Monday, November 11, 2013

CAN MEN AND WOMEN BE "JUST" FRIENDS??



"I'm at the age when you don't meet a lot of new people, unless you happen to drive into their living room." Robert Brault

Recently, I was having lunch with 3 friends when we got into a spirited debate. The questions that started the flying opinions 
were--  "Can men and women be just friends?"  


These 6 couldn't keep it that way. 

We were split down the middle. Each of us were naturally basing our views on personal experience. Two of us were married, two divorced. However marital status didn't account for opinions held. There was one married and one divorced teamed up on each side of the question.  

In spite of the fact that some of my dearest friends have been male, I was firmly of the opinion that men and women can  be friends, but one of them will want more from the relationship, even if they never pursue it. 

I told them of the time in particular when I became fast friends with a guy I worked with. I was totally convinced we were "just friends" till I met his wife for the first time. She gave me a long look, then said," Well it is nice to put a face to the name my husband calls out in his sleep."   Yikes!! 

She smiled but the smile didn't quite reach her eyes even though she saw I was a 50'ish, average looking woman, certainly not a hot predator.
   
He never gave any indication of any hidden attraction. It had to have been a subconscious thing that sleep released. Our relationship however did go from comfortable and  easy to having an edge to it after that.

l could also relate to times when I had male friends.  While I valued and enjoyed their friendship, it wouldn't have ruffled my feathers much if the relationship had taken a different turn. 

How many married couples do you know who profess that their spouse is their "best friend" or that they were friends before they started dating. I personally think that is the perfect foundation for a great marriage. However it also strengthens my view that the male/female friendship" will often morph into more. 

My friends and I didn't resolve our difference of opinions nor did we give much ground on our views.   The friendship question remained steadfastly at a tie--2 to 2.  

As we were leaving the restaurant we passed a long table of about 10 men having lunch. I was sorely temped to get their opinion to break our tie but figured they might not tell the truth to a stranger. Besides, I have you. 

I am curious. Do you think men and women can have a simple friendship with out one wanting more??  Hopefully you can break the tie vote. 


This is something I would like to share that Linda Wildenstein turned me on to in her comment. The following site, One Good Thing by Jillie is a real find. Jillie is full of natural ways to combat everyday problems. She even has a homemade version of the bathroom odor killer from my last post. Some really interesting and useful stuff there. Thanks Linda. 
  

34 comments :

  1. I'm not a great person to ask because I'm demi sexual and pansexual all friendships have blurred lines for me. But to be honest I find it easy to be good friends with both men and women and it will never end up more than that.

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  2. I think there are 2 kinds of women.....those who flirt
    (be it even subconscious) and those who do not flirt. The ones who flirt lead the man into a "I'm available" relationship. No friendship there. Other women never pass "flirtation 101" and men don't get that signal so they can become friends. I've had many "just friendships" with men.
    Because a man calls a name in his sleep doesn't necessarily mean it's done in the throes of passion. My husband talked in his sleep and seemed to work all night by calling out co-workers names, both men and women. The name always included something about work.
    Interesting poll.

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  3. I do think that men and women can be friends without it morphing into more but if one person's feelings get involved then it can definitely complicate the situation. that being said, I find that opposite sexes make the best friendships!

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  4. I think men and women can be friends without it morphing. I never (as Manz put it) never passed flirt 101. But, this was my choice. I didn't flirt with married men, nor guys I worked with...my rules.

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  5. I think of course we can be friends. I have several male friends right now, and there's no indication of anything more. However, it could also be because we're old and sexual liaisons aren't very interesting any more. :-)

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  6. Interesting question. Remember that old TV show Will and Grace? He was a homosexual man and she was his long time friend, but she had a sexual attraction to him that pushed at the edge of that friendship. I agree with you that those feelings will crop up between two friends from time to time, but we do have some control over acting on them. So I am going to say that yes, there can be simple friendship between a man and a woman.

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  7. I think males and females can be friends, but I agree that there may be some hopefulness on one side or the other that the relationship will develop into something more.

    And I do consider my husband to be my best friend and vice versa.

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  8. Oh, I'm so glad you checked out Jillie. She has so many wonderful recipes for life.
    As to the question at hand...when I was younger, I always preferred male friends because men were easier to read than females for me. But as I got older I realized they weren't easier to read, it was my comfort level that was involved. And I'm on the yes side. I think men and woman can be friends without the relationship going any farther...providing that those are the ground rules. Doesn't mean that one or the other doesn't have a passing thought of more, just no action planned or pursued.

