Can a Man and a Woman be Friends?

Afternoon gents, it’s Max from the Young Gentleman’s Guide here! Now we’ve all heard of it and I’m willing to bet more than a handful of you gents reading have been there before, I’m talking about the dreaded “friend zone.” For those of you who don’t know what that is, I think Ryan Reynolds in Just Friends puts it best: “When a girl decides that you’re her friend, you’re no longer a dating option. You become this complete non-sexual entity in her eyes, like her brother, or a lamp.” Essentially, the “friend zone” is a situation where one side wants to be involved romantically, while the other wants to just stay friends, usually with the guy wanting to take things further. While it is more common for this to happen to men, I’m sure it happens among women too, it just isn’t as frequent and/or talked about. In any case, this leads to an interesting question among those who are in that dreaded situation, can a man and a woman just be friends? So that’s what we’re setting out to answer today.

If the message of the movie When Harry Met Sally is to be believed, then no, it’s pretty much impossible for a man and a woman to be just friends. However, I feel like this movie takes a very simplistic look at the relationship between a man and a woman (which is in no way meant to talk ill about the movie, I love it a lot, and highly recommend you check it out). They make seem as if a man and woman will automatically think about each other romantically if they start to connect on a personal level. While this may be true for that certain person you happen to find attractive, you can still connect with that man or woman without thinking about them romantically or sexually. The most important thing here is communication. It obviously shouldn’t be right after meeting each other, but you should both let each other know early on what your intentions are before getting too involved. If you aren’t effective in stating what you want out of the relationship, this can obviously create a huge problem. In order to best explain this, I’ll have to tell you my “friend zone” story.

So when I was seventh grade, I was not very well-liked by about half the girls in the student body for reasons that aren’t really relevant to this story. In any case, there was one girl, we’ll call her M, who was one of the few girls who actually stood up for me and felt some sort of sympathy for what I was going through. Because of this, she and I quickly formed a connection. And I’m not joking when I say I actually fell in love her practically at first sight, but at the time, I didn’t know what that actually felt like. Despite not knowing how I felt, we continued to bond in friendship into high school, and I even ended up taking her to her first high school dance! She also invited me to her 16th birthday party, where there was in fact dancing, and M’s parents actually wanted me to share the first dance with her. It was during that first dance that I finally realized how I felt about her, but I didn’t have the nerve to tell her. We had been friends for so long, but I had no idea if she saw me in the same way I saw her, and I didn’t want to risk jeopardizing our friendship over that. So for the next few years, I was just stuck. I constantly was wanting more out of our relationship, but she just wanted to stay friends, and it was horrible. After years of keeping those emotions bottled up, I finally wrote a letter to her when we were both in college that spilled the beans. After finally telling her how I felt in that letter, that’s when the reality of the situation hit me. I finally came to the realization that she just didn’t see me in that way, and after talking to her a little bit more about that, I eventually came to accept it. Now M and I are now just friends and still talk every now and then.

So if there’s anything you can take from that, it should be that you should be clear about your intentions when you enter into a friendship with a woman, especially if you want to take things further. Though to be fair, I think my situation was a bit more complicated since I didn’t even know how I felt at the time. In spite of all of this, however, something else I haven’t mentioned is that you can connect with a woman without being attracted to them sexually. Maybe you and this woman have things in common, but there may just be that thing that keeps you from being attracted to them in that way. That said, I am in no way the arbiter of what people are attracted to, that’s entirely up to you. Just listen to your gut and make the smartest decision. Also, in the vain of all of this, I think it’d be smart to answer a similar question: can you be friends with an ex? The short answer is yes you can! As long as your breakup wasn’t toxic and didn’t leave any negative air between the two of you, then by all means, continue to connect and be friends. I was in a relationship with someone for almost a year in high school, but after a while, we just started to drift apart and we decided to end it, but our breakup wasn’t anything toxic and was perfectly amicable. And to this day, we’re still good friends, and she’s in fact now married with a kid on the way!

So what exactly am I saying here? In a nutshell, yes, a man and a woman can just be friends, as long as both the people involved in the friendship are clear with each other about each other’s intentions. There may just be those people who may not be sexually attracted to you, and that’s perfectly fine. Developing connections and friendships is what helps humans survive, and it’s perfectly possible to develop those connections with the opposite sex without being attracted to them sexually. In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s article. Please be sure to share it, follow the blog, follow The Young Gentleman’s Guide on Facebook and Instagram, and support us on Patreon. And on that note, this is Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide, and I’ll see you next time!

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