Love Labor's Lost

volumes of mis-adventures

Just Friends?

on December 24, 2010

Returning to a previous post, in which I inquired for everyone’s contemplation: can males and females be “just friends” without sexual tensions intervening? It seems to be general knowledge that friends make the best lovers, at least the romantic comedies of our day seem to obsess over the same plot line: “I fell in love with the one who was there all along, I just never it saw it before.” This emphasizes that friendship is the perfect way to start a future long lasting relationship, but does that mean that all male and female friends are likely to end in a romantic entanglement? Or, can two individuals, of different genders, maintain a platonic relationship?

It is not a secret that I am a female; something else that is not a secret is that I have many male friends. I’m pretty sure my friendship ratio weighs heavier on the male side. Some might say that’s strange, to be frank, sometimes I say this is strange, but then again, I grew up with 2 brothers, and my mother was never a girly girl either, possibly because of her tragic motherless childhood, therefore I have always been somewhat of a tom-boy growing up, always wearing my brother’s hand me down t-shirts, roughing it with the guys on camping trips, and never quite understanding why so many girls liked the color pink.  I tend to hate some of the stereotypical girly things, shopping gets tiresome quickly, blow-drying and straightening my hair for the most part seems time consuming and tedious (although, even I have succumb to these beauty rituals when necessary), and  I hate women who take forever to get ready, pick a damn shirt, you look fine!

It has always come naturally to me to be friends with guys, for better or worse, the worse being that sometimes filial love morphs into romantic love, or more likely there is a blurry line on which we seem to prance around. It seems fitting to distinguish the different types of love. There are 4 types of defined loves: Eros, Agape, Philia, and Storge. It might be helpful to delve into each of these separately in order to more readily understand where our own friendships, loves, and relationships lie, but to preface, I think it is impossible to be pure in only one type of these loves, which is why cross-gender friendships seem to hold such a taboo-like status in reality.

Eros: Generally speaking Eros is what we think of when we think of movie love, covering everything from queasy stomachs and warm fuzzy feelings to strong sensual passion. It is, nevertheless, very fickle dependent on the moment, circumstance, and perception.

Agape: This one is more strong-willed. It’s the kind of love that we have when we proactively seek someone’s well being. It’s a conscious choice. We are talking biblical love, with Godly conviction.

Philia: Like Philadelphia, you know, the city of brotherly love.

Storge: This is the comfortable love. Like an old pair of shoes that you’ve broken in and love to wear everywhere because they are just a great fit. A lot of times these are the relationships that last for years and the two stay together because it’s easy, but it might lack that passion that we ideally seek.

When it comes to friends, I think that love is a mix of  Philia and Storge and once in a while, when we get lonely, or we a have a lapse in judgment or take an unexpected second look at our “friend” sitting next to us, we might throw in a dash of Eros. That dash creates the confusion of whether or not men and women, boys and girls, females and males can be, “just friends.”

Ultimately, I think, yes, a cross-sex friendship can exist, although there are definitely a few stipulations. Either both parties are extremely honest with their feelings, or both parties ignore their feelings. There is always a point in a male-female friendship where one, or both, of the parties involved will develop feelings for the other, no matter how brief that moment may be. If the one with the feelings is comfortable ignoring said feelings or realizing that their friendship is more important than the prospect of a possible relationship, then the friendship will continue to be strong and flourish, but once those feelings become too strong for one half of the pair, the friendship will have a palpable tension which will need to be resolved in one way or another. Men and women can definitely be friends, but just like all relationships, it can be confusing and most likely will not be without its perplexities, struggles, and uncomfortable hiccups, but in the end they are always worth it.

This stream of consciousness lends itself to a new question: Does having female friends hinder the possibility of having girlfriends for men, and possibly the same for women? Having solid male friendships raises the bar for what a boyfriend should be? What do you think? Comment below!

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One response to “Just Friends?

  1. […] wee lass, and the  young optimistic college graduate, have since faded into a comfortable philia-storge type of love. There are no overly emotional feelings left. There are no hopes for more, on my end. However, the […]

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