15 December 2011

[talk: Why Men & Women Can't Be Friends.]

A couple of days ago, a FB friend of a FB friend posted a link called "Why Men and Women Can't Be Friends".  There were some deep-rooted comments, and it peaked my interest ... so I watched it.

You can too ... click the movie to watch.

So.  What do you think??

I was actually a little dumbfounded by it all ... because if I had been asked, I would've responded like most girls (except the whole "my guy friends actually like me" thing ...).  Growing up, the majority of my friends were guys.  And although I dated a fair bit, I didn't really date guys that were first my "friend".  

But now, as an old-married woman *grin*, I found this video a little ... sad?  And have come to a couple conclusions about it.

First ... let me back up.  After I watched it, I had a number of conversations about it with various people from my church. Just like the video, guys would smile - get a bit awkward, maybe pull a funny - and say, "no." The guys were pretty adamant that men and women can't "just" be friends.  And girls?  The complete opposite.  In fact, many would say the same thing:  "... most of my closest friends are guys."

Strange, no?

So ... why do guys and girls view it so differently?  Why are girls somewhat bothered at the fact that maybe this is true - that guys really AREN'T their "friends".  And why are guys so sure of the fact, and seem to be totally ok with it?

Here's what I think.

In order to think this video has some merit, you need to look at the demography of who's being asked:  college students.  I'm going to assume that most people interviewed were between the ages of 19-23.  And that, in itself, has massive weight on the answers.  Girls are fairly naive, but pretty good at flirting by that point.  Guys?  Territorial.  Hormonal.  Trying to prove their masculinity.  Most ...ok, hear me out, are just figuring out who they are.  They probably don't even want an ACTUAL relationship ... they probably don't even really know how to.  So their views are built on those things ....

This, being spoken from an old-married woman, remember?

Another thing to take into account, is the definition of "friend".  For girls, if you can laugh and say "hi", you're probably a friend.   "Friends" are someone who you don't feel uncomfortable alone in a room with *grin* - someone who is probably a FB friend, someone you see every few years.   For most guys, this doesn't cut it.   To a guy, I think it's a word with a much deeper, weightier meaning.   A "friend" is someone you can bear your soul to, someone who's there through thick and thin, someone who's there when you need them the most.

For example, when I was asking people at my church what they thought of this, I asked a guy if he was my "friend".  I've known him for 10+ years ... and I was surprised when he said, "well, no.  You're more of an acquaintance."  


But I asked another guy, a married guy, and he said, "of course Tawn!!"  Which leads me to this very warped conclusion.

When you get married, you kinda become ... asexual.  *grin*.  What I mean by that, is that other people generally see you as "off limits", so there is no sexual tension.  A guy isn't going to look at me and say, "wow - that's one hot, married, mother of three."  No.     Now, of course there are exceptions to this ... and there could even be arguments that some find married people actually more attractive - for whatever reason (boo).  But that hasn't really been my experience ... for me, married guys and girls can be "friends" because they're already taken.

Besides, we're not talking about whether guys can be interested in married women or vice versa - we're asking if any man and any woman can JUST be friends.

But again ... you have to DEFINE "friend".

Under the guy's definition ... no.  Men and women can't JUST be friends.  Because if a girl is bearing her soul, sticking it out through thick and thin, there when he needs her most ... she's probably married to him.  *grin*.

I think the whole notion that it's a black and white, "NO" is just silly, though.  I mean, it's just plain logic that not every man is interested in every woman.  So the women he's NOT interested in ... can't they be friends???  OR is it that guys just want all or nothing ... that if they're not interested in you in a relationship-sort-of-way ... that they really can't be bothered and don't want any sort of relationship at all?

Hmmm.  I might be on to something there ... 

Where am I going with this?  Hmmm ... I don't really know.  But it's interesting, no?  I'm curious as to what you think ... 

"... can men and women JUST be friends?"  Can't wait to read the comments on this one *grin*.

Have a great one ... 


Lindz said...

