We hear a lot about bromances in popular culture and female BFFs are everywhere. Genuine male-female friendships, however, are harder to come by. If you believe When Harry Met Sally there is no such thing as just friends, but dig beneath the surface and they do exist.
We've scoured the world of cinema and TV to find the very best of platonic guy friends; the kind of charming but low-profile blokes who negotiate their female friendships without even a whiff of romance. From loyal work colleagues to devoted childhood mates and fashion-savvy shopping buddies, give it up for our favourite platonic guys in pop culture...
Do you have a favourite platonic guy pal? Or have we missed one out? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter
Jack Bauer, 24
As far as guy friends go, Jack's not exactly predictable but his macho, terrorist-trashing skills have saved Chloe's life on more than one occasion in 24. Sure, he's probably too busy throwing grenades or interrogating suspects with a blowtorch to sit around gossiping over a bottle of wine - yet what he lacks in chattiness he more than makes up for with loyalty and good, solid manliness.
Best for: Rescuing you from a marauding gang of assassins. Or fixing a broken boiler
Carson, Downton Abbey
As head of downstairs staff, Carson is more than happy to put his chandelier duster aside and devote some time to his closest ally, Mrs. Hughes. There's not an ounce of sexual chemistry between these two, yet they're there for each other come what may (and in Downton world that can be anything from burnt canapés to wayward footmen and the outbreak of war).
Best for: Saving you that last slice of Stilton after a hard day's work
Stanford Blatch, Sex And The City
Whether it's mindless prattling over a Martini or delighted cackling over a fabulous new pair of shoes, Stanford is pretty much your perfect platonic guy friend. He's a bit vulnerable too, which makes his devotion to Carrie all the more adorable.
Best for: Dinner dates and a good, juicy gossip
Don Draper, Mad Men
Despite his womanizing reputation, Don is a true gent when it comes to his protégé Peggy Olson. True, he can take her for granted but he spies her potential way before anyone else and is her main cheerleader in the tough, testosterone-fuelled environment of 1960s Madison Avenue.
Best for: Knocking back a neat whiskey or two with as you brainstorm the Next Big Idea together
Thomas J. Sennett, My Girl
Vada treats him with both disdain and affection, but even she knows deep down that Thomas J. is solid friendship material. He scoots around the neighbourhood with her, dives into lakes with her, accompanies her on random dad-stalking missions and even goes back to collect her ring from where she dropped it near a bee's nest (sob). In short, he's about as committed as you can be - and he's impossibly cute.
Best for: Practising your kissing technique on
Dr. Derek Shepherd, Grey's Anatomy
Not only is Dr. Derek Shepherd ridiculously handsome (they don’t call him McDreamy for nothing), he’s also brilliant at helping you through a nervous breakdown. Case in point is his relationship with Dr Yang, his wife Meredith’s (AKA Dr Grey) best friend. When Yang decides to leave surgery after witnessing a shooting at the hospital, she goes into meltdown and suffers post-traumatic stress. But unable to let her go off the rails and see her talent go to waste, Shepard takes her fishing, which helps her to get back on her feet.
Best for: Helping you through depression
Nigel, The Devil Wears Prada
Softly spoken and exquisitely dressed, Nigel stands out from his bitchy colleagues at Runway magazine by taking newbie Andy Sachs under his wing. He doesn't shy from speaking his mind ("you do know that cellulite is one of the main ingredients in corn chowder," he deadpans to her at the beginning of the movie) but equally, he's the one to open Andy's eyes to the wonderful world of fashion - and even better, hand her the keys to the fabled fashion closet...
Best for: Shoes! Coats! Handbags! all designer, natch
Angel Batista, Dexter
What's not to love about Detective Angel Batista? In the gritty, back-stabbing world of Miami Metro, he has Deborah Morgan's back on every occasion, even when she's unfairly promoted beyond him. As the murders pile up and Dexter is out seeking bloody revenge, Batista is there for Debs, doling out fatherly advice and ressurance at every turn.
Best for: Picking up the pieces over beer after a crappy day at the office
Saul Berenson, Homeland
Whenever Carrie's feeling down or lost in neurotic-driven crisis mode, Saul is the one to step in and protect her. He's measured, considered and careful - practically the exact opposite to Carrie and a powerful friend to have in the shady world of the CIA. Whatever romantic history is hinted at, these two are best as platonic buddies.
Best for: Covering your back as you pull off some reckless, semi-illegal work deal
George Downes, My Best Friend's Wedding
Suave, smooth-talking and incredibly supportive, George is everything you want in a guy pal. He lets Julianne obsess endlessly over her crush on someone else's fiancé and gallantly goes along with all her madcap schemes to ensnare the man of her dreams. He even masquerades as her lover and best of all, he's there to mop up her tears when it all falls apart.
Best for: Pretending to be your lover. And dancing!
Marc St. James, Ugly Betty
"Curly-haired, effeminate sycophant" Marc St. James is a devoted personal assistant to boss Wilhelmina Slater, and a pretty loyal friend too - despite her frequent put-downs. He's deliciously conniving and cloying and is on the front line of her many schemes to overthrow Daniel Meade and Betty Suarez.
Best for: Lunchtime Botox sessions
Ed Masry, Erin Brockovich
Fumbling Ed is an unlikely match for the ballsy, no-crap Erin Brockovich - but once these two are united in their crusade to bring down the corporate water baddies, there's just no stopping them. As a guy friend, Ed is dependable and level-headed: an affable Grandpa figure.
