Saturday, October 3, 2009

Can men and women just be friends?

I'm daddy's girl. Unapologetically and unabashedly. I'm also very close to my mother, make no mistake, but while Mom and I are very very good friends, I'm Dad's baby. I also grew up with 2 big brothers and many uncles, so perhaps this has skwewed my outlook a bit.

Some of my most favorite people over the years have been guys. I have more female friends, and some of them are very very close, but some of my all time favorite people, the people whose friendships I mourn when they end or grow distant are guys. You see with guys I can be rough, mischevious, playful etc. Maybe its because some of these guys I'm thinking about are basically good men whom I trust absolutely and maybe its because when we were at our closest, we were young, innocent and playful.

Whatever. I just wonder though, why this question is even asked. Can men and women be friends? Why on earth not? Maybe it may be inappropriate for someones best friend to be of the opposite gender when there are significant others involved. I can see how this can be thorny. But why cant a man and a women be good friends? Do someones feelings always have to get involved? And if there are feelings involved and they're unrequited, then, tough for whoever gets hurt. That's life. Get over it.

Is it because I'm a woman and so dont understand the things that make men tick and respond etc. But some of the people who have said an adamant no in response to this question have been women, not men. The men I've asked (granted a very small sample size) dont seem to have much of a problem.

So, is it self-preservation that makes people say no, men and women can't be friends? Am I missing something?


  1. response from KG:
    That's interesting that you say the most adamant no's have come from the women. I've heard most men say no actually.
    I think it's also harsh of you to say 'Get over it. That's life.' if there are unrequited feelings involved. Those situations are usually unfortunate and get even more awkward depending on the situation.
    A huge reason that feelings could be involved is that two members of the opposite sex that are relating to each other are primarily designed to attract the other and this fundamental reality can make a lot of relationships murky. There's also the usual 'guys want more than friendship (i.e. sex) from women' and the whole 'women tie emotions to sex and for men it's just sex' perceptions to deal with. Note that I said perceptions. They could be true or untrue depending on the situation.

  2. Quite an interesting post Madame Aseye. I do fundamentally believe that men and women can be just friends. I guess I speak from personal experience there – I have had many close male (many more so than female) friends over the course of my life, and most of them have remained just that – friends. Now I’m in no way saying this is always an easily achievable feat. In fact I think that at some point in time in all such friendships, some sort of physical or emotional attraction (no matter how fleeting) usually develops. I think such attractions tend to resolve themselves with time if handled appropriately. From what I see, they either burn themselves out, one learns to live with them accepting that the friendship is worth more than any potential attempt at a relationship would be or in the rare case the friendship actually successfully turns into something more. The key is for both parties to be mature enough (and the friendship strong enough) to withstand candid discussions surrounding attraction, and even more than that - to resist impulsive actions at all costs.