Why Can’t We Be Friends?

FriendsI recently read an article that discussed whether or not heterosexual men and women can be friends – and only friends. (I find that this concept that gets questioned a lot, especially after two people break up. ) The article references a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships that suggests that men tend to have more intimate feelings about their female friends and often think that the women they’re friendly with are attracted to them. Women, however, are more likely to think of their male friends as just friends, and tend to underestimate the level of attraction their male friends have for them.

Personally, I have a lot of male friends and of course I consider a lot of them good looking, but I’m not necessarily attracted to them. Some have expressed interest in me, but I just don’t have those feelings. There’s one friend in particular, who insists on paying when we go out to eat. Of course this is nice and gentlemanly, but why is he doing it? I always wonder why he won’t let me pay when I offer to do so every time we go out. We aren’t going on dates, I just want to catch up with a friend. Perhaps they mean something more to him.

From my experience, a guy will pay for your dinner or perform nice gestures with the hope that something more will happen in the future. A woman doesn’t hope for those things unless she’s actually interested. Women want conversation, someone they can laugh at themselves with, someone they can be around and not have to wear make-up, and someone who will be just as helpful as their female friends when it comes to advice and friendship.

As the article suggests, men and women simply have vastly different views on friendship. Men are uncomfortable discussing certain things with women and vice versa, but why does that hold them back from friendship? Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world where things can be exactly the way we want, but I think since men and women enjoy similar things and activities we should be able to build friendships that don’t require intimacy or attraction.