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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

FWB: Friends with boys

Published: October 14, 2011
Section: Opinions

No, it’s not what you think. There are no “benefits” of a more risque nature to be written about, this is simply about girls being friends with boys and vice versa. Now, if you’re rolling your eyes at this and thinking, “What is there even to write about?” then it’s a good thing that I’m the writer in this scenario because I do have something to say.

Growing up, I always had friends. I’m not going to think back with disillusioned nostalgia and say that I was popular but I had friends nonetheless. Part of these handfuls of friends were boys. For those of you naysayers still wondering what on earth I’m going to write about to make this interesting, please bear with me through my preamble. I always had a close guy friend throughout my life. In childhood, it made sense that I got along with boys because I liked to play sports, rough-house and explore places I wasn’t supposed to. Even at summer camp, I got along better with the boys than I did with the girls; it just sort of fit together that way. So, what’s the problem, you might ask? This whole having-a-best-friend-who’s-a-guy works all fine and dandy until about the age of 13.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the beginning of my perpetual bad habits. Since the age of 13, I’ve had about four distinctive male relationships. These relationships were not started on the premise of something romantic but were completely platonic. There is something to say about having a best friend who’s male: They provide something that you don’t get from girlfriends. This is not to say that I don’t cherish the female relationships I do have but there is something you get only from male friends. Let me establish what I mean when I say guy friends. These are not the guys you hang out with in a group of people, a guy with which you have one or two inside jokes. A guy who, if it came down to asking someone to just hang out with you on a Friday night when you don’t feel like going out, you would ask. I’m talking about the guy friend whom you don’t think twice about calling when you’re frustrated about something, the person who likes the same music as you, the person with whom you can sit for an inane amount of time and just talk about, for lack of a better term, stupid shit.

The problem with the scenario listed above is that you come to let your guard down with these guy friends after months or even years of just chilling and talking about everything from guitars to competing to see who has more plaid shirts in their closets—sidebar, I own a lot of plaid. The point that I’m trying to make is that two people who spend this much time together can’t avoid falling privy to the thought of something beyond friendship. It is a personal theory, after experiencing this phenomenon of co-ed friendship, that one or both members of this relationship has to ask themselves if they want something more.

If you’re still reading this and shaking your head at what I’m saying, then I hate to say it, but you haven’t experienced what I have. On the other hand, if you are reading this and feeling as if I’m describing your life, please don’t be alarmed. I’m writing for you.

Back to what I was saying. When two people become close enough to one another and know all their secrets, pet peeves, guilty pleasures, weaknesses and just the thing that tickles their funny bone, it is inevitable for feelings to arise. So what happens next? In the past, when one person expresses their feelings, they end up getting hurt. I’m not saying that some of the best relationships don’t spring from friendships, because they do. For me, however, it has never been the right time. I never wanted to forgo the friendship and risk losing the person in my life. So here’s the kicker: There’s a reason why I’ve had about four of these types of relationships, the ones that come before but are no longer in my life for that exact reason. I’m not saying that I’ve stopped caring about them, because I always will. So why keep on letting myself become involved in these types of friendships and become attached when I know in the back of my mind that there comes a time when we have to figure out what we want? Because there is something to be said for a guy who is going to call you on your bullshit, who knows the little thing you do to get your way and who knows just by looking at you that you’re upset. It’s nice to be cared about and noticed in the simplest way. So I’m going to end this here and let you, only if you need to, reflect and examine what it is you want from that guy friend in your life.