The question that has been asked more than likely since the dawn of humankind. But, with this article, we will be one step closer to answering this question.
Can men and women truly be friends?
We can ask 10 different people and will probably get either 10 different answer or two main ones, and a third if we’re lucky.
3. It depends.
After this article, you may be one step closer to understanding this lifelong question, and at the very least you will know what to do regarding this.
I have two answers.
First, my short answer (which I’ll list off first) that many of you will all like.
And then my long answer that many of you won’t like (to a degree at least).
Yes, without a doubt. Especially now in the day of the 21st century.
Some of my closest friends that I have are women.
(Even if you aren’t single, but in this scenario, it may be harder to maintain).
Now, the answer most of you want to see most of all (it isn’t what you think), and to add more volume I’m going to add two “long” answer to this (single vs in a relationship).
Having a relationship with the opposite sex is the “easiest” when we are single for many reasons.
1. There isn’t anyone who is upset or feel jealous about it that hampers it.
2. There is a level of peace in knowing that even if the friendship blossoms into something more that no one is going to be upset due to it.
3. And it isn’t wrong for either party for only wanting to be friends and that it shouldn’t affect the friendship if that is the case otherwise it wasn’t really friendship in the first place.
After doing a social experiment with my followers/friends one women said, “If I’m not attracted to them, physically, emotionally and spiritually then yes it’s easy.”
However, the issue that we run into regarding this is that one average we are “only” friends with people that we are attracted to some degree (it doesn’t have to be an attraction based on physical appearance. It could be we think they have a beautiful soul, or we find some quality about them to be attractive otherwise we wouldn’t build a friendship with them).
People aren’t friends with people they don’t like.
And, what if we are attracted to them on one or all three of these levels?
Now, another person said (and many others), “Yes. Men and women can be attracted to each other and still be friends. It’s called boundaries.”
And the key word here is, “boundaries,” but this also goes into that fact with what many believe that this will normally still leaves one person “receiving” less and can often fester/foster into either resentment or into romance.
This isn’t to say that men and women can’t be friends but turns into that fact on what does friendship mean to the individual like knowing and respecting the other to “not crossing that line” as another person said.
This also puts into another perspective. Based on the comments there are two defining answers:
1. Yes (it just may be hard)
2. No (it “can” be done).
On average the women in this thread said yes without a doubt, and the men said no. (even in direct messages I had far more men telling me “no way” and girls saying “yes).”
So to take this to the next level I wanted to ask this question in person to people on my college campus (I don’t have the recording since I was alone for this “social experiment,” but I will link a video of other students performing the same experiment. However, I will be creating one soon).
When I asked the men they all said, “no,” besides for a select few.
However, when I asked them if they are attracted to their female friends and was given the chance to be with them they said: “yeah, hands down.”
When I asked the women they all said “YES!” (again, other than a select few).
But, when I asked them if they thought if their guy friends liked them and given the chance to be with them they said, “YES.”
So is this “friendship?”
Because friendships with the same sex this is a thought process that never crosses our mind (unless you are into both sexes. Which is also problematic because that would “mean” those who are into both sexes can’t have any friends, and maybe it is just me but that doesn’t seem right)..
Again, this isn’t to say that it isn’t possible (I have tons of friends who are girls) but it is to say that it takes a level of maturity and also recognizing that finding other attractive is human nature the question is if we act on it or not.
(It also says that women are far better at just being friends then men are. And this is due to how men and women view friendship. Women like to feel connected to others and want friendship and closeness while men view friendship with the opposite sex (or the sex they like) as intimate, and normally only really get that “closeness” with those they are romantic with, and women get this closeness with anyone and seek it out.
I believe the biggest issue that we have with this is how society as a whole foster the difference between men and women (which is a post that deserves it whole own attention and space).
A quick example of this though is that men are not “suppose” to talk about their emotions with others, and the only time it is “okay” is with the person they are dating while women are brought up to let their emotional side flourish.
Another example of this is just how each sex view what being “nice” means.
I often run into this in my life with my guy friends:
Whenever we are out and about I get told ALL of the time that some girl “likes” me because she either smiled at me or could just be looking at me (even when it comes to waitresses or people at work), or could just be being friendly.
I always try to just say they are just being nice or friendly, but on average men view that as being interested.
(Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not perfect and still a male and sometimes think the same thing, but I try not to read into things to much).
Now, in regards to women when someone is being nice to them that is of the opposite sex they normally just say,” they are so nice, or they are so cool.”
