Veronica

Intimacy in female friendships

26 posts in this topic

I was having a conversation with my close friend/crush about intimacy. She told me growing up she always used to cuddle and hold hands with women, but it wasn’t sexual. I just never felt the desire to do this with women growing up. Is this really that common among female friendships, or is there some level of bisexuality to a friendship where you’re that affectionate with one another? At least for me, I only ever want to do that with someone I have feelings for. 

Edited by Veronica
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Actually... well it's not really common I'd say but, my ex bestfriend (who is straight) used to love holding my hand when we are out. Strangers would think we're together because well friends don't usually hold hands like that I guess? But I also have this other good friend who is super straight and married, she would hold my hand too sometimes, but like not when we are walking about but we were at a concert once and we were all seated and she sat next to me but she held my hand at some point. Hmm. There are some girls who just like to hold hands I guess? Idk lol. I guess I am used to having friends like that but only close ones and we know that there are no feelings there. But if it was a friend that I am not close too it would be uncomfortable. But of course not like the hand holding happens all the time, with my ex bff yes. Maybe it's a Danish thing? Idk. But yes I would rather do all that with someone I have feelings for. It feels more natural. But my 2 friends were the only exception. I won't be comfortable holding other friends' hands like that. 

Edited by Ice
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I never did that but I don’t doubt that other people do. But I do have a suspicion that in those cases one of the people holding hands probably does have feelings for the other and explains it away as we are just close friend and it doesn’t mean THAT. 

One thing to keep in mind is that for some people things can be romantic and not necessarily sexual. So there is always the option that maybe there was nothing sexual, but there was something romantic? 

Its so weird, all these things that we watch in movies and literature and whatever and you just assume everyone experiences it the same way. But if you have ever gotten into a deep conversation with someone about it, you are surprised to learn that we don’t at all.

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I know how this will sound but I am not used in intimacy.I don't think I ever had friends that we were holding hands or cuddling.Some  people can be affectionate and some can't,  depend on how is everyone I guess.I didn't feel very comfortable in someone hugging me but mostly because I am used that way but recently i met someone :P that want to touch me and hug me all the time and I wasn't expecting it but it feels amazing!of course it goes beyond friendship so I guess I only want to do that with someone I have feelings for too 

Edited by kairi
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The individual's baseline matters. If they're touchy feely with everyone, it doesn't need to mean something. 

Context matters too. I"m in a dance class once a week and the amount of really intimate touching that goes on there would be totally inappropriate elsewhere. But it doesn't mean anything. Unless the two people involved wasnt it to mean anything. 

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I'm quite tactile generally anyway...but if we were friends I'd link arms while walking .. depends on the level of friendship I guess...I wouldn't hold hands with my friend who lives 4 doors down... But I'll hug and kiss etc etc 

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1 hour ago, Veronica said:

She told me growing up she always used to cuddle and hold hands with women, but it wasn’t sexual.

You said “growing up.” I was thinking more of cuddling and holding hands with girls (like teenage years and maybe up to early 20s) not adult women. In some cultures especially Asians, this is completely natural. In fact, you see them everywhere if you’re living in their country. That’s how they treat each other and don’t mean anything romantic or sexual. 

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I’ve seen linking arms plenty of times, I think many platonic friendships do that.

My sister is gay and agreed with my friend. It’s all interesting and subjective I suppose. I’ve been that way with boys I liked when we weren’t quite official yet, but I don’t know how it is with women since I’m all new to this. I have no desire to with any of my friends except the friend who said this, who I have strong feelings for. Her and I are affectionate, so now I’m not quite sure how she feels if she says this is a normal thing. :blink:

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All this reading of signals will drive you crazy. Ask her!

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48 minutes ago, Ona said:

All this reading of signals will drive you crazy. Ask her!

It doesn’t pertain to her. It was just a broad question wondering if other women have done it in a platonic way because she made it seem like most do.

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13 minutes ago, Veronica said:

It doesn’t pertain to her. It was just a broad question wondering if other women have done it in a platonic way because she made it seem like most do.

Sure, but you want to know because of her.... i’ve Been there. Lots of women on this site have been there.

you said...

