Do you remember your first crush? That anxious feeling when you saw that cutey that made your young heart melt? Little did you know that you’d reached the age where, boy oh boy, boys and girls would never be just friends again.
Did you ever write to him or her little notes and doodle their name in your journal, slamming it shut when your mum would walk into the room? No? Just me? Did you ever get that tumbling feeling when you finally told them how you felt?
It usually went one of two ways, they either rejected you because they just didn’t see you that way, or they told you they liked you back which was the best day of your life and you’d walk around hand in hand in the primary school courtyard.
I remember my first crush so well. I must have been around 10. He was smart and one of my very good friends, in fact, we’re still friends now (despite the fact that he shut me right down), having known each other since preschool and having since had lots of laughs about our little childhood escapades. I
I’m pretty sure I remember all of my crushes after that. Some of them materialised into relationships or flings and some of them just ended up floating away on a little cloud back to Cupid.
Someone said something to me once that got me thinking, and it made me look at my friendships and my experiences. He said, that guys and girls can never be just friends. At first, I was confused, because surely that’s not true. I have plenty of guy friends who are just friends. All the guys I grew up with at school are my friends. One of my best friends is a guy and neither of us has ever had any intentions or thoughts other than just being friends. We’ve been there for each other through so much and he’s like a brother to me.
A friend is ‘someone who is aware of how crazy you are and still manages to be seen in public with you. Someone who makes you laugh till you pee your pants. Someone who cries for you when one of your special items disappears. When you don’t have enough money to get an ice cream, they chip in. They know all of your internet passwords. They would never make you cry just to be mean.’
So okay, childhood guy friends can be just friends, even if they may not know all your internet passwords, fine. Does that mean that guys you meet after 20, that you tend to gravitate towards and form closer connections with, couldn’t possibly be just friends? OF COURSE, THEY CAN BE!
Thinking that any connection you form after a certain point in your life is solely based on sexual or romantic attraction is setting yourself up for missing out on some beautiful friendships.
You’ll meet people in different scenarios throughout your life. If there’s potential for something ‘more than friends’ you’ll feel it right away, at least one side of the equation will, even if it’s unrequited. I do believe that with girls especially, we can tell right away if we’d be interested in pursuing something with a guy. But sometimes, something magical happens and you form a connection with someone of the opposite sex that blossoms into a fantastic friendship.
Having a friend of the opposite sex is a vital part of life! It opens up doors to understanding the other side of the human mind. You have someone you can ask for advice, someone you can share your worries with that can give you a different perspective. My guy friends are some of the most amazing people in my life.
And I completely disagree with the idea that people in relationships shouldn’t have friends of the opposite sex. It’s an unreasonable expectation to expect that you won’t form a beautiful friendship with someone simply because you may already be in a beautiful relationship.
The other side of the coin could be explained by mentioning my mother. The moment I mention a new guy to my mother at this age, alarm bells go off in her head and she immediately thinks that there’s something up. If my mother thinks that there’s even a 1% chance that a guy that I’m friends with at this age, that I find important enough to mention to her, could be more than just a friend, could it be that after a point, guys and girls cannot genuinely just be friends?
I did a little recon and the stats reflect the fact that nearly every guy and girl friendship after a certain age begins when one side is attracted to the other and that being the primary reason why the friendship starts off. I still find that hard to believe. I’m friends with guys that I would never go out with but I still find incredible human beings.
So, what’s the consensus then? Sure, guys and girls can be just friends. But then again, movies and society has made us wonder if the guy or the girl who’s just your ‘friend’ is harbouring little thoughts and hopes and dreams about you. I’m not saying get on your high horse and think that every member of the opposite sex has a crush on you.
If you’re in a situation where you’re ‘friends’ with someone and you feel yourself getting those little ‘not friends’ feelings, there is nothing worse than keeping it bottled up inside, because all that will lead to is regret. Tell them. No doubt about it, no second thoughts. Go for it, because if they feel the same way, you could end up with something that you would never have imagined. If they don’t feel the same way, then if they’re really your ‘friend’ they’ll stick by you, and as harsh as it may sound, you will probably get over it, and then you’ll see that maybe it’s best to preserve a beautiful friendship rather than risk loosing what you have.
One thing I firmly believe is that even if you are looking to be more than friends, the strongest basis of that would be to start off as friends anyway. Spending time together and learning about each other to build a trusting, strong and beautiful friendship first which you might just end up deciding is better than any attempts at ‘more than friends’ right now.
Can the opposite sex really just be a best friend in the same way as members of your own sex can?
I’ll leave you with this. Just remember that our true friends are the ones we can have those midnight oil burning conversations with. The ones we can laugh with till our eyes leak, the ones that know that we can eat 2 pizzas in one sitting and who would never judge us for it. The ones who know how crazy you really are and who love you for all your faults. And being a certain gender is not a prerequisite for any of those things.
Sit back, grab some Oreos, and let’s see what life has to offer us next.