And this goes back to how each sex views relationships.
Sadly, we are at a point in society where being nice or friendly is the equivalent of flirting or being interested in someone…
Before I get to the conclusion of men and women friendship while single.
To dismiss there being some level of attraction with the opposite sex dismisses our “hard-wiring” that we have.
I whole heartily think that men and women can be friends and that we should not allow ourselves from reframing to being friends with the opposite sex and alienating ourselves from a whole other side of perspective and part of life that we need.
Not being friends with the opposite sex is not only limiting to us but also makes it harder for us to grow as a human.
(And apart from that the best relationship should start as friendship).
Says, we can be friends but someone will almost always want more or may have some secret crush on the other person, or can be someone knowing that the other likes them and wants them around for either a backup plan or for an ego boost outside of just the friendship.
And normally concludes in psychologist saying, “no, it isn’t possible to JUST be friends.”
Lastly, It is possible it just takes being an adult about it and having boundaries.
I don’t think we should exclude friendship with the opposite sex just because they are the opposite sex and that some level of attraction may occur.
WHILE DATING SOMEONE:
This is when things become more complicated but are due to communicating and how the other partner feels.
Again, it is possible but becomes way harder in most cases and takes a new level of understanding and respect.
The first thing to address is a few questions (since most of the nitty gritty parts has been addressed).
1. Does our platonic relationship with the opposite sex make our partner feel uncomfortable? (or causes jealousness, or causing a problem in the relationship)?
2. Would we be okay if they had the same level of friendship with the opposite sex as well?
3. Does our platonic relationship take away from our relationship with our partner and do we invest more with the friend than our lover?
4. Do we consciously or unconsciously “like” our platonic friend more than just a friend?
5. And more importantly, has there been any instances that would make us doubt our partner intentions? (I.e excess flirting. Lying/dishonesty, or cheating)?
(There are more questions you can add to this but this is the gist).
Being friends with the opposite sex becomes hard, and many married couples only have friends of the opposite sex if they are also dating someone (or all hanging out together), and even some religion say that they shouldn’t be friends with the opposite sex when dating (married) to someone else.
However, we shouldn’t just be lovers with our lover but also best friends. And, we also shouldn’t seek to get our every need met from one person and should have outside sources.
We need our own hobbies. Our own friends, and our own identity.
The biggest disconnect is that we think that someone can only be attracted to us when we are dating, but, as I said before that is almost never the case and is to a degree de-humanizing.
And, besides would we really feel good about dating someone who is only with us because they haven’t found someone else they like (maybe even more than us in some ways)?
Wouldn’t it feel much better to know that “sure” our partner “likes” other people but are with us because they CHOOSE to be with us?
I know I prefer that latter.
If you are in a relationship there are only a few options if the other is upset about your friends.
1. To either tell them that they are just your friend and that you don’t want to end it.
However, this could make the other upset and can even ruin the relationship.
2. To tell your other friend that you can no longer be friends, and that it could end up in your resenting your partner.
3. Or, let it play its course and grow together with your partner and have your platonic relationship fizzle out to some degree. And this helps alleviate that there will be no resentment towards your partner and no hurt feelings directed at your partner.
(There are obviously more options, but these are the three “main” ones).
Yes, we can have friends with the opposite sex while dating we just may need to evaluate how the other parties will feel. How we feel. And what we truly want and if we can gain a level of respect that no-one will feel insecure about the friendship.
In short. No. It isn’t impossible but can be found hard to find someone who wants the same kind of friendship as you without some alternative motive being present.
There is no “easy” answer to this.
It all depends on the person(s) (or people involved).
Anything is possible but takes a level of mutually and respect to make it possible.
As an entrepreneur, and a man trying to be “woke” I will always believe that men and women can be friends and don’t think that we should ever limit our growth and ourselves by not allowing ourselves to be friends with the opposite sex.
We are all on this planet together for a reason, shouldn’t let today society subjected ideologies affect our lives to a point where we can’t spend time with people we like.
At the end of the day, no-one can answer this question but yourself.
Everyone is different.
It may be healthy to talk about these “taboos.”
Do you think XYZ is attractive?
Have you ever thought about them in that way before?
And “FILL IN THE BLANK.”
Communication is key and so is understanding.”
I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts, and since this is such a controversial question I would love for everyone to join in on this conversation and add their opinions.
What are your thoughts?!
Is it possible?
We are all in this together, but it all starts with you!
You are creating history!
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Author of- Perfectly Perfect