Initiating a conversation with your guy friends is an easy task. You talk about sports, politics, women, and everything else. You typically don’t have to worry about anything since sexual tension and attraction is unlikely to exist in your friendship with one another. FYI, I’m referring to straight men in friendships. But with friends of the opposite sex, it is most likely to be a completely different story. When people see a guy talking to a woman, particularly if the conversation is great, they will naturally assume they’re dating. No reasonable person seems to grasp that guys and girls can, in fact, be merely friends. However, the notion of guys and girls not being capable of being perceived as friends and maintaining that friendship is seen as a struggle are persistent in our society for a reason.
Friendship can be a strong possibility to future romance, but many guys may not be clever enough to find that out yet.
Let’s think logically for a minute. It’s difficult to believe that a guy and girl can be merely friends without some inevitable sexual tension present. After all, when one opposite sex offers friendship aka the friend zone to the other individual, there is merit to this. It usually illustrates that one of these individuals, notably the one offering or accepting the friendship is attracted to the other individual, thus explains the friendship. If she did not have any attraction or romantic feelings for this guy, then why bother to build a friendship? She can be friends with other women easier than with men. Sure, she may want to be friends with a guy to get the perspective of men which may help broaden her own perspective. But does she really? There will always be an inner tension and attention drawn from her friendship with another guy in public and they are unlikely to be prepared to deal with it. People will naturally assume they are a couple, and this hinders the development of true friendship. And if they are in fact friends who have clearly stated that there are boundaries that need to be followed and/or that they are in committed relationships or marriages, falling for another is still very likely to occur.
Many guys think that being “friend zoned” means it is over. But does a friend zone really exist and is it really over for the guy?
What I just said above contradicts the conventional and mythical notion of the friend zone. Many guys think that they have been friend zoned due to their unattractiveness perceived by women. It goes like this: “She doesn’t want to date me because she is not sexually attracted to me. Therefore, she has friend zoned me.” Since women don’t see the guy as a potential mate because of they are not sexually attracted to him, they merely “consider” him as a friend. But have these men ever thought that a friendship offering could mean possible romantic interest in the future? Or that maybe she wants to get to know you before she lets you get into her pants? No, because these men don’t want to stick around and invest in friendships with the opposite sex at least for some time. They lack the dedication and loyalty for a long-term romantic relationship. Instead, they are likely to be seeking exclusively for immediate gratification and validation of their own handsome looks. Biology and nature are designed to do this since men are largely responsible for finding mates and impregnating them in an effort to ensure society’s survival. Thus, “friend-zoning” is not only a myth that is perpetuated by mere men, but also gives them the negative impression that they do not stand a chance of having romantic relations with women. This fabrication and falsification of the friend zone circulating within our society today are further disproved simply by the fact that women never talk about men in a “friend-zone language”. There is always a possibility, and if you don’t realize it, then you risk looking like a fool even if it is not evident.
As the interactions between your “friend” become greater and more enjoyable, there is likely to be a build-up of attraction among the both of you. You enjoy his or her company, are comfortable talking to each other, you trust them, have so much fun together. Thus, you will be attracted to how they make you feel.
You want a female or guy friend who listens to you, makes you happy, goes out with you to a social event, and watches TV with you. It’s bound that eventually, both of you will fall for each other. It doesn’t matter who falls for who first. What matters is that both of you will form feelings during one stage of your “friendship.”
Don’t just rely on academic research.
If it is a guy, academic research indicates that it is more likely to be guys who are attracted in the first place to their female friends and have a hidden agenda to be with them shall she break up with the current boyfriend or decides that one day the guy friend is a romantic prospect. But we must remember that academic research is not the mere definitive answer to a difficult question and that it is not one-sided either. Rather, we shall always remember that women are social and sexual beings just like men. Men and women are merely human beings who crave emotional and physical support. Thus, we are more similar to each other and are not much different than people commonly assume we are.
A study from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire enlisted 44 duos of college-aged guy-woman friends. The study team separated these individuals, and asked them numerous questions about their attraction to their “friend.” The average age of the friendship was two years; however, some of them had been friends for ten years or more. What is most interesting are the findings from the study. In spite of the length of the friendship, guys were approximately 24 percent more attracted to their friend and were 17 percent likely to be more interested in dating. Nevertheless, even among women, the average aspiration to date was gauged around a four on a nine-point scale. This illustrates that women also frequently are at least a little attracted to their male friends and contradicts other academic research which emphasizes that it is mostly men who have ulterior motives in friendships.
