POST 50
12/17/2015 06:31 am ET

15 Photos That Show Just How Special Platonic Friendships Can Be

No, we're not dating. Never have. Never will.

The bond between female friends can be a powerful one. But that doesn't mean the bond between women and men can't be just as strong. No, we're not talking about the romantic kind. We're talking friendship -- pure, unadulterated, platonic friendship. 

Whether women and men can be "just friends" is a topic that's been debated ad nauseam. Pop culture has confused us even more, with countless films and shows -- everything from "When Harry Met Sally" to "Friends" -- depicting longtime buddies eventually falling into bed together.

We set out to prove that mutually platonic relationships really are possible between men and women. With some help from our editor-at-large, Rita Wilson, we called on our readers to share their stories of long-time friendship with members of the opposite sex. Here are just some of the dozens of submissions we received from pairs who demonstrate once and for all that women and men really can be just best friends. 

  • Zain and Imran, best friends for 16 years
    "My husband does approve of my friendship, but we still struggle to explain our relationship to our family and Bangladeshi fr
    Zain Bari
    "My husband does approve of my friendship, but we still struggle to explain our relationship to our family and Bangladeshi friends. We come from very different social backgrounds and friendships between these two strata are very rare! Despite social norms and mores, we have managed to keep our friendship!" -- Zain
  • Sharon and Seth, best friends for 21 years
    "We became best friends as couples when our children were toddlers, and while sharing holidays, birthdays and countless Sunda
    Sharon Greenthal
    "We became best friends as couples when our children were toddlers, and while sharing holidays, birthdays and countless Sundays, we discovered that we loved talking to each other. Seth is a big brother and best friend, one of the smartest people I know, and he makes my life better just by being part of it." -- Sharon
  • Adrienne and Dale, best friends for 40 years
    "We never dated and he was, and is, the one single person who has been there for me in the best and worst of times. We have s
    Adrienne Burns
    "We never dated and he was, and is, the one single person who has been there for me in the best and worst of times. We have supported each other through spousal death and three divorces. I have female friends but Chip is the most loyal friend I have ever had. He is the brother I never had." -- Adrienne
  • Iris and Gary, best friends for over 40 years
    "After having two sons and being together for seven years, Gary and I realized we were better suited as friends. We divorced
    Iris Ruth Pastor
    "After having two sons and being together for seven years, Gary and I realized we were better suited as friends. We divorced amicably and subsequently re-married others, but remained best friends. My second husband was not threatened by my friendship with Gary. This was key for me.The shared custody of our sons has built a strong level of trust that has never wavered. When someone questioned Gary on why he was so invested in maintaining such a close relationship with me, he replied 'because our sons are brothers'." -- Iris
  • Jerry and Gwen, best friends for 19 years
    "We are very similar and seem to understand each other better than other people who have come in and out of our lives. The mo
    Jerry Smith
    "We are very similar and seem to understand each other better than other people who have come in and out of our lives. The most important thing that has kept us going is that through our setbacks, successes and failures, we have been true to each other and never let each other down." -- Jerry
  • Michael and Karyn, best friends for over 40 years
    "We really get each other. We have been able to learn from each other on how our opposite characteristics can be beneficial.
    Michael Kerrick Martinez
    "We really get each other. We have been able to learn from each other on how our opposite characteristics can be beneficial. We are very accepting of each other and try to be encouraging. We have unconditional love for each other." -- Michael
  • Marci and Kevin, best friends for 40 years
    "Unlike girlfriends who often rally behind me -- his non-judgmental honesty and male perspective has helped me through rough
    Marci Cohen
    "Unlike girlfriends who often rally behind me -- his non-judgmental honesty and male perspective has helped me through rough spots in my marriage and any difficulties that I have experienced being a friend, mother and daughter." -- Marci
  • Carrie and Jim, best friends for 25 years
    "Our worlds are very different. I've been partnered with Tom for 35 years and we have two children. Jim has been partnered fo
    Carrie Bowman
    "Our worlds are very different. I've been partnered with Tom for 35 years and we have two children. Jim has been partnered for 20 years with Mike. I think the lack of cultural blueprint has helped us make our relationship unique and authentic. No family or cultural expectations define our friendship. It just is. And it's good." -- Carrie
  • Toni and Joe, best friends for over 65 years
    "Perhaps the reason the friendship has lasted through all these years is that we have shared many hardships together. We&rsqu
    Toni Tonia
    "Perhaps the reason the friendship has lasted through all these years is that we have shared many hardships together. We’ve always given each other emotional support throughout our friendship. I am thankful for his friendship and that of his wife and kids. He thinks of me as a sister." -- Toni
  • Laura and Gordon, friends for over 40 years
    "Although our lifestyles differ (he has seven kids!), our affection has remained and even deepened as we navigated both succe
    Laura Durant
    "Although our lifestyles differ (he has seven kids!), our affection has remained and even deepened as we navigated both successes and tragedies, especially following the loss of his son and the passing of my husband. We truly are each other's touchstones." -- Laura
  • Stacey and David, best friends for 27 years
    "We were placed in the same office 27 years ago and have been best friends ever since! We have been through a lot on both sid
    Stacey Honowitz
    "We were placed in the same office 27 years ago and have been best friends ever since! We have been through a lot on both sides, and I trust him more than my lipstick!" -- Stacey
  • Jessica and Rich, best friends for 19 years
    "Our friendship has stood the test of time because we have become family. We have woven our families and relationships into o
    Jessica Burke
    "Our friendship has stood the test of time because we have become family. We have woven our families and relationships into our friendship over the years. We have supported each other through good and bad times, and will be friends forever." -- Jessica
  • Paul and Angela, best friends for over 30 years
    "She and my wife are the best of friends. I could not live without her and our 34-year-long friendship. I am confident in the
    Paul Avery
    "She and my wife are the best of friends. I could not live without her and our 34-year-long friendship. I am confident in the fact that our friendship will survive all challenges and remain steadfast. I am in awe of this woman and so grateful for our friendship." -- Paul
  • Ruth and Jim, best friends for 35 years
    "Jim died unexpectedly in 2011. It was such a special friendship. Our spouses trusted us and knew we were always and only fri
    Ruth Stoddard
    "Jim died unexpectedly in 2011. It was such a special friendship. Our spouses trusted us and knew we were always and only friends. That freed us all up to enjoy and cherish each other. He was truly one of those friends who was closer than a brother and I still grieve his loss." -- Ruth
  • Holly and Ray, best friends for 21 years
    "We've been through a combined three weddings, one divorce, six births and a deployment to Iraq. When I got divorced, he was
    Holly Sanford
    "We've been through a combined three weddings, one divorce, six births and a deployment to Iraq. When I got divorced, he was deployed in Iraq. I got a letter from him in the mail. It contained a check for $2,000. Enough said." -- Holly

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