College life in this town can serve up a constant bombardment of new faces.
Whether out on the town or trekking across campus, there are thousands of peeps we haven't met just yet, but there's also those we've already brought into our circles.
Our community of 20-somethings paves the way for networks of close friends and those special few who've made the coveted list of best buddies for life.
But herein lies the question: Are we capable of having such platonic relationships with members of the sex we're attracted to?
Or does the ever-present temptation make sincere friendships impossible? Is there really such a thing as "just friends?"
Men are sex-driven creatures that rarely turn down the opportunity to indulge in our instincts. To my straight guys, if one of your female "friends" popped the, "Do you want to _____ ?" question, would you decline in order to protect your caring and meaningful friendship?
Hell no you wouldn’t.
We’re at a time in our lives when friends of the sex we’re attracted to are more than just casual acquaintances. We hang out with them at parties or chit-chat with them in class, but we hardly ever develop a truly heartfelt friendship.
And if you think you do have one of those platonic friendships, consider this: Why did you begin talking to them? Was it because you thought they were attractive? Is there a chance you could be more than friends in the future?
I talked it over with some guys, and they all agreed. If you’re young and single, the lines that bound the "Friend Zone" are blurred at best. All it takes is one late night or one flirty text, and suddenly Susie from Calculus is letting you derive her.
Yet as my conversation with the guys continued, some of them admitted that they had a woman or two they considered a sister — more of a sidekick than sweetheart. She’s the one you call up when all the bros are busy. She’s nice, she cares, she may even be pretty, but you wouldn’t ever consider pulling any moves on her.
But in college, genuine friends of the sex you swing to are about as common as campus parking. So, if you do have one, hold onto him or her. You’ve got something special.
Ah yes, the question that continues to muddle boundaries between platonic love and the rules of attraction. Can one plainly and simply maintain a friendship with another whom they find delicious? The answer to this question is both "yes" and "no" simultaneously, dependent on the individuals involved and reflective of all complicated circumstantial factors.
As a straight female who has a number of amazing male friends, I can reveal with full honesty that yes, it is absolutely possible for men and women to get along handsomely, share many common interests, hang out and talk for hours, get drunk together, crash at each other's places and not boink. Even as I type this, I know it seems crazy, but it's the truth.
What's not so clear is determining why some buds fall into category "Friend Zone," while others are expedited into potential sheet-sharers. Why the differentiation? What does this say about the qualities we seek in significant others? Is a degree of incompatibility, an element of drama, necessary to keep the sparks flying? Or do my male friends just not find me attractive? (Don't answer that, guys. Let the mystery be.)
For those who can relate to having hot friends with no benefits, I hope you agree that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. There's no need to force romantic feelings into these types of friendships just because Nora Ephron ("You've Got Mail," "When Harry Met Sally ... ") has trained us to think otherwise. Now, read between the lines: Do not hook up unless you have both discussed dating first. Accept the reality that casual sex with a friend is never, ever a good idea. Got it?
However, if you do find yourself falling for a bud, it is in both of your best interests to coolly confess these thoughts ASAP. Maybe your counterpart has been thinking the same thing but is too scared to share it. And if the feeling isn't mutual, don't sweat it. As long as your confession avoids heavy sentiment, I can almost guarantee no friendship will be lost or harmed if the person is worth any sort of damn.