Can girls be just friends with guys?

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missyscove

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I went to an all-girls high school so at the time having male friends was something of a novelty. In college I still have many more female than male friends (I live with 5 other girls, for example, and my major is predominately female) but I do have my fair share of guy friends. So yes, I think girls and guys can be just friends, but then again, my boyfriend of 2.5 years and I were "just friends" for 6 months before we started dating so I guess it depends on the girl and the guy.
 

kuniklos

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Yes, it's absolutely possible. If someone doesn't think that you can just be friends with the opposite gender, they have some serious issues with socializing and setting boundaries if they are breeched.

I'm female and I can count on one hand the number of female friends I have had. All of my friends are guys. Yes, sometimes they "liked me" or I "liked them"," but is rarely amounted to anything. If I was interested in a friend romantically, I was pretty open about saying, "Hey, I feel x and x for you. Do you feel the same?" If they didn't I tended my little heart and moved on. Sometimes they remained friends with me, sometimes they didn't. And the same went in reverse. If I didn't like the guy, I let them know that nothing is weird between us, but I am just not interested.

If the feelings are platonic (nearly all my friendships have been) this should not be an issue. But some people cannot handle being friends with someone they are romantically interested in without getting what they want. These things happen.

I would suspect the people giving you hell are just looking for gossip or drama. I would lay it out to them.
 

plasticbunny

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kuniklos wrote:
Yes, it's absolutely possible. If someone doesn't think that you can just be friends with the opposite gender, they have some serious issues with socializing and setting boundaries if they are breeched.

As I stated, I am of the opinion that men and women cannot, in general, be friends. I have to say I found your comment somewhat offensive. Perhaps you should be a little moire careful with how you phrase things. You can voice your own opinion without hurting the feelings of others.
 

kuniklos

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plasticbunny wrote:
kuniklos wrote:
Yes, it's absolutely possible. If someone doesn't think that you can just be friends with the opposite gender, they have some serious issues with socializing and setting boundaries if they are breeched.

As I stated, I am of the opinion that men and women cannot, in general, be friends. I have to say I found your comment somewhat offensive. Perhaps you should be a little moire careful with how you phrase things. You can voice your own opinion without hurting the feelings of others.
I am sorry you feel offended, but I don't believe there is a kinder way to phrase it. Sure, we may be animals, but what separates us from the animals culture and our ability to deny biology. Dr. Helen Fischer and Dr. Desmond Morris are leading examples in research on sexual biology. I highly recommend, "The Sex Contract." Really opened my eye about theory on human nature. Not that I had issues with the male friends before. I couldn't imagine being incapable of being friends with a male without having complicated feelings. It's completely unfathomable to me. They are people, not just prospective partners. If this was true, I'd have shagged my way through a dozen countries by now and out of a really fantastic relationship. If you can't be friends with men, that's fine for you. But you might be missing out on some great people in your life. Having males friends is so different to having female friends. It's refreshing much of the time.

I have been with my fiancee for six years, and my two closest friends are male. They are both like brothers to me. One of them I travel with every other year. He and I went to Japan for two months right after high school, and this summer he and I are backpacking around continental Europe. And nothing has ever happened between us. I have never had complicated feelings for him. He has a crush on me when where we...12, more than a decade ago. But that ended pretty quickly (after all, the only guy for me at the time was singing in the Backstreet Boys XD). My other closest friend is my fiancee's best friend. He's my yoga and biking buddy to boot. We also go camping once the fall comes around. Nothing has ever happened between any of us. I have another half dozen guys in my life I can call friends. I'm actually about to meet one for coffee in about an hour and a half so our rabbits can have a little "date" together and I can get my Old Fashioned donut on.

Not to mention work! I work as an archaeologist and spend weeks, and sometimes months of the year living away from him, sharing accommodations with other males. And I mean tiny hostel rooms, and tents that hold 4 people but we manage to fit 6. Not glamorous, but for all that time and contact together, you'd imagine someone would have made a move. Or maybe there is something about dirty academics with a shovel that just doesn't get my goat. :p They might just need more funding to catch me. HA!
 

plasticbunny

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I do believe there was another way to TACTFULLY phrase your opinion.

