Friday, August 10, 2007

Cross-Gender Friendship: Possible or Not?

The other day my close friends and I had a heated discussion on cross-gender friendship.

Is it possible or not for a man and a woman to have a platonic friendship? (especially if one or both are married to different people?)

Yesterday I browsed around the internet and found that it's been an "eternal" debate everywhere. The conclusion in most sites I found is:


So, what do YOU think?

Any specific experiences on this matter? Do share as I'm SO curious about it.

When it comes to my own personal life, I think I only have one guy friend so far, but he lives far away from me, so that won't give me any trouble. We never really hung out together, but when I was in Bandung and he wasn't married yet, we used to call each other every now and then. Funny thing is that he actually became my friend until one of my girl friends dumped him on Valentine's Day. Then he called me and asked me to find out why his ex dumped him, so I did and we became sort of buddy-buddy since then. I knew that we could become friends only since he wasn't my type and I wasn't his type.

So you see, I haven't had that many experiences being friends with guys (well, first I was a good friend of my hubby but then it turned out to be a romantic one in the end). LOL!!! That's why I decided to write this post, to get feedback from fellow bloggers who have more experiences than me.

I also found some interesting bits and pieces from some sites. Here goes:

From Platonic Relationships More Realistic for Women:

In a survey conducted by, more than 1450 people were asked which sex is more likely to misinterpret the intimacy of friendship for sexual desire. While only 25 percent answered women, 64 percent answered men.

In the same study, when asked who is better at keeping sex out of a platonic relationship, 67 percent said women and only 13 percent responded men.

And in this website, Justify My Friendship, I found some real-life experiences, as well:

Actually, I have a female friend that I would *like* to remain friends with, and vice versa, as we are both married to other people. But, for some reason (unconscious body signals? pheromones?) she thinks I am attempting something more, and, after three weeks of aggravation, we may have to dissolve the initial friendship. -- B-K.P.

Two good looking people cannot be "just friends" and if they do, there are certainly "non-friendly" thoughts going on which can clog any sensible thoughts. I think it is difficult for both sexes. I know I've wanted to be "just friends" w/ men and they want more - sorry, I told you up front what I wanted. It's tough on guys, women are such teases and it makes it difficult for them (men) to know where they stand.
Just a woman's perspective. -- Deborah

Here're some excerpts taken from this site, Can Women and Men Be Friends?: (I encourage you to read the whole article as I can't possibly write everything down here)

In a major 1988 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Sapadin asked more than 150 professional men and women what they liked and disliked about their cross-sex friendships. Topping women's list of dislikes: sexual tension. Men, on the other hand, more frequently replied that sexual attraction was a prime reason for initiating a friendship, and that it could even deepen a friendship. Either way, 62 percent of all subjects reported that sexual tension was present in their cross-sex friendships.

Truth #1: people develop serious romantic relationships or get married, making and maintaining cross-sex friendships becomes harder. "Even the most secure people in a strong marriage probably don't want a spouse to be establishing a new friendship, especially with someone who's very attractive," says Monsour.

Truth #2: In Sapadin's study, men rated cross-sex friendships as being much higher in overall quality, enjoyment and nurturance than their same-sex friendships. What they reported liking most was talking and relating to women--something they can't do with their buddies.

Truth #3: "Friendships with men are lighter, more fun," says Sapadin. "Men aren't so sensitive about things." Some women in her study also liked the protective, familial and casual warmth they got from men, viewing them as surrogate big brothers. What they liked most of all, however, was getting some insight into what guys really think.

Conclusion of the study: Cross-sex friendships are emotionally rewarding.

One last excerpt from The Soko:

Do platonic relationships exist – in my opinion? Yes they do and no they do not. The possibility of a platonic relationship depends entirely on the situation.

A Simple Scenario

Did the friendship form while both or at least one party was single? As cold and shallow as it sounds, nine times out of 10 we physically evaluate with whom we form bonds when we are single (not a scientific statistic). I do not say this out of desperation; rather it is a matter of genetics. When we are single, we tend to look for a partner. If the friendship was formed in one of these times, there is a chance that physical attraction exists between the two. Once this attraction is acted upon the relationship is no longer just friendship, it is not platonic.

