This is ONE OF 3 responses to Vol 9 John 18 ("Friend/Lover Debate")...
First a personal remark and then a prefatory comment.
Regarding your wager that my female friends are just good friends and not close friends: If I were to list the people (friends) to whom I feel closest, the entire top of the list would be female. For the last 15 or so years of my life, my closest friendships have been with women. If you were to win your wager, John, then I have no close friends, because if the people to whom I feel closest are not close friends, then the others certainly cannot be close friends. That could be a little depressing. Fortunately, I still believe them to be close friends.
John, correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to indicate (in your sixth paragraph) that a friend cannot be a close friend if you only see them occasionally. Is that what you really intended to say? I don't believe that friendship can be measured in terms of how much time you spend with some one. Of course, to have developed a close friendship you have to have spent considerable time with that person; but after the closeness has developed, and you don't see that person very often, does that mean you are no longer close friends? Does close friendship really depend upon such a constant reinforcement?
I think that one true measure of a close friendship is being able to maintain that closeness without seeing each other every day or every week or even every month. If, upon getting together with a close friend after not seeing him or her for months, or even years, and the same feelings of closeness and comfort and pleasure exist upon that meeting; that's a close friendship, as far as I'm concerned. Friendship is the level of the bond that exists between two people and not how often they see each other and do things together.
Enough preface; let's get back to the issue at hand. Is sexual tension between two people the only issue that can present pressures and constraints to a friendship? Can business partners not be close friends because of the inevitable financial pressures? Can a Democrat never be a close friend of a Republican? Will the generation gap prohibit a 50 year old from being friends with a 30 year old? Can Blacks never be friends with Whites? How about the rich and the poor? And on and on. Doesn't any individual have different expectations and priorities than any other individual in a relationship?
Limitations are placed on all friendships because of the fact that each of us is made differently and function differently. Close friends can recognize those limitations, but shouldn't allow them to interfere with the development of as close a relationship as possible.
But, you say: that's precisely the point. Certain limitations are more restrictive to a close relationship than are others. And gender differences are the most restrictive of all.
And is the degree of friendship between two people determined by the number of interests those two people share? Perhaps friends should be chosen on the basis of how well they match up on interest surveys. That way, your best friend could be determined by a computer match of interest profiles. That certainly would take a lot of guesswork out of a relationship (i.e., is this going to last, etc.). An interest profile match could ensure enduring friendship.
I believe close friendships are strengthened and not limited by tensions and pressures and constraints of the relationship (John, you say that the faint sexual tension that exists with some female friends makes that relationship special. I take that as agreement with my statement). Sexual tension, if it does exist in a close friendship between a man and a woman, is part of the relationship, not a limitation to the relationship. Truly close friends recognize such tensions, become even closer working through or with such tensions, but are not deterred by their existence.
Friendships are, in large part, due to unmeasureable, unforeseeable intangibles - not totally driven by how much time you spend together or what you do together or what you like together. People tend to associate with those of their own kind (i.e, those with the same interests). Therefore most friendships tend to be among people who share interests - it's more convenient. It doesn't have to be that way - it just is.