Q&A: Just Friends

1 Jun

Almost as old as “the chicken and the egg” is the question every Yeshiva high school rabbi knows he will have to take a week out of his precious school year to discuss in class– can girls and boys just be friends?

I naively thought that once I left high school, this was not a question I would have to confront any more. But after graduating, spending a year in Israel and returning to the States, I see that this dilemma can come up for years to come (thank you for breaking the glass ceiling for me, Upper West Side). I didn’t think that once a Yeshiva kid returns from Israel that they would never speak to someone of the opposite gender except for on a date (although there are those who do), but I did assume that finding a suitable marriage (for you and your friends if possible) was the priority.

However…to spend hours phoning, Skyping, texting and IMing, having one-on-one meetings at Starbucks/Central Park/insert your local hangout spot here and being Thing 1 and Thing 2 together on Purim while NOT having any intentions of dating if bewilder me. I mean seriously, how do you expect to find a real significant other if you are putting all your energy into being all cutesy close with your friend?

I have noticed this a lot in the YU/Washington Heights crowd. Everyone is friends and it’s beautiful to see such achdut, but for the life of me, I can barely tell who is actually single and looking and who is single and waiting for the apple of his/her eye to wake up and ask them out. My suspicion of this was confirmed when I watched the YUConnects video that Sterngrad posted in one of her recent posts. A few singles from the Heights mentioned that sometimes it is hard to date because of the “Friend Zone.” As few telling comments were:

“We have so much fun at the meals and it makes us question or hesitate if we want to [take it further].”

“I have a friend who said…I kind of don’t want to get married because I know I will stop getting invited to meals.”

“People feel like you are in ‘platonic’ relationships, but that’s usually one person in the relationship, whereas the other person is hoping that one day they will go out, but they never do and it’s because they’re in the “Friend Zone” where no one want to rock the boat.” (Check it out yourself starting at 12:42).

So what do you think? Is it possible be just friends? Is it worthwhile to keep and/or form friendships with members of the opposite sex when on the Shidduch scene? Are there permissible boundaries or is the platonic relationship as mythical as the Tooth Fairy?


5 Responses to “Q&A: Just Friends”

  1. SternGrad June 1, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    First of all, thanks for mentioning me in your blog 🙂

    Second of all, I started writing a comment and it got very long so I’m going to turn it into a post and I’ll post it soon.

  2. Bored Jewish Guy June 2, 2010 at 12:39 am #

    I don’t have any experience with this, but I think it’s possible to be just friends and I could see how it would be beneficial, but I think it’s far more likely that it wouldn’t work.

  3. (not) the girl next door June 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    I honestly feel that the just friends status always turns into something else whether or not the boy or girl realize that. It’s very difficult to be friends with someone of the opposite gender without any chemistry going on for at least one of them (usually the boy I think). This relationship is not a good relationship most of the time, and often enough someone is bound to get hurt. I think the reason why we look for “friends” is to fill that vacuum we have in our present lives. It’s tough to hold off and break that friendship, but in the long run it will save many of us from making wrond decisions. Great Post!

  4. coralcap June 7, 2010 at 11:23 pm #

    Thanks for the responses! I’m going to incorporate them into my follow up post so stayyyy tuned!

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