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  9. I really believe that men and women can be friends. One of my dearest friends is a man. In this case, we were great buddies in college. Over time, I began to wish the relationship could be romantic, but he felt that friendship was safer with two people who were to be, more or less, in the same profession and he married someone else, breaking my heart, when we were in graduate school. After a year of sulking, we sent each other birthday cards that crossed in the mail (our birthdays are only a few days apart) and we've been fast friends ever since.

    I'm also friends with three ex-boyfriends, to varying degrees, because friendship was always a big component of my romantic relationships.

    I think to have a successful opposite sex relationship one needs to resolve any sexual tensions/fantasies and to treat their significant others with respect and deference. And who knows? Maybe the wife can become a friend, too. There is one ex-boyfriend of mine whose wife became a good friend after I realized that I liked her better than I liked this old boyfriend!

    My husband is fine with my male friends because he has female friends as well as male friends and truly believes that opposite sex friendships are not only possible, but desirable.

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  10. I think that men and women can be friends, but I agree with one of the pair will almost always want something to come of it. However, I am good friends with my brother-in-law, and neither of us would want it to go beyond that. Same holds true of cousins, at least for me.

    Thanks for the link. I subscribed.

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  11. P.S. I am very good friends with several gay men - and we all know that it isn't going to go any further.....LOL

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  12. I think 99% of the time one of the parties wants more from it. I don't say 100% because I have seen what I consider the exception on one occasion. But only one.

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  13. I definitely think that men and women can be JUST friends. I always have gotten along with men friends almost better than I do my women friends…

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  14. I do believe in friendships that don't cross into the sexual. However, I rarely do anything solo with my male friends. Also, lately, they seem to be the husbands of female friends. Perhaps if both male and female were single, it would be more apt to drift toward the "more than friends" side of the equation.

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  15. Adding my two cents... for what it's worth... Of course some men and some women can be good friends only ... but there will always be some that 'just can't'.

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  16. Could be it depends on the part of the country you are from. Around here if you are not married you are not to talk to men unless it is business related, or just a simple hi. I enjoy talking to my vet when I take my dog or cat in. Last time we talked of ways to improve our Animal Shelter. The girls in the office didn't like me talking to him so one said a lot of nasty things to me and I took my dog to a different vet that I know. I might go back to my old vet sometime but I will not be disrespected after 30 years of animal care in the same place. Dumb girls.

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  17. Of course men and women can be friends. Some of my best friends have been men, possibly because they don't do all the drama women seem so fond of.

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  18. Joey,
    Actually that could make you an interesting choice of who to ask. I am putting you down as a "yes."

    Manzi,
    You do make a good point about flirting and I plead guilty of being a practicing flirt since the first grade. Guess I don't turn it off.

    Keith,
    I agree that opposite friendships are much more interesting. It is fun hearing a different point of view.

    turquoisemoon,
    I never did intentionally flirt with my male friends but like Manzi said, it can be subconscious. I hadn't thought about it but it is entirely possible.

    Djan,
    Ha, ha, you might be right. But also you are in a committed relationship so you aren't shopping.

    Olga,
    We do agree. I also stated that friendships are possible and any "wanting more" is often never pursued. Just that the wanting more might be there.

    Cheryl,
    Lucky you to be married to your best friend. The people like you are very fortunate.

    Linda W,
    That is my belief also. I am pretty sure it is there in most opposite friendships, it just isn't acted on.

    Dr. Kathy,
    Yes. I truly believe they are desirable and as long as neither acts on the attraction, they can be very loyal friends. It speaks well of you that your exes are your friends.

    Judy,
    We do think alike and I agree, family is off limits:))
    As for your gay male friends, that is the perfect opposite sex friendship scenario.

    islandwonder,
    I totally agree with your percentages. I might even know of 2.

    Betsy,
    I totally agree with you on who is usually more interesting. Male friends are always so protective. I love that about them.

    Barb,
    Committed relationships do keep both parties from even considering more.

    Rain,
    I do believe it is less personal and more circumstantial.

    Rita,
    Wow, that is some tight part of the country you are from. I would be in deep trouble there for I talk to everyone. I am sorry those ladies spoiled your friendship with the vet.

    Brighid,
    I am putting your vote firmly in the yes column.

