Many believe that Men and women can’t just be friends. Attraction always gets in the way.
Before going into the logics, details and research, it is very important to understand the meaning of a keyword that plays a major role in this whole topic of debate. The word is “Platonic”.
So, What is platonic friendship?
Platonic describes a relationship that is purely spiritual and not physical. If a guy and a girl hang out all the time, but aren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, they’d describe their friendship as platonic.
Platonic love and platonic friendships are marked by the absence of physical or sexual desire.
Some say platonic friendships between men and women are dangerous and impossible in the long run. Others say that they are not only possible but that they can actually run deeper than same sex friendships. Will sexual tension always be an issue?
In many cases it works in short time but as two get more involved, spend more time, in long run at least one of them gets involved emotionally in most of the cases.
To understand this whole concept of male female friendship, it is also a good idea to understand the psychology of men and women and how this psychology can play a role in the male female friendhip.
Young Independent Filmmakers Jesse Budd and Patrick Romero went out to ask Men and women to ask this age old question. See how they responded.
As per a research, Men are more likely to see sex and romantic potential in an opposite sex friend as a benefit (women primarily saw it as a cost).
Also, Ego and the id control their lives. In many cases, men cannot look at a woman without sizing her up sexually. And regardless of a “friendship” in the making, the male ego continues prodding him to view women sexually.
This does not mean that men only want sex. Men equally value the friendship but its just that men tend to incline more towars sex compared to women. In fact, for men getting out of a true relationship is harder than women (This is covered in a separate article – Why Breakups Can Actually Be Worse For Men)
In many instances men show a lack of an ability to maintain simple friendships with women.
Further, ego can cause issues in a way that when Men want something and can’t get it, they get frustrated. In a case where girl fall for the guy but can’t get him, then its only emotions that cause frustration. But in other case, when man fall for his female friend but cant get her, there is another thing that fuel up the frustration, it is his ego. Ego is the driver. I want what I want when I want it.
And this really gets in the way of men and women forging bonds as people. Even if you’ve been friends with a guy for some time, most ladies instantly feel it when the guy’s ego unsheathes that sexual vibe that he has done such a good job of keeping burbling in his consciousness. Sure, nowadays most guys have learned probably from a woman how to maintain female friends. That’s great. We need more of that.
Women tend to be stronger when it comes to be stronger in many cases. Women have a good ability to compartmentalize the men in their lives. Whether it’s the mentor at work, their financial advisor, personal doctor, gay friends, Zumba instructor, or the cute guy in the wine-tasting class, it’s not all about sex. Women can simply carry on an engaging dialogue and friendship with men without having it lead into the bedroom.
What the research say about Men-Women Friendship
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire conducted a study that showed that in opposite-sex friendships, most men were attracted to their female friends, while most women didn’t share the attraction.
Men also mistakenly assumed their female friends were attracted to them, while women were less likely to assume such a thing. Furthermore, women were more able to keep it platonic, even if attraction was involved, while most men tried to act on their feelings. So, according to this study, female-male friendships have a short shelf-life.
In another study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Sapadin asked more than 150 professional men and women what they liked and disliked about their cross-sex friendships. Topping women’s list of dislikes: sexual tension. Men, on the other hand, more frequently replied that sexual attraction was a prime reason for initiating a friendship, and that it could even deepen a friendship. Either way, 62 percent of all subjects reported that sexual tension was present in their cross-sex friendships.
Even Hollywood doesn’t promote female-male friendships either. Just look at When Harry Met Sally or a host of other popular rom-coms. Beneath the friendship lies a romantic relationship, every time. Remember the ironically-titled TV show Friends? Two of the six main characters on the show became much more than friends, and for years, plot lines revolved around their romantic tension.
Beware!, Outcome can be a deep Pain
Female and male friendships are just another very personal matter in our already complicated lives. One size doesn’t fit all and, like most personal affairs, your instinct probably already knows what’s right for you.
And remember that Julia Roberts film, My Best Friend’s Wedding? Her heart was broken when her best friend, whom she always thought she’d marry, gave his heart to another. So where did our heroine finally find comfort and solace? In the arms of her gay best friend, of course!
As people develop serious romantic relationships or get married, making and maintaining cross-sex friendships becomes harder. “Even the most secure people in a strong marriage probably don’t want a spouse to be establishing a new friendship, especially with someone who’s very attractive,” said Monsour.
The number of cross-sex friendships continues to decline with age—not surprising, because most older adults grew up in an age where consorting with the opposite sex outside of wedlock was taboo. According to Rosemary Blieszner, at Virginia Tech and author of Adult Friendship, elderly people rarely form new friendships with members of the opposite sex. Her research shows that only about 2 percent of the friendships elderly women have are with men.
Solutions: What Can you Do?
Male female friendship is definitely possible as long there is a clear understanding among the friends, they both are on the same page and top of all they both have the same goals.
If both want to keep it to friendship, or both are happy to get physically involved or of course if they both want to take it further, these are all cases where complications won’t exist.
However, this is usually not the case and one of them eventually develops feelings or both develop feelings but can’t proceed because of other commitments.
Only stay with fair trades.
As per the experts, Sometimes both “friends” are looking to slowly lead to love and commitment. Other times, both are looking for some sexual benefits too. Yet others share only a mutual desire for company, conversation, and mutual support. All of these are good foundations for satisfying (and frustration free) opposite-sex friends. Most often, these will occur when both individuals have the same desires for love and sex with a friend. These balanced and satisfying friendships are also likely to occur in situations where both friends have their own needs for love, sex, resources, and protection met from a separate girlfriend or boyfriend.
With other friendships, desires may not match up so well. In those situations, costs mount, frustrations rise, and hard feelings result. Therefore, it is often best to end those friendships early for all involved.
When you find yourself wanting more in a friendship (or hookup) and that desire is not reciprocated, walk away.
Similarly, when you don’t want more, but your friend does, cut them loose. In either case, failing to act, or convincing others to stay against their needs, will only bring you costs.
So, save yourself the frustration of pouring time and money into a lost cause. Or, be sure to let that love-sick friend down quickly, before they ruin your other relationships and make you feel bad.
Nothing you hope to gain from a short-term, unequal friendship will be worth the costs that eventually show up. So, when the exchange is not equal, even if it is initially in your favor, end it. Walk away before the negative consequences add up.
Only stay with friends who feel the same.