Sex and the City: Best friend or boyfriend

My best friend (a guy) and I keep setting each other up with interesting people. We are both really looking for companionship. However, the other guys I meet just don’t feel right for me as there is no intellectual compatibility or conversational chemistry. This is exactly how my friend feels about the girls I set him up with. My parents recently asked me why both of us haven’t considered each other as potential partners since we are so thick as friends. I had no answer except that ‘but he’s my friend’. We have never looked at each other that way but others think we should. It’s awkward to even consider it. Should we ? I’m confused. Please help.

It’s great to have ‘conversational chemistry’. One of my teacher’s once told me that ‘Sex eventually gets old’. Now that’s a pretty bold statement to make – isn’t it? We were discussing the psychological impacts of refraining for sex for an extended period.

My teacher shared that ‘At 76 (if you live that long) – you won’t need to have sex as often as you do as a young person but you will certainly wish for someone to hold your hand and listen to you blame politicians and crib about the weather!’.

Now what did he mean? My teacher’s words of wisdom may strike you as an arbitrary lesson to bring up – but what he was in fact trying to say was that companionship and by that logic ‘conversational chemistry’ is just as important as the pop and sizzle of a romance based in physical attraction.

The difference between a friendship and a marriage is usually the physical attraction part. However, a spouse could very well be a best friend and vice versa. A best friend looks out for you in a way that’s incomparable to any other form of attention that you will enjoy.

Your confusion about ‘is he the one’can be addressed if you ask yourself a few pointed questions. Can you imagine co-parenting a child with this friend? Do you feel sexually attracted to this friend? Do you wish to have a certain degree of exclusivity with each other (we time)? Can you imagine growing old with his person?

What do you think is the one quality that this friend (that you really like) that you feel the other men you have dated don’t have? Do you think that you would like to continue to add value to each other’s lives as a couple?

These questions should help you narrow down if your friend is ‘just your friend’ or if he is ‘more than just a friend’. If you haven’t met a man with whom you are comfortable or compatible, that doesn’t mean you have to marry someone you already know based on an imaginary timeline or based on what others are asking you to do.

This is your life and the choices you make are going to be decisions you are going to have to stand by. Integrity is to follow stand by your own convictions. Instead of worrying about ‘what others think you should do’ – it’s important for you to discover ‘what you as a woman are willing to do or interested in doing’.

Never force or trick yourself to become someone you are not just to hit a certain benchmark. Remember that attraction can never be forced. Attraction simply occurs. Your current situation could also mean that you haven’t met the man who feels right for you. Then again, it’s important to be practical about this.

Every man you date and even the man you land up with will have his flaws. Attributes that annoy you. Habits that confuse you. Expect all of it.

All men are a sum total of their unique backgrounds, stories and idiosyncrasies. Since the choice of a partner is a deeply personal insight that you must learn to make for yourself, why don’t you open up this discussion with your friend to ask him what he feels about it?

Yes, there is always the risk that this may make for a very awkward conversation and that you may also catch him off guard but if he is in fact your best friend and someone who understands you and your thoughts, then this conversation may even serve to strengthen your bond with each other. So go ahead and have that little chat over a cup of tea/coffee while keeping it simple, casual and not weighed down.

Remember, that you have absolutely nothing to prove to anything. This is merely an exercise in you figuring out what you want from the friendship you will share and how you wish that to evolve or stay exactly the way it’s always been. Do not worry about what others think. People think about many things all the time.

The clarity that ensues after you have spoken to him about this will feel relieving and honest to you and help you in your personal journey towards clarity. To be uncertain is never a problem.

To not work steadily to address uncertainties can breed further uncertainties. So it’s probably a good idea to get started on a planning how that conversation is going to be between both of you.

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