I am offended because you blatentlystated that the people who believe that men and women cannot be friends have "some serious issues with socializing", which implies that those people are somehow socially disabled. I am, in fact, one of those people, but I do NOT have any "issues". I have no social inadiquacies. I don't break out in a cold sweat in public. I have simply, from my own experiences, discovered that I cannot have friendships with men, because one side has always developed feelings for the other side, and visa versa. This is MY opinion, no one elses. I was asked for it, and so I gave it. And in giving it, I did not demean anyone elses opinion, or insult anyone else. You did.


 

mishalaa

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It depends where you draw the line between just friends and not just friends.

Shaina, from your post I'm gathering that you think something physical has to happen before you're no longer just friends. I, and I believe Erin, don't think that's the case. I believe that once one party or the other develops feelings, you are no longer just friends - you are friends with feelings, even if nothing physical happens. Feelings that aren't returned just create tension, even if you remain friends.

If "not just friends" means something physical happening, then certainly it's possible and quite common to be just friends with the opposite sex.

If "not just friends" means one or the other (or both!) develop feelings, I do believe that's still possible, but fairly rare. USUALLY, as Erin said, someone will start having feelings.

Even in entirely platonic relationships, I'd bet everyone at least thinks about the possibility of a romantic relationship once or twice, even without feelings.

"If equal love cannot be, let the more loving one be me."
 

kuniklos

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Certainly people could entertain the idea and think about the "what ifs". I can agree on that for sure. But (correct me if I am reading this wrong) it seems like that's a negative thing to have thoughts and curiosities or these sorts, or that is leads to some sort of trouble. Hello 1984! But just because you think it, doesn't mean romantic or sexual feelings are involved.

I think a good discussion would be what makes feelings toward a friend the same or different than feelings towards a lover or romantic partner. I think intention and sexual desire plays a big role as well. What about people who are bi? Because they could be attracted to or have romantic feelings towards both genders, does that mean that they can't just be friends with anyone (other than bunnies ofourse)?
 

plasticbunny

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Oh, Mish, I think you hit the nail on the head. I do think I should clarify.

I have been in the same relationship with the same man for 5 years. I am certainly not what I would consider the jealous type, but IF my boyfriend were to have a female friend, and IF that female friend had ANY SORT of romantic or sexual feelings towards my man (or he had feelings for her), I would quite obviously have an issue with it. I don't care that they didn't act on it, or wouldn't act on it. The fact is, a line was crossed. Likewise, IF I had a male friend, and he or I ever had some sort of attraction towards each other (which I think is almost always inevitable at some point), I would consider that as... well, almost like cheating. It would be a situation that would make my boyfriend unhappy, and is therefore inappropriate behavior on my part.

Sure, I've had "male friends". Male friends I've never kissed, slept with, snuggled, talked dirty to, dated, loved, etc. Does that mean they were always "just friends"? Not a chance. We flirted. We had impure thoughts of each other.

To sum it up, I think the line between "just friends" and "more than _" is crossed the second something happens between you that would be considered inappropriate in a relationship. Which, coincidently, almost always happens.

So perhaps, Shaina, our idea of what constitutes "just friends" is what's different. Perhaps you think it is acceptable to flirt or hug or have fantasies of your male friends. Or perhaps, you've been blessed by having many male friends that you have never ever had a single fantasy of, and they've never had a single fantasy of you. If so, congrats.

I just think differently, I suppose.
 

kuniklos

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I think you have the right, plasticbunny. Our views on what's acceptable are different. My friends and I, regardless of gender so kiss each other on the cheek and foreheads. But I spent so much of my life abroad where it is acceptable that it never phases me. Personal space is different in the US. Nudity in continental Europe: you see it frequently. Here? In public, hell no. Have I seen all my non-American female friends nude? Yep! What about the male? A few! Kisses and hugs? Totally friendly! But your wouldn't stick your tongue down a friend's throat.

My guy and I have female and male friends. There have been situations where one and an ex or had a crush on one of us: but we were never bothered by it. My guy is, for lack of a better way to saying it, too lazy to pursue other woman or even hobbies once he's happy. I would never betray his trust because I have been cheated on. But it hasn't killed my trust in my loved one either and made me jealous or leery of other people.
 

