Some questions are eternal. They serve to eternally perplex and eternally amuse. My favourite quintessential eternal question is - Can a guy and girl be just good friends? It's one of those age old questions, one that has no right answer and yet it begs to be asked every now and then.
Ofcourse the ambiance in which this question is asked determines the quality of the answers you get. Ask it during a mellow evening, 3 beers down and Doors playing in the background, and chances are you'll get to hear some very funny experiences and some very honest opinions. Ask it at a less opportune time (like just before entering a meeting, if you have really bad judgement) and your guaranteed response will be a cold sharp look.
I'm sitting in a bar with a friend, rock music on the side and potato fries in our mouths. This is the perfect setting to delve into shady conversation such as this.
Can a guy and girl be just good friends? I ask her. Her being Priya, an old friend and someone who has just exited her 15th relationship in half as many years. Probably not the most appropriate person to get an opinion on being just good friends with a guy , but hey, she's candid and opinionated and she could be just what I need to get this question answered.
Sheesh ofcourse they can, she replies, all the while trying to make eye contact with the rocker looking fellow sitting on the opposite side of the bar. She continues - The pre-requisite is that each has to be physically repulsive to the other, otherwise there is always the danger that chemistry may creep in through the back door.
This from the girl who is drop dead gorgeous...but then again she can just about spell platonic. Hmmm, maybe she does have a point here.
So does a platonic friendship rely on smelly fungal feet, black teeth with holes in them and 300 gigantic warts? I turn to ask her this but am instead treated to the eye rumba between her and the rocker. I am guessing that those two are not heading up the platonic street any time soon.
I ask this to another friend, Sara. She's petite and bubbly and adorable and has been married for ten years, but not without her share of guy adventures.
Sure a guy and a girl can be friends. But I have found that a guy and I just cannot be good friends, she says ruefully. She puts it down to the fact that she thinks she sends out wrongs signals inadvertently, she is all green lights where reds should be glowing. Hence she has cut men friends out, no men, no complications. And yet despite her best attempts, her stubborn signals must be shining bright for she's is always the one to get hit on when when we go out, she has old boyfriends (and boys who were friends) constantly trying to get back in touch and a series of new men trying to get her number. In her defence, I have to say that the only guy she actually hangs out with a lot is someone who is awfully cute but obviously someone in whom she senses no danger and someone she introduces as 'my best girlfriend'.
I ask a guy I have known for quite sometime now. Can you and a girl be just good friends?
I'm just good friends with you, are'nt I, he asks with a twinkle in his eye. According to him, this is a question for an 18 year old. They are apparently the only ones who should be racked with strange and meaningless questions like this. Once you have crossed 30, you should only worry about the monumental questions like, how can I keep from balding and how can I make it last longer? We giggle together like the old friends that we are.
This question is irrelevant to an 18 years old, I tell him. Most 18 year olds can muster up enough chemistry even with a tea pot.
It's all age related, he insists. Then he elaborates - At 18, every girl you see has potential. At 30, you are probably in a relationship and it becomes easier to be just friends with other girls. At 70, the only friendship that exists is of the platonic type. Chemistry at this age is related to how quickly the aspirin tablet will dissolve in water.
Okay, so here's a new twist to an old tale. Can a guy and a girl be just good friends despite some initial chemistry / attraction? Are'nt there people we all know who were attracted to each other, maybe even went out for a bit before realising that they worked better as friends than as a couple and have stayed great friends ever since?
They probably can be friends even when the attraction exists, my friends says after chewing on the thought for a while. He continues - but as long as there is some amount of attraction, under no circumstances, not even accidently, should she try to look any prettier or touch his hand or kiss his cheek or say she missed him and wear a blouse with the top button undone!
Our final conclusion is that minor attractions can be managed if the girl acts like a bitch, dresses like a nun and keeps a room's distance between them.
It appears that being just good friends is hard work. Either there needs to be replusion of some sort. Or one foot needs to be in the grave. So what about people who really are just good friends? Work colleagues? Gym buddies? Singing in the same choir? Drinking buddies? Movie buddies?
They're probably people who just dont find other people sexually attractive, says Arpana, close friend, confidant and someone who has managed to convert even the most complicated of relationships - her marriage - into a platonic state of two good friends living together as flat-mates. She says that opposite sexes can be great friends, but only if the friendship is not complicated by lust. You can never be friends with a guy you fantasize about. I agree completely. No point playing Scrabble with a guy and pretending to think of a word that starts with an s and ends with a t, which will fetch you 22 points, when all you are dying to do is run your fingers through his hair. Bad bad idea.
So here is the final conclusion from a bunch of been-there-done-that people. As a girl if you want to be good friends with a guy, you need to be terrible looking, mean, married and not in touch with your sexual side. As a guy, if you want to be good friends with a girl, you need to leave your testosterone at home and belch a few times for good measure.
As for me, I do think guys and girls can be just good friends. It's got do with being with the right people, being happy with other aspects of your life, being in a satisfying relationship, having areas of interest with your friends and trust . Have I had strange vibes from guys I thought I was being just friends with? Er, yes, especially in those hormone driven college days, but I moved beyond it or through it depending on how important the friendship was.
But today I am good friends with several guys. Fun, intellegient, talented guys. And I dont look at them as 'guys', I look at them as friends. And we're just good friends. No complications, no issues. And you know what this means right - Either that I am acompletely unattractive pain in the neck or that I'm one of the luckiest girls in this world.