Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why Men and Women Can't be Friends

 A recent experiment took eighty-eight heterosexual pairs who claimed to be friends and invited them to a coffee experiment. The designers of the experiment did not want to risk any resulting data leaking out to the participants and destroying the friendships. With this in mind, the city where it took place remains anonymous, but the participants were English speakers. Are you aware in many non-English speaking countries the concept of platonic friendship between a man and a woman is a laughable.

The couples drank coffee, then, separated for an interview supposedly about their beverage. The interviewer digressed into an offhand conversation about the friend. Questions regarding their friend’s hotness factor, or if they would ever consider their friend in a romantic fashion. The females assured the interviewer their friendship was only platonic. While the large majority of guys were very interested in becoming romantic partners. The few who didn’t confessed to an attraction to their female friend may have just been lying because they felt the question was suspicious.

Ah, ha, it is pretty much what every guy has ever told me, but I refused to believe. One male blogger grabbed this topic and told his tales of unrequited love where he stayed friends with a girl over thirty years in hopes he’d work his way into her bed. He did, after her last divorce, but then found he could no longer be friends with her. He has now entered The Twilight Zone of friendships. Things were good before they slept together. Truthfully, he was grooming her for romance. He had a goal, but once he reached it he had nowhere else to go. The things he did that made him such a wonderful friend from remembering her birthday to sending her positive messages when she was down, he no longer had any motivation to continue. Men are very goal driven. They are more about the hunt, than the eventual catch. Some men are more like catch and release fishermen. The two drifted apart after a thirty-year long friendship.

So can men and women never be friends? All the movies, magazines, and trendy books tell us we can. Women can be friends with men they don’t find sexually attractive. It is like having another girlfriend or a gay best friend. No man wants to find out he’s not attractive. His platonic friend will lie to him, and tell him he’s attractive, which he translates to having a chance with her.

My sweetie assures me that men do not talk to women they aren’t interested in. Even casual conversation with a stranger is meant as some type of hook to reel you in. The man who settles for the friendship role is playing the long game. Women argue that they have great male co-workers or long time family friends. The male co-workers are people you have to work with, but it does not mean there may not be some underlying flirtation there. That’s why people use the terms work husband, work wife, and emotional affair.

A woman engaged in this discussion pointed out she had several men friends that she and her husband shared. What she really meant was they socialized with several couples. Usually the women do something together while the men choose a different activity. Out of these long term friendships, when the spouses die it isn’t uncommon for the friends to marry. Some might say they marry simply for companionship, but who’s to say that male friend wasn’t looking for an opportunity especially if his wife died first.

Ironically, women who treat their gay best friend like a girlfriend taking him everywhere, and even dressing in front of him, were surprised to learn he was sometimes open to taking a walk on the other side. Women adore the gay best friend because he brings in the girlfriend quotient without any the competiveness, while still bringing the male presence. Most women realize on some level that male/ female friendships seldom work.

If this is truly the case, why do women offer friendship when they break up with a guy? Some believe they can be friends. Others like to keep the man on a string for back-up purposes. Most just feel guilty. They may occasionally comment on his status to keep the conversation going, but soon drift away with a new man. Defriending a man or deleting him from your cellphone seems so permanent and cruel, but it is the best thing you can do for both of you.

You won’t really be friends. Instead, you’ll be people who dated once. Your insistence to stay friends will keep all the broken dreams and hurt current by continuing to socialize. He won’t be comfortable sitting across from the table with you and your new man. He’ll compare himself to your date.  He’ll wonder what the two of you are like in bed over the appetizers. An intelligent man wouldn’t agree to this travesty. Why put your “friend” through this.

If you have a trusted male friend, keep in mind he may not want to hear your relationship tales. Well, he might if they’re bad. That way the two of you can gang up on your latest guy. Keep in mind; he may just have ulterior motives for disliking your most recent date.

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