If you’ve ever been blessed to have a really close friend of the opposite sex, this question has probably caught your attention a few times. It’s the “When Harry Met Sally” debate, and it’s a toughie.

As I was pouring over pictures of myself growing up a few weeks ago, I realized that I’ve consistently gravitated towards guy friends since I was quite young–like two years old young. My two best friends when I was eight–you guessed it, both boys. Part of the reason I transferred colleges was because I so badly wanted to have boys around (Rollins was 65% girls). Boys who don’t care what brand of jeans you have on. Boys who could care less what your future life plans are. Boys who want to laugh at” Saturday Night Live” and order a pizza. Twenty-year old  guys don’t tend to over-think stuff the way girls do. They just live.

This past weekend I visited my closest guy friend at med school in Philadelphia, and I was again reminded of that age-old question. Can you really just be friends with someone? Sometimes it drives me bonkers that everyone around us assumes we’re dating. Sometimes I think “Gosh, why would so many people think such a thing when we really aren’t right for each other at all. Should we be dating?” Sometimes I wonder if everyone else is right. Sometimes I get frustrated with all the ladies who like him and assume I’m competition. There are certainly a fair amount of side effects that make me wonder, “Is it really worth it?”

The answer is yes. The reason that so many people think Chuck and I are dating is because we care for each other so much. We sort of know each other’s ins and outs, and we respect each other. We are very, very different people. His comfort zone is very far away from mine and vice versa, but he has kicked me in the pants when I needed it and helped me hold my head up during a lot of tough stuff. He shows up, and he pays attention when I need him. And the heart of the matter is this: What everyone else thinks is irrelevant. If we know we’re just friends, all those voices from everyone else fade into background noise.

So yes, I think guys and girls can be “just friends,” but in my experience it takes a lot of work. Chuck and I have to be super honest with each other all the time. We have to really over-communicate sometimes, and it can be exhausting and annoying, but otherwise none of it works.