Can Men and Women Really Be Friends?

Can Men and Women Really Be Friends?

Friendly relationships exist between women and men, but they are extremely rare. More often than not, there is more than a platonic reason for the existence of the friendship. With that in mind, I am going to attempt to outline some of the inner workings of these relationships because I believe both men and woman have a tendency to overlook some noteworthy details. First, we need to define platonic. I like the following dictionary.com definition for the purpose of this conversation: free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of the opposite sex.

With this definition, we can cross out any so-called platonic friendships that involve sexual attraction from either party; we can call these friendships, just not platonic friendships.

I know a lot of women that would argue whole-heartedly that they have or have had close platonic relationships with men. I know a lot of guys who completely agree when the woman is listening. When the woman is not listening, the man more than often makes it clear that while they are just close friends, if given the opportunity, he would make a romantic move towards her. 

I personally have not had many female friends who I’ve made time for on a regular basis (let’s say once a week or more) that I was not romantically attracted to in some way, and I know I am not alone on this. So ladies, if you think you’ve found a guy who simply enjoys the pleasure of your company and has no agenda of his own, think again. And God help you if you’re attractive. I don’t know how attractive women maintain composure in a world of horny hunters waiting to pounce. The bottom line is that if a person is making time for a friend of the opposite sex on a regular basis, then there is more than likely a romantic attraction involved.

Men often want more than friendship, even if you're in a relationship
Men often want more than friendship, even if you're in a relationship

I realize there are many women who maintain committed relationships while having friendships with other men; however, just because this situation exists does not mean your boyfriend or husband will ever be truly okay with it. Make no mistake— this is not because your special someone is controlling or jealous by nature. It isn’t even because of the infinitesimal chance that you could, maybe, in a hypothetical world, have feelings for this friend. It is because men know how other men think, and men do not trust other men with the women they care so much about.

Unless your friend looks like the hunchback of Notre Dame or his sexual orientation is in question, know that your male partner would rather the friendship not exist. That being said, it will never be okay for a man to demand that his lady have no other male friends. The solution to this conundrum is not to tell your man how great and trustworthy this friend is. This information is irrelevant and unpleasant. The solution is for a woman to constantly remind her man how faithful she is and how much she cares about him. The good men will look past any friend and return the favor.

Bottom line, ladies: be honest with yourselves. If you have a male friend whom you think wants more, address it and be honest with him. If you’re involved in a committed relationship and have a male friend with questionable intentions, it’s even more important. What you don’t want is your friendship getting in the way of the real thing you’re pursuing because, quite frankly, most men who are pretending to be friends do not care about your current relationship. In fact, they may even take measures to tarnish it.

As a man, I urge you to speak your mind to your friend and, if you have one, your husband or boyfriend. Honesty is key, and if I were involved in a relationship with you, friend or more, I’d appreciate knowing the truth.