Dear Dr. G.,
I am a 15-year-old female high school student. My friend has recently accused me of flirting with her new boyfriend. Her new boyfriend has now become my friend and I don't think I flirt with him. I don't tease him, giggle around him or try to have sex with him. He has a lot of problems and I listen to him and share my own family stories. He's good to talk to. His mother is an alcoholic and I can relate to him because my own mom has been sober for 10 years. I don't want to lose my girlfriend but what is so bad about me and her boyfriend confiding in each other? He even told me that his girlfriend who is my friend doesn't understand him like I do. What should I do Dr. G.? Is my friend being ridiculous? Are confiding and flirting the same thing? Help me. I'm new to all of this hard stuff.
A Confused Teen
WOW! I have to say that you ask a very important question that many individuals of all ages have been struggling with for years. I believe that yes, men and women can be friends, but your question addresses a very important nuance of relationships. Bravo to you for asking a very thought-provoking question. Let me start by saying that while there are variations of the definition for "flirting" it generally implies that an individual is playfully interacting with someone in an effort to either gain their attention or attract them. Generally, when we think of "confiding" there is not an overt and clear seductiveness involved. On the other hand, as we all know "confiding" often opens the doors to connectedness and in many cases to two people developing feelings toward each other.