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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Relationships in College: Can men and women be just friends?

A group of mixed-gender friends, Mitchell Prothero (right), Andrea Paulson (center) and Jason Hamann (left) laugh together.

Can guys and girls be just friends? It’s the age-old question. I’m one of those people who has mainly friends of the opposite gender. Even when I made a Tinder profile for my last blog I had photos with my guy friends and someone message me asking why there were only guys in my photos.

Sometimes it’s easier for girls to get along better with guys. However, dilemmas where friends are interested in each other can occur. In this week’s post, I will be focusing on two single, straight people.

Hannah Streetman, senior, knows people who have hard times being friends with guys. Streetman has had guy friends like her but they’d never fallen in love with her. “When you get to know people really well and you already have that attraction that draws you as a friend, then it can develop,” she said.

Is there always an attraction with friends of the opposite sex? Does it grow? Is it initial? Can it fade over time?

I went to the Western campus and asked students, “Can guys and girls be just friends?”
Everyone I had asked said yes. But I would further pry, “Did you ever find out one of them liked you? You like them?”

Jordyn Strobel, a freshman, said some fell for her, some didn’t. “Once you get to know someone it’s easier to like them [as more than a friend],” Strobel said. She has a boyfriend, so Strobel mainly sticks with hanging out with guys in groups.

Answers are similar for the four other students I had asked. They felt that guys can be friends with girls but there’s always been a dilemma where a friend has liked them as more or vice versa.

With our primal instincts, it’s only logical that we pick our friends based on things we are attracted to, from physical looks to emotional needs and things in common. How do we get over the hump of being attracted to our friend?

“Talk to your friend, and let them know if you feel an extremely closer than a normal bond with them. If they truly appreciate your friendship, they’ll probably be cool with that, then lay out any boundaries necessary that would make them feel most comfortable,” said Andrea Paulson, a senior at Western.

Alex Curtis, a coworker of mine, has advice that relies more on self-control over your urges. “Accept that you have the attraction but don’t allow your attraction or anything else destroy what could be a healthy relationship.”

I completely agree that these are the only two ways you can get over a friend. Open communication in any relationship is key, but if every second you’re switching from liking one person to another, then self-control and introspective thinking on what you’re attracted to needs to go hand in hand.

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