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Gender is no different in friendships

By Brianna Bennett

If you were to type “Can boys and girls truly be best friends?” into Google, the first result is “7 Reasons Why Girls and Boys Can’t Be Best Friends”, an article written by Kiki Coffman on Thought Catalog. The article claims that in a friendship between males and females, there will always be confusion, misinformation, jealousy, familial intervention and emotional pain.

Screenshot 2016-04-16 at 5.30.29 PMI can guarantee that in my relationship with one of my best friends, who happens to be male, is nothing but platonic, and while the assumption that we are in a relationship has come up, we both explain that is simply not the case and laugh about it afterwards.

I just don’t believe that gender makes a difference in friendship. As long as you have similar interests and want to spend time together, you should not have to deal with the expectation of a relationship. However, this is not something I can offer only my views about, so I asked some of my colleagues what they thought.

Jerry Schearer, associate dean for inclusion and outreach, said, “You can things in common that have nothing to do with gender. My best friend for 14 years and I had so many of the same interests that gender was unimportant.”

Along those same lines, Kyle Birckbichler, an elementary and special education major here at KU said, “Guys and girls can be best friends without a doubt. Opposite gender doesn’t mean they’re going to end up dating.”

However, there was one person who was adamant that friendship will eventually develop into romance.

“Somewhere down the line, one person is going to end up having romantic feelings for the other person,” said Diona Akens, a professional writing major here at KU. She cited a plethora of personal experiences, but I was not convinced.

Another article, written by Issac Huss for Verily, emphasizes that a friendship between a male and a female will put strain on a romantic relationship. While that may be possible, it is not a definite outcome, nor should it be treated as one.

In response, my question is this: how are men and women ever going to be equal if society is so committed to the idea that they have to date? There are a lot of levels to a relationship, and to think that there is a certain turn of events or way that things will turn out is an unfair assumption.

Another article from Elite Daily by Elizabeth Brennan, speaks to the female of the friendship and says that she will “fall for him” because on some level, we are “attracted to him.”

I don’t like the word “attracted” in that scenario. Sure, heterosexual females have qualities in mind when they look for a boyfriend, but when they are looking for a friend, they don’t want the same things. They want someone that will be there for them and someone that will share their interests or someone that will act as a sibling for them.

Ultimately, my opinion is that while there is a possibility of a romantic relationship between a male and female who started out as friends, it’s not a guarantee.

There are thousands of other scenarios that are ignored in favor of the boy + girl = romantic love scenario, and I just can’t get behind that idea.

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