Yesterday I wrote about my frustration when men confuse my friendliness with flirting. The comments section was really jumping, and the discussion led to the topic of platonic friendships between men and women. One of my readers was adamant that men and women can’t be friends, with one party always wanting to date (or hump) the other.
The “can men and women be friends?” debate has been argued for years, and that debate will carry on for years to come. Two camps always come out of this debate: those who believe it’s absolutely impossible for a man & a woman to have a platonic friendship, and those who not only believe in its possibility, but have made it happen.
The biggest argument defending the inability of men & women to be friends is the attraction factor. Unless one or both parties are homosexual (or asexual for that matter), then its very likely that an attraction will develop. Attraction often leads to lust, wanting, desire, and a whole host of other emotions & feelings that probably don’t come up in your run-of-the-mill same-sex friendship. A lot of times these feelings are one-sided, so that party is faced with a conundrum: hide/bury their feelings; share & risk losing the friendship; or simply bide their time until their friend will be available or at least more receptive to their advances.
It’s generally assumed that men are the ones in male-female friendships who are trying to get with their female friends; that they are simply “waiting in the wings” for their female friend to let her guard down, before he pounces on her. Of course, that does happen, but I think that generic idea of all men in male-female friendships underestimates the intentions of many, many men. Why is it so hard to believe that a man can act in a manner that is respectful, loving, considerate, etc. and not attempt to get something from a woman, beyond friendship? Are we really saying that men are incapable of moving past their sexual attractions? Are we assuming that every man is attracted to every woman that he meets?
Those who defend male-female friendships point to their own friendships as proof that it is possible for men and women to be nothing more than platonic friends. Nothing sums up an argument quite like anecdotal evidence, right? Many of these friendships have survived several years, many ups & downs, distances, etc. But they manage to work, and work very well.
I’ll be honest, Jubi is on Team Male/Female Friendships Can Work. But that’s because I have successful friendships with men. I’m not one of those people who will proclaim that I’m not attracted to my male friends; in fact, if I ever got the opportunity I’d date at least one (yes even after the thing with the Vegas dude). Here’s the thing – I’ve never let my attraction to them get in the way of being a good friend to them, and they have done the same with me. Isn’t that part of friendship – putting the happiness of your friend ahead of your own & being supportive?
Alright folks, so now its your turn to weigh in – what are your thoughts? Can men & women be platonic friends or are folks who try just delusional? Please share your experiences.