Despite the ever-worrisome presence of "the friend zone" and the potential for our other halves to become jealous, friendships — with people of any gender — are very important to Generation-Y.
As a 20-something who has experienced her fair share of life upheavals, relocations and heated rows, I am very proud of the fact that I have ended up with an eclectic and supportive group of friends.
This includes male friends with whom I have absolutely zero romantic chemistry, but who are very important to me on a platonic level.
Here are some of the best parts of having great boy friends who will never become my boyfriends:
When you're navigating your way through the world of dating, it's very easy to get lost. There are no compasses or ordinance maps for single people, so we rely on our friends to be our navigational fixtures of sensibility.
For heterosexual women, our male friends' opinions can provide invaluable insights into the male mind. Their perspectives on our love lives often save us huge amounts of confusion, pain and money on consolatory ice cream.
Even though it can be a bit annoying at the time, I am very grateful to my guy friends for telling me to cut my losses and kick a potential boyfriend to the curb when I need to hear it.
This is not meant to sound sexist, but from my experience, guys enjoy fixing things more than girls do. I completely appreciate that this might not be true for every person, but my female friends and I are, essentially, too lazy to change light bulbs and fix cupboard doors.
Our male friends, however, get a real kick out of DIY, so we tend to leave them to it. I'm fairly convinced that one of my male friends only comes around to visit when he has an excuse to bring his tool kit.
As young women, we are perfectly entitled to go out and enjoy ourselves without having to feel threatened or conspicuously vulnerable. We can wear what we like, go to fun places and let our hair down.
Still, having male friends around is something that futher ensures our safety. Again, I don't mean to be sexist and I'm certain that almost all Generation-Y women are more than capable of looking after themselves.
Having said that, it's a good thing to have male friends around on nights out purely for the sake of feeling more comfortable.
On a very basic level, any lecherous creeps who might have approached you against your will think twice when they see that there are guys in your party.
And, of course, when things do go wrong, you can rely on your male friends to look after you.
The Great Outdoors
All of my friends have different hobbies and enjoy a wide variety of activities, including everything from poker to potholing. Their enthusiasm for these pursuits allows me to explore all kinds of avenues that I never would have considered on my own.
My guy friends are especially good at convincing me to join them on their adventures, which is how I found myself at the top of Arthur's Seat in Scotland last weekend.
Don't Overthink It
Like many women I know, I am a bit of an over-thinker. My male friends tend to have slightly more pragmatic outlooks on life. While I am jealous of their more carefree attitudes, I am also very grateful for their advice.
When it comes to problems and fears, boy friends are great for getting stuff out in the open and being honest about their opinions.
When you have a very close male friend, he will know you well enough to understand how and why you feel the way you do, but he will also be able to convince you that it's not worth sweating the small stuff.