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  19. Hmmm...good question! I think when I was younger is was harder to put a line between friendship and wanting something more.

    Now I think it's fairly easy to be friends with men...with no strings attached.

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  20. I do think that men and women can be friends. I know it is possible because I have a number of male friends and that is what we were and are. Do I think there are certain men and women who are not able to be "Friends"? Yes!....It is very individual.

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  21. I think that there are lifelong "just"friends relationships between men and women. A friend is somebody whom you can rely on and who will help you if you are in trouble. There is however a thin line between being friends and becoming lovers.
    Some men think that single women are "available"and they are not the kind of men who are looking for "just" friendship.
    Great post, Patti!

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  22. I just try to go with the flow and follow the encouragement or discouragement of others. Working in sales and marketing for so many years kept me from having to think about this too much and I hope that there is an ability to read the writing on the wall if someone is crossing the wrong line. Now when Ron was single and his doctor said he should find a wife he boldly went looking for a new bride by making maps to his home and handing them out to women in Walmart. Maybe that was a bit too forward. lol Oh, I loved him so!

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  23. I thought "Seinfeld" answered that question ... or was it "When Harry Met Sally" -- but I don't remember the answer! Anyway, I vote mostly no, but occasionally yes, esp. as we get older.

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  24. I think it depends on the the people. I have had male friends over the years that neither of us ever had any interest in it being any more than that. I have worked with a few men that I was only friends with that wanted nothing more but some did. I do believe that some men and women can be just friends and very good friends at that. Interesting post as always sweet Patti. Hugs for you and nose kisses for sweet Minnie

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  25. I think when you are young it may be hard to be "just friends" with someone of the opposite sex because let's face it that's prime hunting time. As we get older it is much easier to be "just friends". Companionship alone takes on a whole new meaning.

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  26. Linda M,
    I agree.

    Eileen,
    I do believe also that age changes the playing field a lot.

    Naomi,
    Lucky you. I have a few that I have kept for years and you are right, with some, it is just not possible.

    Wil,
    I agree on the thin line. That thin line does blur a bit with age. Usually those men your speak of aren't in committed relationships. Wish it were simple.

    Grannie Annie,
    That is a delightful story about Ron and the flyers. Hum, wonder if it would work here.

    Tom,
    Harry met Sally was on my mind when I wrote this. Age does make pure friendship more possible.

    Maggie,
    You are right, there is no formula that applies to all. Sometimes I try to make generalities cover all. Doesn't work.

    Oklhdan,
    True, when hormones are vigorous, friendship is harder to maintain. So right about companionship becoming the major building block to friendship as we age.

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  27. I would say yes, particularly if one is not interested in the opposite sex...

    I have many female friends, and would never 'go there' with them (even if I were not happily and blissfully married). I don't particularly care for most men and their general mindset. Guns. Booze. Football. Rah rah rah. Blah. Makes my stomach turn.

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  28. My sweetie is firmly in the camp that men and women cannot be friends. I'm not sure I feel that strongly about it, but I do respect his opinion and I have never had male friends since our marriage unless it was a husband/wife team and the four of us were all friends.
    Sandy

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  29. Hmmm... This is a hard one. My first reaction would be yes, it is possible. But I don't know for sure. I had two guy friends a long time ago, but I later found out they were gay. I was heartbroken when I learned one of them died of AIDS. Other guy type friends are part of couples, so that wouldn't count. Hmmm... I wonder...

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  30. Sorry I can't break the tie. For some yes. For others no. For me it all depends....

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  31. I'm thinking no. But I don't have any male "friends" except my husband, so I am totally not the one to ask.

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  32. Barry,
    Pretty sure being blissfully married is a great deterrent for a lot of people. Like I said before, both you and your wife are lucky to have found such keepers.

    Mom of 12,
    I mostly agree with your husband, just like you, not quite so vehemently. Couples make it all the more less likely to cross the line.

    Kay,
    I am so sorry your lost one of your dear friends.
    With one side being gay, it is pretty certain that they can be "just" friends.

    TB,
    Ha,ha, your opinion is a tie in itself.

    Terri,
    I will put you in the "no" column. Lucky you to have married your friend.

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  33. Biology is a powerful force that can defy good intentions. For marrieds who value the relationship with their spouse, a friend of the opposite sex should be the friend of both the husband and the wife.

    My husband is my best friend and more. I value our relationship.

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