- Gender and Relationships
Can Men & Women Just Be Friends?
Can a man and a woman be friends without any sexual agenda?
Not unless at least one of them is gay.
OK, all kidding aside, it is possible. A straight man and woman can be friends, without one or both of them wanting to jump the other's bones, eventually. But it's not likely. And here's why: Women tend to develop attraction through intimacy. Men tend to develop attraction through proximity.
Women & Intimacy
Imagine this, ladies. Your sexy bad-boy boyfriend has stood you up again. You're feeling jilted and bummed. You call your guy-friend up, you're vulnerable and sad. He comes over.
You do the stuff that friends do. You order a pizza, you put on the Flippin Out marathon, and you talk. You talk about this boyfriend that's been dicking you around.
As the night unfolds and the wine is poured, you open up about the shitty relationship you had with your father. And the patterns you seem to have. You talk about your first boyfriend. Your first kiss. Your first time. It's comfortable, talking to your friend. It's easy. You open up.
The next boyfriend is a co-worker. You're together 8 hours a day. Things seem to have developed. You can't help it. But it's complicated your office-life.
You get together with your guy-friend and you talk about what a dumb idea it was to get involved with a co-worker. He knows you pretty well, and he listens. He offers some thoughts that show how close you two really are, like how you're still choosing men that are dangerous, you've just changed the danger.
When it falls apart, your guy friend is there. He gets you. Not like these idiot boyfriends. He gets you in a bigger way.
See where I'm going with this? Women find their attraction through intimacy. Often they mistake sex for intimacy, but that's another story.
Men & Proximity
Maybe proximity isn't the best word to use. But men tend toward building attraction over time. A woman that is a constant in his life has a better chance of attracting him, than a woman that isn't.
Let's say a guy goes to an art gallery once, and thinks the curator is a knock out. He smiles, maybe he flirts. And often times he goes home and that's it. If he doesn't frequent that gallery, he considers that pretty woman to be a ship that passed in the night. It's common for a guy not to feel secure or brave enough to approach a stranger.
On the other hand, let's say the guy sees a woman he finds attractive all the time. A co-worker, a woman he runs into in Starbucks all the time, a neighbor, his chiropractor, a woman that uses the same dog park, a woman in his gym.
This is his territory. This is his strike zone. This is where he feels familiar. She becomes an acquaintance. She is not a stranger. Over the course of time they share a few laughs, a few conversations. He finds his confidence.
That's the woman he'll ask out.
Eventually, if the two people in question are single and available, she will translate the friendship as intimacy. And he will discover how comfortable and familiar this is.
Even if initially these two would-be friends do not find any initial sexual or physical attraction for each other, it can arise. I has happened that over time she finds him attraction, because they've become so close. And it has also happens that he discovers she's attractive because of how she makes him feel.
The Final Word
What if both parties are already in significant, happy, committed relationships. Is it possible that they can be platonic friends? Yes, of course. Especially if the friends are respectful and supportive of each other's relationships.
But people don't become cut off sexually from the rest of the world just because they are taken. If he has a fight with his wife, and his friend offers an understanding shoulder, he can translate that comfort into attraction. If she feels unheard in her relationship, she can find the closeness she shares with her friend, more attractive.
In this circumstance there is only a problem if they act on the impulse.
I am absolutely not saying a man and woman can never be friends without having sex. That would be absurd. Of course they can. And of course there are people that mean it when they make a commitment. I'm not saying that it's a given that anyone is going to cheat on their spouse.
The question is, can a man and woman be friends without there ever being some kind of sexual tension or agenda. What I'm answering is, even good platonic friendships between good people still might have some kind of sexual energy at least some of the time.
That doesn't mean the friendship isn't worth it. Sexuality is part of being human. Your sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of or awkward about. You should be able as a mature adult to maintain a healthy marriage or partnership, in addition to continuing to be a sexual independent creature.
The thing here, is realizing that the friends do not have to ACT on any minor occasional sexual energy. Of course you can be friends, but don't expect your sexuality to just shut itself off. It's there. So what. Go on with your life and your friendship.
Denying yourself the liberty to be sexually aware is unhealthy. Being honest, being mature, and loving yourself are the keys to all your relationships, including your platonic ones.