After all this talk about dating and hooking up and stuff, we’ve forgotten a really important category in relationships between men and women: friendship. Men and women at Yale can and should be friends with one another, otherwise they’re missing out on a pretty big part of the Yale community. So how exactly do you turn a girl into your friend without appearing like you want to sleep with her as well? Girls are actually quite receptive to the idea of being friends with men – that’s the good part. First step is meeting the girl in question you would like to befriend – maybe she lives in your entryway or she is in your class. Second step is to introduce yourself. For those of you who’ve been living under rocks for the past 18 or so years, this means you say, “Hi, I’m Yale Man, what did you say your name was?” Hopefully, you possess some skills in the art of chitchat, and we suggest that you employ them at this point in time so that after you’ve learned her name, you don’t just stand there awkwardly. Saying things like, “what did you think of the lecture” and “what college are you in?” are perfect ways to start something off. You’ve now both established the fact that the other exists, congratulations. Say hi to her when you pass on Cross Campus or end up next to each other on the Blue State line. After a while, ask her if she wants to grab a meal – dining halls this time, please! Going out will give the wrong impression. Lunch says quite definitively that this is not sexy time. It’s as simple as saying, “Hey, we should grab a meal some time. How about next Tuesday?” (this would also be a good moment to exchange numbers). If you’re truly as charming and witty as you think you are, you’re probably well on the path to friendship. Now, was that really so hard?
On the flip side, a girl can always befriend you (and in our experience, the girl is the more likely person to initiate the friendship). You’ll know that she just wants to be friends if all of your meals take place in a dining hall. If she’s telling you her deepest, darkest, innermost secrets, she probably just wants to be friends (a girl interested in sleeping with you is more likely to hold that stuff back).
Once you’ve got a friendship going, you’ll have to expend some energy to make it last. Especially if you’re living in different colleges or off-campus, you’re going to have to put in some time to see each other to keep the friendship going. The jury is still out on whether or not men and women can truly ever just be friends. Harry and Sally’s verdict that it only works as long as they don’t find each other sexually attractive might just be the case. Haven’t you ever seen My Best Friend’s Wedding (if you haven’t, you really shouldn’t because it’s terrible, that is, unless you want to see Julia Roberts running around in 80’s style hair and too-short shirts)? It didn’t work. Pretty in Pink anyone? Emma? Clueless? Made of Honor? Just Friends? No Strings Attached? (Ok, now we’re just getting into bad movies). Sexual attraction is the death knell of the friendship. So, to keep it at the friends level, we suggest just a bit of distance, so that you’re not spending every single moment with each other. Watch movies, text, chat, and hang out all you want but NEVER cuddle. There is no such thing as platonic cuddling. Period. End of story (well, if one of you has a significant other, there are some extenuating situations). Once you start cuddling, you’ve passed into dangerous territory. Unless, of course, you’ve decided to go the way of Peter Parker and make Mary-jane into your lady. In which case, cuddling is a very good idea.