The Myth of the Platonic Friend

platonic-1Normally on Fridays I like to keep things light, but I figure I’ve kept things light for long enough, time to give y’all a healthy dose of my ranting! (it’s been a while, hasn’t it?). Today we’re talking about friends. You see, on TV, in magazines, in bar conversation, friendships happen to be a hot topic right now, especially when it comes to the topic of platonic opposite sex friendships. While my experience should dictate otherwise, I am all for platonic friendships, although I am beginning to wonder what exactly it is that allows these friendships to flourish and remain tight. And what allows these friendships to remain platonic, not only in the physical sense, but in the emotional and psychological sense as well.

I remember in high school, I had my crew of my “boys” and my crew of my “girls”. Although in middle school we were all one big group, I started to see the divide around mid grade 8. My problem was, I loved my girls, and the fact that we could talk boys, go marathon clothes shopping, and even relate about growing up issues, I loved my boys equally because they understood my chill vibe, what it was to just veg out in sweats and watch funny ass shit, have a conversation based on fact and not just emotion, and (OK so this isn’t typical – I’m not saying I was) my player, non commital ways, and I-ain’t-got-time-for-your-drama attitude. I understood and related to my boys more on a day to day basis, but there were a few key things only my girls could ever get (how to find a comfortable bra, for one, or how my developing into a woman was anything but graceful, what with mood swings I still didn’t understand, swollen boobs, tampon uh-ohs and you want me to wax what???).

But as much as my boys and my girls never rekindled their platonic friendshiphood, I stayed close with all of them until the end of high school. I found as an adult, I had a much tougher time making female friends than I did making male friends, and quite frankly I had an even harder time finding a female who didn’t make me feel like gagging every time she discussed her “problems” or her views on life. I had the most awesome boys nights though, laughing it up, getting into some pretty good debates, watching some hot ass (I’m very secure in my heterosexuality, but I can see a hot chick for what she is), cursing women for their nature (even admitting when some of the criticism described me perfectly lol), cursing like a sailor when the world upset me, making crazy bets over dumb ass games, and drinking my beer like it was going out of style (I have a high tolerance for alcohol, and LOVE me my beer boy lol), all while dressed in super tight jeans, runners, and some type of baby tee designed to show off my dirty pillows. Life was grand. I had the best of both worlds: a group of tight knit friends who totally got me, a few female friends who I could stand, and no complexity when it came to the platonic-ness of my friendships: I was straight, G!

Ummm....What. Are. You. DOING??? Off buddy, this is a platonic zone!!
Ummm....What. Are. You. DOING??? Off buddy, this is a platonic zone!!

Well, at least I was until my friends started dropping like flies. Sure, I lost some of my friends because they developed feelings for me, but shit happens. Then me and my boyfriend of four years broke up, and suddenly men that I had been friends with since high school, whom I seriously think didn’t notice that I was a girl at all, started trying to get with me. And I don’t mean subtly. I mean like, I’m crying on his shoulder, and he tries to go in for a kiss- mouth open. Ick. Or another one, told me I needed some company so he invited me over to his place to watch some movies. I told him I need to be out and sociable, and suggested maybe going to a bar. He got pissed and told me if he couldn’t spend alone time with me then he didn’t want to spend any time with me at all *staring slack jawed*. Seriously dude?

I could relive all of the devastating scenarios I have lived through up until this point, but suffice it to say that most of the situations left me confused at best, downright FLABBERGASTED mostly, and a little disturbed at times (ummmm, no hun. After bonding over bagged chocolate milk and jumbo cookies in grade 7 and then making a blood brother pact with you I do NOT want to feel, see, or even CONTEMPLATE your penis on any level. Sorry). But what I don’t understand in most of these cases is what the hell went wrong? Like, I totally get that me and my ex couldn’t stay friends, because he couldn’t separate his romantic feelings for me from his friendship feelings. I kept thinking it could happen at some point, but everyone else knew I was just being damned foolish lol. But what I don’t understand are the ones who met me so long ago and have been my friend for ages, have never made a move, and have never appeared even remotely interested- whether or not I was single, until one day when they up and loose their minds and try and stick their hand down my pants. Like, NO. OF COURSE NOT.

What I love about this, is that it’s so true…but for me, it’s sooo different!! LOL! Ok, seriously though I swear his answer that girls give for not liking girls is NOT my reason. And there ARE others like me, I’m not saying I am super magical here. Clearly I learned that many of my man friends were out to get with me.

BUT, that doesn’t make me relate to or get along with women any better. And not cause I’m better than them… I think it comes down to opportunity for socialization…where I had more with boys and guys…gender roles are a highly socialized trait…just saying.

