Here’s why Denise Li can’t live without her favourite dudebros.
Is it possible for women to be platonic friends with men? Sometimes, it astounds me that people ask this question cos it’s a HELL YES! for me. And that’s why I hate the term “friend zone” so much … it stigmatises what could potentially be a healthy and valuable non-romantic relationship between two people. “Friend zone” is an unnecessarily shit-stirring term that should be retired immediately from popular lexicon.
It doesn’t mean that heterosexual male and female friendships are easy to define, uncomplicated, or free from sexual tension all the time. But that’s another story for another day. But I think to only stick to friends of one gender would be to restrict access to a whole world of perspectives, viewpoints and interactions. Here are a few things I get out of my friendship with men.
1. They don’t belabour conversations about emotions
Don’t get me wrong … I’m all for emo HTHTs (heart-to-heart talks), especially if I sense that a friend is feeling down and could use some cheering up. But sometimes, I also like how my guy friends just state the facts, and then move on. Let me give you an example. Recently I met up with a guy friend who was in town for a couple of weeks. We met up in a group with some other guys from the same university. We were all talking about regular stuff, what we were doing with our lives, movies and TV shows we’d watched recently, and so on. Said friend suddenly drops this conversation bomb from nowhere: “[Name of wife] and I are no longer together.” Just like that. I asked him a bit about it, he gave us the lowdown of how the relationship broke down, and five minutes later, we’d moved on from that topic and went back to talking about Breaking Bad. Between us (I was the only girl in the group that night), there were no long-drawn sympathetic looks, no “Tell me how you’re REALLY doing”. He had made peace with the end of the relationship, updated us about it, and moved on. Sometimes, that’s all that really needs to be said.
2. They don’t let things stew
Something else I noticed about men … if one guy has a problem with one of his buddies, he comes right out and says what it is without beating around the bush. They have a conversation about it, sort it out, then move on without any ounce of awkwardness. With women (and I think I can say it because I’m guilty of doing it too), we might act passive-aggressively towards the friend who has offended us, or we ask a mutual friend for advice about whether we should talk to the friend in question. Confronting the problem head on always seems to be the last resort when, really, it’s the first thing that should be done so things don’t become more complicated than they have to be.
3. They make fun of each other TO NO END
Have you noticed this? They always take ribbing to the extreme, sometimes to the point where it can get uncomfortable for the observing bystander. This trash talking is, apparently, one of the ways that men bond with each other, and supposedly, they only do it to other dudes they like. I find this kind of endearing, not to mention hilarious.
Do you think men and women can be “just friends”? What are some of the things you like about your friendship with guys?
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About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys training in MMA, and doing conditioning workouts. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets and Instagram @smackeral83.