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Platonic relationships: A man’s mission impossible

CAN men and women be just friends? Previously, Meld columnist Marcella Purnama wrote a piece adamantly saying no.We thought we’d check in with the guys this time and Hadi Ismato was only too happy to oblige. 

Photo: Martin Boulanger

Can men and women be friends? Sure they can… but wait a minute, just friends? Nothing more than that? Well in that case, maybe not.

Men think differently than women. They have different kinds of needs, different kinds of perspectives and at most times, different ways to express their love and affection. It’s these differences that make platonic relationships between the sexes almost always an “epic fail”.

You’re probably asking how I came to this harsh conclusion. It’s elementary my dear friends – I just observe my surroundings.

While the ladies I know express their affection and care towards fellow ladies by holding hands, hugging or even spending hours on the phone chatting about boys they really like, boys are doing nothing of the sort. In fact, these practices are just not, well, practised in the world of men. We fist bump, throw punches of encouragement and only hug occasionally… and when we do, it’s a man hug, and man hugs are far more manly than girl hugs.

Of course, I’m not saying all men are creatures with a heart of steel. We men love to be cared for too and we like it when there is someone there to support us emotionally. We’re just not going to go out looking for this kind of “support” from a fellow man.

That’s why you don’t see men calling one another up at all hours of the day and night to share our feelings. That’s why you don’t see two men hugging and telling each other that everything is gonna be alright, while holding each other’s hand. If we want that sort of support, we’ll seek out our girlfriends, the gentle and supportive yings to our yangs.

This is the natural order of things. It’s just the way it’s meant to be… until one fine day when a certain girl decides to show up in a guy’s life. Being the nice girl that she is, she decides she’s going to treat him as a friend in the way that she treats all her other female friends.

Now, the poor guy, whom we won’t name for posterity’s sake, has never been treated in such a way before. He starts to see the signs of friendship as something more, or so he thinks. This might happen instantly or it might take time.

Just imagine, this female friend answers his calls late at night to listen to him pour out his feelings. She randomly texts him to say she is bored, or she’ll asks him out to lunch or dinner. A date? No. It’s just two friends casually going out for dinner, or so she says. Can you blame him for getting the wrong idea?

We men mightn’t be the brightest things on the planet, but this all sounds like the actions of a girlfriend, not a girl friend, to us. Why else would she be messaging us out of the blue or listening to our feelings? Our guy friends don’t do that. It’s such a foreign concept to us that we can be forgiven for thinking that when a girl does it, she wants to be more than friends!

I guess there is a thin line between being a friend and being a best friend with someone from the opposite sex.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having a friend who’s the opposite sex, but when the two begin to fall into such a comfortable friendship, supporting one another just like a couple does, it’s inevitable that one of them will begin to fall under the gravity of attraction.

When that happens, not only will the friendship crumble, but there will be heartbreaks all around too.

So platonic relationships, do they exist between the opposite sexes? We guys say rarely. Most of the time, it’s almost impossible amigo.

Do you agree with Hadi? Can guys be best friends with girls? Share your thoughts below!

3 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. i think both guys and girls tend to send mixed signals, especially in a close friendship. you mention that guys don’t typically communicate their feelings, but when they do and they do so to a girl, the girl may feel special and develop feelings for the guy as well.

    but anyway. bottomline: it’s quite hard for (most) guys and girls to be platonic friends forever. i think at some point one will be attracted to the other. it’s how they deal with the attraction that may determine if they become lifelong friends. (or that’s my take on it anyway…)

  2. It’s improbable though not impossible. Though it’s usually when neither are actively seeking a relationship that platonic relationships work out. Especially when childhood friends just want to grumble and complain about their current partners, life’s circumstances or politics in general.

    So yeah, as long as neither want to break that comfort zone of platonic friends, it’s simple to remain as such.

  3. I reckon there’s a fine line between interest and attraction when it comes to oposite sex relationships. That can make it hard to know for sure whether you like them as potential l

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

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