General Question

j0ey's avatar

Can a man and a woman just be friends?

Asked by j0ey (2424points) March 18th, 2010

I know that if you have known someone of the opposite sex for a long time you can just be friends…however if you have only known someone for a few years, on a fairly casual basis, is this possible?

I have this “friend” who is a bit of a “player”, I have known him for nearly two years. He often wants to catch up, even though we no longer work together. I don’t really get the vibe that he likes me in a romantic way, so I am happy to hang out with him.

Am I being naive to think he just wants to hang out as friends? Could he just enjoy my company? My girl friends say I’m being an idiot…I think I need some honest advice from guys.

( We have fooled around before, but that was over a year ago.)

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68 Answers

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Of course. I cannot comment on your particular situation, but I have plenty of female friends who hold no romantic or sexual attraction for me at all.

Snarp's avatar

This is probably one of the oldest and most repeated questions, but I’ll answer it anyway: Of course men and women can just be friends. It’s just that men are biologically hard wired to want to have sex with anything that will sit still long enough. Which means that even though he is just your friend, if you are even reasonably attractive he is going to think about having sex with you. Depending on single/attached status, ethics, and a number of other factors, he may or may not put the moves on you. Whether you are just friends then really becomes up to you. Of course there’s always the risk that he’ll actually fall madly in love with you and it won’t just be thinking about sex, which would make everything quite awkward, but that’s just life and it’s a chance you’ll have to take. And what does it matter if you are being naive? Are you afraid he’ll try to kiss you? Then you just say no. Have fun, enjoy what you’ve got, and don’t worry about it. But don’t leave him alone with your drink unless you can really trust him.

For reference.

sleepdoc's avatar

Have you ever seen the movie “When Harry Met Sally”? Harry says no. If you want his explanation I can give it to you.

chyna's avatar

Mine is a female view, but yes, I have many male friends that I have no romantic interest in, nor do they have a romantic interest in me. Most of them are married and I am friends with their wives also.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have had guy friends for over 20 years.My best friend is a guy and the last time he tried something funny was 23 years! He’s a quick learner.

njnyjobs's avatar

Without a doubt. I have quite a few lady friends of my own that I enjoy hanging out with occasionally, with no romantic or sexual tones to speak of.

MrItty's avatar

Of course they can. My four best friends (including my roommate) are all female. One I dated, for about 7 months, back in college. The rest, I’ve never had any sort of romantic or sexual relationship with. We’re friends, nothing more.

(And the one I dated, I am now good friends with her husband too.)

noyesa's avatar

If you’re an attractive woman he’s probably at least interested in sex, but I have female friends that I have known for years that I find very attractive, but I don’t have an issue keeping them just friends, and not just from the perspective of our friendship—I mean I literally don’t want to be anything more than friends. I do have a girlfriend which changes the game a little, but I’ve never been tempted and I have no issues resisting any urges I might have, and after a little while those urges seem to disappear anyway.

partyparty's avatar

I am a female and I do have male friends. That is all they are… friends. I don’t have any interest in them in any other way. I know I can call them if I need advice, or just for a chat. I am also friends with their wives.
I don’t know how these male friends feel about me though. That is an unknown quantity. Perhaps if I showed interest in them then my answer would be different.

shrubbery's avatar

Yes. I have many guy friends who I have never thought of anything other than a friendly relationship with. One of them even used to be a player with other girls. He didn’t try to “play” me, haha, so it was never a big deal. I just used to chide him about his man whore-ish ways and we’d continue being friends. However, if you have fooled around before, this changes things. I think maybe if you value the friendship you just need to be straight up and honestly just ask him about it.I know that could make things awkward but if he really does just want to be friends with you you guys can work through the awkwardness.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was going to jump on the bandwagon and say of course they can be good friends, but in the back of my mind, I’m going to be aware of the fact that she’s a woman. Look at how many of these posts mention “the last time he tried or we messed around”. I’m a guy, if the situation presents itself, I’m not sure which way I’d go. The other side of the equation is how it would affect the relationship.

MrItty's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe well let’s clarify this then. Just because it’s true that a man and a woman can be friends, it doesn’t at all imply that every man is capable of being friends with a woman, nor that every woman is capable of being friends with a man, nor even that every man and every woman who are capable of being friends with some member of the opposite sex are capable of being friends with each other.

