Thursday, June 9, 2011
One question that's always caught my interest is, "Can men and women just be friends?" I think in general this is asking if friendship can exist where there's a potential for attraction, so in fairness I'll say that it can also apply to same-sex friendships. But for this post I'll talk about it from a heterosexual view since it's all I've ever known.
Male/female friendships seem to have the odds stacked against them from the start. I don't think most people believe men and women can be friends without something eventually getting in the way (romantic feelings on one side or jealousy from someone outside the friendship). I agree it happens a lot, still these friendships can and do work. The relationships I have with females are incredibly rewarding; not only do I get to see things through a woman's eyes but often by those of a different generation. And though some of these friends haven't yet or won't ever experience the things I have, I'm amazed at how much I've been able to learn from them and how much common ground we share.
Opposite-sex friendships can be precarious. I'm a bit guarded and mindful of what I say with some, because I don't always see my female friends the same way I do my buddies. Maybe I should, but I don't. I have a love for my male friends but with the women in my life it just feels different, runs deeper. It's hard to explain other than there's a different set of emotions that come into play that I don't experience in my relationships with the guys.
So what does this all mean, is there a chance of someone feeling something more? Sure, there's always the possibility that feelings will grow between people in any kind of relationship whether it's personal or professional. But I don't think it should ever stop us from developing these relationships. If we don't allow ourselves to feel deeply for anyone else we're robbing ourselves of some amazing experiences. I've never seen attraction as a reason to immediately end a friendship, if a relationship is worth having it's worth talking things through. But if it can't be worked out then someone needs to say goodbye .
Before Sandy and I met I had a friend who liked me. I mean, really liked me. Her feelings were obvious to everyone; her best friend, my friends and me. But she wouldn't admit to it. She was very intelligent, into music and The Arts, good company and generally just fun to hang around with. And we did. I knew how she felt but for me it didn't go further. One weekend we took a trip out of town (to the Shaw Festival at Niagara-On-The-Lake for those of you who know where that is). We stayed overnight at a bed and breakfast, slept in the same bed but nothing happened. It could have but I wasn't interested.
I met Sandy a short while later and found that connection I was looking for. Today we have a great relationship and both of us have opposite-sex friendships. We accept these people as part of our lives; there's no drama, no one's ever acted out and all relationships are respected. Within the parameters of these friendships has been a lot of affection, love and words shared through good and bad times. I wouldn't want it any other way.