Can girls and guys really just be friends?

DSC_0153It’s a gorgeous blue day. I’m walking with him across the quad at the center of the school, talking and laughing uproariously at a joke that he just told me, and I link arms with him out of pure affection. Walking arm in arm, we constantly receive the public eye of curious looks and quick glances, expressions that are wholly infused with surprise, mockery, and supposed realization. I look at these people, roll my eyes, and continue to walk on with no embarrassment, no shame.

Why?

Because, well, we’re just friends.

But girls and guys can’t be friends, right? Do you ever notice the jealousy that appears when your opposite-sex friend forms a new friendship? That can be blamed on the sexual tension that inevitably causes the two people to become attracted to one another, hear stories and watch the movies of the beloved tale of how two best friends end up falling desperately in love with one another at the end of the day, or even listen to the songs where a poor soul unwillingly and inescapably falls in love with their friend. Society and social media have instilled in us this conservative mindset that the only relationship that can occur between girls and boys is the quixotic outlook that they’ll end up falling in love. Think about Chandler and Monica from “Friends,” or Kutcher and Portman in the movie, “Valentine’s Day.” Every female-male relationship takes on the classic Harry-met-Sally approach.

Nevertheless, I believe that this concept doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. If you look past all the barriers that stem from media and social belief, honestly, girls and guys can really just be friends.

Why is it, though, that whenever I walk around with one of my close guy friends, I am barraged with nudging, winking, and curious looks? The public eye seems to carry many doubts about the possibility of opposite-sex friendships, and instead of looking into the details of the relationship, society simply settles for taking comfort in the general and stereotypical picture.

Personally, I revel in the close, heart to heart relationship with my close guy friends. There, most definitely, are distinct differences between my mind and their minds, but we all benefit from each other, learning different aspects and seeing things in various viewpoints. I constantly gain insight on why guys really think, garnering the male perspective, and allow my friends to confide in me with some of their own problems or thoughts. We have the same tastes, interests, and sensitivities, and I appreciate and love them as much as I do for any female friend of mine because, honestly, I see no difference.

Gender is not a deciding factor in a friendship. Sometimes physical or even emotional attraction can get in the way and stifle a friendship, or even destroy an existing one. This doesn’t mean that girls and guys can’t be friends at all. Just like any other relationship, an opposite gender friendship will always involve trust, honesty and unconditional love. There is, of course, that opportunity for romance between two friends; however, whether or not you’re willing to take that chance is a whole different ball game.

 

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