Is It Okay for Platonic Friends to Share a Bed?

Can Men and Women Share a Bed and Remain Platonic?

Platonic friends in bed.
Should platonic friends sleep in the same bed?. Courtney Keating/Getty Images

Reader question:

I am a male. I have a female friend who shares the same interest as me: hiking. We often hike near to her home as she lives near a rural area. Neither of us has a car so I usually stay at her home. She is a friend, not a girlfriend or romantic partner

For my first time stopping at her apartment, I slept on the couch. The second time, after a busy hiking day, she said that I was most welcome to share her double bed. We did share it. In a platonic sense as we were just friends. It was more comfortable sleeping in a bed as opposed to a couch. Since that time, whenever we go on hiking trips, we share a bed. Keep to our own ends of the bed, simply wish each other "goodnight" and sleep.

Anyway, when I mentioned this to a friend (male) recently, he said he thought it was odd. And his wife thought it was odd, too. She thought it odd that a male and female friend would share a bed.

I do wonder, after hearing that, is this a normal thing? Aren't there perhaps many platonic male/female friends who share beds? It feels normal to me and my friend. We finish hiking. We put on night clothes. We get in her bed. We sleep. I don't think it's wrong. Seems perfectly normal for two friends to do that.

What is your opinion?

Answer

“Normal” is a relative term, of course. It implies acceptable boundaries that most of society abides by in order to feel safe in their relationships. However, what is normal for one set of friends might be different for another set.

This arrangement feels normal for you and your friend right now, but I would proceed with caution on making it a regular thing. In order for a platonic friendship to stay in a safe emotional place, boundaries are a necessity.

What if somewhere down the line one of you is feeling vulnerable and decides to pursue something like a kiss, touch, or more? Where will your friendship be after that? Even the attempt at intimacy can disrupt a platonic friendship so badly that it may never recover and go back to the way it was.

Men and women can absolutely be just friends and have nothing physical happen between them.

But keeping a platonic friendship comfortable for both parties means that you need to look at not just what’s happening now but what you want for the friendship down the line.

What if you get married later and your spouse finds out you and your friend slept in the same bed together? Will you be able to carry on with that friendship the same as before? Probably not, because your spouse will either feel uncomfortable or fail to understand why you decided to keep sleeping with your friend. Moreover, would you feel comfortable if your spouse did the same?

Also, what about other platonic female friends in your life? Will they understand this situation? Will your friendship with them change because of this?

You may feel the need to defend yourself saying it’s your life and no one else’s business. That’s true in theory, but for some situations, this may cause you problems, even though (as you said) you haven’t slept together in a romantic sense.

Why put yourself in a position where you might feel uncomfortable at some point? Once the awkwardness has happened, there’s no going back. However, if you keep safe boundaries in your friendship, you won’t have to worry about ever crossing a line.