In high school I was always one of the guys.
I played video games. I watched football and I out-ate my linebacker friends in eating contests. For a girly girl, I was pretty good at being one of the guys.
My friendships with my core group of guy friends were always in question. I must have said, “Oh, we’re just friends,” a million times.
No one believed I could have all of these platonic friendships without an inkling of romance.
But I persisted, “We’re just friends, really.”
Until one day, one of my “just friends” became my boyfriend. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but first he was my best friend and then suddenly there was more to it.
So that is the million dollar question. Is it possible for a guy and girl to be “just friends?” Can there be a truly platonic friendship without any attraction on either end?
I have plenty of “just friend” friends. We tiptoe around that very fine line between being just friends and being something more. We lie in bed and spoon, we watch movies and take part in other activities also in the grey area.
It is with these friends that we often make backup marriage plans. We vow to marry our best “just friend” if we are both single at 30. And in the back of our minds, we think the idea doesn’t sound half bad.
Then there’s the “just friend jealousy” factor. When our “just friend” announces he has a new flame we act excited on the outside, but on the inside we wonder, “why her?”
And sometimes, though we will never admit it to our friends, we secretly wish our “just friend” would make a move. We lie in bed spooning with him, pretending to have no feelings for him and catch ourselves hoping for a kiss.
And if that’s not the case, if we truly feel no attraction to him, then there’s a good chance he has some feelings of his own. Some guys keep their attraction under wraps, while others make it quite obvious that if you give the signal, they are ready to take it to the next level.
Of course, there is a high level of denial when it comes to this attraction. When our friends call us out on having feelings for our “just friend,” we always deny it. And when his friends insist, “it’s so obvious he likes you,” we awkwardly laugh and swear it’s impossible.
It’s time to face reality — it is possible. Maybe your “just friend” who spent hours tutoring you in physics wasn’t just doing it out of the goodness of his heart. Or your “just friend” who you half-heartedly fixed up with your roommate — it’s OK to admit that you want him for yourself.
Maybe we should admit when we feel something for our “just friends.” Why wait until we are 30 to act on our “backup feelings.”
Now is the time to recognize it is our “just friends” who we turn to when we need to talk, when we need to laugh, or when we need a shoulder to lean on — because further on down the road, being able to talk to someone is more important than anything else.
Kate Mishara is a guest contributor to The Campus Press