Thus the relationship can only be platonic if the two people involved can strictly be friends. Basically, the question “why are we just friends” must never arise!

I have to add one last thing written by Blake Roeber:

being "just friends" takes a lot of caution. It takes care and a realistic appraisal of one's ability to avoid temptation. It also takes the humility to admit it when one's gotten oneself in over one's head.

To say that Platonic friendship isn't possible is also to recognize that, even where a guy and a girl do exercise enough caution to be "just friends," the friendship they form will still be one between a guy and a girl, not one between two neuters.

Let me end this post by telling you one funny conversation I had with my hubby yesterday:

Me : "So, babe, do you think men and women can be JUST friends?"
Him: "Sure."
Me : "Really? So, what do you think if I have a hunk as a guy friend?"
Him: "Nope, then you can't have him as your friend."
Me : "Really? Why?"
Him: "Because."
Me : "ARRRGGHHH!!! OK, so what if I have a guy friend whom you consider not handsome at all?"
Him: "Then you can be friends with him."
Me : "Oh dear!!!"

Yeah, you got that right. Actually both my hubby and I are jealous types (our jealousy level is THANKFULLY similar so we understand each other pretty well in that area), so we'll both be wary about this cross-gender friendship thing.


  1. Hahaha! Most insightful!

    In my view, this is definitely possible and I think your husband recognise this with your last words.

    Provided the opposite sex is not attractive, then a platonic friendship is definitely possible.

    For me, I can be good friends with girls who I do not find attractive. This means I do not inquire so much, I do not think too much and therefore I don't consider them anything more than a friend.

    But if the girl is pretty, no matter how hard I try to keep it platonic, chances are that I will fail because as a guy, we are biologically programmed to "mate" with the most attractive mate aren't we? hahaha!

    For girls, I think it's possible but I am not sure. Girls, well you guys think much more differently and who knows, may fall for guys you don't find attractive if you know them long enough haha!

    Jealousy is a curse but it's unavoidable. It's only avoidable if a human is totally secure of him or herself but that is never the case. The best thing we can do is give our partner our undivided attention and love at all times.

    Have a GREAT DAY AMEL!!

  2. I see this issue different. I know 2 people who are married and they consider themselves best friends. It seems to me their spouses come second. Now if my husband was best friends with another woman it would definetly bother me because that is my role which is why I married him. I believe you can be friends but not close tell them all your thought friends. I don't see it working. I may be wrong but thats how I feel.

  3. Hi girl,

    In my opinion: a man and a woman can start by being friends, but then the sexual tension always gets in the way (like in the movie "when Harry met Sally")! Four situations may occur:

    1- the two begin to feel attracted to one another, and then up goes the friendship if they decide to try some sort of relationship (making-out/dating/ merciful-f****) and it doesn't work out!
    2- they feel attracted to one another, one declares him/herself to the other, they romantically hook-up, and live happily ever after (this is rare)!
    3- one of them feels attracted to the other, says nothing about it (not to ruin the friendship) and it is a mess cause then he/she shares his/her dates with other people, and he/she ends up by feeling jealous, awckward, whatever (cause people feel and react differently)!
    4- he/she will declare him/herself, then hear the traditional rejection line "I like us as friends! You're my mate!"...years later one of them gets engaged, and still hears the other saying "I am really in love with you! Is there any chance for you to cancel that engagement, and stay with me?"...please!

    Plus if you discuss sex with men, they always (they'll say that it's not true, but it is...I have all kinds of men in my family) end up thinking that you are sending them some kind of a signal!
    I used to prefer to be friends with men, cause they are simpler than women; but then I realised that the result would always be the same, and I got sick of it! So, now I have very few trustworthy female, pro-feminae friends with whom I can discuss whatever I want (men, sex, period, weight, food, gossip etc), and be myself, without worrying if a certain body move is enticing the guy or not, if my touching my hair will cause any nasty thoughts lol...!!