JeffVader's avatar

I think it’s possible. I suspect often in the first few weeks of that friendship the man may be thinking ‘she’s abit of alright!’ however men neither intend to hit on, or do try to hit on everyone they recognise to be attractive. Speaking for myself, I love having attractive friends, doesn’t mean I want to bone each & every one of them. I just dont buy the premise that sex gets in the way.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes it is possible and some of my favorite friends are women. Women tend to be much more fun and goofy than my guy friends and are good for lots of laughs!

CMaz's avatar

Depends on what your idea of friends is.

General rule. NO. Having a “friendship”, sure why not. As long as that invisible fence stays up.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@MrItty I think I see your point, but I think using “every” isn’t the way I would phrase it. I’ve found myself in circumstances were someone I just considered a friend acted a little more than just friends, and I had to step back and make an effort not to respond. I didn’‘t even realize at first what we were doing, it was totally a subconscious thing going on between the two of us.

free_fallin's avatar

Definitely possible but often extremely difficult to maintain. We are such sexual beings that it is normal to look at a person in a sexual sense even when said person is just a friend. It can be done and has been done, but it takes two extremely mature people to handle such a thing (in my opinion).

MrItty's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe As have I. But just because that one particular attempted friendship pairing didn’t work out, doesn’t mean that no such friendships are possible.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@MrItty Good point. I agree with you.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Of course they can. They are platonic relationships.

janbb's avatar

Sure – but it does help if neither of you is sexually attracted to the other or if one or both of you are gay.

softtop67's avatar

Most of the answers here are dealing with the absolute of if it is possible, and I too would say Yes if I were to answer. I do however believe there is more grey to this question. There are issues, feelings etc that come into play when friends or of the opposite sex, or the same sex if their sexual leanings are of the same sex as well. Some are able to handle the nuances better than others and if one of the people desire something more than the chance of a true platonic relationship becomes even more remote.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@janbb I’m going to take crap for this, but my problem is as soon as a woman stops acting as a friend, and she starts acting as a woman to a man my male side comes out without me even realizing in an instant. I have to make an effort to stop myself. Oh boy, please go easy on me.(I think I should have phrased that better)

janbb's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe No crap from me today; I’m in a very mellow mood. :-) I actually agree with you, that sexual feelings can come up on either side and muddy the waters. But are you saying that you will respond sexually to almost any woman at some point or are there some with whom it will just never – err, come up?

plethora's avatar

@MrItty I think you got it exactly right!!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@janbb 100 percent honestly, I don’t know. I have been 100 percent faithful so far, but I have to admit I have surprised myself at responding at times.

J0E's avatar

This is really super weird. I was having a similar conversation with someone last night. Not to mention the similarities between our user names. (twilight zone theme)

Anyway, I think it’s a case by case basis. I’ve been able to stay friends with girls without wanting anything else. But I have also had girl friends that I couldn’t be just friends with. The situations are always messy, the question I always ask myself is “Should I ruin an already good relationship by trying to make it even better?” It’s a tough line to walk. My advice is to just tell him about it (even though I have a hard time doing that, myself)

Snarp's avatar

Relationships are complicated. Whatever relationship you have you take a chance of getting hurt one way or another, regardless of the sex, gender, or preference of the people involved. Having relationships involves risk, that’s life, try to enjoy it.

janbb's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe We can have strong attractions to other people while being in a relationship; the question is always what are you going to do about it? (And that can cause many sleepless nights.)

CMaz's avatar

Basically, and for an example.

I am a guy me and my guy friend, my buddy, do everything together. Fish, party even help out painting each others house.
We really get along or we would not hang out as much. Being of the same sex. (Remember this is an example.)

And, not having that ability (desire) to physically connect. Not “going there”. It is a true friendship.
That friendship is based on that “safety”.

If you have a woman friend, and you both are that close. We call that a connection. Not a friendship, now human nature kicks in.
Why not take it the next step? And you do. Now you either connect completely, or you have created a “weirdness” that causes the house of cards to tumble.

If you just keep it social, friends at a distance. Most “friends” are. Sure if you want to call that friendship, and it is, fine.

If you are in a relationship and your “best friend” is of the opposite sex. Kid yourself all you like. You are just compartmentalizing. That “friend” is just filling a void your relationship is not giving you.

plethora's avatar

@ChazMaz Great Answer… got it exactly right!!!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I had to think on that a little, but yeah I agree GA

mcbealer's avatar

I’m a girl and my best friends have always been guys. No benefits, either. It is possible, although there has to be a clear understanding of what the boundaries are up front. It does get complicated when strangers or acquaintances assume you’re an item, or your best friend falls for a jealous person.