This video is SO hilarious, I love it. Go team, he makes some valid points man!

OK. So I have spent the past 2 years or so asking every man I know not only for personal reasons why they think a man may not want to stay platonic friends with me (I’ve gotten that I am too sexy and pretty to be “just a friend”, that a man would feel too dumb telling his friends that he’s been my friend all this time and NEVER got up in it, even once, even a little, even with some tongue or a finger –I love my friends and their details lol–, that I am WAAYYY too good of a catch so naturally when they see other men take interest they wanna take me off the market until they’re good and ready for a wife… *rolls eyes*). I think what they were trying to say is that platonic friendships only exist in one way streets (like how I choose to interpret my guy friends?? lol) (and I’m not saying only women do this, because I know men have been in this position before): the woman picks a male to be a friend whom she has no sexual desire for, because she knows she can feel comfortable with him enough to share her true thoughts and feelings over a bottle of wine without risking falling into bed with him, she picks men who are awesome wingmen (i.e. who attract many potential dating prospects because they are popular, funny, life of the party, etc. ), she picks friends who will listen to her every issue and complaint with open ears and arms and is so understanding, she’s just so lucky to have a friend like him, or she picks the man who is the “rich” best friend, always taking her out, treating her, bringing her along to great events (pretty much girlfriend ish) without her ever having to give it up because they agreed they were “just friends”.

Notice the difference in the way women approach the subject versus the way that men do. Women are so much more positive and a lot less jaded about the topic. Could that be because of the perks a woman gets from having the “platonic male friendships” and the fact that (probably) most women in platonic friendships with men are actually feeling only platonic feelings??? Just something to think about

Now, apparently, according to the guys I surveyed (ok, asked, but I’m trying to sound professional) the kind of platonic friend I am (down to chill out at a bar, no touching or flirting, just trying to get my beer and wings on man, let’s talk bitches(OK, I overexaggerate, I am also a really good relationship counsellor, and people like to come to me with problems too…but I like the sounds of shallow me better)!! Lol) does not actually exist all that much in reality. I’m not all that surprised, because I can count the amount of girls that don’t bug the shit outta me on one hand (and half my thumb…you know who you are!! :-x), we’ll get into all the reasons why on another post!! hehehe. ANYWAY, there’s also platonic girl friend because she is not attractive physically, mentally, or emotionally, and nobody was quite sure why these girls wanted male platonic friends (or if they really did) except to haphazard the guess that it would be the closest thing to a respectable, mutual relationship between them and a member of the opposite sex that they would ever get. (I didn’t rethink this one– it’s pretty much what I thought too…sorry, I know, I know, I’m a terrible person…but I’ve already admitted this. At least I’m honest)

Now, we get to the other side of this track, the other “platonic” friend in this relationship (and don’t kid yourself: it is a relationship). Now the man (sorry, this one is vice versa as well, just easier to illustrate the point by using pronoun A for one half, pronoun B for the other) can be one of several things: he can be what my hubby terms the “One Day…” dude. One Day dude is being the perfect boyfriend, no strings attached, in the hopes that one day you’ll look at him, and the light will be shining on him in just the right way, his scent will intoxicate her and suddenly Vanessa Williams Save the Best for Last will start playing in the background. Or at the very least, she’ll finally break you off a piece cause you’ve been the dutiful friend. There’s also “In Denial” dude, who clearly is madly in love with you but refuses to ever admit that out loud. He will provide you with the perfect fiery friendship because he’ll be 100 percent chill and calm one moment, and bitching you out the next, and making you crack up at yourselves the third. But every time you are the only one who “gets him” you’ll think it’s because you’ve really had a bond with him. Secretly, it’s because he’s let you– both develop that bond AND think that way, in the same way he would a girlfriend he really liked.

There’s also the “Since when did you grow boobs” dude. This is the one who you’ve known forever, and who never seemed to even have noticed you’re a girl. When people suggested you two would make a cute couple, he would say “Eeewww, gross! She’s practically a dude, man!” and he was dead serious. So what gives? Well, he probably just never looked at you after he categorized you as “friend”. The problem is, as we all get older, we tend to change and develop in ways, and we also tend to get more confident. You know that sexy facebook pic you posted last week? Yeah, he was all hot and bothered by it: until he realized it was you! lol. So suddenly, this girl who he curls up with practically naked with on the cottage couch after a swim each summer has boobs? Lawd Jesus, why didn’t someone clue him in earlier! He now can’t help but run things back in his mind, try and figure out what could have happened, and what your closeness really means. As a result, he may feel the need one day in your regular setting to try and push the envelope, see if you are seeing him in a new light, and see whether his feelings are valid or just some random fantasy.

