Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Just Friends"

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.


  1. If you wrote it this morning, you must have been up real early :-)

    I believe friendships between a man and woman is possible,even without the sexual tension. We are attracted to some people and we choose who we want to be with.

    I have to run now.... back to reality ~ see you around.

    Thanks for leaving a wonderful comment in my blog ~

  2. I agree that opposite-sex friendships can be a lot more interesting than having friends from the same sex. I myself prefer the company of guys. But then, as you too stated, you gotta be taking care all the time. I have the concept of opposite-sex friendships mixed up with that of platonic love. Or perhaps, they really are the same.

  3. I think its hard, but very possible. great post!

  4. I'm torn by this question as well. For my entire life, I have only had close female friends (or gay male friends). You are honestly the closest straight male friend I have ever had.

    I think women tend to be more emotionally clingy, because we're used to having emotional bonds with our friends. Which is probably why your friendships with women seem more "intense".

    I would like to think men and women can be good friends. But if attraction comes in the way, the two people need to ask themselves "is this attraction because we're meant for each other in that way?" or "are we only feeling this romantic attraction because we have created such an intense emotional bond?" There is a fine line between the two that a lot of people cross and it ruins the friendship.

    And from what I've read here (and just from knowing you in general) it seems you are so successful at opposite sex friendships because you understand that line. Not many men do.


  5. @Heaven, I actually drafted it over the past couple days and posted this morning. I take too much time writing and re-writing to do it first thing in the morning! Agreed there's not always sexual tension in male/female friendships.

    @Maha, yes I think opposite-sex friendships and platonic love can be the same. I think we experience people in degrees; I have casual acquaintances, friends I'm fond of and without question those I love.

    @Rasha, it is possible isn't it? You and I have proven it. ♥

    @Jen, I'm the closest straight male friend you've ever had, really? =) I think your observation about women and emotional bonds rings true. I don't need many close female friends, but I'm so glad you're one of them! ♥

  6. I've missed your thoughts, your words, yoru wonderful ideas.
    You're a precious thing, Barry. <3

  7. I absolutely KNOW these types of friendships are possible, as I've been fortunate to experience it. And is some way, they're even more special when they work out. Unlike friendships women have with each other, there's a certain feeling of "safety" when your best bud is a guy - not to be confused with trust. I find that in my friendships with women, I'm usually the "strong one". Yet in my trusted guy friendship, I'm able to be more vulnerable.

    It's certainly an interesting topic/concept. I 100% believe it's possible.

  8. "I find that in my friendships with women, I'm usually the "strong one". Yet in my trusted guy friendship, I'm able to be more vulnerable."

    This is intriguing KickRA. Would be a great post on its own.