MsBunBun

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In my opinion, its really hard to have a straight male friend. There are rare instances when you can just be friends with them. I don't seem to have that luck. lol. They always try to hit on you or end up being attracted to you most of the time. And then 90% of the time when you tell them nicely that you don't feel the same... they avoid you. But yeah, that's how it's been for me.

My current best male friend is, of course, gay. People thought for the longest time that we were going out as well but that is no surprise to me.
 

NickZac

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kuniklos wrote:
Yes, it's absolutely possible.  If someone doesn't think that you can just be friends with the opposite gender, they have some serious issues with socializing and setting boundaries if they are breeched.
I am somewhat troubled that one in the field of the humanities would say this.


This is far more complicated issue than the above quote makes it appear. While this is not a penis and vagina kind of an issue, it is very much so an issue of the cultural implications of having a penis or a vagina in the Western world (While the implications of not being a 'traditional' heterosexual male or female is even more complicated of an issue, for the sake of the current topic I will not discuss this given the length and the below is specific to heterosexual male and female interactions.)

What you choose to do is not completely made at an individual level. The things that everyone does is based on what society, as the larger whole, tells us is acceptable to do. In this instance, the macro influences the micro, and this is normal. Sociology studies this, as does anthropology but to a slightly different degree (which includes archaeology). When the individual level does NOT follow the macro set standards, it is seen as dysfunctional. Abnormal and dysfunctional psychology studies this and how the individual acts and reacts according from the commands given to them by the macro. Intersexual interaction is far more complicated than same-sex interaction as there are more rigid social guidelines that define what is and what is not acceptable.

A few of the many issues that define how men and women interact with each other are:
-Gender roles, which includes cultural and sexual expectations. For the entire life, we are all taught to do and not to do things. The biggest institutions of thought are usually school, home, and religious gatherings. Sex defines a ridiculously high majority of these things; what is considered okay for one sex is not for the other.
-Sex is a taboo (In the US more so than other places). Certain things are not okay in today’s society; look at how infuriated people get over interracial couples for example (and how a White and Black couple are discriminated against far more than any other same race or interracial mix).
-Sexual jealousy-many (not all) people will become unhappy if their spouse frequently interacts with those of the opposite gender. As I said this is not always, but it is much more frequently than people perceive, as those whom voice their unhappiness are only a small minority of those who are unhappy. Some sexologists argue that this sexual jealousy is such an issue that NO one of opposite genders can be just friends. I don't see it to that extreme, but this is often the case. Likewise, it can cause unhappiness when an opposite-sex friend that likes you in a fully romantic sense sees you going to bed with someone else. Just because you do not want to have sex with someone does NOT mean that they feel the same.
-Socioeconomic status-we are all taught to be friends with people of one SES, and to date those of another-ex: "marry a doctor or a lawyer and not a garbage-man". SES can influence whom we like in what sense at only a subconscious level.
-Deviance-things that are not culturally acceptable are labeled as being 'deviant', which carries a level of social stigma that can damage one's reputation as an individual. While this view is (finally) starting to fade, currently, girls that hang out with almost all guys are often called 'whores' or ‘loose’, and guys that hang out with all girls are called 'pimps' or 'players'. The media also refers to a guy being a friend with a girl as a ‘dick in a jar’. While this shows that female sexuality is far more repressed and stigmatized than male sexuality, both of the above still constitute deviance. It is still not completely culturally acceptable, and it is a topic that is still controversial.
-‘Romantic’ Love-the notion of traditionally poet romantic love is a joke. The “I loved you upon first sight” simply means “I would like to have sex with you” or “You possess something that I would like to have as well”. One can call this infatuation or simple desire of non love-related components. The notion of love that many people believe exists does not. Love is far more complex and one can argue that love is even learned. If you are friends with someone of the opposite sex for a long time, you (or they) may one day realize intense, true, and complete love, despite not having thought about this previously over a period of years, and sometimes decades. This ‘real’ love never just ‘appears’, and the notion of the romantic love and ‘love-at-first-sight’ is a driving force behind such a high divorce rate. The love type that everyone should want to reach (and maintain through passionate and intimate expression) is the type of love that endures for many decades; this is called consummate love (see the Triangular Theory of Love). So in summary, love is not static and (mutual or unreturned) love can occur after a long period of a mutually plutonic relationship, which can complicate everything.

