Thursday, July 23, 2009

Is it ever "just platonic"?

Sarah & I planned to meet at 1pm today. We won't be seeing each other for a month (summer vacation) and she wanted to treat me for my birthday. I also had some last minute shopping to do in Bucheon - a city about 10 to 15 mins away from me.

We were just going to get a quick bite and head out. As soon as our gim-bap's (rice/veggies/other things wrapped in seaweed) arrived, she said: "I have something to talk to you about."

This sounded interesting. There was a proverbial drum roll.

"Can a guy and girl be JUST friends?"

I knitted my brows. Damn. I thought it was gonna be a hot topic. But this is an age-old question.

Brief background of Sarah: She's from Busan (down south) and has a steady boyfriend. Her parents and everyone at work thinks she's single. Apparently, I'm the only one who knows. I've met him before and the 3 of us hung out a few weeks ago when he was in town visiting. She's been pretty active in her church community since she moved here last year from Busan.

She told me about a guy she knows at church. He's a year old than her and they seem to get along pretty well. In Korea, friends at church are also known as 'church brothers' or 'church sisters'. So he's like her church brother. For the sake of our convo this afternoon, we started calling him "Church Guy".

When Sarah's dude was in town visiting, she introduced him to Church Guy. Apparently, Church Guy seemed very cool, but the boyfriend didn't take like the idea of his girl hanging out with this older "Church Brother". He's a student (and has a car) ... bonus points in Korea.

Last night Sarah & Church Guy went to movies. Then dinner. Followed by a walk on the beach. Sounds like a date, right? And a romantic one at that. But, Sarah turned her phone off.

"If he called, I didn't want to lie to him" (referring to her dude)

Although, she told him she'd been out (but he didn't ask with whom...)

What he doesn't know won't hurt him...(?

Apparently Church Guy has told Sarah that he likes her. Not as a girl. As a person. He says she reminds him of his sister. He went on to say that he enjoys spending time with her. She told me that she feels very comfortable with him as if she can tell him anything. But her dude hasn't taken a liking to his girl having this "guy friend". So what does she do?

So she asked again, "So do you think a guy and girl can JUST be friends?"

I did a quick mental scan of all the guys I know. Straight, Gay, Bi, Married, Boyfriend, Single...

"Yes" I said. A guy and a girl CAN just be friends without it being romantic.
She looked slightly relieved by my answer.

She smiled and went on to say, "I was thinking of you and Sean."

Sean is one of my best friends, who is more like a family member to me. We met at university and have been inseparable since we first met. I've spoken a lot about him to Sarah - how we'd go out for lunch, movies, dinner and all the good times and laughs we shared.

"What about Sean?" I asked.

"What if your boyfriend doesn't want you to meet Sean? Would you not meet Sean anymore, or would you... and not tell your boyfriend?"

Of course, I hadn't thought of this. But the answer was easy.

I've probably known Sean for longer than I know my boyfriend. So I wasn't going to throw away a friendship just 'cause my dude is insecure about me having other guys as "just friends".

"I'd still see Sean," I said.

Sarah hit the table and said with excitement, "OK! That's what I thought.... 'cause I was thinking if Sheetal thinks it's OK to do that, then I'll say it is too...!"

*Newsflash - since when did I become an authority on relationships / men?!*

But there's a counter argument to this.

If you really love your better half and they have a serious problem with you being friends with someone of the opposite sex, what would you do? Ditch your friendships with other guys just for your man? Or... see other guys (just friends) and NOT tell your man?...knowing he'd get upset.

Sarah's going to Busan tomorrow. She'll be there for a month. She told me she won't have any contact with Church Guy over the summer. I got the feeling she had other reasons for being happy about going home for the summer. As much as she enjoyed Church Guy's company, she won't be seeing him and won't have to feel guilty when talking to her guy over the phone.

Leaving the cafe, Sarah said to me, "I feel like you are Carrie (of Sex & the City) because I just tell you everything about my life and about guys"

Mind you, she's not the first to tell me this *wink*

I told her that while she has to take her dude's feelings into consideration, she should just follow what she feels is right. She's not married and still pretty young. She told me that throughout her life, she thought girls should just have friends who are girls and have A boyfriend. But now that she's living on her own, the girl is seeing the world ... :)

A few hours later, after shopping we stopped for a drink at a cafe in Bucheon. I thought the topic was put to rest, but she brought it up again. Clearly it was bothering her. She's feeling guilty about having Church Guy as a friend, knowing her dude doesn't approve.

I told myself to stop giving her advice in case she tells her man - "...but Sheetal said" - I don't want to be getting my a** in hot water with her man!

I have male friends (married/in relationships or single). The reason I'm not IN a relationship with the single dudes? There's no chemistry, I guess.

I have a friend here (Scott) who I occasionally meet for dinner / drinks / movies / coffee. He pays for me a lot of the time, as much as I resist. (just for the record - I have no qualms paying for a dude when we're out ... I've done it plenty of times) To others, this may seem like he's "into me". Some friends have told me that it's likely that he is. But he totally isn't. There's no chemistry. No electricity. No fireworks. It's just his nature...

I think this post should be in 2 parts - else I'm gonna be writing till 3:00am again...

... so can a guy & girl have a relationship that's purely platonic?


vroodamakhan said...

i loved it i loved it i loved it

what can i say sheetal. tell sarah to hang in there.

see you soon.

Sheetal said...

haha! thanks, mum x

Nicki said...

I dunno. My personal opinion is that a girl and guy can not just be friends and hang out that much and feelings *not* developed by either one. It's okay if you have girl/guy friends when you're in a relationship. However, hanging out that much with just the two of you, nope.

Sheetal said...

@ Nicki ~ I think I agree with you on the whole thing about having girl/guy friends if you're in a relationship. Casual friends are OK (I've had them) but maybe spending long periods of time with someone can change over time...?