People often like to say that guys and girls can’t be friends if they’re straight. It’s impossible to be friends with the opposite sex without developing feelings for them or wanting to jump their bones, or so they say. Of course, we could blame how society objectifies women. So some men cannot see the opposite sex as anything more than a potential conquest, or how some men confuse platonic intimacy with romantic feelings. You don’t love your friend romantically, they are just being nice to you, and you’re not used to that sort of platonic relationship from the opposite sex and you’re just confusing platonic love for romantic love. This is why we always see the cliché guy professing his love to his girl best friend.

I know this article might sound super obvious to some, but there might be some useful tips for others. Not everyone has had good examples of opposite-sex friendships. Combating learned toxic masculinity, however obvious the behavior might be to some, starts with stating the obvious and breaking down the walls we might not have known were up.   

Some Ground Rules For Friends With The Opposite Sex

Strictly Platonic 

Things should remain platonic between the two of you. If you catch yourself worrying about what the other person is thinking about how you look (outfit, a pimple, etc.) because you don’t want to look bad in front of them. Maybe you want to remind yourself that you’re nothing more than friends.  

Watch Out For Feelings 

The first rule and this second rule go together. Part of keeping things platonic is paying attention to developing feelings. For example, how would you feel if your friend started to date someone new? If you feel a twinge of jealousy, then you might want to take a step back and reexamine what exactly is going on between the two of you.

No Flirting 

Don’t flirt with each other. Part of that is understanding what flirting looks like for you and for them. If you start getting cute and flirting with each other, it becomes a slippery slope that can lead to hurt feelings down the road.

(And if you need a general breakdown of how and what flirting looks like, look no further. We got you.) 

No Friends with Benefits

Don’t let things get sexual between the two of you. Sex has a way of complicating friendships. You might think the two of you will be fine, but most people don’t know how to navigate or handle the awkwardness that ensues most of the time. It’s not like Ashton Kutcher or Mila Kunis’ rom-com. Things don’t always end up happy after you cross the line.

Don’t Hide Your Dating Life From Each Other 

Seems simple enough, but if you feel the need to hide your dating life or a new relationship from your friend, then it brings into question your motives for the friendship. 

Respect Boundaries

Honestly, this is a universal rule. Every relationship (family, friends, partners, coworkers, etc.) has boundaries. Everyone has boundaries. So respect your friend’s boundaries; hopefully, they will do the same for you. Without boundaries, it is easy to slip into a weird non-situations situationship. 

Just A Friend

At the end of the day, opposite-sex friendships are just friendships. Things can get messy when you start to confuse friendship with romantic feelings. It’s sort of like when a barista at your favorite coffee shop is nice to you. Are they flirting with you or being nice because they work in customer service? Do you like your friend more than a friend because they are being nice and friendly to you, and you’re just not used to that platonic relationship? 

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