Ok, while searching for interesting videos about platonic relationships, I stumbled across this one. You see, it’s girls like her who give the rest of us a bad name, and why it is that I DO NOT feel that I relate to girls. Sure, she is an extreme, but WOW. You see, and with the dude’s video up here, he’s referring to the chicks like this who say “I totally relate better to men than women”…ummm, not likely. She’s an ass, and there are so many women, to varying degrees of this super mess, who make outrageous claims, like that they don’t get women or whatever. *rolls eyes*

Seriously, this chick annoys the SHIT outta me, and I want you to listen to all ten minutes of her nonsense. And then go back and read my paragraph about why I prefer hanging out with men. I mean, the things that come out of this girls mouth…like…wow. She FAILS. Big time

Finally there’s Mr. “Emotionally Confused”. Who has just gotten out of a relationship, or some rough and tough major life struggle, and as usual has turned to you for guidance and support. Nothing is any different on the surface: he’s just as broody, miserable, and unhappy as he has been in other situations like this. This time, though, in your mind you’ve sort of “shifted gears” much like “since when did you grow boobs” dude, but here it’s an emotional shift: It’s kinda like, for him, when he looked at you the sunlight caught your hair at just the right angle, your eyes twinkled ever so faintly, and Vanessa Williams Save the Best for Last begins blaring on the loud speaker in his heart. He’s ALWAYS overlooked the one woman in his life who has always been there, who would never let him down, who knows him inside and out and loves him anyway….”Come to me baby!! You’re the one I want!!”. Would sorta be perfect if this was the movie and you’d been in love with him since you were seven. But its not. And you’re not. And he just dumped his emotions on you. Wow. Well, this one deserves a second chance, because it’s quite natural to become a complete mess and confuse thoughts, feeling, and emotions when you are going through a hard time. For the most part, these dudes don’t really truly mean it, they mean more something like “you are my absolute best friend in the world, and you’re so beautiful and gentle and I know you wouldn’t hurt me. I love you and I know you love me, so could we pretend to be in love for one night and take away some of this pain in my heart?”. (remember, as in the past examples, this one also applies to women). Out of all of the ones on this list, this friendship is the most salvageable, because it’s not really all about ego, and quite frankly once they’ve gotten over temporary insanity, for the most part he’ll only be sorry he came off like such a doof. (I think I like that word too. Doof. LOL…where did i come up with this?).

OK, so as I said (did I say? I better scroll up and find out)….sorry, I’m gonna leave this here because you know what? I scrolled up for so long and got so lost in what I was doing I TOTALLY forgot what that sentence was about….ROFL….sigh…it’s been a laugh filled Friday for me. So, I mean, I do honestly think that some of those male friends fell loosely into these categories, but at the same time I have an extremely hard time allowing myself to be categorized. I mean, seriously, I still just don’t get it. Even if all the rationale makes sense, what? My awesome friendship (and I’m not just loosely saying that; I really am a good friend) doesn’t make dude say “you know what, fuck those emotions, I would HATE to loose such an awesome friend!”?? Well, obviously not.

Ok, while I do NOT condone his use of the word bitches every 5 when referring to females, I think he does have a point: If we expect a friendship to remain platonic, we should treat it as we would treat our female friendships…that includes going dutch, no matter how nicely he offers…he may think he’s making his “pussy downpayment” which will mature over time, so don’t let there be any opportunity for this kind of confusion!

Honestly, I have also been told by older folk that it’s a 20 something angst I will just have to deal with for now. Apparently, platonic friendships reappear after people are happily settled into marriage and kids, or are secure in their singledom around their late 30’s to early 40’s. Yeah, cause I wanna wait that long. Seriously, I don’t want to lose faith in platonic friends, primarily because some people do actually claim to have real ones…I want some too.

LOL

Just some food for thought. Maybe my experience is entirely weird though, and you guys have billions of platonic friendships that have last longer than 10 years (my current longest that decided to try and bring things to “the next level”)…please, if so, share with the group! Or if you have some idea of what I am doing wrong, by all means let me know…and this includes friends too :-p (Don’t worry, if you post anonymously I have no way of tracking you!).

Anywho, time to get this weekend started baby!! (AKA, lying on my couch, watching Season Two of Dexter, and maybe downloading a movie!! Oh fun times!! lol)

Come on Guys, Lets Bring it Back to the Playground Days!! ;-)
Come on Guys, Lets Bring it Back to the Playground Days!! 😉

Cheers

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13 Comments

  1. Good post! I am not sure if you have all of the reasons for platonic friendships failing dead on, but it was an interesting exploration. I ran into the same issue, I guess like that video said as much as we like to think we’re all so different from other women we really arent. To me though these are all just excuses for the truth.

