Although opposite-sex friendships can be complicated and delicate, it's possible to maintain healthy and platonic relationships with your guy friends. Avoiding interactions that can lead to sexual attraction or romantic involvement is the key to keeping the relationship platonic. A one-time occurrence or sending mixed messages can cause serious damage to your friendship. It's important to establish clear boundaries and avoid blurred lines to prevent mixed feelings or misunderstandings.
Don't Get Physical
The first step in establishing boundaries with your guy friends is to keep your physical distance. Avoid hugging, touching or holding hands, if possible. Having physical interactions can easily be confused as a romantic invitation. Men and women can have platonic friendships even if there is attraction, as long as boundaries are respected, asserts psychologist Clifford N. Lazarus on "Psychology Today" online. He recommends behaving around each other like you would around friends of the same sex and avoiding physical contact or flirtatious behavior. Physical distance helps you draw a clear line that tells them that although you are comfortable around each other, they still have to respect you.
Avoid Date-Like Activities
If you want to keep things platonic with your guy friends, avoid activities that seem romantic or result in mixed feelings. Avoid going on one-on-one outings, late-night dinners, spending the night together or any other activity that can be confused as a date. Although these activities may seem innocent, you never now what kind of feelings they can stir in the other person. A study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, published in 2012 in the "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships," found that women often view their friendships with men as platonic, while men are often unable to turn off their desire for their female friends.
Earn Their Respect
If your friendships with your guy friends involve respect, there are less chances of having overstepped boundaries. Earn your friends' respect by avoiding name calling, cursing and inappropriate conversations. Avoid discussing very intimate details with them and try to keep some of your life private. If you ever feel like one of your guy friends is overstepping a boundary or not showing respect, put a stop to it immediately. Have a conversation with him and explain that his behavior was unacceptable.
Involve Your Partner
If you have a romantic partner, invite him to hang out with your guy friends. Encourage him to develop a good relationship with them. If your friends become accustomed to seeing you with your boyfriend, they will view you as off-limits and unavailable. They are also less likely to make a pass at you or develop romantic feelings if they get to know and respect your boyfriend.
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