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But put a straight man and woman together and the general assumption is that somehow sex will inevitably rear its head and make platonic intimacy impossible. The problems with men and women trying to be just friends is actually surprisingly complicated… for men. Women have much less of an issue of compartmentalizing attraction from intimacy. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, suggested that while women were capable of keeping things platonic, men tended to have a harder time with the idea.
But far from being a case of biology being destiny, this is a confluence of issues for men ranging from ideas surrounding male sexuality, to gender relations and emotional intelligence.
One of the oldest and hoariest tropes surrounding male sexuality is that all men are inherently horny beasts and are powerless before our penises. Because our sex drives are so all-encompassing, we are unable to compartmentalize sex from every other aspect of our lives. In fact, our lives are focused around getting our penises into as many holes as possible over the course of our lifetime. This, of course, means that no matter what our conscious minds might wish to believe, ultimately our cocks have the final say in just about everything in our lives.
This is part and parcel of some of the bizarre contradictions surrounding toxic masculine ideals — that being a man means being at the mercy of our id. After all, if men are powerless Just being friends is ok their penises and can ultimately only interact with women as a prelude to sex, it means that the men in your life are all waiting to betray you. By definition, every man you spend time with is simply waiting for the opportunity to bang your girlfriend or wife and will do so as soon as your back is turned. But at its core, believing that men and women only interact on a sexual level only serves to isolate men further; sex keeps men from being genuine with women and by extension, in competition with all other men.
Who, then, can guys turn to for their emotional health? This idea that sex gets in the way of all cross-gender friendships le to, among other things, women being unable trust men. One of the issues brought up in the JSPR study and related follow-up is the of men who treat a cross-gender friendship as an opportunity for sex or a romantic relationship. This behavior serves to further isolate men, not just from friendships but potentially from romantic or sexual relationships as well.
However, the idea that sex and friendship are mutually incompatible is also part of what le to men thinking of friendship as a consolation prize for sex — devaluing both sex and friendship at the same time. Hell, for some, the idea that women would offer friendship is inherently insulting.
The part that goes unmentioned is how sex and sexual attraction get in the way.
Is it because the man will automatically attempt to court and bed her and this will drive them apart? At its core, the idea that sex and friendship are mutually exclusive seems to come down to two issues. The second is that attraction must be fulfilled, that an erection is a call to action.
In the former, part of the problem seems to revolve around our concepts of love and desire. We tend to only believe in two kinds of love: the sexless love for family and the love we reserve for our partners. Because we may not be interested in dating our friends, it means that by default, that love must be sexless. In the latter, the problem is the idea that attraction is something that must be pursued and that the pursuit somehow conflicts with being friends.
Part of being a grown-ass adult is learning how to handle our feelings. Developing, accepting and maintaining a platonic friendship with women helps men learn to grow, socially and emotionally. Women, in general, tend to be more emotionally and physically demonstrative with their friends, being more willing to open up, share secrets and generally show appreciation for their friends. Men, on the other hand, are socialized to be more closed off and keep things inside. Being just friends can, among other things, help men learn to differentiate between s of friendliness vs.
Having more female friends can help you improve your social calibration. Understanding women, listening to them — really listening to them, instead of trying Just being friends is ok explain their own lived experiences to them — can help you learn how to relate better to others.
But outside of practical issues, being friends with women is healthier for men, emotionally. As I mentioned earlier: men have issues with social isolation and emotional intimacy. Because of fears of being perceived as gay or unmanly, we tend to hold back from opening up to our male friends.
As a result: we tend to make our partners our sole source of emotional support. That is a tremendous burden for any one person. Having female friends who are just friends gives you a broader base of support — and gives them more support when they need it as well. For starters: relax about it. Attraction to a friend is understandable, even common.
The key is to not let the feeling throw you or make you panic. It just is. It may seem like the best thing you can do is force it away; this is actually a mistake. Trying to stuff an emotion or feeling down the memory hole just makes it even more present in your mind. Ever try to not think of something? For example: try to not picture Estelle Getty dressed as a fox at a bondage club.
Instead of trying to force it away, just let it be. Acknowledge it to yourself and move on. The other thing you should do is behave normally. Should you mention it? Well, that depends on a couple of issues. Have they been giving you als that they might want to be more than friends? Are you capable of not taking rejection personally and letting the matter drop if she turns you down without it curdling your friendship?
Then it might be possible to carefully broach the topic.
Keep it to yourself and allow things to progress on their own. Not obsessing about your feelings not only lets you continue to enjoy your friendship, but it also leaves you open for when you meet someone who is right for you, romantically. I'm cackling.
NerdLove Dr. NerdLove Store Dr. Believing the Worst About Ourselves And Acting Accordingly The problems with men and women trying to be just friends is actually surprisingly complicated… for men. Related Posts Ask Dr. Ask Dr. Share Pin 5. I asked a guy out once and he said no. Months later, he called me and we went out for a bit.
But I asked once and dropped Yes, they've known each other 3 years, but for part of that time she was in a He just basically wanted a pen pal -- a text and buddy. That was as much as he was Nerds and Male Privilege. When Masculinity Fails Men. Tags abusive relationships ask dr.Just being friends is ok
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7 Reasons to Be Just Friends