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Man's Co-Ed 'Best Friend Date' Has Everyone Forbidding Their Partner From Having One

Photo: StockSnap, Hispanolistic, nicoletaionescu | Canva
Man on a date with his best female friend, holding hands

A video posted on TikTok recently by a man named Frank has started a new conversation about an age-old debate surrounding boundaries in relationships and how certain friendships may seem a little more intimate than one might feel comfortable with.

In the clip, Frank is at a theme park with his female best friend, and the caption is completely harmless, but when he turns the camera over to the girl he’s with, everyone’s opinion changes.

Frank was holding hands with his girl best friend during their ‘best friend date.’

“Who said we can’t go on dates with our [best friends],” reads the text inside the video. The caption itself says, “It’s okay, right?” But in response to the question, hundreds of people had something to say and their own opinion to give on the debate.

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Can you be just friends with the opposite sex? Can men or women in relationships have best friends of the opposite sex? Is there such a thing as too friendly?

Ignoring the cis-heteronormativity of the entire debacle, this is a widely contested debate, and many people had their own answers.

“This why my bf cannot have a ‘gIrL bEsTiE,’” one woman wrote in response to how close Frank and his girl best friend seemed. Someone else said the same thing but as a man saying that his girlfriend couldn’t have a guy best friend.

“I don’t know about calling it a date but homegirl or homie we kicking it and making memories,” someone else said, more worried about calling it a date than the handholding. A third person called it “a slippery slope,” while some others said they didn’t see the problem with it.

It doesn’t help that Frank is singing along to “Hotline Bling,” by Drake, where the chorus literally goes: “You used to call me on my cell phone, late night when you need my love.” It’s safe to say that he isn’t talking about his female best friend.

While some people may feel uncomfortable or consider it an "ick," these issues are largely rooted in insecurity, trust issues, and maybe prior negative experiences.

The jury is still out on whether or not men and women can truly be ‘just friends.’

Relationship experts largely agree that men and women can indeed be “just friends.” According to an article from Psychology Today, a psychologist named Linda Sapadin defended the ability for opposite-sex friendships to work.

"The belief that men and women can't be friends comes from another era in which women were at home and men were in the workplace, and the only way they could get together was for romance," she explained. "Now they work together and share sports interests and socialize together."

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We as a society have long moved past the one-dimensional idea that relationships between men and women can only be romantic. However, the way society portrays these relationships in media plays a large role in this confusion.

“When Harry Met Sally…,” the classic 1989 romantic comedy, is a perfect example of why most people seem to find this relationship confusing — the two main characters, Harry and Sally, try to stay friends and end up getting together anyway.

But media isn’t known for providing accurate representations of everyday life — it’s mostly fiction. And while some people may have had their own “When Harry Met Sally…” stories, that doesn’t disprove the idea that men and women can be just friends.

What might disprove it, however, is a study that was conducted by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 2012. Researchers took 88 pairs of undergraduate opposite-sex friends into a lab and surveyed them on their feelings toward their friend.

Measures were taken to ensure anonymity and privacy from their partners so that the answers could be completely honest, and what they came to find was that it was particularly harder for males to “just be friends” with their female counterparts. According to the study, “Attraction between cross-sex friends is common, and it is perceived more often as a burden than as a benefit.

Maybe these men and women commenting have a point, but the most important thing to remember is to set boundaries with your partner. What makes you comfortable? What makes you uncomfortable? Holding hands with someone isn’t inherently romantic or sexual, but it’s widely associated with those contexts in mind.

Is your partner going to make the sacrifice of not holding their friend’s hand? Or are they unwilling to change because of some perceived insecurity/trust issue/ or generalization? There are no right or wrong answers, just make sure you’re prepared to hear an answer you may not like.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.