I am not implying that mutual intersexual plutonic friendships are impossible. I have some good friends that are female whom I am not interested in having sex with. I am also not saying that anyone here with good individual friendships is wrong, as I am sure many people here have healthy friendships with those of the opposite sex. I am also not justifying the right or wrong of our current social norms. I am, however, illustrating how our society creates dynamics that are more complicated for this type of friendship.

“If someone doesn't think that you can just be friends with the opposite gender, they have some serious issues with socializing and setting boundaries if they are breeched.” Ultimately, this only shows one's lack of understanding or denial of how society functions, as well as how an exception does not change or invalidate a current norm. My grandmother lived to 98 in unusually good health for her age despite smoking for 75+ of her years; that doesn’t mean that is the common outcome of decades of heavy smoking.
 

kuniklos

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plasticbunny wrote:
So perhaps, Shaina, our idea of what constitutes "just friends" is what's different. Perhaps you think it is acceptable to flirt or hug or have fantasies of your male friends. Or perhaps, you've been blessed by having many male friends that you have never ever had a single fantasy of, and they've never had a single fantasy of you. If so, congrats.
But now you insult but suggesting that the only reason I have males friends is because I flirt or am having fantasies with them. Because obviously I must have these secret harbored desires for them. Oh woe is my lasciviousness.
 

kuniklos

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NickZac wrote:
kuniklos wrote:
Yes, it's absolutely possible. If someone doesn't think that you can just be friends with the opposite gender, they have some serious issues with socializing and setting boundaries if they are breeched.
I am somewhat troubled that one in the field of the humanities would say this.


This is far more complicated issue than the above quote makes it appear. While this is not a penis and vagina kind of an issue, it is very much so an issue of the cultural implications of having a penis or a vagina in the Western world (While the implications of not being a 'traditional' heterosexual male or female is even more complicated of an issue, for the sake of the current topic I will not discuss this given the length and the below is specific to heterosexual male and female interactions.)

What you choose to do is not completely made at an individual level. The things that everyone does is based on what society, as the larger whole, tells us is acceptable to do. In this instance, the macro influences the micro, and this is normal. Sociology studies this, as does anthropology but to a slightly different degree (which includes archaeology). When the individual level does NOT follow the macro set standards, it is seen as dysfunctional. Abnormal and dysfunctional psychology studies this and how the individual acts and reacts according from the commands given to them by the macro. Intersexual interaction is far more complicated than same-sex interaction as there are more rigid social guidelines that define what is and what is not acceptable.

