Can men and women be just friends?
Imagine this scenario:
Boy and girl meet (at a public place – perhaps school, work, etc), through common friends or other connections of the sort. They spend some time together and after a few mutually enjoyable conversations, both parties decide that they like the other person’s company. A few weeks rush by…
A relationship (or any type of attraction) has never been mentioned (on either side). Whenever they ‘hang out,’ it is always in a very casual setting, and if there are any food or drinks involved, they either split the bill or take turns paying the tab. Both the girl and boy speak openly to each other about their past relationships or current flings; there is no sign of jealousy, simply the exchange of ‘friendly advice.’ They ultimately develop a very close friendship.
One day, while sharing a beer after watching a baseball game, the girl shares the news that her on and off boyfriend finally proposed and she is engaged.
The friend suddenly grew distant, and later reaches out to her saying that he cannot believe she did that to him. In his eyes, she lead him on knowing that he had deep feelings for her. He felt as if all of his ‘invested time’ has gone to waste.
^In a nutshell, here is the STORY OF MY LIFE (along with the lives of 98% of women).
I personally believe that men and women will only keep their relationship platonic if:
- One person is not interested
- Outer sources would impede the relationship’s growth:
- She/he is in a relationship (In this case, the ‘friend’ would ‘wait around’)
- She/he is your boss/ co-worker (would be inappropriate)
- She/he dated your friend (THE BRO CODE)
In all of these cases, you definitely wouldn’t mind hooking up with that person, but decide that it isn’t worth the drama.
Before even slightly touching this subject, I reflected on my current friendships with men, and asked myself this question: Why aren’t we together (or why haven’t we hooked up)? Answers varied from “because I’m off limits,” to “because we shouldn’t ruin our friendship.” Most of the time, however, the answer was simply “because I don’t want to.”
I asked some of my Instagram followers “Can men and women be friends?” and received about 50 very detailed comments, including two arguments and a block. Here are some of their responses:
“I don’t know about this one… maybe if they grew up together or they aren’t attracted to each other. My personal experience is that someone eventually may feel something more for the other, which can lead to a relationship / hook-up or mutual agreement that they should stop hanging out as often. Even if you’re friends for years I feel like at some point someone will start to wonder hmm what if? Which always = trouble for that friendship.”
“If she’s ugly, yes.”
“Rare, yes. Under certain circumstances. Indubitably hard to come by.”
“Yes, one of my closest friends is a guy. Neither one of us has had feelings for one another… that I know of.”
“Only way a man can be friends with a girl is 1 if he is not attracted to her in that cuffin way, but if she gives him sex he will take it… 2 if she went out with his bro or is his bro’s sister… 3 if she’s not wit it with him but if he likes her he wont be a true friend…”
“I’ve always thought yes, I would never date a guy friend and I’ve always been one of the guys all my life. They’ve always eventually tried and I would laugh it off and never take it serious. One time a friend of mine for 6 years confessed he loved me ever since he saw me, that’s when I began to understand that men and women cannot be friends, it will happen eventually.”
“No.” (Received this response over 20 times, in a plethora of ways. Also submitted was “Nope” “Def not” and “Nah”)
“Possible? Yes. But the case for every guy/girl friendship? No. Just cause two people are attractive doesn’t mean they connect in a romantic way. It depends on the connection and the type of relationship you build with someone…”
“Not really… if you’re not already attracted to them sexually sooner or later you will be. A lot of guys/girls know that’s where they stand in the relationship. But don’t be fooled, the second she/he leaves an opening they’re definitely taking it. Opposite sex friends are secretly attracted to each other… Reason is simple, the perfect women/man for us is someone we can be lovers and friends with.”
“Are none of you friends with Mercedes, just devoted fans?”
A commonly used term in the 21st century where two people are in a platonic relationship, but one of them secretly, or sometimes not so secretly, hopes for romance. This misogynistic, and completely imaginary, label places blame on the person who is not interested in a romantic relationship. People who claim to have been wrongly ‘friendzoned’ are usually discussing the condition in terms of the other man or woman liking ‘jerks’ or ‘assholes.’ They consider themselves a ‘good guy’ (or girl), and feel that they deserve* to be with the person of their choosing.
*Deserve: verb - Do something or have or show qualities worthy of.
WHO exactly is to say whether someone is worthy of something?
Is it really such an abstract thought that people have different preferences? That just because you consider yourself a ‘nice guy/girl,’ someone might place humor, intelligence, height, morality, or personal style in a higher ranking than your agreeableness. Maybe he/she sees your gratifying personality as submission as opposed to charm… or maybe, they just don’t like you.
I have a huge problem with men who consider themselves ‘nice guys.’ Granted, I have a huge problem with a lot of people but let’s focus on this small portion for now:
First of all, these are the morons that claim women only date ‘jerks’ and ‘assholes,’ when in reality, women date whoever they’re attracted to – and that just happened TO NOT BE YOU.
Secondly, they believe that all women owe them something. Oh, you asked her to meet you at TGI Friday’s after work, to have a seemingly innocuous drink for happy hour, and then got upset when she didn’t make out with you? You opened the door for her to pass and she didn’t immediately ask for your hand in marriage? What a bitch! *rolls eyes* Every single thing has an ulterior motive with these guys! Even after you’ve expressed your disinterest. If you are performing these so-called ‘nice gestures’ whilst expecting something in return, you AREN’T A NICE PERSON. That’s like giving to charity just to get a tax-break.
“A gentleman is just a patient wolf”
Thirdly: ‘Nice guys’ have an unrealistic view of romance. They feel like there is some kind of meter that gets them closer and closer to the finish line the more he buys for her or the more he compliments her. This is not “The Sims,” get it together.
I’m not going to fucking praise you for treating a woman like a human being.
What if I told you that being nice to a girl doesn’t automatically obligate her to be romantically interested in you?
A perfect example of this would be the movie 500 Days of Summer. For those who haven’t seen it, here’s your spoiler: Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn’t.
A huge percentage of viewers have critiqued Summer, played by the sarcastically charming Zooey Deschanel, for breaking Tom (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt)’s heart. She outwardly stated that she did not want a relationship countless times throughout the movie, and ultimately left him and got married with someone else (a year later).
“It was a widely misinterpreted movie… people tend to say, ‘ why didn’t she end up with him? He was so nice!’ But I think he was really quite guilty of projecting a fantasy onto this girl that was pretty wrapped up in his own selfish point of view.”
-Joseph Gordon-Levitt on his Character
Disclaimer: I am not, under any circumstances trying to say that good people are nonexistent – on the contrary, I think they are the majority. I am, however, trying to shed light on a few commonly used phrases and attempting to debunk a standard belief. Do not let your nice guy label have quotations around it.
Wondering if you’re a “nice guy”? Take this test to find out!