I know there is no straight up answer to this question because everyone has different boundaries and it’s a matter of permissible vs. beneficial. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past which have resulted in a lot of hurt and drama. What are some healthy guidelines for emotional boundaries in opposite gender friendships? How can I pursue a healthy, deep and ‘intimate’ friendship while guarding my heart (and the other person’s) without being legalistic? Or can guys and girls not be close friends?
Here’s the short, simple answer on this one:
While everyone thinks they can beat the odds and be the exception, almost no one can escape romantic feelings if they have a super-intimate relationship with the opposite gender.
The important thing here is what you choose to do with those feelings.
Now please hear me: You have a right to feel what you feel, but you’re not obligated to pursue it.
Just because you feel romantic emotions, it does NOT inevitably lead to a date and a wedding.
I know this probably isn’t your motive, but it’s so ingrained in us today that boys and girls can only flirt to communicate and there’s all this “unrequited longing” that we emulate from sitcoms.
I’m reminded of a very poignant Simpsons episode where Homer has feelings for another woman, so he thinks he has to have sex with her. He actually starts sobbing in his hands and says, “We’re gonna have sex.” I died.
Because of our overly sexualized culture, we assume that being around the opposite gender immediately means “romantic possibilities,” but it does NOT. You and I learned that crap from bad rom coms, Hollywood saturation, and your horny group of friends. We’ve all bought into this “friendzone” garbage, but no one is entitled to a date just because they’re “nice.”
We live in such an impulsive impatient generation, so we assume our first instinct must be the right one — as if we need to chase the rabbit every time. I mean really, when’s the last time we actually said NO to ourselves? Hardly ever. If I want Taco Bell at 2am, then by golly I will have my chalupa with extra beef grease and a side of twelve burritos.