Every week it seems that there are a few “Can a Guy and Girl be Friends?” Question. And when you scroll into the comments sections, you find a variety of opinions ranging from “Yes it definitely can”, to “no it is impossible.”
I think that we get this varied answers because there is a serious problem with how this question is asked and that problem is the definition of what a friend is.
According the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a friend is “one attached to another by affection or esteem” or “one that is not hostile”
I think it is easy to disregard the hostility part of this definition. However, in terms of the definition of a friend, anyone can fall into that category. A same sex person can be a friend if you care for one another. Your S.O. can be a friend if you have some connection. Your family can be a friend since you hopefully love them as well! So the dictionary definition says that anyone can be a friend as long as you care for one another and show some sort of affection or esteem.
So then, what’s the problem?
That problem lies with society’s ideology between a friend and a lover. To many, a friend is someone with little sexual contact and no flirting. This person is someone you enjoy spending time with emotionally, but physically stay farther apart from. A lover on the other hand, is someone with whom you flirt with. He or she is someone who you are supposed to be close to both emotionally and physically.
So, when a two friends are of the opposite gender and strictly friends, what happens?
In my humble opinion, they tread a scale between friends and lovers. Two of my best friends are extremely close and one is female the other male. When they are together, the two of them are close, both physically and emotionally. I have seen them flirt, cuddle, and actually lie on top of one another, the catch is that both of them are dating other people. You see, both of their S.O.’s understand that their relationship is strictly friend based and that is because their S.O.’s understand where my friends’ definition of friendship and lovers is and as such getting close physically like this isn’t a big deal.
I however, have a very close female friend and we make limited physical contact. Both of us have strictly “friendzoned” each other and we are fine with that. In comparison to my other two friends, we are on the opposite end of the spectrum. But even with our limited contact, we sometimes cuddle while watching a movie or flirt with each other in the car. It doesn’t happen often, but it still does and that is because the two of us know that making limited physical contact is alright in maintaining our status as friends.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that a guy and a girl can be friends as long as both of them draw the line between being friends and lovers. This line, is their own personal definition of “friend.” Sometimes the definition is closer to lovers, and other times it is closer to friends. However, often it falls somewhere in between. So as long as each friend couple understands that there is a line. You can flirt, you can make physical contact, you can maybe even do more if you want… Both of you will still be friends and not lovers because to be lovers you need to cross the line of friendship.
Disclaimer: I wrote this from the idea that a girl and a guy are close friends. Obviously, if your coworker is a female and you are a male you probably will not fall into the spectrum between friends and lovers. Also, this is my opinion on the matter. I’m hoping that many of you will agree, but if not feel free to politely comment why.