I’ve wrestled with the idea of men and women friendships in my head for years now. I’m not sure where I stand on this situation, to be completely honest. Let me explain what’s going on in my head recently:
Let’s say we have two 100%, single, available people. A friendship could be possible between the two of them, but, the whole argument given in “When Harry Met Sally” is so true. I feel like hardly ever could two single people be truly just friends because at some point in time, one of them will feel attracted to the other. And, as luck would have it, it most likely will happen at different times. One person will be attracted to the other and want to be with them, but the other will say no, they don’t feel that way at all, and then it becomes a constantly changing fit of attraction and non-attraction between the two. In the off chance that they do find themselves attracted to one another at the same time, then the argument at that point becomes, “we don’t want to ruin the friendship.” So, in fear of ruining their “friendship” they probably will decide not to date, but then throughout their “friendship” they have this underlying attraction to one another. So then there really is no winning in this situation.
Let’s say there’s two people that each in relationships that were “friends” before they were in this relationship. This happened to me in my last relationship–my boyfriend would sometimes meet these girls for lunch or dinner and to me, it was fine. Why? They were friends before we were together and more importantly, they somehow had developed that “friendship” while each person was single. The thought going through my head at that point was that if they had wanted to “be together” it would have happened already. Therefore, no jealousy exists on either side. But of course, in the discussion in “When Harry Met Sally,” at some point, as Harry theorizes, the person you’re in a relationship may accuse you of being secretly attracted to that “friend” that’s outside of the relationship, because then you may feel like they are “looking” for something they are not “getting” out of the relationship, so they go outside of the relationship to find it. Of course, these were not my thoughts at the time, but in the defense of others who may feel this way, it’s out there.
In the event that one person is in a relationship and they meet someone of the opposite sex after they have been in this relationship for any amount of time, and they start to develop some sort of friendship with them, the same problem then exists–why do they feel the need to be “friends” with this person when they have the relationship? Are they feeling some sort of connection with the other person, even if it is on a strictly friendly level, that they aren’t feeling in the relationship? Is something missing from the relationship so they have to look elsewhere to find it, even if it is done subconsciously? Or is it totally and completely misconstrued and those two people really are “just friends?”
The single person in this case, if they have any respect for others, then feels weird because they are “friends” with the person that’s in the relationship and they don’t want to become “that other person.” But really, the discussion then becomes–is anybody really doing anything wrong in this scenario? The single person is certainly not “being shady” because they are single and have no one to “answer to” and if there’s nothing going on between them and the person that’s in a relationship, then what is the problem? Are they being “shady” for even just hanging out with one another even if there is nothing going on but a friendship? And do they really feel like they are missing something from the relationship and not being fulfilled “all the way” so they look elsewhere to find it? Or are they really, in fact, “just friends?”
Then of course you have the issue that, somehow, the person you’re in a relationship with can remain “friends” with their exes. Or even just people they may have “hooked up with” in the past. My ex-boyfriend was this way. All of his ex hook ups and ex girlfriend were in our “group of friends.” This was a little unnerving at times, to be honest, because I can’t understand how you can be that way with someone and then have that attraction just, go away somehow. I never ever thought he was attracted to them anymore and could see these relationships really were just “strictly platonic,” but the thing I didn’t know was how the other person felt. How did all of those girls feel? Especially ones that, in my eyes, had no respect for anyone, not even themselves? “He’s in a relationship? Ha, who cares, I want him, so I’ll have him.” It’s sad to me to think that another person could feel that way, but it happens. And how are we to know, ever, if someone were to “snap” and feel that way again? Can you really ever just remain “friends” with an ex? Maybe I personally cannot understand this because when I’m done with someone, I’m done with them. “Friends”, in any capacity, is not possible. There’s a reason why we didn’t work out and there’s no reason to keep them in my life. Right? Am I alone in this way of thinking?
So is there any winning in this situation? Can men and women just be “friends” whether they are both in relationships, both single, or one is a relationship but not the other? I’m interested to find out, as I have found, sadly, that I have been through all situations personally and none work out, no matter what the situation may be.