I’ve never understood the assertions that men and women can’t be friends. Not that I don’t understand the argument that biologically we are driven to mate, but surely, that’s not all we are. Over the course of my life I have had close friends, both male and female, and at times, the girls were outnumbered. So when people say it’s not possible, I just don’t get where they’re coming from. Have they truly never had a platonic friendship with someone of the opposite sex? How sad.
Guys are great. They make great friends (as do women). So if we happen to come across someone with whom we enjoy talking, spending time, sharing interests, why would we write off the possibility of having that person in our lives just because genders differ? That’s half the world of potentially interesting, loving, supportive people we’d be missing! And certainly, meeting someone who is all of those things does not automatically equate with wanting to marry or bed them. People are people. I'd like to think that we have evolved - that we have the capacity to go beyond defining ourselves exclusively by whatever genitalia we were assigned.
Since high school I have always enjoyed my friendships with men. And yes, some of them had romantic components first, others developed romantic components after, but plenty had nothing to do with sex, attraction or love at all. No matter, however it went, for the friendship to be there - at any point - it meant one thing: we liked each other.
Now, I'll admit, there are also some realities to acknowledge when it comes to male and female friendships. And, there are in fact times when they don't work. That doesn’t mean ever, in any way, shape or form. It just means under certain circumstances the frustration may be too much to manage.
First, if one person is in love with the other, it’s going to be difficult. Realize though, this could also be true for two women and/or two men. So really it has nothing to do with gender, but rather feelings of love and its reciprocity or lack thereof. Anyone who has been through it knows, unrequited love is not a pleasant experience.
Second, and not unlike the first, sexual attraction shared by only one of the two people can create an imbalance that makes a platonic relationship potentially out of the question. Some would call it torture.
But, the most unfortunate reason men and women can’t be friends actually has nothing to do with the two friends at all. No. Rather, it’s a jealous girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse who forbids it. So really, what you have to understand is that when women and men “can’t” be friends, it's usually because someone who claims to love you says, “You’re not allowed.”
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