If you guys hooked up a year ago and you’re not looking to repeat history just make that clear now rather than later. The last thing you want is to unknowingly lead someone on and/or find yourself in a difficult situation.

Do you feel any chemistry with this guy at all? Only you can answer that question…

cookieman's avatar

Absolutely. I have had female friends for years with no romantic connection.

Of course, it may help that I’m not particularly good looking.

Trillian's avatar

I have a few guy friends. Always have. Sex has never been a question in my mind. I can’t answer for them. I would hope not.

MrItty's avatar

@ChazMaz 100% false. The fact that you are unable to see members of the opposite sex in any kind of non-sexual way, that your own personal “human nature” is on overdrive, says absolutely nothing about any other person’s ability.

MrItty's avatar

I seriously feel very sorry for all those answering “No”. To eliminate 50% of the human race from potential friendships? Before knowing anything about them other than their gender? That’s honestly very sad.

sleepdoc's avatar

I think you all can see the theme here. What goes on in a guy’s head is much different that what goes on in a woman’s.

MrItty's avatar

@sleepdoc nope. I don’t see that theme at all. Sorry.

CMaz's avatar

“that your own personal “human nature””
That is your opinion. I am just following nature.

“says absolutely nothing about any other person’s ability.”
Your opinion is always welcome. :-)

wundayatta's avatar

I have many friends who are women, but very few of them did I not have at least some romantic feelings for somewhere along the road. Once you get past that, though, it can turn into a very good friendship.

BoBo1946's avatar

dang right….my g/f is my friend…and more!

seriously, yes you can just be friend…have many to prove this statement!

BoBo1946's avatar

@ChazMaz agree totally….well said!

CMaz's avatar

Just so there is no confusion.

Yes we can be “friends” just not friends. ;-)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes but I’ll be honest and say in my case there is usually some sort of attraction that brought us to the point of being friends whether or not it was ever acted out on. An important facet of friendship to me is respecting one another’s romantic relationships. When I’m dating then my male friends refrain from some of the bawdy banter we’re comfortable with but that my partner probably wouldn’t be and I expect my partner to act accordingly with his female friends.

plethora's avatar

@ChazMaz Exactly….very very good response
@sleepdoc You are so right
@MrItty You are drawing very harsh lines. @ChazMaz is not throwing out half of the human race. He is being realistic. There are “friends” and there are friends. I know scores of women with whom I would not care to be sexual. I also tend to be no more than social acquaintances with them. I also have a woman who has worked for me for 15 years. There has never been the slightest crossing of the sexual line with her. I wouldnt consider doing it because she is such a valuable employee, I know her family and her husband, who she just recently married. But am I conscious of the fact that she is HOT. Absolutely. So I am friends with her, but that friendship is only possibe because all these other safeguards are in place. The employee relationship, her value to me businesswise. She is almost like a business partner.

MrItty's avatar

@plethora actually, I’m drawing no lines whatsoever. It’s those who are saying a member of the opposite gender can’t be close friends who are drawing lines. Quite the opposite, I’m saying no such line exists.

He is being realistic for him. He is saying that he is incapable of forming a close non-sexual friendship with a woman. You, too, seem to be saying that absent external controls, you lack the ability to form such a friendship. I am saying while I believe both of you, as I have no way of knowing how your mind works, you do not speak for the rest of our gender.

Just_Justine's avatar

I do think males and females can be friends yes. :)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think they can be friends and very close friends at that. I never said I exclude 50 % of the people based on gender. I’m just being honest admitting the sex issue can come up, even with very close friends.

plethora's avatar

@MrItty OK….can buy that.
@Adirondackwannabe “the sex issue can come up, even with very close friends.”
There may be those like @MrItty can avoid the sex issue. My personal experience is that it is always there, sometimes far removed, but always possible. Unless, it happens to be a person with whom it does not exist whatsoever and with that person, it is usually because there are other aspects of their personality that do not draw me to them, so I remain a social friend or lose contact altogether.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I think empathy has a lot to do with it. I can easily put a bullet in sick cow, horse or mangled stray but I’m not sure I could do that to my pet dog, I’d probably want to give him a shot from the vet.

