There is a widely held belief that with both men and women that members of the opposite sex cannot be just friends. That platonic relationships between a man and a woman are impossible.
In my opinion this is a great shame as it dramatically reduces the amount of friends someone can have. Also there can be something very special in friendship between a woman and a man and to totally rule that out seems crazy to me!
So clearly I don’t buy into this belief but I can understand where it comes from.
For years I thought it was possible to have purely platonic friendships with myself and my guy friends, but a close male friend convinced me that this wasn’t accurate.
What he explained to me and what I’ve since experienced is that there will always be an element of attraction or sexual curiosity from one, the other or both people involved. (Maybe at the same or different times in the relationship).
Where I differ from the people that think men and women should not be friends is that I think it is perfectly fine for friends to experience some sort of attraction at some time during their friendships. I think this is normal, natural and nothing to stress about.
Well I would qualify that slightly. Its nothing to worry about in a healthy respectful friendship where neither side has ulterior motives, like wrecking a relationship for example.
I think what is more important than the existence of attraction is the way the friends behave with each other.
If both men and women in this type of friendship are very clear about the signals they send out, this is a great start. Especially if one person is aware that the other has feelings for them.
For example if I have a male friend who I know finds me attractive I would be careful how I behave with him. I wouldn’t sit on his lap at a party or do a sexy dance in front of him when I hit the dance floor.
(I found learning how to do this a bit tricky. Sometimes I would be doing things that I thought were platonic but were misread by others. So now I tread carefully but try not to stress too much about it).
That way as long as I send out only very clear platonic signals I have done nothing to encourage the attraction he feels for me. Anything else is his responsibility and beyond my control.
Of course it is really important not to let these situations get out of hand. If the attraction gets too much a good friendship can be lost and that is always a sad thing when it occurs.
It is also important if there is a partner involved in one or both sides of the friendship. Partners not involved in the friendship need to feel loved and respected as well. This can be hard if they know their partner’s friend is in love with them!
So to sum this up….
What I am saying is that I think men and women can and should be friends.
What I am also saying is that this can be complicated and as such needs some thought and discussion.
As always there is always room for learning, growth and good communication nearly always makes things better.
What do you think about this? Do you have anything to add?
PS – Jack blogged about this from a man’s perspective, check it out here…
PPS – Have you checked out the Secret Erotica community yet? It’s awesome! Find out more on this link…