6.30.2008

Can Guys and Girls be Friends?

My last poll was about the ability of guys and girls to be friends without one of the two developing feelings for the other. Is it possible? Can guys and girls really just be mutual friends – can they just be platonic with no sexual tension or attraction?

My answer is no.
And I have to admit I was surprised by how close the vote was.
22% said Yes
46% said No
31% said Not at first but within time they can overcome any sort of romantic feelings
Granted almost half of you agreed with me in saying no, but I thought a lot more of you would [I mean, come on, I am always right].

I realize I can only speak from my experience, but I just don’t see how this works.
There have been too many times I have fallen for the “nice” guy that was just interested in being my friend, but I read it all wrong. His actions and intentions were friendships – but no one could be THAT nice to me without being interested in me. And I’ve been waiting so long for someone like him to come along, so how could I be satisfied with just a friendship? I try to push a little…and feel the sexual tension more…and then get hurt.

But then there is the other side. The side where I am the nice guy. I meet someone I just connect with and get along with in such a fun way. I love hanging out with him and feel comfortable around him. He hasn’t tried anything so I feel more and more comfortable being myself and not worrying he will get the wrong idea or try anything. So we hang out more and I let my guard down– and then one day it happens. The feelings come out – and then I’m the “bitch” that lead him on.

But I guess there ARE those rare cases. We can’t ignore them. I wouldn’t say they are in the “yes” category as much as the “not at first” category. There are those friends you have that you have known for quite some time that you feel so completely whole and comfortable with that you don’t really worry or think about that. But I don’t think you ever fully arrive there. I think there always could be that lingering question in the back of your mind “what if” or “maybe someday.” If not for the romantic feelings described above – for the convenience and comfort of the role they play in your life. I have a couple best guy friends in my life that I think would fall into this category. They don’t have feelings for me nor I for them in a romantic way. But I won’t say the thought of “together forever” has left my mind entirely when it comes to my relationship with them – if only for the fact that they are someone I trust, love and are completely at ease with. It is kind of nice when there is no guessing.

So that’s my take. Guys and girls weren’t really meant to be great friends – so when they try it doesn’t really work out. They just have a whole lot of sexual tension pent up between them and then forget how to talk to one another.

6 comments:

Hunter said...

I did not vote - but say that two who are not connected to any other via the commitment of marriage cannot possibly remain best friends. And trust me that statement comes from my own painful experiences - Thank Jesus she never felt the way I did. To say the least I trust that I am better off for it - sound like sour grapes? Maybe I am pleased with where I ended up.

There I made a comment - happy?

Olivia McCain said...

it could also be one SINGLE person is friends with another person who is in an UNHAPPY or UNHEALTHY relationship.

i know a lot of good guys that stay friends with girls in hopes that she'll dump that jerk and date them instead.

sigh. this stuff is complicated!

Nancy said...

"When Harry Met Sally" explais this friendship complex to a T. I couldn't agree more with your post! I'll leave it at that.

Yanela and Mark said...

of course there is also another possibility that might only be an option for males (who tend to care more about looks than females do...)

the coolest female ever would still never be a potential gf if i wasn't attracted to her. and with me being so weird in my tastes...almost every female i've met that is cool fits in this category for me.

rockstar friend that i'm not attracted to. and, when a couple of subtle comments are dropped early about how i'm not into dating friends, i've never experienced a female friend who might've been interested in me when i wasn't in her.

maybe you all just need less game. it worked great for me when i was single....

Marieeee said...

I have grown up with two older brothers and have always been friends with guys. I often find myself feeling more comfortable around them. However, it wasn't until a couple months ago that I found out that a good guy friend from home had a crush on me for a few years and I had no idea how to react to it. He said I was leading him on and telling him personal things which he thought meant I shared mutual feelings. I didn't...I'm actually quite far from having feelings for him. SO I guess my question is, how do you stay friends....and just friends. At an early age in the church, we're separated into boy/girl groups. Guys dont want to be with the girls because they need to talk about serious 'boy' issues and Girls dont want guys in their group because they want to talk about them. I think a inter-gender platonic friendship would work if we start teaching eachother how to talk to one another and be honest from day one. We're so use to hiding things from the opposite sex. We cant openly talk about lust, masturbation, etc? Why not...is it only because we're told we're not suppose to talk to them about that kind of stuff. There is girl talk and there is man talk? Does it have to stay that way?

B-W said...

For the record, I voted the "not at first" response to the poll, but that's with the caveat that the original question was dealing with heterosexual men and women who at least found the other somewhat attractive. If either/both of the people involved are gay and/or neither partly is attracted to the other, then it seems to me that the question simply doesn't apply in the first place.

All that said, I zeroed in pretty definitively to this comment of yours: "But I guess there ARE those rare cases. We can’t ignore them."

I would posit that any exception, be it a "rare case" or whatever, would be fairly definitive proof that it is possible.

For me, the main question is one of honesty and integrity. There are two or three rather significant female friends that I've had over the years that I was attracted to, but where those feelings were not reciprocated, yet we remained very good friends. That's not to say that there was no sexual tension, but rather that we dealt with it. Of the two particular friends I currently have in mind, although I am no longer in touch with either person, neither case was because of the sexual tension. Rather, the first one died suddenly of an aneurysm more than a decade ago. The other got married and moved far away, and her husband turned out to be of a sufficiently different political background that, after the one time we got back in touch and seeing how much he's changed her, I've decided it best to avoid getting into those particular arguments. Should she get in touch with me to discuss them, I've no objection, but I have no desire to drive a wedge between her and her husband by making her (again) into one of those "evil liberals." (It'll almost certainly come up on its own, but I'll not be the cause.)