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can men and women really be just friends?

this is a topic that is being discussed in another thread, but i wanted to bring it to the other readers' attention and get some feedback.

i happen to believe firmly that men and women can and do form friendships that are not stepping stones to something more. i am a woman and have many male friends with whom i have great, solid friendships. please share your thoughts. thanks!

Wed. Jun 21, 3:33pm

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I definitely think men and women can just be friends without the undercurrents of the man or woman wanting more than friendship. I am a female who works in a very male-dominated field so most of my frineds are guys, and I have certainly had the occasional problem of some guys wanting more, or believing that if they befriended me and waited long enough that one day I would fall madly in love with them. Sex does add a dynamic in that you must first establish that neither of you is looking for anything other than a friend. However once that bridge is crossed and both parties are on the same page, then friendship can commence.

That said, I don't mix friendship and romance - I'm after one or the other and I don't let the lines cross and I am very open and frank about it to guys who may be giving hints about wanting something more. When I met my husbnd I made it abundantly clear that I was not interested in 'just friends' ;-) Also it helps that when my husband met me we were in enginering school and I was one of two girls in my entire graduating class, so he completely understands that I don't often have the opportunity to make female friends and that I truly am 'one of the guys'. To make it in the field that I am in you kind of have to be, so that may explain why I have so many friendships with men and have no problems with it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 3:58 PM

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I feel just the opposite. Men and women cannot be just friends. Atleast in a sense of women-women friends. Men and women can't go to movies togther, shopping together, hang ouot together, etc. and then expect no emotional relationship to develop. There is just something in people that makes them gravitate toward eachother. Especially when they start discussing problems in current relationships with eachother. It just gets messy and can lead to awkard situations.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 4:07 PM

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I think a woman can be friends with a guy if shes not at all sexually attracted to him, or if she is in a happy relationship with someone else.

It's all a matter of ladder theory.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 4:19 PM

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hmmm, I find your comments contradictory 4:07- of course friends will (and should) form an emotional bond to one another... otherwise they would just be aquantences that hang out.

As for the topic- I think men and women can be just friends. I have several male friends that I have had for years.... I did end up sleeping with one of them, but we weren't dating and we continue to be friends after the fling was over. My theory is, who better to have casual sex with then a good friend? Just don't sleep with all of them!

I noticed on the other thread someone's agrument was that it was impossible for a man to be friends with a woman because they are bound to have a sexual fantasy at one point or another about their female friend- I don't think that if a male has a fantasy that it means they are no longer friends with the female, or that he intends to sleep with her. I think the fantasy is just that- a fantasy.
Come on ladies- are you going to sit there and tell me you've never had a fantasy about a guy friend??? OK, so after this fantasy did you just have to act on it? No, of course not.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 4:25 PM

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I totally agree with the first two posters! I work in a male-dominated field and play an almost all-male sport, and practically everyone I meet is a guy. Heavens, I would hardly have any friends at all if men and women couldn't be friends.

And I TOTALLY disagree with the 4:07 poster that friendships are not emotional relationships! I have had (male) friends call me to talk about their romantic relationships, their problems with their parents, their frustrations at work, their depression problems/meds and other highly emotional issues. (Of course it's not all boo-hooing or we wouldn't be friends -- we go boating or running or whatever, too!)

Also, I'd add that many of my male friends are married. I have only once had a problem where a friend's wife was a little suspicious that something else might be going on -- and she was really sane about it and just asked.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 4:32 PM

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If both the man and woman are single I could see feelings involving more than just friends. Now if one is married, then the boundary should be set without having to say a word. Although there are many married people cheating out there.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 4:52 PM

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I've had many realtionships with men that were great friendships, but;
-one guy is gay
-one guy was totally in love with me but accepted unrequited status
-I was in love with another guy friend and hopeful way too long
-another was my old boyfriend
-finally, one was married to a dear friend

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 5:09 PM

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above poster - cut myself off too soon!

my point is that freindships between men and woman can be wonderful, but they are complex and defy definition. If there is no natural boundary to sexual invovlement, then it the attraction will be present, even if it isn't acted on.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 5:12 PM

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To the 4:07 poster, how can you have any meaningful friendship with a female without having an emotional relationship? You must have some very one sided friendships.

My ex-husband says that men and women cannot be friends because even if a man isn't attracted to the female to begin with eventually they want to sleep with her because he gets to know her on a different level other then sexual attraction.

I on the other hand I always thought that was bull. I have had a ton of male friends some for over 15 years. When we were younger we hung out all the time, saw movies together, etc. When girlfriends or boyfriends came into the picture they became part of the group. One is still my best and closest friend in the world, I tell him everything and vice versa. It doesn't matter if that we are both married with kids now. So yes, we of the opposite sex can have meaningful relationships without sex being involved, and he doesn't have to be gay.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 9:45 PM

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I don't think fantasy or "wanting to sleep with" someone precludes friendship. So the thought crossed your mind. It crossed. It didn't stop in the middle of the road and try to play chicken with a Mac truck.

There's a huge gap between having a thought and saying anything about it, never mind DOING anything about it. My best friend is a woman (I'm female) and occasionally (50th pair of shoes tried on?) the thought has crossed my mind that I wanted to smack her upside the head -- but you know, I wouldn't DO it. It's momentary frustration, and like a lot of other momentary urges, it passes and leaves the friendship intact.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 11:35 PM

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