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Can Men and Women Ever Really Be Just Friends?

Sabrina loves to write about love, life, and everything in-between in a candid yet humorous approach.

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There's no denying that friends are an important part of most people's lives. The true ones are there for the good times like celebrating life's milestones and the tough times when a shoulder to cry on is much needed. Sometimes a call or text from a friend is all that's necessary to brighten an otherwise ordinary day. But what happens when those same friends become the reason your relationship is hanging on by a thread?

Friendships between males and females have always been a tough dynamic to maintain. There's always questions about whether guys and girls can ever really be friends without one of them eventually falling for the other. The situation only
becomes more difficult when one of them starts dating someone else. If a friendship between a woman and man involved everyday contact such as video chats or calls, is that appropriate once one of them is dating another person? What is appropriate now and how do you define boundaries with a friend without putting your relationship at risk?

In my experience, there's no such thing as a platonic friendship between a male and female. One or both of them always have some type of feelings for each other that are more than friend appropriate. Even if these feelings are never made
known or talked about, they are still there. So just because a man and woman have been friends since they were kids, grew up together, and have never done anything romantic, does not mean they see each other as strictly friends. It may just be that one of them is not attracted to the other, and the other knows this so they just keep want them around at least as a friend because they know nothing more can become of it. This is where unrequited love comes in.

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It's not the easiest thing to talk about, but that is usually the reality of male and female friendships. Maybe once in a great while there comes along a friendship where neither person is attracted to the other and it is strictly a friendship
but that is rare. If you spend that much time with the same person, it's only natural to develop some type of attraction to them that's more of a romantic nature. It's nothing to be ashamed of or hide, it's just human nature. The other way
males and females can be strictly friends is if one of them is into someone of the same sex, but even that has its issues. Let's look at one of the most famous examples of a woman with a gay male best friend; Will and Grace. But let's not
forget that before they were just best friends and Will came out as a gay man, Grace was into him and wanted to date him. Only after they were past that hurdle and talked about Will coming out, were they able to maintain the friendship and move on.

The oldest tale in the book is when you start dating a great guy only to find out he has a female best friend that he's known for years who is "like a sister." Don't worry, the guy says, nothing has ever happened between us, yet something inside of you feels like there's more to the story. It doesn't take a genius, just a perceptive person, to figure out the dynamics of this type of friendship. First clue that your boyfriend's best female friend is into him is how she treats you. Yes, that is the dead giveaway of her feelings for your boyfriend. The nicer she treats you and the quicker she becomes your friend and makes you feel welcome, the more it means she's really not into your boyfriend as anything more than a friend. Sometimes this is tricky though, because she might be all nice and friendly to you in the beginning, but once she sees that you're not going anywhere and what started as a fling has turned into a long term relationship, she might become more cold and distant to you. This is when she might start to cause issues in your relationship with your boyfriend.

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Let's be real here and say what everyone else is thinking; female friends of the boyfriend CAN cause a lot of problems in your relationship. First off, she's the one he's known the longest so of course he's going to listen to her opinion in
some way, shape or form. That doesn't mean he's going to listen to everything she says, but it doesn't help that she's the voice in his ear and she doesn't have YOUR best at interests at heart. She's not the angel on his shoulder, but the devil
who is trying to confuse and tempt him. This is about the time that she'll say that you two shouldn't be together, but she'll respect and be there for him either way because she's just that good of a friend. This is usually after you and the boyfriend have had some problems, maybe a few arguments or disagreements, and she was the shoulder he cried on so to speak. She'll probably tell him he deserves better which in her mind is her. But of course she'll be there for him anyway because their friendship has been around much longer than any other woman in his life.

What makes this situation even more difficult is that your boyfriend might be clueless to her true intentions. He might really see her as just a friend, like one of the guys. If there was ever any spark between them, it is probably over in his
mind since he has made the decision to move on with another female, while his friend on the other hand is still pining for him and simultaneously ruining every relationship he's ever had. And then guys wonder why none of their relationships work out. It's because you already have a woman in your life who's trying to act like your girlfriend without the actual label. You might want to fix that situation because any woman that comes along will know what's happening right away and be turned off and walk away. No woman wants to date a man whose attention she has to constantly share with another female. This means no more late night visits to your friend's apartment because she's afraid of a spider and wants you to kill it. Boundaries damn it.

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Don't worry, I am not forgetting anything and am fully aware that the situation can happen the other way around too. You might be the boyfriend whose girlfriend has that lingering male best friend who's always trying to sabotage your relationship too because he still has hope that she will one day feel what he feels and they'll live happily ever after. It's no fun at all when you're the guy fighting for your girlfriend's attention with another man who's known her for much longer and yet she seems oblivious to anything happening and only sees him in a platonic way. How do you even bring this topic up without looking like a complete jerk who's jealous? Your girlfriend might not even know what's really happening because she has friend zoned this guy a long time ago and only sees him as a companion who will always
listen to her male problems, when in the back of his mind he's thinking about how he would treat her so much better if only she gave him a chance.

