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Can a man and woman be friends?
The great debate of can men and women be friends have kept several thinker wondering even till date. Perhaps, a friendship between the opposite sex is possible but only if both follow a set of rules and curtail the level of intimacy in relationship
“Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.”  - Oscar Wilde

FRIENDSHIP IS a gift to mankind. A relation made by our choice and not force or fate. Friends are there to help us through difficult situations, they are there to laugh and cry with us, to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand, to make bad times bearable and also to make good times even more wonderful. Friendship comes in all forms and complexities, but nothing confuses this important relation as much as gender does. Now a friend can be of an opposite sex.

The question here is: “Is it possible for men and women to be just friends without being romantic?”
Before you answer this, be reminded that there is a significant qualifier here: 'just'. Which means 'only' friends? It's probably a discussion and by discussion I, of course, mean argument.

The answer to this question would mostly be ‘Yes …’ and with the big yes there would also be an addition of ‘but’ or ‘only if’ so the answer everyone is avoiding is, no. The concept of platonic friendship that arose and was largely talked and written from the time of Greek Philosopher Plato still remains as unclear and confusing as ever.

Opposite sex friendship often moves from being just platonic and leads to romance because the qualities that people look for in a friend and mate is often similar. When men and women look for a life partner they look for someone, who is similar to them in intelligence, attractiveness, views and values. The dilemma is, friends look for people, who are similar in those ways as well.

For many people, the idea of a man and a woman being friends is fascinating but questionable. They argue, meaning that the relationship eventually becomes romantic, it leads to something else.

It's hard not to cross the line. Being friends with the opposite sex means spending time together. In these moments may come a weak moment when emotions and libido may get in the way and friendship can be ruined.

We come across innumerable stories and movies, where they portray male-female friendship but rarely do they portray it as an ongoing, devoted friendship of a man and a woman as an end in itself? Even the acclaimed film When Harry Met Sally, which got a lot of people talking about cross-gender friendships, ultimately proves to be another tale of romantic love. Same goes with Bollywood sizzler Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
 
On the other hand, some people argue that men and women can be friends if they are mature enough to understand the difference between love and friendship. They just do not buy the concept of romantic pull.

Now let's cut to the chase and get to the bottom line: Men and women can be friends 'but' or rather 'if' only they thread this path very consciously and be careful. If they are single, no worries because the romantic pull or attraction would just make you lose one innocent friendship but if they are married, they need to be very very cautious and not ruin the marriage hence need to follow several rules.

Certain borders cannot be compromised. There shouldn’t be exchanges of things that couldn't be read or heard by the spouse. Emails, meetings, telephonic conversations, text messages should be limited. You should not place yourself in any situation where romance can grow. Attraction really can grow in situations where you have alcoholic drinks together. Romance grows when people are alone; romance grows when people tell secrets, secrets that you don't share with your spouse.

You also need to be understanding and considerate to your spouse. You cannot be spending too much of your time, emotions, mental space and money on your friend and expect your spouse to accept that your friendship is innocent and that you are just friends.

So, men and women can be friends, but the possibility of crossing the bridge to romance will always be present. Having said that, I believe it is also playing with fire. There is a distinct possibility of being burned. And as Osho says: “I am against all kinds of relationships. For example, I don't like the word 'friendship' but I love the word 'friendliness'. Friendliness is a quality within you; friendship becomes a burdensome relationship.”

But as an individual, I still strongly believe that life is nothing but an opportunity to know self and explore. If you are alive, the opportunity is there - even to the last breathe. You may have missed your whole life: just the last breath, the last moment on the earth, if you can explore and be true friend to someone even for a second, you have not missed anything - because a single moment of love and true friendship is equal to the whole eternity. That is the joy of love and true friendship; the exploration of consciousness.