A few of the many issues that define how men and women interact with each other are:
-Gender roles, which includes cultural and sexual expectations. For the entire life, we are all taught to do and not to do things. The biggest institutions of thought are usually school, home, and religious gatherings. Sex defines a ridiculously high majority of these things; what is considered okay for one sex is not for the other.
-Sex is a taboo (In the US more so than other places). Certain things are not okay in today’s society; look at how infuriated people get over interracial couples for example (and how a White and Black couple are discriminated against far more than any other same race or interracial mix).
-Sexual jealousy-many (not all) people will become unhappy if their spouse frequently interacts with those of the opposite gender. As I said this is not always, but it is much more frequently than people perceive, as those whom voice their unhappiness are only a small minority of those who are unhappy. Some sexologists argue that this sexual jealousy is such an issue that NO one of opposite genders can be just friends. I don't see it to that extreme, but this is often the case. Likewise, it can cause unhappiness when an opposite-sex friend that likes you in a fully romantic sense sees you going to bed with someone else. Just because you do not want to have sex with someone does NOT mean that they feel the same.
-Socioeconomic status-we are all taught to be friends with people of one SES, and to date those of another-ex: "marry a doctor or a lawyer and not a garbage-man". SES can influence whom we like in what sense at only a subconscious level.
-Deviance-things that are not culturally acceptable are labeled as being 'deviant', which carries a level of social stigma that can damage one's reputation as an individual. While this view is (finally) starting to fade, currently, girls that hang out with almost all guys are often called 'whores' or ‘loose’, and guys that hang out with all girls are called 'pimps' or 'players'. The media also refers to a guy being a friend with a girl as a ‘dick in a jar’. While this shows that female sexuality is far more repressed and stigmatized than male sexuality, both of the above still constitute deviance. It is still not completely culturally acceptable, and it is a topic that is still controversial.
-‘Romantic’ Love-the notion of traditionally poet romantic love is a joke. The “I loved you upon first sight” simply means “I would like to have sex with you” or “You possess something that I would like to have as well”. One can call this infatuation or simple desire of non love-related components. The notion of love that many people believe exists does not. Love is far more complex and one can argue that love is even learned. If you are friends with someone of the opposite sex for a long time, you (or they) may one day realize intense, true, and complete love, despite not having thought about this previously over a period of years, and sometimes decades. This ‘real’ love never just ‘appears’, and the notion of the romantic love and ‘love-at-first-sight’ is a driving force behind such a high divorce rate. The love type that everyone should want to reach (and maintain through passionate and intimate expression) is the type of love that endures for many decades; this is called consummate love (see the Triangular Theory of Love). So in summary, love is not static and (mutual or unreturned) love can occur after a long period of a mutually plutonic relationship, which can complicate everything.

I am not implying that mutual intersexual plutonic friendships are impossible. I have some good friends that are female whom I am not interested in having sex with. I am also not saying that anyone here with good individual friendships is wrong, as I am sure many people here have healthy friendships with those of the opposite sex. I am also not justifying the right or wrong of our current social norms. I am, however, illustrating how our society creates dynamics that are more complicated for this type of friendship.

“If someone doesn't think that you can just be friends with the opposite gender, they have some serious issues with socializing and setting boundaries if they are breeched.” Ultimately, this only shows one's lack of understanding or denial of how society functions, as well as how an exception does not change or invalidate a current norm. My grandmother lived to 98 in unusually good health for her age despite smoking for 75+ of her years; that doesn’t mean that is the common outcome of decades of heavy smoking.
You definitely do me some shame here, although even with my degree, even I see the issues with anthropological theory. This is why I took to archaeology over. You can explain everything with something.

Anthropological theory (although I could just claim relativism and be done with it, but that wouldn't be any fun!) is funny. You can't pick one model and say "this is it!" This if fact! Because there are social models to explain everything. And being in the age of Post-Modernism, anything goes. The last AAA meeting near me (in Phili i 2009) I attended as themed, "The End of Anthropology," due to post-modern thought. There really is no right or wrong theory, and the argument is endless. I love Dr. Helen Fischer's early stuff on sex in that she claims everything we do and desire is linked to it in the end. It does make sense, and I could agree with it. But at the same time I am a materialist following Marvin Harris in the end. Sure, I can agree that we react to our environment at the basis, certainly. And we can trace any behavior through the structure, and superstructure...but there are always exceptions to the rule. I don't feel I am an exception by any means. I can only think of a few people in my life who have issues being friend with the opposite gender. And they all had to do with trauma or jealousy.

I'm extremely happy and I have my fiance who fills so many roles in my life, and friends who fill other roles. If I am healthy, happy, and successful I must be a deviant? I think deviance really needs a rewrite. I could even be a deviant in such that I have never used drugs. Not even in college. Not a wiff of pot. Nada. But "everyone" tries something at some point for the most part, right? Sure deviance is meant to be an abnormality from the norm, but for most people deviance = bad. It's not. I have companions for all seasons and activities. No one needs to be alone, bored, emotionally stressed or confused, or has to feel jealousy or emptiness. They do it to themselves, and that's the tragedy. Limiting your friends due to gender is one such way to make yourself unhappy. If you are happy in the "red tent" then power to them! But I am not. My best friend and I have been riding each others coat tails since we were 10 years old. If anyone suggested I had a thing for him, it would feel like they were accusing me of incest.


