Bad idea: I have known Lisa for twice as long as I've known you, baby. | Better idea: If you have no interest in meeting Lisa, I don't understand your anger.

I doubt this is news to anyone at this point, but if asked, I typically tell people that my best friend is a female. She is great, awesome and I won’t tell you her name here, because she doesn’t really like all the attention that comes with being mentioned on the Internet. I have seen When Harry Met Sally and heard all the theories on why men and women can’t be friends. My opinion has always been that everyone has the potential to be platonic friends with the opposite sex, but it just depends on the people. For example, womanizers are incapable of being friends with the opposite sex. They try and bed women for sport.  For that reason, they fail at having platonic friendships. They will just smash for the story.

In honor of today’s post, a special throwback mix from Carver the Great. This one’s called, Nobody’s Perfect and features some of the hits that made us fall in love with R. Kelly… and a little Badu. Tracklist: 1. Down Low Remix by R. Kelly, 2. Trapped In The Closet by R. Kelly, 3. Friend Of Mine by Kelly Price, Ron Isley, & R. Kelly, 4. Contagious by Ron Isley, Shante Moore, & R. Kelly, 5. When A Woman’s Fed Up by R. Kelly, 6. Tyrone by Erykah Badu — If your job is a hater, you can download it here.

Many have asked me how I’m able to have a female best friend or a large number of female friends, and I usually never answer. Today, after seeing a few articles around the web on the topic, I thought I’d give the male version of this post. A lot of men and women don’t think it is possible, if that describes you, then just move on and don’t finish reading the post. However, if you do, or are still questioning it, I hope you take this post to heart.

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1) The first thing that will dictate your relationship with someone of the opposite sex is finding the common ground that creates the foundation of your friendship. When people ask me what brought me to being friends with a female, I always answer the same way: “Common areas and a similar value system.” Check it out— if you met a person of the opposite sex, because there was a romantic interest initially on either of your part, it won’t work. Walk away from any relationship that doesn’t start just like your friendships with people of the same sex.

2) The next thing you have to focus on is the things you will do together. My best advice is that you do things that friends do, not things that lovers do. When I’m spending time with my female friends, you will never hear us say, “Let’s get together for some major cuddle time.” No way, Jose. However, you will hear me say, “Hey, you want to go to the Nats game and then hit the bars?” Be very careful with the things you do together. I don’t personally think having a dinner with just the two of you is a big deal, but if the setting of that meal is a romantic ambiance, it’s probably inappropriate. Movies, bowling, and sports… yes. Candlelit dinners and private settings… no.

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3) To date, I have never considered having a relationship or anything more than a platonic friendship with my best friend or any of my close female friends. It just never happens to pop in my head. If someone asks me, “What if you guys were the last two people on earth?” I’d probably answer, “That would be great, because then, we would have so much fun as humanity was ending.” People who have the conversation and start to say stuff like, “You know, I’ve thought about it, and we’re just not compatible” are always too far down the road to bad intentions.

4) You have to be sure not to ignore the obvious signs that one of you is into the other. It’s not always that you are refusing advances from your friend of the opposite sex.  Sometimes you have to look deep inside yourself. We like to think we can control the way we feel for the sake of friendship. Honestly, when was the last time that really worked out for anybody? If the foundation of your interest in the company of one another is romantic, you have to walk away. If the other person doesn’t have the power to admit it and you notice it, you have to make an executive decision.

5) Last and possibly most importantly, you have to tell any potential significant others about your relationship early on. I have walked away from potential situations for the fact that the woman thinks it is virtually impossible for men and women to have platonic relationships. I know at that very moment there is no way it will work out. Honestly, at times, I am skeptical of the men the women I date are friends with. However, I do a good job of letting it be known. I think it is possible for men and women to be friends, but it’s how they are friends. It is important that you tell your significant other about your friends of the opposite sex, and let them know that they are always more than welcome to join you guys. If you build up walls around your friendship with someone of the opposite sex, it will never bode well for your relationship with your significant other.

Note specifically to women: Do not ever tell your boyfriend that your male friends are just not into hanging around other dudes. This is an immediate sign that something is going on with that relationship. Don’t do it; no matter how much it seems to make sense.

It is not easy having friends of the opposite sex. Truth be told, if you can avoid it, try and do that. It is going to be a tough friendship to hold onto. That is why I don’t think it is possible to have friends of the opposite sex who aren’t close friends. It just takes that much involvement on both of your parts to make it work. I think that these relationships are healthy to your life; they give you insight into the other gender’s mind without being romantically committed to the person. When you are romantically involved, you tend to hold your tongue and shy away from conflict.

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I guess to answer the question always asked, “Do I think men and women can be friends?” Yes, but not every man and woman can be friends. It takes a certain type of person to possess all the qualities necessary to have opposite sex friends— the real kind.

– Dr. J