It is significant to also incorporate our own ideas, think critically, and form alternative explanations to a social notion. By limiting ourselves to purely academic research, we hinder ourselves from these goals. Therefore, I am incorporating crucial academia to form reasonable explanations in regards to the topic.
Biology and Nature
Women offer friendship. Men linger on that friendship with hopes that she will one day realize or develop feelings for him. A guy must be attracted to her in order to consider being friends. Why would a guy want to through all the trouble for just pure friendship? There isn’t a sexual reward present and nature implies that we are interested and therefore, must spread our genes with women in order for our society’s survival. If a guy wants to be friends with a woman, they should probably just stick to being friends with guys instead.
It sounds shallow, but no guy is likely going to consider being friends with a female who he deems unattractive. He wouldn’t want to be seen with some girl who he sees as unattractive in the public eye or in front of his friends. He doesn’t want to risk being humiliated in public and in front of his best friend for associating himself with a girl who is not deemed attractive. Our society places a premium on beauty, and it is the guy’s best nature to only associate himself with beautiful women. He wants to be affiliated with beautiful women because they are guaranteed to be a better fit for motherhood and as significant others. The beautiful women in his eyes are also likely to be more reliable in producing healthier children since we will automatically assume a beautiful woman is also likely to be healthier than an unattractive woman. If he does form a friendship with an unattractive woman, then we can reasonably assume that it is because of his alternative way of thinking. For all reasons mentioned, it makes probable sense that a majority of straight men are likely to have a hidden agenda prior or during their friendship with women. Biology and nature don’t lie. The truth sometimes hurts.
Females are also similar in this respect. She may put the guy in the “backup” category just in case her relationship with her current boyfriend doesn’t work out as she’d hoped. The girl will keep the guy interested by maintaining contact and conveying a continual interest in him. Women will “monkey branch” meaning they will go from good boyfriend > better boyfriend > better boyfriend. This makes sense because the better boyfriend is likely to be a better provider to the woman and potential baby. By putting you in the “possibly more than friends” zone, she is likely or going to be likely to see you as the real catch.
If there isn’t a hidden agenda, there will soon be one since both parties will eventually progress further in their friendship after trust and intimacy have developed.
Jealousy and Decreased Friends of Opposite Sex After Marriage
Being friends with the opposite sex while being in a committed, romantic relationship with someone can potentially be damaging to both relationships. The boyfriend or girlfriend can be infuriated when they discover that their partner is interacting with their friend, especially when the involved partner does not mention them during the interactions or these interactions become more frequent and prolonged. This could either lead to a direct confrontation with the partner, a confrontation with the perceived “friend and competitor”, or a breakup. Nature itself is designed to revolve around the element of jealousy since the friend of the opposite sex is seen as a competitor and the current reigning partner is threatened that he or she may be replaced by someone else. There’s a reason why men and women decide to either cheat, divorce or leave their current relationships. If men and women can be merely friends, then why do people cheat with their “friends” while in a relationship? Why are married couples more cautious and hesitant in making friends with the opposite sex? Why are divorces common? The answer partially for the first question is self-control, while the answer to the second and latter relates more clearly to both self-control and the lack of excitement in established “lifelong” marriages.
Intimacy and Chemistry
To be friends with anyone, there has to be some intimacy developed and chemistry present. In order to develop intimacy, you must hang out with her and engage in conversations with her. You ask questions, she asks questions. This draws both of you closer to each other and creates intimacy. There is a sense of familiarity built once you get to know the other person well. You will be more comfortable with each other, and thus, both of you don’t want to be apart from each other.
The Social Animal by Elliot Aronson
I once took a social psychology course during my undergrad, and the book selected by the instructor was The Social Animal by Elliot Aronson. The book examines the intentions and patterns of human behavior, covering topics such as conformity and interpersonal attraction. This was one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life because not only was it interesting but also because I learned a lot from it and was able to apply the notions discussed in real life. I was also able to understand social life and social relationships more extensively.
