In a generation where two close guy friends develop their “bromance” and close girl friends call each other sisters, there is one type of friendship that has no label: the friendship of a boy and a girl.
Of course, many of those involved in that kind of friendship may spend more time denying that they’re dating or have feelings for each other than looking for clever labels.
It can be difficult for some to even establish a friendship with someone of the opposite gender. Friendly conversation-starters can come off more like pick up lines, which is unfortunate for those who aren’t looking for something more than friendship. Complimenting the wrong article of clothing could convey staring at an inappropriate body part. Going to lunch can require clarification as to whether it is a date or not.
The entertainment industry does not help change the belief that men and women can’t be close friends. Jim married Pam. Ross gets back together with Rachel. Harry and Sally met at the altar. Hollywood makes it seem like when a boy and girl become close friends, a resulting relationship is like the cast of Jersey Shore going clubbing — inevitable.
But making the entertainment industry the scapegoat is too easy. Romances and relationships rarely mirror the scenarios seen on TV and in the movies.
In my experience, I would say that one of my best friends at UC Irvine is a girl, who wished to remain anonymous in this article. I met her in my dorm during my first year and as we became closer, it never occurred to me that she could potentially become more than just a friend. The thought never crossed my mind. Perhaps it was the fact that I wasn’t looking for a relationship, or maybe it was because we were both timid first-years, already overwhelmed by the concept of being in college. For the last three years, she has been one of my closest friends and we’ve never had to discuss the possibility of being in a relationship. We’ve never even had to quiet rumors of being more than friends.
She knows more about me than most of my friends. This might be the reason why I’ve never imagined us as more than friends. She knows way too much about me. I turn to her for advice and to vent about my latest frustrations. She’s heard me complain about girls and I’ve heard her complain about boys. Dating would be awkward since we know what we like and hate in the people we’re attracted to. Not to mention how our friends would react. They would probably say that they saw it coming, despite their look of complete surprise at the news. Plus, should anything negative result, dating would put the chance of ever being friends again at risk, which is a risk I’d like to avoid.
That isn’t to say I haven’t been friends with girls who I had hoped to date. It doesn’t work out all the time and it is disappointing, but sometimes the friendship is solid and a decent substitute.
I’ve heard girls explain how they’d much rather hang out with guys because they are more easy-going and aren’t ones to gossip habitually. On the other side, guys have said being friends with girls just provides a different perspective on their problems and helps them look into the maze that is the mind of a woman. But that’s not to rule out the possibility of ulterior motives of wanting to build the foundation of a relationship.
Ultimately, I think a friendship between a boy and a girl can exist without them ever having to end up in a relationship somewhere in the future. That is not to say the idea of becoming more than friends is immediately thrown out the window once you become friends with someone of the opposite gender, but a friendship for the sake of having a friend is possible. That all being said, I just might end up eating my words and marrying my best friend years down the road.