Best for: Calming you down mid-rant
Nick, New Girl
This is a tricky one. Die-hard New Girl fans have probably already pegged them as this decade’s Ross and Rachel but we’re still holding out for this to be a truly platonic relationship. Nick is the kind of guy who’ll make you a strong cocktail (he works in a bar) and then wipe away your tears when you’ve been stood up. But his miserable old-man attitude means he’s more of an older brother type figure, which makes him much less fanciable. Then again, if Jess and Nick do eventually end up together, we won’t be surprised.
Best for: Lending you a hand with your flat-pack wardrobe
Laurie, Little Women
Laurie is the ultimate buddy for tomboy Jo March. He grows up next door to her, throws himself into all her adventures and even joins a secret society with her and her sisters (remember The Pickwick Club?) Granted, there's a glimmer of romance later on but above all these two are best friends; the kind who share everything.
Best for: Sharing all your secrets and life's ambitions with
Charles, Four Weddings And A Funeral
As a lover, Charles' foppish stuttering in Four Weddings And A Funeral is slightly irritating but as a mate he's rather more entertaining. For flatmate Scarlett, he's a partner in crime; someone to turn up late and dishevelled with, muttering obscenities all the way.
Best for: Getting you smashed so you wake up late (again)
Det. 'Bunk' Moreland, The Wire
The gritty underworld of Baltimore is a tough place to be for even the most hardened of cops, but Bunk does a stellar job of keeping fellow Det. Kima Greggs' spirits up with his comic blustering. The banter between these two forms some of the best scenes of the show and they're one of the few characters to stick it out with a good relationship to the end.
Best for: A pick-me-up drink after a long day at the office
Joey Tribbiani, Friends
Strictly speaking all the Friends cast are well, friends. But perhaps the strongest bond of all is between Joey and Phoebe, the only two characters who don't end up getting it on with the rest. Joey's sweet, goofy and funny and even proposes to Phoebe when he thinks she's pregnant. She in return tries to teach him French, poses as his agent to get him auditions and kisses him when his heart is broken by Ursula. It's a platonic match made in heaven.
Best for: Giving you the "perfect" kiss
The Doctor, Doctor Who
True, they once shared a passionate clinch, but Amy Pond's relationship with the Time Lord since moved on from passionate to the most solid of platonic unions. "There's this one moment where Amy realizes that [she] and The Doctor are best friends — really weird, unhealthy best friends," Karen Gillan, who plays Amy, explains. Out of all the Doctor's companions, Amy is the feistiest and also the one to humanise the Doctor the most - he repays her by being a great, if somewhat unpredictable, mate.
Best for: Rescuing you as you lie unconscious in the Asylum of the Daleks (and saving your marriage in the process)
Harry, Harry Potter
Although Hermione eventually ends up with Ron, in many ways her relationship with Harry is more intense and poignant. They remain quietly dedicated to one another throughout the epic seven-book franchise, forming a strong, loyal bond in a world of chaos, destruction and deathly forces. No matter what happens around them - betrayals, battles and abandonment - their friendship never falters; something no amount of magic could change.
Best for: Good old-fashioned loyalty
Mitch Henessey, The Long Kiss Goodnight
On paper Mitch's guy friend credentials aren't that promising; he's a hapless ex-con who runs a cheap private eye agency. But when one-time spy and mum Samantha Caine is forced to hit the road with a gang of ruthless assassins in pursuit, he proves his worth as a right-hand man. Enduring torture and frequent scrapes with death, Mitch turns out to be a dependable type who - while churning out cheesy wisecracks - will do practically anything to keep Sam and her daughter from harm.
Best for: Rescuing you from a bloody death at the very last minute
When you're broken-hearted, all you really need is a shoulder to cry on and Sam in Happythankyoumoreplease is brilliant for this. He's the one to pick up the pieces and dole out comfort as his friend Annie is floored by a series of romantic disasters. And he's the one to convince her that she deserves true love - although, unusually for Hollywood, he's not The One in question...
Best for: Weeping tears of anger/happiness/rage on
Duckie, Pretty In Pink
Duckie's a little bit in love with fellow outsider Andie but even though she doesn't feel the same way, he sticks with her through thick and thin. He has awesome style and even takes her to the prom when her real date leaves her stranded. Now that's what we call a true friend.
Best for: A nattily dressed non-date prom date
Hawkeye and Black Widow are both skilled warriors and have stormed their way through a mountain of battles working side by side. Black Widow hardly needs protection but if she did, Hawkeye would be the man for the job - although they often fight each other too. They've got spark and energy and like all great partnerships, are best off kicking butt in tandem.
Best for: Swooping to your defence with a well-aimed arrow or two
President Jed Bartlett, The West Wing
As leader of the free world, you'd have thought Jed Bartlett would be too busy running the country to be a good guy friend - but you'd be wrong. While he's happy to share little jokes and even cook meals for all West Wing staffers, he reserves the best of his platonic pal potential for his press secretary, the irrepressible C.J. Cregg.
Best for: Making time for a cosy natter - even if the world around is falling apart
Dill Harris, To Kill A Mockingbird
While Scout Finch and her brother Jem fall out now and again, she shares a special bond with neighbourhood pal Dill Harris; like her, he sees the world through innocent eyes and that gradual loss of innocence in 1930s Maycomb County is something they share. His ever-active imagination also brings an element of excitement into Scout's life; he's the one to spark her interest in the mysterious presence of Boo Radley.
Best for: Impromptu adventures