I’m a 30-year-old single woman living with my best friend – who happens to be a guy. We are the very best of friends and that’s ALL we’ve ever been. I love him like a brother and nothing more – yet al the guys I date always end up feeling intimidated by the fact that I have a male roommate, and all my girl friends are constantly asking me “So when are you and your roommate just going to date and get it over with?” It gets very frustrating, because while I ADORE my roommate, it is strictly platonic and I know he feels the same way about me! Am I crazy – or can men and women ever be “just friends”?
This is the age-old question that has haunted men and women since the first caveman wandered out of a cave in search of his caveman buddies to shoot the breeze with and instead found Cavewoman. At this critical juncture, Caveman was left to ask himself – do I play fireball by myself, or do I ask Cavewoman to join me? And if I ask her to join me, will she think I have the hots for her? This whole scenario has evolved over time, of course, but is it enough to unequivocally answer the question - can men and women be "just friends," or is a male-female match made in friendship heaven simply playing with fire?
My answer is 100% YES, men and women can be just friends. Not only CAN they be friends, they SHOULD be friends. There is no better source of advice, inspiration and insight than a guy friend. They have broader shoulders for you to cry on. They make you feel better by threatening to beat the loser up who broke your heart. With all their swagger and inability to BS you and "boyness," they put the problems of the world into simple, direct terms that make you forget about what you were confused about in the first place. They share the man's perspective and give you a peek into "the boy's club." They break it down for you in a way that your girls just aren't capable of doing, because most men are direct and to-the-point and don't overcomplicate or overdramatize things. They force you to get back to the basics of YOU because they've seen you at your very best and your very worst and remain completely unfazed by both sides of you. And besides all that - they make really great dance partners.
Now, along the way of guy-girl friendships, there are a few stumbling blocks you might have to overcome. The worst is when you're trying to be a guy's friend and he automatically assumes you want more and so he starts pulling back and being sketchy because he's not feelin' it and thinks you are (even when you're not, either). The only thing you can really do in that situation is to just wait it out and let him talk himself back down from the ledge. Never spend time trying to convince a man who's convinced otherwise that all you wanna be is friends. It's a waste of your breath. He'll figure it out eventually.
The other side of that is when one of you DOES have feelings and the other one doesn't. When this situation arises, honesty is ALWAYS, ALWAYS the best policy. I have had guy friends in the past who have professed their feelings for me that I didn't have the same feelings for, and as difficult as it was to do, I had to tell them straight up that it wasn't gonna happen. And you know what? Nine times out of ten, they were cool and understanding and mature about it and we went on to be great friends. Those are the best kinds of friendships, when you can bring raw honesty to the table, even though it might hurt the other party, and you still make it to the other side with a friendship in tact. (That's also a sign of maturity, on both parts.)
Finally - there IS the friendship, that sometimes even to everyone's surprise and against all odds, turns into something more. Even when you think a guy is safely in "The Friend Zone," sometimes feelings can pop up where you're least expecting them. In this situation, let your heart and your intuition guide you. If your intuition tells you he's feeling something for you, too...by all means, open your heart to him, lay it all on the line and TELL HIM how you feel. One must take great risks to receive great rewards. Worst case scenario - the feelings are not reciprocated. At least you had the guts to throw all your cards on the table and play BIG! No shame in someone who takes a chance in the name of love. Best case scenario? You fall in love with your best friend. And, as they say, live happily ever after. Or happily for a little while. Either way, you gambled and you won. Kudos to you for being bold enough to wave your radio under his window in a very "Say Anything" sort of way and going for what you wanted without fear.
At the end of the day, guy friends are a beautiful thing. After all, look at Dorothy. She was surrounded by males and that turned out pretty well! Her guy friends helped guide her to her destiny and protected her on the journey to following her heart and she helped them realize their biggest dreams come true. Nobody found great love, but they did all find something more important - themselves.