In the 1989 classic film about love and friendship When Harry Met Sally…, Harry ponders the question of whether men and women can be “just friends.” As an idealist, I surprisingly fall on the less popular division line with Harry and believe that it is in fact most challenging, and perhaps naïve, for a heterosexual man and woman to believe they can be truly just good friends. No doubt there are some exceptions, and of course a casual friendship is common, but I do not believe you can have a truly “close” friend of the opposite sex without one person developing feelings. There will almost always be a phase of the friendship where one or the other (or both) person(s) is curious or interested in being more than just friends.
However, does someone wanting to sleep with you prevent them from being your friend if you never actually do sleep together? “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The philosophical riddle raises questions regarding thoughts and knowledge of reality. Having sexual thoughts and following through are entirely two different things. If the frustration stemming from the unrequited sexual attraction does not destroy the connection, perhaps a friendship can develop with the acknowledgement that there is a physical attraction.
I’m heterosexual and I very much value quality men and their company. But as I get older I recognize it is harder and harder to maintain friendships with my male friends, either because they have gotten married or because we are both single and that in itself can lead to a host of compromising scenarios. In the unique scenario that you do have a “true” female/male platonic “close” friendship, it should be treasured because I believe it is truly a rarity.