Having close friends who just so happen to be of the opposite sex is very common, and in my opinion an essential element of being a well-rounded person with a healthy and functioning friendship circle. Personally I prefer having male friends over female ones as they are a lot easier to understand, a lot less likely to bitch about me behind my back, and it's very unlikely that a male friend would be jealous, two-faced or try to steal my fiancé! Boys are just easier to live with in general, and a real laugh on a night out! I also find that I have more in common with boys regarding my interests (I'm a bit of a geek!), and I often feel alienated when girls in my friendship group start talking about soap operas, celebs and reality shows…I'd rather talk about movies, food, and travelling.
All of that being said I must admit to falling into the category of separating my male friends from boys I've dated in the past. I do believe that it's possible for men and women to be 'just good friends' without wanting to jump into bed with each other as I'm very good friends with a number of boys; namely my fiancé's brothers and some mates from uni who I'd never dream of doing anything like that with. I also have female friends whose bezzie mates are boys, and their relationships are fantastic; even their boyfriends get along with their best male friends!
However, on the flip side of this I do think that progressing from a plutonic relationship to something more is possible if both parties are equally interested in taking those steps. If you're already really good friends with someone the chances are that you are well aware of their flaws and shortcomings and you love them despite those things. Moving from a friendship to a relationship is pretty easy (if a tad awkward) when you already have the shape of someone, and clearly you are compatible if you're friendship is strong. Best mates rarely have nothing at all in common!
I will end with a note of caution to those who are thinking of asking their friend out on a date; just make sure that you are reading the signs correctly before you dive in. If your target says no it's very unlikely that your friendship will be able to survive this rejection, and if you do start dating and it doesn' work out you risk losing not only your partner, but your best friend too. So move cautiously and approach everything in a relaxed manner.
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