said...

The only way this can work is if one of the "friends" happens to be physically unattractive to the other, both are emotionally stable individuals, are never together intoxicated late at night with limited clothing and alone AND if the individuals really believe they are "spiritual siblings."

Short of the above -- have fun. I do. Maybe. :-)

Stephanie said...

All of this sounds too complicated for me to solve while munching on a pepperidge farm cookie.

I'll take the easy way out, and say that "if it was meant to be..." (you know the rest).

If its worth the risk, then take it. If not, then just settle on being friends and try not to analyze it. Just accept if for what it is--a great guy friend.

~Angela~ said...

I'm all about platonic relationships. I have a lot of guy friends that I've labeled "As Good As Gay" (Seriously. It's even a label on my blog). I see nothing wrong with that.