Every since the world fell in love with When Harry Met Sally, people make the grand assumption that the movie was, indeed, true, and that men and women can't be friends because one of them will always have romantic -- or sexual -- feelings for the other.
I call BS.
As someone who's had a zillion guy friends in her life (even now!), I can't imagine myself feeling romantically or sexually attracted to them. That's because I have very clear boundaries about friends versus lovers.
Here's why I think men and women CAN (and SHOULD!) be friends!
Now, I've always been "one of the guys - with boobs," as my friend Evan glibly states. By that he means that I'm more comfortable having male friends -- not for the male attention, but because my brain is hardwired to relate better to men than to women.
It's unfortunate, but this HAS caused problems in other relationships for me. It's hard for a lot of folks to understand that two people of differing sexes can be friends without wanting to get down and dirty, and I don't KNOW how many jealous girlfriends I've had to reassure that I'm not trying to get with their man. It's not a lot of fun, and I always feel badly about it.
But, I explain to them, when I meet someone, I have two buckets in my head. One for friends and the other for possible romances. With my male friends, the moment I meet them (or within a few weeks), it becomes clear that I do not have romantic feelings for them, but that I'd like to become their friend. And friendships come with boundaries - sure, we can make sex jokes and horse around, but when it comes to getting it on? I'd much rather have sex with myself than my friend.
In the other bucket, obviously, go the other guys - the ones I may one day be able to date or, at the very least, have casual sex with. But once someone is dumped into the "friend" bucket, it's there they stay. Because I love my dude friends like I love butter, I'd never jeopardize my friendships with them to get my rocks off. I do know that once sex is involved, things change. So I don't. And I wouldn't.
Having guy friends is like having a secret map of the male mind, and it makes me a better girlfriend/wife because I understand the way men think. I also serve as translator to my male friends so they can understand what THEIR girl is thinking.
And generally, after the initial wariness of our partners wears off, his are pretty happy to have a guy who gets girls, and mine are glad to have a girl who gets guys.
It's a win-win for everyone!
Do you think that men and women can be friends?
Image via Tobyotter/Flickr