Searching For Satisfaction

The Debate Of The Century – Can Men and Women Really Be Just Friends?

Posted on: March 17, 2011


Yesterday I wrote about my frustration when men confuse my friendliness with flirting. The comments section was really jumping, and the discussion led to the topic of platonic friendships between men and women. One of my readers was adamant that men and women can’t be friends, with one party always wanting to date (or hump) the other.

The “can men and women be friends?” debate has been argued for years, and that debate will carry on for years to come. Two camps always come out of this debate: those who believe it’s absolutely impossible for a man & a woman to have a platonic friendship, and those who not only believe in its possibility, but have made it happen.

The biggest argument defending the inability of men & women to be friends is the attraction factor. Unless one or both parties are homosexual (or asexual for that matter), then its very likely that an attraction will develop. Attraction often leads to lust, wanting, desire, and a whole host of other emotions & feelings that probably don’t come up in your run-of-the-mill same-sex friendship. A lot of times these feelings are one-sided, so that party is faced with a conundrum: hide/bury their feelings; share & risk losing the friendship; or simply bide their time until their friend will be available or at least more receptive to their advances.

It’s generally assumed that men are the ones in male-female friendships who are trying to get with their female friends; that they are simply “waiting in the wings” for their female friend to let her guard down, before he pounces on her. Of course, that does happen, but I think that generic idea of all men in male-female friendships underestimates the intentions of many, many men. Why is it so hard to believe that a man can act in a manner that is respectful, loving, considerate, etc. and not attempt to get something from a woman, beyond friendship? Are we really saying that men are incapable of moving past their sexual attractions? Are we assuming that every man is attracted to every woman that he meets?

Those who defend male-female friendships point to their own friendships as proof that it is possible for men and women to be nothing more than platonic friends. Nothing sums up an argument quite like anecdotal evidence, right? Many of these friendships have survived several years, many ups & downs, distances, etc. But they manage to work, and work very well.

I’ll be honest, Jubi is on Team Male/Female Friendships Can Work. But that’s because I have successful friendships with men. I’m not one of those people who will proclaim that I’m not attracted to my male friends; in fact, if I ever got the opportunity I’d date at least one (yes even after the thing with the Vegas dude). Here’s the thing – I’ve never let my attraction to them get in the way of being a good friend to them, and they have done the same with me. Isn’t that part of friendship – putting the happiness of your friend ahead of your own & being supportive?

Alright folks, so now its your turn to weigh in – what are your thoughts? Can men & women be platonic friends or are folks who try just delusional? Please share your experiences.

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14 Responses to "The Debate Of The Century – Can Men and Women Really Be Just Friends?"

Anything is possible and so is this. But in many cases, lots of fellas play the “friendship role”. This happens a lot when his woman friend is in a relationship or married. They are the dudes waiting in the wings as you put it Jub. If both are single, I think it has a better chance of it staying just friends. If both have SO’s, especially if the woman has an SO, it becomes a little bit more difficult.

As expected, KH, I disagree. LOL

I’ve found that having male “acquaintances” is much easier as a married woman, because my male peeps already know, AIN’T NO HAPS. LOL To be honest, it is immaterial to me how my male cohorts feel about me, because regardless of how they feel, nothing can happen unless I allow it to. While I am in general not a proponent of male/female friendships in the course of relationships, like most things, it depends on the people involved. There are men that I have been able to maintain friendships with, and then there are those that I have no choice but to keep at arm’s length and further because they are either unwilling or unable to respect boundaries.

I will say that I don’t believe for the most part that exes can be friends. You’re an ex for a reason, you need to stay that way. But I’m not one for leaving situations in limbo, and I think that being friends with exes or people that you got physical with is a way to keep up mess. *shrugs*

I agree with the thought of exes cannot be friends. To me, that’s drama waiting to happen. Nine times out of ten the reason you broke up is a good enough reason you shouldn’t be friends.

I am going to go against both of you and say ex’s can be friends. I have seen it happen and I am currently in that situation. Me and my are not both recently married to other people and we still talk on the phone every one to three months. We both work for the same corporation but at different locations and we live on opposite ends of town. Our breakup was a mutual event that due to two issue that we knew were not going to change. The friendship is limited but it does exist. I do have my doubts that it wont last forever, but at this point I like being able to know that she is doing okay and that we can be civil with each other. There is always a point where you cared for there well-being and sometimes you just cant turn that off.

Speaking from experience, I wholeheartedly believe that men and women can be friends. Does it take work? Definitely. Anything worth having is worth working for. One of my closest male friends is very attractive…but I don’t want to act on it.

