Can Men and Women Just Be Friends?

It’s an age old question-can men and women just be friends, without being attracted to one another, without being intimate, and without being jealous when one or both are in a relationship?   Men and women, experts and non-experts have disagreed on this very topic for years.   Through my own experiences, I say “Yes”.  Do I have male friends? Yes.  Have I ever been attracted to one or more of my male friends? Yes.  Have any of my male friends been attracted to me?  Not sure, but I’d venture to say yes, even though no one has said so.   Two of my best friends are men.   These are two guys who I feel that will be there for me no matter what, I can go to them for anything, and I’ve already told one of them that he’s going to be in my wedding. 

Now, some people seem to think that men and women can’t be friends because one person is always going to be attracted to the other.  As one of my friends told me, when he first met me (actually when he first meets any woman), he assesses if he wants to sleep with her. (I know, a little barbaric and male typical, right?)  If he decides he doesn’t, then he may continue to talk to her, but there’s no action on his part to pursue her sexually.  Now, if he does decide he wants to have sex with her, his actions will attempt to put him in a “positive light” so that he can impress her and do what he can to get on her good side so that he can sleep with her.   He may try to develop a monogamous/boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with the woman or he may just try to hit it and that be that.   Another setback to this dilemma may be if one person is in a relationship, let’s say the woman, and her homeboy is attracted to her.  It sucks for him if she’s devoted to her boyfriend and really isn’t thinking about her friend that way.   It also can get sticky if someone’s significant other is jealous of the friendship.  Case in point, my friend was dating a girl, whom I never met but we knew of each other.  She was jealous of our friendship, until she realized that I wasn’t a threat and wouldn’t do anything to jeopordize their relationship. 

On the other hand, what if the woman likes the man?  I was in a situation where I was friends with a really nice guy and had been attracted to him for YEARS! (#dontjudgeme!)  I never said anything to him for a number of reasons-1.  I felt if I told him it would mess up our friendship, and I didn’t want to risk that-2.  We lived in different cities-and 3.  I didn’t think I was his type.  It came to a point where I finally had to tell myself, “Look, you need to get this off your chest and just tell him.  If things work out, great.  If not, oh well, at least you told him and it’s not hanging over your head anymore and the ball will be in his court.”  So I did it-I told him how I felt, knowing that at the time he didn’t want a relationship, but I told him for me-to make me feel better.  It came to a point where I felt like I had nothing to lose, plus I didn’t want to disillusion myself if he was not attracted to me.   When I told him, he was cool, as was I, and said we’ll talk about it later.  Needless to say, later has not come yet, and our sporadic conversations are now pretty much non-existent.   Do I regret telling him how I felt? No.  But I do miss my friend.  I’m a big girl and can handle rejection, but maybe he couldn’t handle being around a woman whom he considers just a friend but she wants more.   I may have been a little selfish in telling him how I felt, but this is something that had been on my mind since we were in undergrad, so to clear my mind, I needed to let it out. 

Now, to those of you that have best friends of the opposite sex who are in relationships, its your duty to not interfere.  Don’t request to hang out with your buddy without their significant other.   That’s a recipe for disaster and unnecessary drama.  Also, don’t call your friend all hours of the night, unless it’s an absolute emergency and you’ve exhausted all of your other resources.  That’s also a sure fire way to bring chaos to an unchaotic situation.   I also strongly advise that you make nice with the boyfriend or girlfriend.   Let them know that you have no intention of messing with their relationship…and you may even want to invite them with you and your friends so they feel comfortable around you.

To answer my own question, I say yes, men and women can be friends.  I have male friends that I hang out with, that I talk to, and we both know neither of us is attracted to the other and never will be.  Do you guys disagree?  Can men and women just be friends or will someone always try to date the other?  Do you have a story where a friend shared with the other that he/she was attracted to the other?   Please share your stories.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

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