Sometimes the worst phrase to hear from someone is that you are “just friends,” but other times, you can find your best friend in a member of the opposite sex. One of the great things about college is the exposure to new people, be it through co-ed dorms, clubs or social groups, house parties, or just in class. Finding friends of the opposite sex can be easy for some people, but a struggle for others. Here are College Magazine’s tips on developing and maintaining friendships with the opposite gender:
Put Yourself Out There
Everyone gets nervous when it comes to making a first impression, but it’s up to you to seek out new friends. Be outgoing to your fellow classmates; even if that person ends up only being your source for clarification on misunderstood assignments in class, it still helps you out in some way. Plus, others will see that you are friendly, and will be more prone to sparking up a conversation of their own.
Deal with Sexual Tension
When it comes to handling sexual tension, it’s all about coming to an understanding with your friend on the state of your relationship. Sometimes people enter friendships with the opposite sex hoping that the relationship will go beyond just friendship. But while one person may have this hope, the other may not view it in the same light. If you could never see yourself falling for a friend, it’s best to let them know to avoid an ongoing tension that could become awkward.
The Jealousy Factor
Jealousy can be detrimental to a friendship. You may not be aware of certain feelings your have for your friend until another person comes into the picture. Suddenly, your friend’s partner might see you as a threat, and it all comes down to the way you handle things. Try to make a genuine effort to get to know your friend’s partner, and become friends with them if you can and want to, so that he or she can understand your role in their partner’s life and respect that. If they don’t, well, maybe they aren’t the best person to enter into your friend’s love life, and you can give your opinion, but ultimately, it’s his or her decision to stay with that person, not yours.
People have needs and to fill those needs, some may opt for a “friends with benefits” relationship…if you can call it a relationship. Despite what Hollywood sells you, for the most part, these put friendships at risk, and don’t always produce happy endings, in more ways than one.
The Genuine Friend
Certain people find no problem in easily becoming friends with the opposite sex; others have a harder time. It’s a great thing to be able to friend the opposite sex and is especially helpful when it comes to gaining perspective on the other gender. Regardless of the situation, you need to understand that your relationship is a friendship above everything else. If you can do this, all of the potential pitfalls will settle themselves out, and you may just find your best friend.
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