So how do you deal with a situation that seems to have no obvious solution? Communication is usually key in a relationship, but how do you tell your significant other that their friend of the opposite sex is making you insecure and obviously has ulterior motives so can they please open their freaking eyes and see the whole picture? The solution is simpler than you might think. The first person you need to talk to is their friend and not your partner. Try to hangout with their friend and get to know them more without your partner there. Say you want to get to know their friend since they are such an important part of their lives. Go out to dinner, hangout, have a couple of drinks and feel them out face to face. More than likely, after their friend has spent some time with you, you will get a better idea of their true intentions and possibly come to an understanding. Even if it doesn't go so well, in your partner's eyes you have made the effort to get to know their friend and that will mean a lot of them. If getting to know your partner's best friend has proven completely useless, you might be ready to have that talk with your boyfriend or girlfriend and tell them how the situation has made you feel and what you want them to do about it. More than likely, this involves your partner setting some firm boundaries with their friend of the opposite sex and sticking to them.

In the end, you have the most power over whether your relationship will work or not. A meddling friend on either end is annoying, but if you and your partner can talk about it and set healthy boundaries, it shouldn't have to ruin your
relationship. Trust is always needed when dealing with a tough situation like this one. If you trust your partner and believe they will make the right decisions, even in your absence, then you have nothing to worry about because no one in the world could ever tempt or seduce them. That's really what it comes down to; trust. A faithful and loyal partner simply cannot be stolen or whisked away by someone else. And if they can, then you're better off without them anyways because you deserve a person who puts you first and considers your feelings in every situation. That's a true partner. Everyone else can go where the sun don't shine.

can-men-and-women-ever-really-be-just-friends

The Other Girl by Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 GreenEyes1607

Comments

Steve Kalfman on July 30, 2020:

yeah when both have true heart about each other

dashingscorpio from Chicago on July 29, 2020:

"The situation only becomes more difficult when one of them starts dating someone else. " - Very true!

In fact there are very few life-long friendships between men & women due to the fact (their mates/spouses do not approve).

While one would be accepting of their mate being with (same sex friends) and meeting for lunch, going to a sporting events, seeing a play, concert, or movie together; very few people would approve of their partner or spouse to do the same thing with the opposite sex.

"In my experience, there's no such thing as a platonic friendship between a male and female. " There is one possible caveat....

If (both of them are gay) odds are they have no romantic interest in one another. Otherwise if one of them is straight there is still a possibility she/he may be attracted to their gay friend.

The "friendzone" was probably invented by women who told some of their male admirers they could only be friends.

The guys pretend to be accepting of their stance but deep down are hoping for an opportunity to turn a friendship into a hookup or relationship. Some (women) proclaim all of their friends are men!

They convince themselves these guys are like their siblings.

However none of these women are likely to TEST their belief.

If an attractive woman calls one of her "platonic male friends" and tells him: "I'm feeling lonely and horny. Do you mind coming over?"

He's not going say: "Ew! That's gross! You're like a sister to me!"

Nevertheless when it comes to this topic fights happen between couples because no one feels like they should have to deal with an ultimatum from their partner when it comes to who they can be friends with. In some instances this even includes friends with (exes).

The person who is against it is made to feel is they are "controlling" or being "insecure" or "distrusting" of their partner.

Ultimately there is no "right" or "wrong" regarding this topic only "agree" and "disagree". If you are NOT in agreement it's best to find a mate who naturally agrees with your friendship philosophy.

Unfortunately when people who are very physically attracted to someone early on they'll overlook or hide their objections about anything she/he does or says because they don't want to "blow it".

Much like a guy chatting with a {drop dead gorgeous woman} at a cocktail party. They're laughing and flirting for about thirty minuets and then she asked to excused to go outside to smoke a cigarette.

Imagine this guy is a health nut and hates the smell of cigarettes one would think he would walk away. However he instead goes outside with her to continue talking and exchanges contact information or hooks up with her. Months later he's trying to get her to quit smoking!

The same things happens when people fall for someone who has platonic friends of the opposite sex. They act as if it's okay at first and then when they get "serious" they start to make demands for their mate to dump a friendship with someone they've known for many years for (them) a potential fly by night boyfriend/girlfriend.

A relationship or marriage is about bringing two lives together. Odds are if someone does not approve of your friends or family they are probably not "the one" for you. (And vice versa)

Thankfully there are over 7 Billion other people on the planet!