Can Men and Women Be Just Friends?
We're Only Friends
Dear April Masini,
I have a great friend who I work with named Joe. I love hanging out with him and we go out to dinner a lot after work and sometimes hang out on the weekends. All my friends joke and ask when the wedding is; they don't believe me when I tell them Joe and I are just friends. According to them, it's not possible for a woman and man to be just friends, unless the man is gay. I love Joe as a friend but don't have romantic feelings for him and I'm pretty sure he doesn't have any for me. So, do you think it's possible for a man and a woman to hang out a lot and be just friends?"
I Don't Like Him Like That
April Masini's Advice :
Dear I Don't Like Him Like That,
A lot of people don't think it's possible for men and women to be just friends; someone is always likely to have romantic feelings. However, here are some guidelines you can follow to keep things under control.
Men and Women Can't Be Friends Without....
Women need to stop being nice, and start being kind. Kindness means not leading a man on -- using the excuse, "I was just being nice." Nice girls don't make friends with married men or men who are involved without knowing it will lead to emotional attachment and sexual longing.
Women need to educate themselves about men's sexual drives, and understand that men’s biological need to have sex -- which is greater than ours. It is very hard for men to be friends -- or even friendly -- with a woman without thinking of her as a sexual being. Just because you don't think of him as sexual doesn't mean he isn't having those thoughts about you.
If you respect men, and their sexual and biological being, then you will never put yourself in a situation where there is a chance of intimacy -- without understanding that the intimacy with a man will lead to sexual feelings on his part --and maybe on your part, too.
Women also need to educate themselves about their own power. Without realizing it, we draw men to us. Only we confuse our mothering feelings for them because they may behave like boys, emotionally. They are not boys. They are sexual men capable of having affairs that hurt you in the long run, if they are not available or able to commit. They will also hurt themselves and others.
If it looks like a man, (and it acts like a boy) it's a man. Don't get involved in counseling him about his marriage, his family, or his girlfriend. He will start to have feelings for you -- in fact he probably already does.
Behavior tips to stay out of trouble:
- Don't have dinner with him in a restaurant after work as just two colleagues having dinner. If you're a man and he's a woman, and you're in a restaurant, it's a date.
- If you are going to spend long hours on a project together, be very, very aware of your physical and emotional boundaries.
- Don't dress sexy to the office. Keep 9 to 5 sensible and 5 to 9 sexy.
If you're already in it, and want to get out of it:
- Stop spending time with him.
- Don't take his phone calls except during work. And only take his phone calls if they are about work. If the calls start to get personal, make an excuse to get off the phone. If he persists, just tell him, "You know, that's personal. I'd rather not talk about it."
- If he starts talking about personal issues stop him and say, "You know, I'm uncomfortable talking about this. You should really be discussing this with your wife or family member. I want to keep our relationship a healthy business relationship."