When we were young, we were taught to go out and play in order to make friends, but as we got older, we discovered that not all friendships are created equal.
So at a time when you have to give a little to get a little, can two people be just friends, or will they eventually give some to each other?
This question has been the subject of countless Hollywood films, and has claimed more than a few relationships in the process.
Whether the conversation is had in passing, at a local bar or through research, the answers I got were usually “maybe” or “it depends.” There always seems to be some exception, some “what if” in the reply.
Members of the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas in Austin tackled this same question in 2005, and they concluded that men perceive sex as more beneficial while women feel protected when they are in a friendship with the opposite sex.
So, I come to the table with a new question: Can two single people of the same sexual orientation become platonic friends and remain so for the length of the friendship without at least one person developing feelings for each other?
From what I have experienced, and the experience I’ve gained from other people while researching this article, the answer is no.
Whether that emotion is for two seconds or for two years, the thought will cross one, if not both, of the minds of the parties involved.
This is due to how easily we adapt. When we spend time with a person and get to truly know them as true friends do, we start to realize why we spend time with this person.
Two friends need to have one of what I like to call “non-negotiables,” which are the things that are shared, like the same interests, morals, beliefs or ideas about life.
This is because if we didn’t share at least one these things then the person in question becomes just an acquaintance.
Now I understand that there are people who might say, “Well I’m just friends with someone I work with.”
Other than the obvious question of do you know if the other person feels the same way, I must address a separate topic of “work friends.” A person whom one works with and constantly chats with only at and about work is not a real friend.
However, someone you can talk to about everything and anything and rely to be there for life events—like trips to the post office, no matter the time—is someone for whom feelings will develop over time.
That’s why couples often say at weddings that they’re lucky fell in love with their best friends.
It’s your turn to sound off. Do you think that two people can be just friends?
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