  4. This is easy.
    If my husband is involved, the answer is NO, ie cross-gender friendship isn't possible, irregardless who is the other person and how pretty/ugly.
    If I am involved, then the answer is YES :)

  5. Everybody, THX SO MUCH for your time and for leaving comments! ;-D

    Shan: THX for sharing men's point of view. I understand your points. ;-D Platonic friendship is indeed hard to keep if one finds the other attractive, eh?

    Dawn: Ouch! It's crazy if someone's spouse comes second. That would be my doom scenario in the marriage relationship. Yep, I agree with you about the kind of friendship that men can have with women.

    Max: THX A LOT for your two cents and for sharing your own personal experiences with guys. ;-D

    Mother Hen: LOL!!! UR TRULY one funny lady. ;-D

    Hope you all had a WONDERFUL weekend! I just got back from another cabin trip and I'll write again either tomorrow or Monday. ;-D

  6. I tried this with an ex... it didn't exactly work.

  7. Hi, Awannabe, THX for sharing your experience. :-)))

  8. I don't think they work. Been there, done that. My list of caveats is so long, I've decided it's not worth the trouble.

  9. THX for sharing your experiences, Azhira. :-D

  10. Thanks for leaving me a comment :)
    I really found this post interesting. My best friend is a guy I've known since I was in highschool. We have always been very close, and he's always been the one I turn to when I've had problems with my relationships. Now I'm marrying the man of my dreams, and my best friend is in a solid relationship, and we're still very close. I think that it does depend on the situation, the people involved, etc... I tend to get a little insecure when my fiance spends time with his female friends, but I'm learning to be better about it.
    I think we worry someone might come along and steal our respective others away...

  11. Cues: FINALLY a different point of view! THX for sharing your story. But yeah, I can understand your insecurity if your fiance spends too much time with his female friends he he he...

  12. i think it is possible!

    want to trade blog links? mine is

    if you want to trade, post my link then contact me back!
    look forward to reading your blog!

  13. Jay: THX for sharing your view. Sure about exchanging links. Why not? ;-D

  14. Of course it's possible...I seem to run into a lot of people on the internet who doubt that it's possible, but I have several friends who are women. They're my closest friends by far, and sexual tension just isn't an issue as far as I can tell. Jealousy isn't really a part of my personality at all, so I have a really hard time understanding some of the comments here I suppose, but any woman who tried to separate me from my female friends would not be someone I could be in a relationship or marriage with. These friendships are the most important bonds in my life, and I can't really imagine what kind of circumstances would make someone believe that such friendships are impossible.

  15. Hi, Fred!

    THANKS for your two cents. It seems to me that everything depends on the person himself/herself and the partners they have.

    I'm HAPPY to hear that you have had WONDERFUL female best friends. ;-D

    I guess for some people, it doesn't work 'coz perhaps their partners are jealous or they've experienced something bad during the friendship, for example: they ended up falling in love for their friend, but their friend didn't love them that way.

  16. I have had this type of relationship and only with a couple of different men in my lifetime (I'm 57). As long as you are both clear on the boundaries it can work out. It has for me.


    Pizza in Bend OR

  17. @Debra: THANKS for your insight. :-D

  18. to sum it up. the main points are.. 9/10 people make these friendships when one party is single, and thus based on genetics and a want to be with someone as more than a friend.
    and really all other points seem moot when you are arguing thousands of years of evolution. i don't care how "mind over matter" you are you cant bend a spoon with your mind. And you can't deny that at some point the s*@t will hit the fan. At the very least someone gets jealous or a 'friend' is poisoning the relationship. anyone that's had enough relationships fail will understand that the couples that last are the ones with friends that are same gender, or with other married couples.
    the naive have some learning to do and if it weren't for this very fact i'd toss my heart out a second time to my "friend".
    and im one of those few guys that will simply stop talking to my -lady-friends when they have a significant other out of respect for her.

    1. THANKS for sharing your POV, Jayce. :-)