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How to Make Friends With the Opposite Sex

Making and keeping friends of the opposite sex has been the topic for romantic comedies since "When Harry Met Sally." Unfortunately, not every opposite sex friendship has such hilarious and romantic results. Opposite sex friendships can disrupt romantic relationships and can cross boundaries, rendering you in a dysfunctional friendship. To make friends with the opposite sex, setting ground rules and defining the relationship can go a long way in keeping things on the platonic side of friendship.

Define your relationship as friends only, suggests "Psychology Today." When you meet someone of the opposite sex that you enjoy and want to spend time with, yet don't want to become involved with romantically, you have the trappings of an opposite sex friendship 1. Tell your friend that you'd like to keep things platonic, and make an effort to do things friends would do; have lunch rather than dinner, or catch a comedy rather than a romantic movie.

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Talk to your significant other about your intent to become friends with a member of the opposite sex, urges clinical psychologist Louise Klein. Cultivating a friendship without your partner's knowledge could seem like an emotional affair, even if you don't cross any boundaries. Make sure your partner is comfortable with your friendship before you proceed in spending time with a member of the opposite sex.

Establish boundaries in your friendship to ensure that you keep the friendship platonic. For instance, you may decide that you won't spend the night at each other's apartments or act as a date for weddings and outings. By establishing boundaries, you send the clear message that you only want to be friends and spend time together without the lingering question of romance or falling in love.

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Suggest double dates and activities where you can spend time together as friends while including your significant others as well, Helen Fisher, anthropologist at Rutgers University, tells the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Your partner's fears of infidelity may be laid to rest if you allow her to spend time with your friend to realize that you aren't physically attracted to one another. It adds a new dimension to your friendship where you can spend time together as couples.

Ignore the naysayers who believe that you must have a sexual attraction to your friend. Two adults, no matter their sex, can enjoy a platonic friendship, as long as both are committed to the friendship, rather than the relationship. Pressure from other friends and family members can taint your friendship, so do your best to shut out the opinions and enjoy the bond that you and your friend have.