Tub Thoughts

Can Guys and Girls Be Just Friends?

1 year ago by

Can Guys and Girls Be Just Friends?

The question never gets old for me.

Can guys and girls be JUST friends?

People typically have VERY strong reactions to this right away. They either role their eyes with a YES, DUH or a NO, DUH.

I, personally, have never been able to decide. It’s like asking me what’s my favorite ice cream flavor. Mint chip? Pistachio? Chocolate chip cookie dough? It’s too much pressure! I’ll just have cake.

The two differing camps usually have these two arguments:

1/ “Of course guys and girls can just be friends and that’s very naive of you if you think they can’t. I have plenty of guy (or girl) friends.” And then they rattle off said guy (or girl) friends. Thus, they believe, proving their point.

2/ The other camp usually counters with, “yes but how do you know said guy or girl friend doesn’t have feelings for you. They call you their friend but what if they secretly want more? Or maybe, if you get close enough, you’ll eventually want more from them. We’re not talking about friends who see each other once a year. We’re talking about When Harry Met Sally. Friends who help other friends unfurl carpets and make furniture decisions.”

I think I lean towards the later camp but I hate myself for that. Because I want to believe that guys and girls can be great, great friends.

Then last week at a team happy hour Emily brought up a really interesting caveat I can’t stop thinking about. She proclaimed guys and girls can be friends if they have sex early in the “friendship” so they can exercise and then exorcise any sexual tension.

Huh.

I think she might be onto something. Of course you always run the risk of sleeping with your best male friend and then everything blows up in your face and you’re left with nothing. Believe me. I’ve done that. Twice.

So what camp are you in? Can guys and girls be just friends?

(And yes, I do realize how heteronormative this topic of conversation is. Of course when talking about the LGBTQ community this conversation takes a different form. But as a straight female, it’s something I’ve always pondered.)

13 comments

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  • I said it once! (at happy hour last week) and I’ll say it again! I do think sex early in the friendship can be great. Not to air all of my dirty laundry (hi mom!) but I have a friend I slept with and I actually kind of forget that it even happened?! It just happened and we’ve been totally cool ever since. It can be a great way of just getting it all out on the table, and then seeing where it goes from there! That said, I’m friends with lots of guys who were in serious relationships when we’ve met and we never crossed the line. Important to note! Depends on the context of how your friendship starts I guess!
    x Emily

  • Not in my experience! Every guy I try to be friends with just wants to sleep with me.

  • JustAGirl June, 5 2018, 10:35 / Reply

    They can be friends because regardless of whether one wants more in the relationship than the other, both paries have agreed to the terms of the relationship. Feelings change over time. A true friendship endures, and the ones where someone was only there because they wanted more eventually ends. I have noticed that to be true of all friendships although the reasons are different.

  • Yes, they can be friends. I’ve been buddies with lots of guys, especially co-workers. Have lunch, they talk about issues with their wives or kids or about other stuff. It felt like brother-sister–I definitely cared about them but had no sexual feeling toward them whatsoever. I never, however, saw them on the weekend, or even at dinner unless it was with a work group–nothing that resembled a date–though sometimes I socialized with them as couples with their wives. I’d see single colleagues on the weekends, but even with them, it felt like a brother-sister relationship. Maybe it’s because I grew up with lots of brothers. They definitely enriched my life, and I’m glad to have known them.

  • I’ve said it before, taking my best guy friend as an example – until he said he felt more. So, yeah, I guess guys and girls can totally be just friends but the tricky question is do they secretly feel more for each other?

  • Hmmm really? I find this a bit bewildering… As the mother of a son, I would regard it as a total failure on my part if he were to grow up not feeling comfortable developing proper genuine friendships with 50% of the human race based on their gender.
    Surely we are capable of not objectifying every person we like and want to become friends with on the basis that they happen to be men (or women)??
    I grew up with brothers, I have a 10 year old son, a husband, I have always enjoyed the company of boys and men. I get them. The ones I hang out with now mostly have all the same qualities as my female friends. And some different ones which might be because they are blokes, but might also be because they just are who they are. My world would certainly be reduced if they were not part of my life. And I can tell you now – I don’t want to sleep with any of them. Same as I don’t want to sleep with my girlfriends….

  • Yes! And always remember that guys will try to get in your pants! That’s What Friends Are For! Sing with me!

  • I think that guys abd girls can never be friends without the issue of sex being somewhere, even if just a bit, an unconscious thought maybe…

    Most guys don’t bother being friends when they get to know that you are really not into them at all and nothing will ever happen. They just loose the interest. Many feel rejected and take it as a personal insult.

    That’s my experience.
    Of course people define friendship in a lot of ways. For some anyone they talk to is a friend. In that case men and women can be friends. :)

  • My best friend is a man and we’ve been friends for 8 years now. We only see each other when travelling though meaning our bond is a little bit different than best mates that can see each other every day. Travelling made us really close, we sleep in the same room, share food (he likes to pick food in my plate) etc…but we also need some space. Two years ago, he introduced me to his then girlfriend and I was all nervous about that meeting as I wanted to be friend with her because she was my best friend’s girlfriend. When apart we text or call each other and talk boyfriends and girlfriends with no issue. So I’d say it’s possible ?.

  • Katheline June, 11 2018, 2:13 / Reply

    How about the fact that women who can have good friendships with guys might have a brother? (vice versa with guys who have a sister)
    I have had this talk with friends in the past and it turned out that each one of them who had a sibling from the other sex could have genuine friendships without seduction involved.

  • Veronica I love you but WHY are we still asking this question in 2018? It’s an inherently sexist question because really there are two different, loaded questions here:
    1. Is it possible for two people who are attracted to each other to be friends?
    2. Is it possible for two people who are not attracted to each other but could potentially become attracted to one another to be friends?

    You can say the formation is different with the LGBTQ population, but it’s not really. It’s always these same two questions regardless of the genders involved. Phrasing it as “can guys and girls be friends?” just assumes that all heterosexual men and women 1) are potentially attracted to one another, and/or 2) are not able to set and maintain boundaries within a friendship. At that point we enter into some extremely damaging Mike Pence territory (he never dines alone with women and calls his wife “mother”).

    So is it possible your guy friend wants more? Yes. In that case he often ceases to be a friend fairly quickly. It’s true that not all guys and all girls can be friends, but it’s also true that not all girls can be friends either for myriad reasons. Also I have no interest in f*** testing my male friends (I’m not attracted to most them, which is probably why we’re able to friends) (see question 1). Plus getting close to a person doesn’t necessarily mean becoming more attracted to them. All of a sudden you realize that super hot guy has some weird habits, and the attraction is just as likely to flame out as it is to intensify…

  • Veronica June, 11 2018, 6:37

    Hi JB!

    oof. i hate that this post made you think of the dreaded mike pence and his ridiculous dining rules but i totally see why now that you pointed it out.

    i’ll definitely think twice before posting such questions in the future — or do a better job at clarifying / specifying what i’m trying to say. which i clearly did not do so well here. big hug. xxV

  • Hi Veronica! I like the post, having wondered it myself often. My conclusion is that yes they can, but I think certain boundaries must be in play! For me, I can be close with a male friend in terms of enjoying his company and having mutual trust/respect. However, if I become too emotionally close or spend as much time as Harry and Sally did, I will develop feelings! When this has happened to me, I have experienced some heartbreak but also the two best romantic relationships I have had!

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