Aronson once asked his friends why they liked some of their acquaintances more than others. Aronson states that the most common responses he received in which people liked most included: individuals whose beliefs and interests were similar to their own, individuals who have skills or abilities, and those with pleasant or attractive qualities (such as loyalty and kindness), and people who liked them in return.
Many of what I’ve said so far, thus, derives from my education. I understand that I said don’t just rely on academic research to answer questions, but I do so while applying logic and the truth itself. I’m drawing extremely reasonable conclusions, which prove what actual facts exist and why they exist.
Thus, we become friends with individuals for the reason we “like” them since they resemble our similar beliefs and interests. Why associate and become friends or partners when they lack these elements? We are less likely to become friends if we lack similar beliefs and interests since conflict is more likely to occur from disagreements and the potential increase of arguments. Our chemistry lies with our similarity with one another, and we like those who separate themselves from others via some skill or talent. We like people who are more friendly to us, who agree with us, than those who aren’t doing so. Why are agreements so attractive to us? There are at least two primary reasons. Firstly, it is evident to the majority of us that individuals who resemble our viewpoints and opinions on issues are remarkably bright, reflective people. It is invariably satisfying and fascinating to hang out with these smart and contemplative people. Another reason is that these individuals provide us with social validation for our beliefs. This is significant since they serve us with a feeling that we are correct. Hence, this is not only rewarding but that we may also develop stronger feelings over time for them even if we didn’t have any initially. We like people who agree with us. If two individuals both share an interest in working out at the gym, we will assume that their significant attitudes must be similar to ours. Therefore, we like people whose attitudes are similar to our own. And if we like an individual, we ascribe attitudes to them that are comparable to ours. What can be derived from Aronson is that we are more likely to fall in love with those who we enjoy spending time with even just as friends. And those who are similar to us in terms of our values, beliefs, interests, personalities, agree with us and express a liking towards us will help facilitate this process. Therefore, similarity is one of the most important factors since Aronson clearly states that most of us fall in love with people who are similar to us in many dimensions just stated above. To establish a friendship between the opposite sex requires such elements of similarity. This root finding guides the basic principles of dating sites like match.com and eHarmony. We want to be with those that make us feel happy and in return, we return the favor.
There may be a boundary or agreement that both individuals state to not pass the line or act in the heat of passion. But that boundary is typically not sufficient enough. If there was a well-defined and properly implemented boundary between both parties and that both parties swore to agree to it, this would hinder friendship since it would heavily distort the development of intimacy. You must get close to each other to develop this intimacy. You have no problems doing this with your guy friends. You don’t have to set up boundaries with them since you aren’t attracted to them.
People think we’re dating anyways. So let’s just start listening to them since we already like each other
When you realize that you are falling for each other. One of you or both of you may begin thinking of the public message: “People think we’re dating anyways. We might as well since we really like each other anyways.” If both of you are falling, both will likely be unable to resist the prospect of dating each other. If one falls for the other earlier and the other hasn’t, he or she may face the risk of compromising the friendship since the other individual may not be entirely ready to go further. There is a risk that at least one of the individuals will not reciprocate his or her feelings at the same time as the other. Perhaps this is partially due to the possibility that one of these people began dating someone else. This could be devastating to the individual who does not have their romantic love feelings returned, jeopardizing the relationship.
Clearly, many relationships don’t just start as “love at first sight.” Rather patience is vital in creating deep attraction and admiration for one another. Some of the best romances originated from being friends at first. By being friends first, you are developing a significant foundation of love, lust, trust, and intimacy with the other person. It is obvious that we may start to fall in love through these creations of deep and meaningful relationships.
It takes an enormous amount of self-control to repress feelings for the other person. Most individuals lack this self-control since they are typically victims to temptation. But for those who possess substantial self-control, they may be rewarded with a true friendship with the opposite sex. A friend I once knew claimed that he had quite a number of female friends, and he was extremely careful not to fall for any of them. He maintained he was not attracted to them, and they were not attracted to him. However, he says that some of his female friends were falling for him and even said they would leave their boyfriends for him. He stated to them not to leave their current romantic relationships for him as that would break their friendship which he strongly valued. The women were shocked to hear this and respected him even more. He said that prior to any formation of friendships with his female friends, they both agreed that it wouldn’t lead to something more. Significantly, boundaries were to be established, and the female friends openly acknowledged that they, in fact, were in relationships already. But some of these women clearly developed feelings for him over time, which he politely rejected and continued to remain friends with them. Of course, he could have lied to me and actually formed romantic relationships with these women, but this possibility exists and indicates that one individual may be able to resist any sexual urges.
