Platonic friends of the opposite sex can be quite the point of contention in a relationship. Yet most would agree it’s absolutely ridiculous to expect your man or woman not to have friends of the opposite sex.
“According to Him + Her” is back for a second season and they’re diving right in to the good stuff. New hosts Free and Brian Hooks are ready to take the relationship talk to new heights. And what better way than to kick it all off with the platonic friend conundrum?
A former friend was dead serious when she told me, “My next boyfriend can’t have any female friends, no female besties. I don’t even want him to have a sister.” Shocked by the boldness in admitting she just wasn’t comfortable with her man having female friends, I laughed. Once I realized she was serious I asked, “Do you really think that’s reasonable?”
While the demand seems far-fetched, she is not the only woman with those sentiments. Not by a long shot. Slews of men feel the same way about their woman having platonic male friends. Despite being late twenties, early thirties professionals, not everyone is sold on men and women being able to be friends without ulterior motives.
How many times have you heard some version of “Men never just want to be your friend. They like you and want to have sex with you,” or “I don’t trust women to just be friends with my man. Where is her man?” We’d all be rich if we could count how many times varied versions of these conversations have come up.
We’re going to take que from Larenz Tate and break it down for it to forever be broken. Men and women can be platonic friends.
Whether or not it’s OK for your man or woman to have friends of the opposite sex depends on the two individuals in the relationship. There are couples who exist without friends of the opposite sex and there are couples with friends of the opposite sex galore.
Realistically it doesn’t seem likely you’d end up with a man or woman who doesn’t have at least one platonic friend of the opposite sex. This would mean they’ve navigated through high school, maybe college, jobs, the military, life in general, without forming one friendship with someone of the opposite sex that they weren’t romantically interested in. Quite odd, but it happens.
A man or woman’s friends, including those of the opposite sex, were likely around long before your partner even knew you existed. It’s completely unfair and unrealistic to expect them to sever those friends once in a committed relationship. But if you’re gung ho on finding someone that doesn’t have friends of the opposite sex, hey, march on. I’m sure it’s like finding a needle in a haystack, but it’s possible.
For those in relationships with partners who have friends of the opposite sex, cool. But the friends must remember there should now be boundaries. Once your male BFF is in a relationship you should not call him at 2 a.m., post pictures of him online incessantly, call him pet nicknames and think you trump the girlfriend. If not out of respect for her, do it to respect your friend.
Same for male friends of women who are in relationships. Don’t ask your female friend to come over your house to cook for you just because that’s what she’s always done. She has a man now and that’s clearly crossing a boundary. This won't end well for you, dude.
Rock with what works for you. Keep insecurities in check. Learn boundaries. Put a stop to anything that can come off suspicious. Introduce your significant other to your platonic friends of the opposite sex. And all should go well.
If you insist on adding "no male friends" or "no female friends" to your list of what you're looking for in a partner, well, good luck with that. No, seriously.
(Photo: Matt Dutile/Corbis)