Friends Without the Usual Benefits

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cupidI am a great proponent of male-female platonic relationships. Why? Because of the benefits and the benefits I am speaking of do not include sex. The greatest benefit of a male-female platonic relationship is that your friend will openly share and reveal the inner workings of the opposite sex's mind. Every valuable insight I've gained about men have come from male friends.

You Can Be Transparent and Real

Because there is no hidden agenda to distract you, one can feel free to ask questions of the opposite sex with no fear of reprisal or looking foolish. Women tend to make men more complicated than they really are. Here are some straight up helpful hints about men that were revealed to me by my platonic male friends:

• Men are visual creatures and they are always attracted to the outside of a woman first. They love and actually thank God for inventing sundresses. Two male friends have revealed this without meaning to. One said, "Ah, thank God for sundresses." • One of the biggest turnoffs for men is a woman who sleeps with them early in a relationship. Oh, many of them will sleep with you but they will absolutely not respect you in the morning and the chances of you meeting his mother are slim to none. • When a man is quiet and there has been no disagreement proceeding the quiet moment, nothing is wrong. He is not thinking anything negative about you. He is either concentrating on something else (perhaps a sporting event on TV) or he's trying to figure something out that has absolutely nothing to do with you. A lot of men gauge whether you are a good fit if you can be in a room with him without saying a word and be alright with that.

You'll See Things Their Way

That is, you'll receive the opposite sex version of events. You will discover that many of your assumptions about the opposite sex are way off base. Your beliefs could not be further from the truth. Here are some things I have learned about men from my male friends regarding the way things really are.

• Men love spending time with kids. Young children bring out the best in men. They parent in a unique way because they allow kids to make mistakes without appearing to ‘hover.' • Men are victims of domestic violence – physical, verbal and emotional. • Men can be a great source of comfort without being intimate. They will motivate you, they will push you toward your dreams and they will tell you about yourself when necessary.

You Will Become a Great Listener

Having no-holds barred conversations with your platonic friend will allow you to experience intimacy with the opposite sex you never dreamed possible. You will learn to listen without a hidden agenda. You can listen, really listen, without being distracted by trying to figure out if this person is lying to you, or wondering where they are coming from or what they're trying to get out of you.

There Are Downsides

The main downside is that very often one party or the other may develop an attraction that transcends just being friends. The reason I say this is a downside is two-fold: 1. This person could be the love of your life but fear may stop you from acting on your feelings because if things don't work out, you think you may lose a dear friend. 2. It may not be intended for this person to be anymore than a friend and one can waste a lot of valuable time hoping this person will see them as "more than just a friend."

What You Should Do If Your Become Attracted to Your Friend

Sort out your feelings. Honestly ask yourself what you are attracted to. Is it physical attraction? Intellectual attraction? Emotional attraction? Are you attracted on all three levels? Do you really think you are in love with your friend or are you lusting after your friend or are you just lonely? It's important to ask yourself these questions because you certainly don't want to hurt your precious friend and you don't want to get hurt in the process either.

On a final note, I sincerely believe and I think history has proven that some of the greatest romances and long-term relationships start out as friendships – platonic friendships. I think I know why too. The two of you have seen each other completely naked – not in a physical sense – but naked in the sense that you have bared your soul to this person. Your friend has seen you on your best behavior and your worst behavior. Your friend may know that you have intestinal gas from time to time (smile) and your friend may know that you hide dirty dishes in the oven when company's coming over. Things like that. So, if one has had the opportunity to see the good, the bad and the ugly of another and still realizes they are madly in love with the person, I can think of no greater opportunity for true love.

Copyright Carmin Wharton 2008