Can Men and Women Be ‘Just Friends’ The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Truth!
“What I'm saying is - and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form - is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way,” said Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) in the entertaining movie, When Harry Met Sally. It left people everywhere wondering if men and women can really be just friends? We dug into our sources to find out the scoop!
According to Psychology Today, “The majority of people believe friendships between the sexes are possible. The majority of people also know what their own parameters are and when those friendships are safe as friendships and when boundaries might be crossed.”
What are those boundaries you may ask? Typically, men and women can be friends until sexual tension comes into play. Carol, an engaged therapist, alludes to the fact that sexual tension is the reason that some men and women can’t be just friends. "I've had many close male friends, but I don't have any right now. I don't know if that comes from having a significant other. As an adult I have had a number of very close male friends that I have lived with, not in a sexual way. I have found these friends to be very supportive, understanding, and validating. Maybe that is just the kind of guy I am attracted to as a friend. The difference is the physical aspect. You are not afraid to hug your girlfriends.”
In the past, men and women had a difficult time being friends due to the glass ceiling (think Mad Men). Men made the living and women were the homemakers, not allowing for much interaction in social settings. Nowadays, you'll find men and women working together, hanging out together, doing projects together, and confiding in one another. It's a new era of social liberation for men and women, one in which opposite-sex friendships can exist.
To make an opposite-sex friendship possible, you must be clear about the boundaries. No flirting, no sloppy drunk sex, and nothing that can be misconstrued as sexual attraction.
The challenge in maintaining those friendships aren’t the man and women, typically, it is other people who don’t believe that opposite-sex friendship can exist. For me personally, I enjoy male friendships because they can tell it to me straight-up, without sugar coating if I look fat in these jeans. They can also give great dating advice, and they tend to stay away from the drama.
A lot of rules and standards have changed in this century; so yes, Harry, I believe that opposite-sex relationships can exist!
Do you have friends of the opposite sex? Why or why not?