COMMENTS (44)
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vinay
no
mohd fariq khan
tum bhaut sexy ho
Victor
There is much debate as to whether men and women can be just friends. Although it is possible, it can be difficult. One of the parties often finds that he/she has fallen in love with the other. This leads to a whole new twist on it. If a man and woman are to be only friends, it must be a mutual friends only feeling that the two have for each other. It all depends on the circumstances surrounding them.No matter how hard anyone tries to explain themselves, no matter how long they've been "friends" with someone, no matter how unattractive their allegedly platonic friend seems to be, no heterosexual anywhere is in a strictly platonic relationship with anyone of the opposite sex.NOW, that doesn't mean that all people who claim to be "just friends" are, sleeping with one another... But 90% of the time they have thought about it. Just haven't acted on it..Now...What do I think.? I think there is such a thing as PLATONIC friends between members of the opposite sex.. But, it's RARE... And the only way it works is... If there's a set barrier... I mean, let's be real here... My only true and honest female friends usually are, my family members, chics that I grew up with in my neighborhood, school, or my good guy friend's sister or someone like that... It's very rare that you meet a new female/male in your life once your older, and they become a TRUE platonic friend, unless you two just vibe from the start, and everything is cool.. So,don't fool the world that you are just friends.
Ramesh Manghirmalani
Yes, why Not, I have several female friends-Thoughtful and timely well written article.Can men and women be "just friends," or is sexual attraction between the sexes always inevitable? According to Rabbi Shmuley, men and women can be friends with members of the opposite sex, as long as they follow certain rules. He talks about platonic friendship between the sexes and shares his ground rules for opposite-sex friendships outside of marriage. If a person isn't married, Rabbi Shmuley says it's perfectly all right to have friends who are members of the opposite sex. Society has moved away from polarizing the sexes, and today, men and women work together, go to school together and should be able to be friends, he says. Things are different if you are married, Rabbi Shmuley says. It is possible to have an opposite sex friendship, but you cannot compromise certain borders: * You can't go out to late night dinners together. You can have lunch together in a public place, but you should not order alcoholic beverages. "The embers of attraction really can grow in situations like that, and suddenly it's not so innocent, it's not just friendship anymore," Rabbi Shmuley says. * You can't take long drives or long flights with the other person, even if it's for work. "Even if you have to work with a colleague [of the opposite sex], there are still certain boundaries you need to preserve," he says. * You cannot place yourself in any situation where romance can grow. "Romance grows when people are alone; romance grows when people tell secrets," Rabbi Shmuley says. * You can't share secrets with a platonic male or female friend that you don't share with your spouse. "Because then you're sharing an exclusivity with a member of the opposite sex that you're not with your partner, and that can lead to a big no-no," he says.You should not be friends with ex-lovers.If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, it may explain at least one of their shared beliefs: Men and women can't be real friends. Blame the sexual tension that almost inevitably exists between any red-blooded, heterosexual man and woman. Point to the jealousy that plagues many rational people when a significant other befriends someone of the opposite sex. Boil it down to the inherent differences between the sexes. It just can't be done. Right? Wrong, relationship experts have said. "The belief that men and women can't be friends comes from another era in which women were at home and men were in the workplace, and the only way they could get together was for romance," explained Linda Sapadin, a psychologist in Valley Stream, New York. "Now they work together and share sports interests and socialize together." This cultural shift has encouraged psychologists, sociologists and communications experts to put forth a new message: Though it may be tricky, men and women can successfully become close friends. What's more, there are good reasons for them to do so. Society has long singled out romance as the prototypical male-female relationship because it spawns babies and keeps the life cycle going; cross-sex friendship, as researchers call it, has been either ignored or trivialized. We have rules for how to act in romantic relationships (flirt, date, get married, have kids) and even same-sex friendships (boys relate by doing activities together, girls by talking and sharing). But there are so few platonic male-female friendships on display that we're at a loss to even define these relationships. Part of this confusion stems from the media. A certain classic film starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal convinced a nation of moviegoers that sex always comes between men and women, making true friendship impossible. "When Harry Met Sally set the potential for male-female friendship back about 25 years," said Michael Monsour, assistant professor of communications at the University of Colorado at Denver and author of Women and Men as Friends. Television hasn't helped either. "Almost every time you see a male-female friendship, it winds up turning into romance," Monsour noted. Think Sam and Diane or Chandler and Monica. These cultural images are hard to overcome, he said. It's no wonder we expect that men and women are always on the road to romance. But that's only one of the major barriers. Don O'Meara, Ph.D., at the University of Cincinnati-Raymond Walters College, published a landmark study in the journal Sex Roles on the top impediments to cross-sex friendship. "I started my research because one of my best friends is a woman," said O'Meara. "She said, 'Do you think anyone else has the incredible friendship we do?'" He decided to find out, and after reviewing the scant existing research, O'Meara identified the following challenges to male-female friendship: defining it, dealing with sexual attraction, seeing each other as equals, facing people's responses to the relationship and meeting in the first place.
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