Well put. I have always found it easier to be friends with guys. Way less drama ways less gossip just friends! I have definitley learned the importance of having closer girl friends which scared me for a long time! And yes I think your right it gets easier when your married. You don't look at someone the same!!!
I liked this post!! I like your blog!!

Anonymous said...

Gotta be honest...this one intriqued me a little cause its a conversation that Tim and I have often had over the years. We agree there has to be a clear definition of what a friend means. Both of us believe the boundaries of a "friendship" need to change once you're married. No longer would Tim or I spend any personal or one-on-one time (which in essence is what defines a friendship) with the opposite sex...out of protection for our marriage, especially in an age where families and marriages are under attack. To say we are "taken" or "unavailable" once we are married is a dangerous perspective to have, especially when are large majority of the population around us does not agree. Ok...i know this is long...i probably could talk for a lot longer :) But i'll end my thoughts there. I do, though, think these are the conversation we need to be having, especially those in the church who should be the examples of what relationships should look like, both marital and personal.

Jodi West

Anonymous said...

This was a fascinating article! And definitely surprising considering women are usually the relationship experts and yet men intuitively know this fact. The truth of the matter is that whether you are married or not, if you spend any amount of time with anyone, you deposit something to their "love bank" (Referencing the 5 Love Languages) and the value of the relationship goes up. You can start out being friends, but soon the desire for something more sets in. So in order to make sure that you affair proof your marriage, you need to make sure you are always the largest depositor into your spouses love bank and visa versa..

Check your love bank accounts. Who has the biggest account with you? If you are single, the largest account holder would probably make a good spouse. If you are married, it better bet your spouse!

Tawn said...

thank you ladies, for your responses! I have had many, many emails/texts/fb messages about this post - so I'll be sure to follow up in a part2.

I completely agree with all three of you ... you all make valid points. And again, this wasn't "can married men and married women be friends" ... which, of course, most of us are.

But I think that it's important to not be naive about it - to listen to those who have had experiences with unfaithful friends or spouses ... there is a lot of wisdom in having large boundaries set up, than taking a chance with having your guard down.

again ... I'll come up with a part2 soon. Thanks again for taking the time to share your wisdom!

~ tawn

White Girl said...

I have to chime in here because I've had this conversation with my girlfriends here in the desert - a very conservative society where women and men don't just hang out the way that we do in the West.

When the girls hear the question, "Can you be just friends with a guy?" they translate it into romance. Can you be with a guy and not think romantic thoughts about him. The answer is: sure! Which is why there are so many girls that have guy friends and don't ever date any of them.

When guys hear the questions, "Can you be just friends with a woman?" they hear "Can you spend time with a woman and not ever think about getting into her pants?" The answer is: no, they can't. And look at the answers of the guy in the video! They were all like, Um... no! Because of the physical attraction - I think someone even said that in the video.

Now, you brought up the topic of marriage, and how that turns you asexual. I have to disagree. I picked up on something really interesting in the interviewers questions to a couple of guys, "If you let him..." or "If she let you..." would you hook up? It's up to the woman, but if she LET the guy, yes, he'd hook up. Because deep down, men are men. I know I sound really simplistic and backward, but if a man really let himself go without the worries of society acceptability, spiritual repercussions, being a moral upstanding man and was faced with a woman who would LET him - yes. Yes he would.

Ladies, if the guys are honest, they will tell you that the thought of getting into your pants has crossed their minds. Maybe just fleeting. Maybe they captured it. But it was there, at some point. So no. I don't think men and women can be just friends.

Let me leave you with one last illustration: a friend of mine was going through a divorce. I wouldn't have ever thought of anything between us - thought we were just friends. It wasn't until he commented on a picture of me that I posted on Facebook, as well as mentioning that he saw someone who looked JUST LIKE ME and had a "very fine behind" that I began to think that... ew... boys and girls can't be friends. Makes me want to wear the covering everywhere. Men may not stare in the West like they do over here, but they are still having thoughts, they are just better at hiding it.

I say, as women, we should listen to the guys when they say, "No. Men and women can't just be friends" because they know exactly what it's like to be inside a guy's unfiltered mind.