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Can Men and Women Just Be Friends?

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Can men and women just be friends? There’s a reason this is such a popular question. I think the obvious answer is “no,” and the only people that ask this question are those who are looking for excuses to justify their true feelings towards someone of the opposite sex.

To be friends, a man and a woman would need to share genuine love and care for each other without any feelings of attraction. Love and care happen to be two of the three most important components of a relationship (the third being attraction). It’s so easy to fall for a friend when you already have most of the feelings towards that person that you would for a boyfriend or girlfriend. All that’s missing is attraction. Attraction, however, is much more important for men than it is for women.

For men, attraction is something they either do or do not feel from the start, and it manifests itself in the desire for sex. Because men’s desire for sex is so strong, it’s not that hard for a man to feel attracted to a number of women. There you have the third most important component of a relationship: attraction. What about the first and the second – love and care? The man grows to love and care for the woman for whom he feels a lot of attraction.

For women, attraction is something that builds over time. It builds much faster when they already have strong feelings of love and care for someone. For example, a woman might meet someone to whom she is immediately attracted, but a relationship will never build from there because she might feel completely incompatible and incapable of loving that person. Attraction is not enough for a woman.

In a situation where a man and a woman are friends, the woman becomes more and more attracted to the man because of her feelings of love and care towards that man. The more her feelings of attraction grow, the more she feels for her friend. At the same time, the man is already feeling a strong desire for sex. The stronger his desire for sex, the more attraction he feels for his friend. Seems likely that the friendship line will be crossed. As long as one of the people has feeling for the other, then it’s probably not a true friendship, anyway.

I say go ahead, cross the line, and get it over with. Isn’t that what you’ve been wondering about this whole time anyway?

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About Ani Ram

  • http://www.freerelationshipadvice.thegreenninja.org jen brister

    True, true and true!

  • http://www.youniverse.com/ Anna

    Yep, very true! This question seems to come up most often in a break-up context, and this is when the loving and caring aspects of the relationship have been (inevitably) pretty much torn apart, especially after a really bad one. Not much left there with which to maintain a friendship…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    People who claim that men and women can’t be friends have clearly never had any opposite-sex friends.

    One of my oldest and dearest friends (for over 20 years) is female and I’ve never felt any sort of attraction towards her whatsoever.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    What the Good Doctor said. Many great friends, some female, no attraction, and so forth.

  • http://www.understandanyman.com Ani Ram

    I guess I left out the scenario where one is completely unattracted to their friend of the opposite sex. Could be, but how do you know that they aren’t attracted to you?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The same way you know that the person you’re in a committed relationship with is attracted to you.

  • Cindy

    I’m with Dr.D on this.

    My best friend of 25 1/2 years is male. I have had many male friends over the years.

    Besides, even if there is attraction on one side. It can be gotten past. Some of the best friends I have had in my life were male and a few went through a phase of wanting a romantic relationship. If you care about your friendship, you deal with it and move beyond it. Things change. People change.

    It’s done all the time.

  • REMF(MCH)

    Of course men and women can just be friends. Clavos and moonraven proved that …. between mud wrestling bouts.

  • Chris

    I agree with Ani on this one, no matter how much u push the fact ur just friends, somewhere in the pits of u honesty hits and u and u realize that ur attracted in sum kind of way

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    But what if you are not attracted in any sort of romantic way? What if you just like the person?

    Can you have a relationship with a step-father/mother an uncle/aunt by marriage and still not be attracted in a romantic way? How about a step-brother/sister?

    You have never ever met a female who you were not romantically attracted to yet you liked? (assuming you are a male Chris, if not, then reverse that)