So last week I blogged about what I perceived to be the differences between male and female friendships. This week I am exploring the issue of the platonic friendship.
I do have platonic friendships at the moment. I have blogged before about my boy friends (note, boy friends and not boyfriends) and I remembered this post that Rachel did on this very issue. I commented on that post – go read it!
This is what I like about my boy friendships – specifically the ones in my life
- They are extremely low-maintenance.
- There is NEVER any drama. Actually sometimes there is, usually when they get girlfriends – somehow these women are jealous of me – I have NO idea why.
- There is NEVER any judgement.
- There is ALWAYS support.
- The boundaries are 100% respected and quite honestly, it wasn’t even necessary to have a boundaries conversation. As soon as my DH was in the picture they automatically KNEW their place.
- Somehow it is easier to pick up where we left off. Maybe because there is less emotional intimacy?
This is what I don’t particularly enjoy about my boy friendships:
- They are extremely low maintenance. I have a strong need for affirmation so this is occasionally an issue for me.
- I need to be extremely aware of my body language and whatever signals I send out because, despite the fact that we are friends, they are still boys i.e. they are still visual creatures. I would be mortified if one of them feels that I’ve somehow “led them on”.
- I need to remain aware (as a married woman) of when to take a step back. It is easy for me as a woman (i.e. an emotional being) to get overly involved. I need to REALLY be on my guard on watch my words sometimes.
Despite these things, I DO LOVE my boy friends and I do enjoy the very different, less intense, less stressful, more easy-going dynamic. My male friends have been in my life for many years, even before my DH. The friendships either started after chemistry had been acted on OR it was a case of chemistry coming later in the “relationship” that was acted on. Or not.
As a married woman I don’t actively pursue male friendships because I think it can be risky and I am very wary of what can be interpreted. I really don’t want to end up in a compromising situation.
Having said all that, I DO believe that platonic friendships can exist, and very successfully too, provided that there are VERY clear boundaries.
These are some of the boundaries that I have in place within my platonic relationships.
- I never go out with them at night. Except with Friend E. But that’s because he’s as “happy” as they come and my DH doesn’t have an issue. If I ever meet one of them for coffee, it’s usually close to my home in a very public place. I either invite my DH along or have him drop and collect me.
- None of them will ever come to my house OR call me if my DH is not around, so no calls to my workplace, no private messaging. In fact, when they call me they insist on saying hi to him first. ALL of them do this.
- We don’t talk about s*x or allude to it. We’ve been there and had those conversations in my pre-married woman days. It’s not done now under any circumstances.
- I never ever talk about what is going on in my relationship and I keep THOSE conversations very general.
- I never ever speak badly of or complain about my DH to them.
I know that some women won’t even entertain the thought of having male friends but I think that every woman needs a good male friend (obviously with boundaries).
I’d love to know what you think. Can men and women really be friends or will the chemistry issue always come into play? Do platonic relationships actually exist? Do you have good platonic friendships? What are your “rules” for platonic friendships?