Being just friends with the opposite sex is possible. It’s just that the prospect of it seems unrealistic. In order to ensure that friendship is as smooth as possible, there must be the establishment and acknowledgment of clearly-defined boundaries between the guy and the girl. They must agree to it right in front of each other and make promises not to break it. There should also be a disclosure of the person one is currently dating, so the other person knows not to get their hopes too high up since their potential love interest is already taken. One should not expect that the other will have or develop romantic feelings for him or her in the friendship that is yet to come. More importantly, one should not see friendship as a pure ulterior motive, opportunity, or gateway to romance with the other person. These boundaries, agreements, expectations, and disclosures must be discussed prior to the establishment of a friendship between two parties. If the party is indeed dating someone and is covering up this and chooses not to reveal the truth, we may conclude this individual has ulterior motives. This motive includes a clear interest in the interested party, but the interested individual gets disappointment or even hurt when finding out the truth, which may lead to the two parties never speaking ever again.
Be aware of the individual’s possible deception and avoid self-deterioration
If you are comfortable with each other, and you perceive that she sees you as a friend, this could likely be deception in the works here. This is particularly true when she continually flirts with you, throwing you seductive looks, and any interested body cues you pick up. She may be naturally playful and flirt with everyone she knows, but there isn’t a safe net. Eventually, this will reduce the self-control you have with her because you start seeing her as a future romantic prospect. It is also true when she does not explicitly define any boundaries between the two of you, strongly implying that she is romantically interested in you in the first place. For whatever reasons, she still wants you but can’t simply decide at the moment. Perhaps some geographic or other circumstance forbids the idealistic romantic relationship she wants to have with you. But still, she decides to keep you as a friend since she knows that holding onto you is better than letting you go completely. Friendship itself in this context is seen as more of an act to keep you around and interested in the lady since she is into you in the first place.
Years ago, I watched a television show called 90210 (which is the zip code for Beverley Hills and this is the modern adaption of the original tv show I’m discussing here.) in which the season one finale episode titled “One Party Can Ruin Your Whole Summer” illustrates a particular scene: Silver runs after Ethan and asks why did Ethan just walk away. Silver: “You’re one of my best friends, right? That’s it. We’re just friends.” Ethan responds by kissing her and stating that: “I don’t think we’re just friends.” “I don’t think I can take it. I want to be something more.” Ethan then raises the question and creates a difficult dilemma for Silver “Just think about it. Why are you out here talking to me? Instead of inside talking to your boyfriend?” Silver doesn’t respond. She obviously has feelings for Ethan and has over time developed a strong attraction to him. Earlier, her current boyfriend Dixon senses something odd about the way Silver’s “guy friend” Ethan looks at Silver but just plays it cool. Therefore, this example illustrates that Ethan not only lacks the self-control to restrain himself from his sexual attraction to Silver but also destroys their friendship and completely ends Silver’s relationship with Dixon. Later, Dixon finds out that both Ethan and Silver have been texting each other and Dixon breaks up with Silver. Ethan is the perfect victim to temptation, but it can also be said that Silver is a victim as well since she didn’t reject the kiss and embraced it with Ethan. The exchange of text messages is also an indication of a lack of self-control and respect for Dixon.
This article has critically examined the question whether guys and girls can be just friends. The answer is of course, yes. However, like I said, the prospect of being just friends just appears to be unrealistic and unattainable due to a lack of self-control and the build-up of attraction over time. Guys and girls can and do form great friendships, but frequently those friendships inevitably involve some sort of attraction, which can come from one individual or both. Even though this attraction is capable of adding fun and excitement to the friendship, it will typically become a difficult obstacle. But with the implementation of strictly and explicitly controlled boundaries agreed by both individuals verbally, they may be able to overcome or weaken this insurmountable obstacle. But only time will tell.