    Which is that these people are all juvenile. If they can’t keep there hormones in check and can’t deal with not owning something they are vaguely interested in then I have no time for that type of immaturity. Be happy those people flew out of your life because they were never real friends to begin with.

    Like

  2. I don’t care what some hatin crybaby who probably got blown off one two many times by the object of his desires has to say, every woman is an individual and cannot be grouped into one big group of wannabe misunderstoods. I don’t keep female friends. Unless their family. Period. Life has taught me that we don’t get along. And a friend gives me the side eye one day when I’m stretchin we’re no longer on close vibes.

    I hunt with the men in the family, play ball with them, and yeah I mess with the heads of pretty girls like them. I relate to men not cause its in fashion but because I do. Point blank. I’m bisexual and I find the men I do date actually do see that I am different from the average, but not just cause of my interests or experiences, its the way I hold myself.

    I would lift my ban off of no girls as friends except I haven’t found one who holds herself like me all the time even in private cause thats how she do. I don’t like people who front. Same ways I’d drop all male friends and just chill with my fam if I saw that too much mans was trying to get in my pants and weren’t real. Hasn’t happened to me, and I don’t call it luck.

    Ruby, maybe your issue is that while you think you are just being “one of the boys” your attitude and actions speak different. Not saying you whoring around or nothing, just maybe your inherent femininity and behaviors play a role. I don’t know you so I couldn’t say for sure, just MHO based on what you said and previous life experience.

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  3. This is more simple than you think. Its animal nature. I wanna get with you cause its in my nature to do so. You a good person good friend good everything and I can chill wit you and be real wit you and all them thangs what make you think you just being one of the guys, that just makes me wanna get wit you more. Its every mans dream come true to have that woman who can be down, be classy and sexy as hell, and be a freak in tha bed. When men see you got 2 out of three, they imagine you got the 3 one too (since we fantasize what every woman we meet would be like in bed)which makes you prime target for our affections. Take it as a compliment

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  4. I’m with Kinetic on this one. Only, wanna add that unless she’s nasty, got a nasty azz attitude, crazy, or unattractive, I don’t pay attention to little details cause I just wanna get down. Her bedroom persona is more important than whatever else (except for the list above). But if your around me for long enough that I naturally start paying attention to you……. this is where Kinetics comment kicks in for me

    ~D

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  5. @ Lina Lee…I am so with you on that! It stems from immaturity for sure. Probably combined with insecurity. But either way, you’re right. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate me and my friendship can go suck an egg! 😉

    @ Dlite
    Thanks for your input, I think I’ll send out some feelers on that one. I was thinking though, before i got to the end of your comment, that perhaps what is different about you is your bisexuality. Are you more of a tomboy as well? If you are, combined with your interests and your ability to get a woodie from a woman’s ass, maybe you are truly more “one of the boys” than any 100% hetero girl could ever dream to be. Regardless of how she acts or carries herself..

    @ Kinetic
    I like the way you phrased that. As much as it doesn’t make me feel any better about not being able to simply be appreciated on the friendship level, it does make me feel good to think that I might be every man’s dream wife! 😀

    @ ~D
    Well, I happen to know many men who are just like you, and those ones I would never chill with one on one or expect to truly be my “friend-without-benefits”. But I’m not talking about guys who are straight up with it. I’m talking about the ones who pretend that they really appreciate your friendship, come to you for relationship/getting with a girl advice, etc. Ones you have known for several years. I think that makes the situation a bit different…at least in my opinion

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  6. hi there
    i’m so happy that i found this blog. that comment was so great. thanks again i bookmarked this article.
    are you planning to write similar news?

    Like

    1. @Gewinne
      Thank you very much! Which comment are you referring to?

      Who knows what the fabulous and yet twisted mind of Classic Ruby will come up with next! 😉 But seriously, topics like this are close to my heart so I’m sure that something along these lines will pop up again. Stay tuned!

      Like

  7. Ruby,

    thank you so much for your post. Your experiences and insights were very thoughtful and touched home. My buddies and I had experiences similar to this type of thing, so we did the natural thing… we wrote a book on it. You may find it interesting, and we’d love to hear your thoughts. The link to the free download is on our blog at http://menandwomencantbefriends.wordpress.com/.

    Stop by, check it out, maybe leave a thought or 2 : )

    Like

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