The age old question: can you have just a friendship with the opposite sex?
In the simplest definition of friendships, dynamic interactions between two people over a time period that could last months to years and even decades, one would think the answer to this question should not be so complex.
“At some point you will ask yourself ‘can I date him?’, which I would guess he will ask himself, too, if he could see himself with you. While that question is in your head, that can really make things complicated,” junior psychology major Allison Davis said.
The level of friendship also adds to the complexity.
Davis adds, “My position on this topic is from ‘When Harry Met Sally’. There is a part when Harry says guys and girls can be friends if neither of them are attracted to each other.”
In the modern day, friendships have different roles. A common, modern day example exists when one person is attracted to the other friend but the attraction is not replicated: the ‘friendzone’.
“One of them is going to catch feelings and a friendzone situation is going to form. No one is ever satisfied with being in the friendzone,” Davis explains. “There is an awkwardness that develops and eventually deteriorates the friendship.”
Another type of friendship exists when their is a mutual agreement of added benefits to the friendships: friends with benefits.
“Again referring to a movie, ‘Friends with Benefits’ this friendship is short lived. It does not work because one or both of them will inevitably catch feelings,” Davis said. “If only one person wants more in the friendship, self-esteem problems could develop. The questions of why am I enough for sex, being together in the most intimate way possible, but not good enough to go to the movies and on a date with will bother you and ruin the friendship.”
There are however ways opposite sex friendships do work.
One example of this positive friendship is the ‘sibling-like friendship’.
“If I see you as a brother and you look out for me like a little sister our friendships will work,” Davis said.
The final type of working friendship is a relationship.
“If both people end up liking each other then thats the best friendship you could have. Everyone wants to want to marry their best friend.”
Friendship need mutual understandings to work.
“Both parties in the friendship need to know what level of friendship they are on to make it a lasting dynamic,” Davis said.