Like Cats and Dogs….Can Men and Women be ‘just’ friends?

Posted on April 30, 2010

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The question is can men and women just be friends? The reflex answer is a big fat NO! To break it down simply, men are from mars and women are from venus or whatever the saying is. I guess the first question really is what do you mean by friends?  I think the definition is the key to answering this question. Men generally do not use the word friend as loosely as women do. For a guy to call another guy his friend, there is usually some history, there is something that ties them together other than hanging out together in the same clique, going to the same bars etc etc. You may have a bunch of guys who go out together all the time and there may be two guys in the crew who never really interact with each other. Someone looking from the outside in will see them hanging out constantly and assume they are all friends, but ask Tony for Mike’s number and Tony says, “Ask Thomas, he’s Mike’s friend”. It may sound funny but guys who hang out a lot and spend a lot of time together may not be friends. You also generally do not have guys talking to other guys they do not consider themselves close to or consider friends. They don’t meet for drinks; they don’t call to say hi, they generally maintain their own space.

Females on the other hand, from gisting with sisters and wifey and other female friends and family, use the friend word a lot more loosely. Ask who Jane is and she is my friend…but then say oh, is she, can you please talk to her about a or b? And the response is um, she is not my friend like that. Women seem to have a lot more “levels” of friends than men do. You can be a friend for shopping, friend for talking to, friend for networking, friend for drinks etc. Women seem to have friends like they have bags. It never ceases to amuse me when you hear a girl taking it to another girl and when you say, isn’t she your friend, why do you hang out with her then? You hear something like; she knows all the really cool places to get bargains or is really good at networking or something like that. Now that is on the same sex steez, when it comes to cross sex friendships, it becomes more  interesting.

In general, females have two kinds of male friends; guys they have dated and guys they have hung out a lot with in school or some other place who would have liked to be more than friends and unfortunately got parked in the friend zone. Women have male friends like their female friends, they are in nice compartments and they can be put up like a pair of shoes and brought out when they need to be worn. There are male friends that exist outside these categories but they are more the exception than the norm. They are male friends that there was never a whiff of dating in the air who also turned out to be cool guys and were not parked in the friend zone but sort of gained “family” status which elevated them beyond the friend status. It is usually these friends that women are horribly betrayed by, when of all things, the guy shows some less than brotherly interest in boobs or/and booty. How can my bro be looking at my ass? Euwww, disgusting! Male friends sit in specific friend zones and are not allowed to cross borders.

Guys are very simple when it comes to female friends. You have three types of female friends as a guy; a girl you dated and it didn’t work out but it did not end up horrible and you guys were close enough and got past the physical enough to respect each other as human beings and have conversations where one party did not bring up what the other had done to them in the past to mess up their lives. Then there is the friend you wanted to date, have sex with, and somehow during the process, you got parked in the friend zone and you were cool with it cos you guys have some similar interests in life. Then there are the girl friends you meet and there is no chance of anything at all happening cos you guys are dating other people or you just clicked on a non sexual vibe and you are now sorta sister and brotherly. This kinda mirrors the girl definitions except for the fact that girl friends can move from zone to zone.

So, on a surface viewing, guys are girls can be friends, but wait. There is a level of intimacy which you get past with your friends which men and women cannot get past with each other unless they are intimate which stops guys from being friends with girls. Guys are very different emotional animals from girls and their expressions of what is going on inside is different as night is from day. Women are very expressive and emotional animal, men are not. Very few men have any time for the emotional meanderings of women and even the ones that do can only take it for so long. A guy has an issue, he deals with it, talk to the bastard, smash a bottle on his head, have a verbal tiff and be done with it. The dude plays his position and you both move on. Women have to understand and make sense of it all and this works when they are with their women friends. However with guys it is like oh god, shoot me now, for the most part anyway. A guy generally does not want to hear about how many different ways you feel about something just for you to come to the same conclusion that he reached two days ago.  Or maybe how that little incident from last week has had you thinking since then about the quality of the friendship that you have. Men are emotional when they feel safe and only when there will be no question of their manhood. Men cannot be emotional with women without their manhood being called into question and this means they just simply cannot connect on some levels which you will expect that friends would be able to.

At the end of the day, while one tries to avoid general sweeping statements, it is safe to say men and women cannot be friends without caveats.

Mr.M

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