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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tarra Bates-Duford

Can Men & Women be just friends

Can women and men be just friends has been an age old debate for both side, some saying “yes, platonic relationships can occur between the genders while others responding with a sounding “no”. a platonic relationship cannot exit. Historically, sexual tension was blamed for the reasons why males and females are unable to build and sustain a platonic friendship without crossing sexual barriers. Jealousy also builds resentment and animosity in relationships where one party has a close relationship with the opposite sex. The belief that men and women can't be friends comes from another era long since passed in which women worked within the home and men were in the workplace, therefore and the only time contact occurred was through courting and romance. Research on this heavily speculated topic suggests large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships plays a significant role in how each person views and behaves in opposite sex relationships. Studies also suggest men were more likely to be much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa. Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them. In fact, most men studied felt their opposite sex friends were attracted to them, however this feeling was rarely shared by their female friends. Most males assumed that any romantic attraction they experienced was mutual, and were blind to the actual level of romantic interest felt by their female friends.

Mary & Rob

Mary & Rob met in high school and became friends immediately. According to Mary, Rob “didn’t act like the typical guy, he wasn’t a jerk”. Rob insists Mary “knew how to have fun, didn’t whine, or take jokes too seriously”. Rob & Mary’s relationship continued to grow as they entered adulthood, starting careers, dating, and establishing other friendships. Mary & Rob would often “double date” introducing their respective boyfriends and girlfriends to each other, reinforcing their connection as “just friends”. Although, both Rob & Mary would occasionally struggle “with a little jealousy” both attributed the feeling to nothing more than wanting to ensure whoever their friend dated was right for him or her. One night after watching a boxing match at Mary’s house and all of their other friends had left for the evening Mary & Rob continued to drink beer and clean up the mess left by their friends. After another round of beers, a little flirting, and good natured play, the friends decided to call it a night. Several hours passed with Mary being awaken to see light creeping into her bedroom window. She had overslept, didn’t hear her alarm and going to be late for her brunch with her mother. Just as she rolled over to get out of bed she realized she was naked and she was not alone. There was a man in her bed who was also naked, Rob remained soundlessly asleep appearing unaware of the previous nights’ events.

Can Mary & Rob ever return to being “just friends”? Is it possible to have a platonic relationship (heterosexuals) with the opposite sex ?

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