Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Eternal Question

"Can men and women be 'just friends'?" is of course, the question to which I refer.

Yesterday a male friend sent me this link:

If you watch it you'll see that when asked the question about whether or not men and women can just be friends, the women all say yes, while the men say no. I have had conversations and debates about this with friends many times. I still think that men and women can just be friends because I have had it work. But I think the key is talking openly about it.

My most successful friendship with a guy was just last year (he's married now). I think it was successful because we openly discussed our "just friends" status from time to time. Even though he was an attractive guy, I wasn't attracted to him. And even though I'm a stunning woman (I'm kidding, of course), I got the impression that he wasn't attracted to me, though he never explicitly said so (he's not an idiot). And I was totally fine with that because we were just friends. So, it can happen.

On the other hand, lots of my friendships with men haven't been that cut and dry. There always tends to be a problem like:

I like him as more than a friend.
He likes me as more than a friend.
We're both attracted to each other but think we should just be friends.
We get married but only because he needs a green card.

That last one never happened.

The problem with being friends with someone of the opposite sex is the confusion. If you think they like you as more than friends, but you don't like them back, do you mention it? Or do you wait for them to? If you don't mention it, are you leading them on? And most importantly, what are some of the signs that you are "just friends"? I'd say if you talk to them about guys you date, you're sending a clear message. But I don't know. That's not always true. I've had friendships with guys twice where it turned out they had a secret girlfriend they never told me about. Men!

That last paragraph was loaded with emotion which tells me one thing: men and women can be just friends, but it's not always easy and it's rarely uncomplicated. But it can work - I am sure of it.

What do you think?


Polly Anna said...

That was a very scientific study for a very representative sample. I guess it's concluded. I've been convince.

Nate Stamper said...

It's this simple. Men and women can't be friends, unless*. Guys always want to 'hook-up' unless* they have a love interest somewhere else. Girls just have better self control over their emotions. Some guys will 'hook-up' for the sake of hooking up; imagine the gall! Girls, if they like the guy, typically won't make the first move, so, although they'd like to 'hook-up,' they won't out of self-conscienceness.

Ladies, a word of advice: if you hang out with a guy a lot, chances are HE LIKES YOU. If you like him too, then do something to SHOW him that. That's not a green light to 'hook-up,' but showing someone you like them may be the key to getting him to act like a man. Remember, men always want to 'hook-up,' the hard part for the women is determining whether you want him afterward.
**When referencing 'hook-up,' I mean it in the innocent Mormon way...**

Katherine said...

I agree with what you said about being able to be just friends if you are open and talk about it. One of my closest friends is a guy, and we've been very open about the fact that we're not interested in each other, so there's no awkwardness on either side. With pretty much all other (single) guys, there are all of those problems you mentioned. (Especially the green card - what is it with Canadian guys?) ;)

NOURNME said...

Bringing up the guy you weren't into and it was mutual does nothing for this conversation. If a guy is into the girl he can be ok with being friends but he will always think about the "what if's."

You and I are friends even though you try to love me every day of your life. (I had to)

Nate Stamper said...

Katherine, that guy likes you, whether you know it or not. Even if you 'talk about your friendship,' it's still a ploy and he's bidding his time until you open up the opportunity. You've got to believe me on this one, unless the guy has a love interest somewhere else, he's into you. Especially if you're 'hanging out' alot.

Elizabeth Downie said...

I don't totally understand your comment, Adam, but the last part doesn't surprise me. I knew you'd say something like that. You wish! ;)

Nate, I love your insights! I wonder what other guys think?

Claire said...


I hate everything about this video. Seriously, everything. The guy that made it is in my ward, and this video has been popping up on my facebook feed all week.

Ok, it is totally possible for men and women to be friends. I know guys with lots of girl friends, and there is no way they are interested in all of them. I have lots of guy friends, and there is no way they are all interested in me.

This also makes it seem like guys are soooo upfront about their feelings and that women know it and string them along. False. If a guy is interested in a girl, he has no right to whine about being in the friendzone unless he has done something to get out of it. Hint- being nice or spending time with her does not count as doing something to get out of the friendzone. Ask. Her. Out. Also, romantic comedies have fueled this ridiculous idea that if a girl isn't interested, that if the guy sticks around and stays friends with her, eventually she'll come around. This is not a rule you should use. If you are interested in someone and she says she doesn't feel the same way, and you agree to be friends, that is exactly what you are agreeing to- not agreeing to "she'll date around and eventually loooove meeeee....." So when guys think like that, they end up jaded and disappointed and annoyed that they were "strung along" for so long.

Sigh. end rant.

violet50 said...

You just have to meet Gerard Depardieu and want an exclusive New York apartment.

Elizabeth Downie said...

Claire, I love it. Totally agree!!

Ben said...

Guys hang out with girls they like. This is a common shy guy tactic: hang out with the girl enough to know she's worth the risk of asking out. If they want something more than just a friendship, then they will act on it once they gained the courage *unless* you have (A) shut them down or (B) are unavailable.

A word of warning: dating your friend is the BEST way to ruin a friendship... but it's also a great way to find a spouse!

Note: feelings can change over time. A guy can honestly be not into you at all and then one day realize he is, at which point he will start acting "weird" around you.

Ryan@TheSinglesWard said...

Alright Elizabeth, I'll answer this one.

The answer is no, guys and girls can't "just be friends." He either has an interest in you or is using you for an in with other girls including your friends.

Whether he's a "shy" guy, a player, or somewhere inbetween, a guys not all into it just to be friends.

Guys have guy friends to: watch/play sports with, have a wingman to help them meet girls, and share war stories with.

Guys have girl friends to: get them closer to becoming a girlfriend, help them meet other girls mainly their friends or sister, have fun with (aka lip lock), or to boost their confidence.

A little blunt, perhaps? Here's the thing... How many of your "friends" will be your close friends in 10 years. How many friends did you think you were close to 2 years ago that you rarely even talk to anymore?

Any and all girl friends I've ever had I've either been interested in at some point (ex-gf's, girls I've taken out a few times, etc.), been interested in one of their friends/sisters, or home taught.

Point is: Can guys and girls be acquaintances? Yes, absolutely. Can they really be friends with no interest at any point? No.

And guess what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.