 

NickZac

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kuniklos wrote:
NickZac wrote:
kuniklos wrote:
Yes, it's absolutely possible.  If someone doesn't think that you can just be friends with the opposite gender, they have some serious issues with socializing and setting boundaries if they are breeched.
I am somewhat troubled that one in the field of the humanities would say this.


This is far more complicated issue than the above quote makes it appear. While this is not a penis and vagina kind of an issue, it is very much so an issue of the cultural implications of having a penis or a vagina in the Western world (While the implications of not being a 'traditional' heterosexual male or female is even more complicated of an issue, for the sake of the current topic I will not discuss this given the length and the below is specific to heterosexual male and female interactions.)

What you choose to do is not completely made at an individual level. The things that everyone does is based on what society, as the larger whole, tells us is acceptable to do. In this instance, the macro influences the micro, and this is normal. Sociology studies this, as does anthropology but to a slightly different degree (which includes archaeology). When the individual level does NOT follow the macro set standards, it is seen as dysfunctional. Abnormal and dysfunctional psychology studies this and how the individual acts and reacts according from the commands given to them by the macro. Intersexual interaction is far more complicated than same-sex interaction as there are more rigid social guidelines that define what is and what is not acceptable.

A few of the many issues that define how men and women interact with each other are:
-Gender roles, which includes cultural and sexual expectations. For the entire life, we are all taught to do and not to do things. The biggest institutions of thought are usually school, home, and religious gatherings. Sex defines a ridiculously high majority of these things; what is considered okay for one sex is not for the other.
-Sex is a taboo (In the US more so than other places). Certain things are not okay in today’s society; look at how infuriated people get over interracial couples for example (and how a White and Black couple are discriminated against far more than any other same race or interracial mix).
-Sexual jealousy-many (not all) people will become unhappy if their spouse frequently interacts with those of the opposite gender. As I said this is not always, but it is much more frequently than people perceive, as those whom voice their unhappiness are only a small minority of those who are unhappy. Some sexologists argue that this sexual jealousy is such an issue that NO one of opposite genders can be just friends. I don't see it to that extreme, but this is often the case. Likewise, it can cause unhappiness when an opposite-sex friend that likes you in a fully romantic sense sees you going to bed with someone else. Just because you do not want to have sex with someone does NOT mean that they feel the same.
-Socioeconomic status-we are all taught to be friends with people of one SES, and to date those of another-ex: "marry a doctor or a lawyer and not a garbage-man". SES can influence whom we like in what sense at only a subconscious level.
-Deviance-things that are not culturally acceptable are labeled as being 'deviant', which carries a level of social stigma that can damage one's reputation as an individual. While this view is (finally) starting to fade, currently, girls that hang out with almost all guys are often called 'whores' or ‘loose’, and guys that hang out with all girls are called 'pimps' or 'players'. The media also refers to a guy being a friend with a girl as a ‘dick in a jar’. While this shows that female sexuality is far more repressed and stigmatized than male sexuality, both of the above still constitute deviance. It is still not completely culturally acceptable, and it is a topic that is still controversial.
-‘Romantic’ Love-the notion of traditionally poet romantic love is a joke. The “I loved you upon first sight” simply means “I would like to have sex with you” or “You possess something that I would like to have as well”. One can call this infatuation or simple desire of non love-related components. The notion of love that many people believe exists does not. Love is far more complex and one can argue that love is even learned. If you are friends with someone of the opposite sex for a long time, you (or they) may one day realize intense, true, and complete love, despite not having thought about this previously over a period of years, and sometimes decades. This ‘real’ love never just ‘appears’, and the notion of the romantic love and ‘love-at-first-sight’ is a driving force behind such a high divorce rate. The love type that everyone should want to reach (and maintain through passionate and intimate expression) is the type of love that endures for many decades; this is called consummate love (see the Triangular Theory of Love). So in summary, love is not static and (mutual or unreturned) love can occur after a long period of a mutually plutonic relationship, which can complicate everything.

I am not implying that mutual intersexual plutonic friendships are impossible. I have some good friends that are female whom I am not interested in having sex with. I am also not saying that anyone here with good individual friendships is wrong, as I am sure many people here have healthy friendships with those of the opposite sex. I am also not justifying the right or wrong of our current social norms. I am, however, illustrating how our society creates dynamics that are more complicated for this type of friendship.

