Can men and women ever really just be friends? If you would have asked me this question a year ago, heck, a few months ago, I would have said “no” given the fact that the laws of physical attraction usually draw people together based on mutual chemistry. I would have said no because throughout my lifetime, I have never seemed to be able to achieve a certain emotional distance from the opposite sex that would allow me to keep a balanced perspective on the friendship. Finally, I would have said no because it has been surveyed and confirmed that most guys hang around girls that they are attracted to and are in pursuit of in one way or another. That last statement was based on a college survey I should mention.
What I realize now, is that for me,the idea of a platonic relationship is based entirely on maturity. The older I get, the more in tuned with my own needs I become and with that has come the ability to categorize my wants. What I mean is: If I want to have coffee with a male friend simply to talk and catch up on life, I can do that because the want in this instance is face time with a friend. If I were to ask the same male friend out for dinner or a movie and I stayed in constant contact with him, then the want in this instance would be companionship. Because I am not in search of companionship but I do love good conversation and to reconnect with my busy friends, I am free to enjoy more platonic relationships at this stage in my life. I should note that the relationships are mutually platonic. I try to stay connected to people who are busy, productive and focused on their own goals. In other words, they are not looking for someone to complete them because they don’t feel incomplete.
I've also found that we, women, are sometimes in search mode and we don’t always address why that is, so that we can understand what we are really looking for. Sometimes we can apply the same answer to every need in our lives. For instance: I’m lonely. I need a boyfriend to take me places. I’m sad. I need a man to comfort me. I’m tired. I need a man to take some of this load off of me. I’m scared. I need a man to make me feel safe.
What happens if said “Man” doesn't show up for weeks, months or years from now? Do you trudge through life without ever experiencing relief until then? And when he shows up, does he know that he has a pre-written ‘honey-do’ list? That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone that you haven’t met yet. No wonder we can’t just have coffee and chat, we've been in interview mode from day 1!
The only answer to that particular train of thought is if there is a man out there somewhere who is praying for a woman that he can rescue...could happen but let's not put all of our eggs in that basket, okay?
The purpose of spending quality time with my male friends is not to interview them as potential prospects but to relax from that pursuit and just enjoy hearing a male perspective on life. I learn a lot from men, particularly if they are wise and mature. Sometimes the student can miss the lesson if all they are doing is making goo-goo eyes at the teacher.
Eventually, I imagine I will want more, but not before I can feel comfortable and complete in my own skin without needing someone to make me feel whole. In the meantime, I like my guy friends and I hope to learn a lot more from them…even though we all began with thinking that boys are gross and girls have cooties…