Among the numerous responses to last week's posts on C.S. Lewis' thoughts on the nature of friendship in his The Four Loves (see On Friendship (Pt. I)) was one on a passage in which Lewis makes the claim that friends of the opposite sex cannot long remain friends without the Friendship passing into Eros.
When the two people who thus discover that they are on the same secret road are of different sexes, the friendship which arises between them will very easily pass - may pass in the first half hour - into erotic love. Indeed, unless they are physically repulsive to each other, or unless one or both already loves elsewhere, it is almost certain to do so sooner or later.
Our reader offers the following based on her own experience:
This post has certainly struck a personal chord with me. Lewis' words seemed to flow right from the paper and into my heart. I love his last statement that says, "Indeed, unless they are physically repulsive to each other, or unless one or both already loves elsewhere, it is almost certain to do so sooner or later." I was always a tomboy growing up, and, for whatever reason, gravitated more towards having friendships with guys than girls. I never saw any problem with this but rather accepted it as the norm. When I finally found myself in college and in a serious relationship, I began to notice the severity of my situation. I truly believe that it's not possible for a girl to be best friends with a guy, unless of course she is single, unattached, and possibly physically repulsed as Lewis stated. I didn't always believe this to be true considering my closest friends growing up were always boys. Like I said, though, when I found myself in a serious relationship, I noticed that it's not possible to have the one you're dating along with another guy best friend. While jealously isn't always a terrible trait to find in your significant other (within reason), I've learned it's best to be respectful and finally come to grips with the reality that if you want to spend the rest of your life with this person, you are going to have to make sacrifices - these sacrifices being some of the closest friendships you've ever known.
There's a lot of insight in this. People know intuitively that if one member of the couple has an opposite sex friendship with a third party there's cause for alarm. When the person who has the "outside" friendship tries to reassure his/her romantic partner that "we're just friends" that person is either naive or disingenuous. They may be "just friends" now, but the chances are that they won't be for long.RLC