I think some people are missing a valid point. Just b/c you are attracted to a person doesn’t mean you have to act on that attraction. It can just exist.

I agree you do not have to act on it.

Well Sister founder lol, you are saying that it is not possible for a guy to be shady like that. I stated right off the bat that it is possible for a man and woman to be friends. It is also possible and has happened, many a time, where dude is in the wings being that “sounding board”. Things go south and here he is elevated from friend to clean up man. That does happen, maybe not for you because you know, you keep guns and such on your person lol.

Despite my reply above to being friends with an ex, I am also going to say that men and women can just be friends. I will be the first to admit that its hard to do. At some point somebody catches feelings of gets curious and its it to somebody to stand strong. Currently there is only four woman that I communicate with on various levels that I have never done anything with but yet had a chance to do something. When I met Kelly, I was trying my best to just be friends and have someone to hang out with. At some point we realized that we could never be in a relationship. At some point after that she admitted while texting, that she wanted to have sex with me. We never acted on it and still remain friends to this day. One is a friend from high school who finally admitted that she had a small crush on my back in the day. I kept the situation in check because I knew that she was freshly separated from her husband and was vulnerable. Another is a coworker that I had a chance to go further with but didn’t because I knew i would rather have as a friend without the thought of knowing about past. The last female was from college and she insisted we be friends and it has stuck ever since.

I have always had females as friends and yes I have done things with the majority of them. From performing oral on her for no other reason other than I my desire, to a single kiss on the lips. One of my closest friends is female and has been for a long time. Stuff like that shouldn’t and doesn’t stop you from being friends unless that’s how you operate. It really all boils down to who you are as a person and what you find acceptable and in your life.

Yes, I am married and yes my wife knows about my female friends. I didn’t make a list of who is who but she knows that they exist (its only a few). She knew that going in to our marriage which is why it wasn’t an issue when it came to inviting certain ones to our wedding. Like I said, its all about the person, the decisions you make, and how you choose to ride with it all.

i have plenty of female friends. some i’m attracted to. some i’m not. would i ever try to pursue anyting with any of them. nope? i respect our friendship too much for that. there are plenty of women in this world so why would i put a friendship on the line for sex or a relationship?

so i’m team men and women can be friends.

So when you met these women, especially the ones you are attracted to, why did it go the friendship route over the relationship route?

I’m always curious how these things happen. Sometimes its because 1 or both parties are in a relationship with someone else. Or maybe one party shot down the idea of a relationship immediately. I wonder how often a man & a woman meet, are attracted to each other, but become friends instead of dating.

I’d also like an answer to this

of course… relationships are key to life and Im not talking romantic ones… too many men and women have made the mistake of trying to make every person they meet of the opposite sex their next “boo” maybe he/she was brought into your life to help you grow as a person of help you achieve something you havent been able to.

I believe if you just go into any opposite sex relationship with the thoughts of he/she is in my life to add something positive and its up to us to responsibly find it (and not skip right from hi my name is to oh i wanna do him/her)

I think it’s possible, but in my experience rare for two people to meet and both want only a friendship. I’ve had a few female friendships, and pretty much all of em started with one person wanting more and not getting it, or we started on a romantic tip and it evolved into a friendship. In both cases tho, I’ve never had a real close female friend. Someone always ends up catching feelings, or I don’t want to be close friends with the woman.

I don’t doubt that real cross-gender friendships can occur, but I highly doubt that it can be so pure from the start without some external factor like a girlfriend or one person being unattractive to the other. If you met a person who’s great, AND looks good, why wouldn’t you romantically talk to em??? I’ve met people that I’ve decided not to take it there with, but that same reason that cut them off from romance also cut em off from friendship

I have either had sex with or wanted to have sex with all my “homegirls”. I have only one homegirl that I am still cool with and never had sex with. And we are cool because I am not remotely attracted to her. I am married now and I basically let all my other homegirls go because I realized that at one time I fucked them and we moved past it to remain friends.

My wife is not the jealous type but everybody can be insecure at times. I don’t want her feeling out of place if we are at a party and I’m laughing and joking with a chick I have been inside of (My wife would know because I wouldn’t hide the fact from her, we are very open and honest)

If I start to hang out with another woman then my wife better be worried because I am fucking or trying to fuck. I would love to say that now I am married and wouldn’t do it, but I’d be lying. So I choose to kick it with my main boys and all the women contact I need is done with female family, my ONE homegirl and my wife.

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