HTDC's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I think you’re in the wrong thread :D

Scooby's avatar

I have women friends whom I admire & respect, even though I fancy the pants off them I would never risk spoiling our friendship by being a letch, they’re worth far more to me as they are’ more than they would be if I let my primal instinct to take over, I wouldn’t see them for dust, we trust each other & I respect that, they can come to me with anything & me to them, it’s all good! ;-)

HTDC's avatar

@Scooby Is there any chance you could be friends with a woman without this primal instinct to take their pants off?

CMaz's avatar

@Neizvestnaya – Gets a GA just for that. lol!!

Scooby's avatar

I guess so, the married lasses yeah! but what really turns me on though is a woman who can be brutally honest & open minded at the same time being tactful & respectful , down to earth with class, this I respect & admire, my close friends are just like this, just being themselves & having a great laugh too
I’m stuck between a rock & a ‘hard’ place I guess, they’re all great……. :-)

Exhausted's avatar

Of course a person can be “just friends” with someone of the opposite sex. We socialize daily with people of the opposite sex without crossing the lines of friendship. The level of friendship would be the key. Can one have an “intimate” (sharing your innermost self with another) friendship with the opposite sex without actually having sex? That would be the challange.

j0ey's avatar

Thank you everyone for your answers….. :)

I know men and women can be friends, I have many male friends. But calling someone an actual “friend”, especially when they are of the opposite sex, takes TIME in my opinion.

AND usually those friendships have formed in a group situation or work situation, or I have known them so long they are like brothers.

THIS situation is a bit different though, its more a “one on one”, “fresh” feeling thing….kind of dating, but not dating…Is it naive that I just see this as hanging out with a “friend”.....I think that may explain the situation better….

Is it possible I am only viewing it this way because I dont have any romantic feelings? I’m sure if I had the hots for him I would see us hanging out in a different light….I dont want to be a prick tease, but I do enjoy his company.

….I guess maybe I should just drop something into our next conversation like “we’re just friends right?”...Part of me doesnt want to say this though, just incase he DOES want something with me, and thats the only reason he wants to hang out.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I have male friends who are both my own age and much younger. There isn’t any inkling of romantic interest. Mostly it’s bugging around.

thriftymaid's avatar

I imagine he will want to fool around again. But, yes, males and females can be lifelong friends without sex entering the picture.

Exhausted's avatar

If you are not intrested in him and they is even a slight chance he is interested in you, you definately clear the air so no one gets hurt. If you are secretly hoping he is interested in you, then just continue as you are and see what develops. I’m married to my best friend so I get the best of both worlds.

mollypop51797's avatar

-man+woman+1–4 months= danger zone **“The redcoats are coming! The red coats are coming!”

-man+woman+6–8 months= be aware **side affects may vary

-man+woman+1 yr = drive slowly.. it’s foggy out

-man+woman+2–4 yrs = use protection ;) just kidding!

-man+woman+5–15 yrs = I guess you’re pretty good now

-man+woman+16 yrs and up = I can see you two as little old [wo]men sitting in rocking chairs together reminiscing on your friendship

no just kidding! I think that you can definitely be friends with each other but just be aware of your actions and always keep your friendship in mind

YARNLADY's avatar

There’s already enough comments on both sides, I’ll just add my “yes, we can” to the vote.

plethora's avatar

@Exhausted “Can one have an “intimate” (sharing your innermost self with another) friendship with the opposite sex without actually having sex? That would be the challange.” Exactly right…..Great Answer!!!

Snarp's avatar

@j0ey Hanging out doesn’t make you a tease, it’s the signals you send while you are hanging out. But really, what’s wrong with being a tease? It’s not like you’re seducing him, getting him naked, and walking away. If he can’t enjoy what he’s got for what it is, tough. The whole notion of a woman being a tease is really more of a justification for date rape than it is any reality. I think you should relax, do what you do, and not worry about it.

iphigeneia's avatar

I’ve always placed friendship way before romantic or sexual relationships, and now I find it difficult to see male acquaintances as anything but friends. And most guys I meet these days pick up on that very quickly. Oops.

mattbrowne's avatar

Depends on the age. It’s very difficult for young energetic single men in dire need who don’t want to find a quiet space and yank it like a monkey in a mango tree.

jonami's avatar

i used to think they could, but now i’m doubtful…...of course a man and a woman can just be friends but it’s a little confusing and probably best not to if you really just want to be friends…...?

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