Sunday, September 13, 2009

Can Men & Women Really Be Friends?

I think YES! I am a true believer that men and women really can be friends. Each are in the other half of the population and if we didn't have a male or female friend, well, I just think we would be missing out on learning more about life and others.

Movies on the Subject
One of my all-time favorite movies is, "When Harry Met Sally" (ya knew I was going to mention this movie didn't ya?). The first time I rented this movie, when it came out way back when, was when I was in college. I watched it five times that weekend, no joke. I was blown away with this movie and how different it was than any other. It was the first of its kind and many would follow, but never beat the originality of this movie.

In the movie it tackles the questions of can men and women can be friends. At first they say "no." No, women and men can't be friends; but after they go through a life crisis they become friends. Then one starts liking the other and then the friendship only relationship was off.

Harry Burns: …And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

Julianne and Michael were best friends for a long time in "My Best Friends Wedding." Then the relationship changes when Michael announces that he was getting married to "Kimberly." Julianne starts getting jealous and thinks that maybe she does have feelings for her long-time, platonic friend. Maybe she just wanted to keep him and their friendship all to herself or maybe she really did have some underlining feelings of romance with him after all.

But I Am Married!
But can a married man and/or woman still be friends with the opposite sex? That is the question. I think they can be friends if they abide by four rules:

1. There is some sort of understanding that there is no chance that the two will ever get together,
2. There is a respect for the spouse and the spouse is comfortable and okay with the friendship,
3. The husband and wife relationship is strong,
4. Neither one likes the other more than a friendship or has strong feelings for the other.

If any of these are not true, then cut the friendship off.

Rules to Abide
Once you are friends with the opposite sex and you or he or both are married, there are also some more rules:
1. As a female, do not flirt; for goodness sake just stop that,
2. As a male, do not make any jokes about getting together or anything of the sort,
3. Do not talk personal stuff about the husband wife relationship,
4. Keep your friendship on a "professional" level.

Our Opposite Sex Relationships
I have always encouraged my husband to keep his female friends who he knew since before we met. Of the teams he coaches (and yes they are many) he coaches a city-wide women's ultimate team. Some of those gals have known him for longer than he has known me. I actually like knowing that he has a friend, that is a girl, other than me. It adds new perspective in his life. Although, I would like to add, that I know without a shadow of a doubt I am his best friend and he would never jeopardize our relationship so I am comfortable with these outside friendships.

Those People With Extreme Limits
Now, speaking from a female perspective, I do know some men who are kind of “weirded” out about females other than their wives. They don't hug ya and they don't spend more than two seconds talking to you at a party all-the-while their eyes are darting around searching out the party goers to see if anyone is watching them chat with you for those two seconds. Okay, I will honor that and I will never be friends with someone who doesn't just look at others as other human beings who can add just a bit more value in their lives (yes, I know, they could also have a jealous girlfriend or wife and need to be careful or maybe they are attracted to you and need to step away). People have limits and I will always honor those limits.

Working Relationships
I have worked with several men over the years and some in close proximity. With them I might ride in the car to business meetings, occasionally eat lunch, sometimes talk over the phone, and/or frequently exchange e-mails. I find these practices perfectly comfortable and normal, but regularly check myself to make sure that I am always honoring my husband in all that I do and say.

So what do you think? Can a married man or women be friends with someone of the opposite sex? What other rules do you have for this type of friendship? Do you have such a friendship and how do you not jeopardize it as well as the spouse relationship?

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  1. I don't think married men/women can have a CLOSE friendship with the opposite sex. I guess I don't really think it's necessary if your husband is your bestfriend.

    Not saying it can't or shouldn't happen.

    I guess I have enough good males in my life. First being my husband who I tell everything, and then my Dad and Bro are right there next in line!

    Before I was married, I also RARELY saw a healthy balanced friendship between myself and guys. One person always tended to "like" the other person more and had hidden hopes it would become a love interest. Then that altered the "friendship" forever.

    But, that's just my experience!
    I'm probably WAY conservative and "in-the-box" for this subject. :)
    Interesting to think about though!

  2. Saying that there was only one comment to this post is concernig and bewildering. Do people not have an opinion as to if men nd woman really can have a pure friendship leads me to beilve that people either absolutely agree with me and woman and men CAN be really just friends or they really believe that men * woman can't. Don't people have an opnion out there? Hellllllooooo

  3. I re-read my comment this morning. Ooohwee was I tired. I wrote it late at night and I had been up until 2am two nights before (my husband was gone for the weekend so I often stay up late when he is away.)
    Anyway, maybe people have given up on the male/female friendships bc we think everyone is selfish and just think one will like the other so why bother? In the working world let me tell you it is almost unavoidable but we work w/ the opposite sex. If one likes me, well I really don't care because I am not going to like them. To continue to work together the other has just got to GROW UP for goodnes sakes. Let's have a mature frienship. We are married people, not middle schoolers. We have new responsibilites and we can learn and grow from each other. Maybe we have seen too many romance movies. This is real life and we can swallow or selfishness and learn how to be friends with others. Okay, I'll get off my soap box - but why don't others have an opinion on the subject?

  4. The problem of having a opposite sex as a closer friend is that during our lives all of us have moments of sadness and a sensation that something is missing. In moments like that, a vulnerable person will fall in love to his/her best friend or will believe that the other person will fullfill the empty space...