By: Natasha Archary
There’s a fine line between the dreaded friendzone and a strictly platonic friendship. That line should never be crossed. Ever.
Why? Because this can be a sticky minefield of awkward sexual attraction and painful rejection. Of course, there’s a flip side to that coin and things could go incredibly well and you both fall hopelessly and headily in love. Complete with white picket fence.
Is it worth playing for those stakes?
Before we share what science tells us in these fragile matters of the heart, let’s walk you through societal perception. According to a survey with singles on an online dating site, 83% of respondents believe that men and women can maintain a completely platonic friendship.
Mind-blowing. And before you call me out for my not-so-subtle skepticism, 62% of those surveyed admitted that they had been in a ‘platonic’ friendship that turned romantic or wait for it, sexual.
The odds don’t stack up for those in favour of having a platonic friend of the opposite gender, who are heterosexual, now do they? The skeptic in me is not going to say it. (But I told you so.)
Friends with no benefits
In order for a strictly friends arrangement to work, the both of you have to keep it that way. This means no flirting, whatsoever.
Now, the naysayers, will claim that innocent flirting does not lead to temptation. It’s like a dog that’s all bark, no bite. Science says, that 71% of people polled hoped with all their romantic hearts, that a future relationship bloomed out of friendship first.
What’s more is that a large majority of men, more than women, reported that it was far easier to maintain a friendship with a woman, with a potential for activities behind closed doors. Or doors open. Voyeurism is a thing and we respect that.
Flirting is a sign there’s attraction present. It doesn’t mean that the line’s crossed yet but it can be nothing more than playful banter. It’s important to consider if the other person is in a relationship and be respectful of that.
If the flirting is reciprocated, could it mean that you’re treading toward something more? Not necessarily. Relationship experts maintain that platonic love is possible. A friend who is there for you in times of need. Through the highs and lows that life hurls at you.
Whatever the reasons, maintaining the platonic stance means strategies need to be in place to avoid any and all sexual tension that may be there. Tension that one or both of you, subconsciously or not, may be ignoring.
Is it possible for men and women to just be friends? The jury’s still out on this one. Researchers hold that our species still don’t have the love language down. We struggle with communication. Here’s what we can take away from all the numbers.
That maybe, just maybe, even if sex is involved, it doesn’t mean that there’s no longer friendship. That perhaps we just need to stop giving our relationships titles. Keep the boundaries in place and just zombie through those racy feelings until those equilibrium shots are real.