And when I say “we,” I mean, people who identify as male and those who identify as female. I thought about this after a Meetup group called Solo Living in 35+, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It just started, so groups tend to be small. In this case, it was myself and a new woman named Ruan, and we watched a group called Turtle Recall play at the DC Waterfront. The band was decent, but the conversation was even better, and on the Metro ride home, we discussed why it is so hard for men and women to be platonic friends and wondered why that is the case.
I vaguely remember being five years old and having female friends I’d play with. As I got older, I started gravitating toward other boys for my platonic friendships; females were for romance. One could not wind up in the “friend zone” with females. That was just the kiss of death.
Still, I found myself having platonic female friends without the desire for romance or sex, and as I got older and started learning more about myself, I realized I prefer platonic relationships. And when I posted on CoSP, many members (mostly female) posted about their male friends, some of whom suddenly stop being friends when they enter romantic partnerships.
As someone who has many female friends, I have some theories. I think societal pressure has conditioned us to think that if a male and female meet each other, there is some subconscious voice telling the two parties there must be romance, sex, or some form of physical intimacy. Whenever I see a male and female walking down the street each other, my first thought is: they’re coupled. I’ve actually made that mistake when I’ve referred to a woman or man as “your husband/wife/boyfriend,” only to find out they’re friends or relatives. So I’m as guilty as the next person.
There’s no immediate solution, but we do need to normalize male/female/agender platonic relationships.
My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.