“We’re just friends.” Such a simple yet loaded statement. When we’re kids, we play with everyone. We’re all best friends. Throughout high school, it’s relatively easy to have guys and girls as friends. College gets slightly more complicated. Lab partners. Study buddies. Friends with benefits. Boyfriend and girlfriend. Boyfriend and girlfriend sans the title. Whatever.
But have you noticed that once we leave the comfortable world of college, suddenly it becomes a lot more difficult to make friends – particularly of the opposite sex? Every other person I know has a Match.com or Plenty of Fish account to help them achieve their long term goal of finding love. But what about friendship?
In my opinion, it is usually much easier to find a boyfriend or a guy to date than it is to find a guy friend. I think part of it is has to do with the social expectations that are placed on the relationship. Let’s say a girl meets a guy (who is single, mind you) in a place like Starbucks and he asks for her phone number. I think that most girls would assume that he has a romantic interest in her. So they hang out a few times, maybe grab lunch or a movie. If he doesn’t pursue anything romantic or sexual with her at some point, she may be surprised or even question his sexuality. After all, who goes to the bookstore or coffee house to make friends?
Friends are people we typically meet at school, work or through other friends. We don’t decide to throw on a cute outfit, go out one night and make new “friends.” Then I’ve heard of some of those casual friendship websites (similar to dating sites but these ones are allegedly ‘platonic’), although I always hear the horror stories from my girlfriends about guys that sign up for these sites just to meet chicks to hook up with, completely negating the whole platonic purpose.
In the past (when I was single), whenever I met a guy and gave him my number to hang out, my intentions were non-romantic…but his weren’t. I’ve had guys pretend to want to be my friend only to eventually confess their feelings to me, or you have that weird situation where you’re hanging out in a casual environment and then the guy completely throws you off guard by suddenly making a move. So awkward.
So where does one guy to meet guy friends anyway? The dog park? Volunteering at an animal shelter? Joining a running group? (Actually, the last time I joined a workout group, one of the guys proceeded to hit on me during the entire hike. On the up side, I’ve never run faster in my life.) I can’t help but think of that song “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone” by Paula Cole (any of my ‘90s people wanna back me up on this one so I don’t feel so old?)
I think if she’s ever looking to do a comeback, she could update her classic hit to, “Where Have All The Platonic Guys Gone.” Not that I have a problem with cowboys, Paula. And if you know of any platonic cowboys I can befriend, I’m all ears.