“If someone doesn't think that you can just be friends with the opposite gender, they have some serious issues with socializing and setting boundaries if they are breeched.” Ultimately, this only shows one's lack of understanding or denial of how society functions, as well as how an exception does not change or invalidate a current norm. My grandmother lived to 98 in unusually good health for her age despite smoking for 75+ of her years; that doesn’t mean that is the common outcome of decades of heavy smoking.
You definitely do me some shame here, although even with my degree, even I see the issues with anthropological theory.  This is why I took to archaeology over. You can explain everything with something.

Anthropological theory (although I could just claim relativism and be done with it, but that wouldn't be any fun!) is funny.  You can't pick one model and say "this is it!"  This if fact!  Because there are social models to explain everything.  And being in the age of Post-Modernism, anything goes.  The last AAA meeting near me (in Phili i 2009) I attended as themed, "The End of Anthropology," due to post-modern thought.  There really is no right or wrong theory, and the argument is endless.  I love Dr. Helen Fischer's early stuff on sex in that she claims everything we do and desire is linked to it in the end.  It does make sense, and I could agree with it.  But at the same time I am a materialist following Marvin Harris in the end.  Sure, I can agree that we react to our environment at the basis, certainly.  And we can trace any behavior through the structure, and superstructure...but there are always exceptions to the rule.  I don't feel I am an exception by any means.  I can only think of a few people in my life who have issues being friend with the opposite gender.  And they all had to do with trauma or jealousy. 

I'm extremely happy and I have my fiance who fills so many roles in my life, and friends who fill other roles.  If I am healthy, happy, and successful I must be a deviant?  I think deviance really needs a rewrite.  I could even be a deviant in such that I have never used drugs.  Not even in college. Not a wiff of pot.  Nada.  But "everyone" tries something at some point for the most part, right?  Sure deviance is meant to be an abnormality from the norm, but for most people deviance = bad.  It's not.  I have companions for all seasons and activities. No one needs to be alone, bored, emotionally stressed or confused, or has to feel jealousy or emptiness.  They do it to themselves, and that's the tragedy.   Limiting your friends due to gender is one such way to make yourself unhappy.  If you are happy in the "red tent" then power to them! But I am not.  My best friend and I have been riding each others coat tails since we were 10 years old.  If anyone suggested I had a thing for him, it would feel like they were accusing me of incest.
While you may not think that you are the exception, you are opposing the dominant opinion, which can indeed be the exception.

As I stated previously
I am not implying that mutual intersexual plutonic friendships are impossible. I have some good friends that are female whom I am not interested in having sex with. I am also not saying that anyone here with good individual friendships is wrong, as I am sure many people here have healthy friendships with those of the opposite sex. I am also not justifying the right or wrong of our current social norms. I am, however, illustrating how our society creates dynamics that are more complicated for this type of friendship.

“If someone doesn't think that you can just be friends with the opposite gender, they have some serious issues with socializing and setting boundaries if they are breeched.” Ultimately, this only shows one's lack of understanding or denial of how society functions, as well as how an exception does not change or invalidate a current norm. My grandmother lived to 98 in unusually good health for her age despite smoking for 75+ of her years; that doesn’t mean that is the common outcome of decades of heavy smoking.
1) In your local group or culture, it may be more or less acceptable. This can often occur due to groupthink/cultural cohesiveness. In fact, NOT having friends of the opposite sex may be deviant in your social structure.
2) There are exceptions to everything; you admitted this yourself. If a man jumps in his fridge during an EF 5 tornado, which throws the fridge 5 miles and he survives without a scratch, it would be shortsighted to conclude that any substantial amount of tornado versus fridge cases will result in the same outcome.
3) One person does not always reflect the norm; see number 2
4) I never said deviance was good or bad; I am saying that it is and not that it is ___ (insert individual interpretation here). In some ways, deviance acts as a function of social control and cohesion. It can vary largely from one group to another (look at abortion). You have shown that you think a lack of relationships between girls and guys are deviant, when you imply people who do not have some sort of "serious issue". You reiterate this when you imply that not functioning in the manner you see as correct is a means that can result in a negative outcome.
5) I never said to limit your social horizon but I DID say mutually plutonic male/female relationships were more complicated than same sex relationships. Recognizing the differences in the dynamics can HELP create a stronger and more enduring relationship. Much like race, when sexuality is openly discussed, all types of relationships tend to be more healthy.
6) If you want to take this to the next level, one can argue that as the equality between men and women continues to become more parallel, the ability for successful intersex friendships will continue to increase. Given you have gone to college, you are in a higher SES. Higher education is often linked to equality and a lower SES is linked to more rigid gender norms. Going to college at all is still not the norm. Because you have a degree(s), your independence (and so your SES) has increased, which may make intersex friendships easier.