1 hour ago, Veronica said:

 no desire to with any of my friends except the friend who said this, who I have strong feelings for. Her and I are affectionate, so now I’m not quite sure how she feels if she says this is a normal thing. :blink:

So that’s definitely a good reason to ask...

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I think it depends on the individual. I was never like that, mainly because I was so scared of being found out. And if any of my friends were like it with me I was rather uncomfortable, again for the same reason. So I don't think someones sexuality could be assumed from that really

Only one person broke that for me.....My best friend is generally flirty, but very affectionate with me. I know she's straight and only behaves that way because she's comfortable and 'safe' with me. And I'm comfortable too because it's just the way it is with us. I always loved that I could have that girly connection without her getting weird about it. She'll cuddle me, hold my hand and tell me she loves me and I have never once read into it any more than friendship. We've been friends for 15 years and she's like a sister to me.

So yes, I agree it can be totally platonic. You would have to look at the bigger picture to assume any differently. For instance, my friend and I can go days and weeks without contact, but if we couldn't stay away from each other I would probably believe there was more to it.

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5 hours ago, Veronica said:

Is this really that common among female friendships, or is there some level of bisexuality to a friendship where you’re that affectionate with one another? At least for me, I only ever want to do that with someone I have feelings for. 

I’ve seen plenty of women here talk about a level of intimacy and affection in female friendships, it’s obviously very individual. Sure I think women tend to be more affectionate in general, but I’m not that affectionate with platonic friends. For me personally, intimacy/affection go hand in hand with sexual/romantic interest. 

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1 hour ago, Cute&Curious said:

I’ve seen plenty of women here talk about a level of intimacy and affection in female friendships, it’s obviously very individual. Sure I think women tend to be more affectionate in general, but I’m not that affectionate with platonic friends. For me personally, intimacy/affection go hand in hand with sexual/romantic interest. 

I'm the same way. I really don't do physical affection at all except in the context of a romantic interest or a small child who came out of my body. I will fake it if the situation calls for it (eg. a friendly hug), but I'm not comfortable with it.

I was going to write that I find this confusing, but really, I'm not sure that's true. I think I'm actually pretty good at telling whether something is intended as friendly vs. more-than-friendly. I just have a hard time trusting my instincts when I think it might be more than friendly.

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Like alot of the women who have already posted, I have never been affectionate with female friends. At times I find it uncomfortable if someone tries to hug me or touch me, unless I'm really comfortable with them and know them well. I know some women are generally affectionate and touch alot, with there being no romantic or sexual intentions, so I'm sure platonic female friendships like this exist. 

I've never been one to instigate touching, hand holding etc, even with women I've been Intimate with in the past, however this changed recently. It's amazing how being with someone you truly care about, and knowing they care about you too, can bring out a side of your character you weren't sure you had. It turns out I can be quite affectionate, if I'm with the right person, however for me it's definately more romantic than friendly. 

Edited by Storm9
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Before I married my wife there were friends that I was intimate with in a non sexual way. Ones who I had absolutely no romantic feelings for but could happily snuggle or be affectionate with, however now Im married there is no way I would do that. It would feel like cheating!

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I think the level of physical affection you are comfortable with in platonic friendships is down to a number of different factors, including how physical a person you are in general, and how physically affectionate, and also your interpersonal chemistry with particular friends as individuals. So, it isn't a matter of applying a one-size-fits-all approach... I can definitely see where women who are bi or lesbian and not out would be less inclined to be tactile with female friends, possibly as @lsroses said, for fear of being found out. Conversely, the more comfortable you are with your sexuality, the more comfortable you will be with physical contact with women in general (both lovers and platonic friends). 

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5 hours ago, BenedettaC said:

I think the level of physical affection you are comfortable with in platonic friendships is down to a number of different factors, including how physical a person you are in general, and how physically affectionate, and also your interpersonal chemistry with particular friends as individuals. So, it isn't a matter of applying a one-size-fits-all approach... I can definitely see where women who are bi or lesbian and not out would be less inclined to be tactile with female friends, possibly as @lsroses said, for fear of being found out. Conversely, the more comfortable you are with your sexuality, the more comfortable you will be with physical contact with women in general (both lovers and platonic friends). 

Sometimes it's just not up to you even if you are willing for affection.Personally I don't have a problem to show how I feel or what I want.But that's lately because when I was younger I was afraid of rejection even in friendships :P

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On 19/9/2018 at 0:28 AM, Storm9 said:

Like alot of the women who have already posted, I have never been affectionate with female friends. At times I find it uncomfortable if someone tries to hug me or touch me, unless I'm really comfortable with them and know them well. I know some women are generally affectionate and touch alot, with there being no romantic or sexual intentions, so I'm sure platonic female friendships like this exist. 

I've never been one to instigate touching, hand holding etc, even with women I've been Intimate with in the past, however this changed recently. It's amazing how being with someone you truly care about, and knowing they care about you too, can bring out a side of your character you weren't sure you had. It turns out I can be quite affectionate, if I'm with the right person, however for me it's definately more romantic than friendly. 

Oh yes you are!!! Quite affectionate that is. And i was surprised because I wasn't expecting it and I am certainly not used being someone's object of affection :P And I believe you know the reasons why, it's not because I am not affectionate myself. I love the constant touching, it's something Ive been missing a lot! 

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3 hours ago, kairi said:

Oh yes you are!!! Quite affectionate that is. And i was surprised because I wasn't expecting it and I am certainly not used being someone's object of affection :P And I believe you know the reasons why, it's not because I am not affectionate myself. I love the constant touching, it's something Ive been missing a lot! 

:air_kiss:

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5 hours ago, kairi said:

Sometimes it's just not up to you even if you are willing for affection.

This is absolutely true, and what I meant when I was talking about interpersonal chemistry.

I am what I would describe as an affectionate and tactile person, but not extremely so, and so am not comfortable with premature physical contact (i.e. being touched in an overly familiar way by a woman I don't know very well), or with what I perceive as excessive physical contact. I really have to feel comfortable with a person's energy in order to allow them to touch me, and if I'm not, then I don't want them to touch me at all. Some people are far more sensitive this way than others, and so our tolerance of physical contact by friends, and even lovers, will vary according to that level of sensitivity. Further, it tends to be the case that those who are sensitive in this way are far more understanding of the sensitivity of others, while those who aren't can end up crossing the line far more easily. 

 
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I think friends can be close and do things like cuddle and hold hands and not be sexual. I have a super straight friend and we used to cuddle when we were teenagers. As adults we don’t and I never had any feelings for her at all. I don’t think it’s for everyone but I don’t think it’s weird or strange for women to do that. Im not one of those anymore.

Last week I had lunch with a few friends. There was four of us and two left before us. I was sitting with my one friend imthat was staying in the same side of the booth. I felt weird doing that, like I needed to get up and move to the other side. I felt uncomfortable I guess bc I’m bi and she is straight. She doesn’t know I’m Bi though. I finally asked if it was weird and she said no, not at all. 

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I've only ever done that with who I'm in a relationship with.  I'm not interested in cuddling or being affectioate like that with just plain friends.  For me...that's a boundary I don't want to cross.  Being touchy feely is reserved for someone special...lol.

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I've never had a relationship with a woman beyond friendship but I am touchy with my friends and strangers whom I've just met...touch their arm or shoulder.  I've never been a hand holder with my women friends.  I do it occasionally with the hubby though.  

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I've had a few friendships like that where hand-holding as a friend wasn't an issue, but then again I dated her years after the friendship happened.  For me, it's hard to gauge the intimacy bar in friendships, aside from when it's okay to hug. I've sadly experienced more bad dating relationships with women than men, but I've also experienced some really bad ones with men.  Developing your sense of what you should or shouldn't go with, based on your friendship & relationship with a person takes time to develop.  I still have problems with recognizing when a woman is open to that - usually, my bi-guy fiance has to point out the obvious or I don't get it. Whereas, I end up helping him gauge out if men are into him when he's dated more men than women and helping him reset his dating standards.  I would guess that the fact that your crush is open to physical contact will give you a clue about her love language, should she also be interested in dating you.  Usually, it's very easy from a first touch to know whether that person likes you intimately in a sexual way or platonic way. 

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