We are all biased and motivated by first hand experience. Reducing social phenomenon into simple concepts does not work in this case. Your reasoning and justification is poor, although what you say is obviously true for some people/groups. More than likely, you have a healthy relationship with both your friends and your fiance. You are probably a nice person, but I feel that you are refusing to look at a complex issue in only one way, despite there clearly being more to the issue. If someone does not function exactly like you, this does not mean that they have any sort of social dysfunction, issue, or are more likely to be unhappy.
 

plasticbunny

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kuniklos wrote:
plasticbunny wrote:
So perhaps, Shaina, our idea of what constitutes "just friends" is what's different. Perhaps you think it is acceptable to flirt or hug or have fantasies of your male friends. Or perhaps, you've been blessed by having many male friends that you have never ever had a single fantasy of, and they've never had a single fantasy of you. If so, congrats.
But now you insult but suggesting that the only reason I have males friends is because I flirt or am having fantasies with them. Because obviously I must have these secret harbored desires for them. Oh woe is my lasciviousness.

Um, that's not what I said. Try reading it again.
 

MiniLopHop

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Personally I think flirting and having fantasies is fun as long as it doesn't go anywhere. We share our fantasies with each other to enhance our interactions. Heck, I will point out girls in skimpy outfits to my husband. He's married, not dead. As long as it is look but not touch we are happy. Perhaps the important part is that we both feel the same way so it doesn't cause any stress in our relationship. We know that we are commited and faithful to each other.
 

JadeIcing

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Interesting... I have one male friend since we were infants, another two from grade school, 3 from middle school,and 5 from high school, and one from just after HS. I am 28 will be 29 in October and never once has anything happened between us. Never thought of it oh and my husband has become good friends with them.
 

Aina

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It depends. You have to consider what people are thinking on both sides. I don't think you can make blanket statements, because honestly, people aren't that simply.

I have lots of guy friends, especially since all my female friends left me for the summer. But they are generally also my brother's friends too and I don't hang out with them one-on-one much. There are a few that I would date, and I have no problem getting closer to them as friends, but if I would not date them then the friendship will always be surface level because I want to preserve both of our hearts from the possibility of something happening and someone's heart being broken.

I think that it is perfectly fine having friends of the opposite gender, but there are some things to consider.

First, consider yourself and your friend's feelings. You may think it is platonic and they think it is not and that can cause drama. Two of my best friends were getting closer and I knew one had a huge crush on the other and the other was just "wait and see" and I warned him that she liked him and he needed to back off if he didn't like her. Well, he didn't, and they blew up and it took a while for them to be just friends again.

Another thing to ask what your SO is thinking. Not what *you* would think in a similar situation, but what *he or she* thinks. If they are unhappy with you having close relationships with people of the opposite gender, than you probably need to stop. Note, that is can go to an extreme, if your SO gets jealous because he sees you just speak to someone of the opposite gender, you may have some jealousy issues there.

Lastly, consider their relationships too. You need to be respectful of the other's SO as well as your own.

If it seems like everything like that adds up, then be friends, but continually be checking to see if you need to back off on the friendship some. I'm always amazed at how many people are like "It just came out of nowhere" when the issues have really been coming for a while.
 

NZminilops

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My best friend is a guy and we have been best buds since we were 11 (now 29). No feelings ever on my side, and if he ever had feelings for me he never let on.
 
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