Is it possible for men and women to just be friends?

I have always really enjoyed the company of men but I’ve never had any good male friends. Not even during my college years. I’ve spend a lot of time talking to guys at school or at work, but I’ve never had any real guy friends — the kind who call to chat or send texts or emails, who take you to their work parties as a faux date and who I could take to a wedding as a non-serious plus one. I have had men I thought I was becoming friends with try to get me to sleep with them. And then we just couldn’t be friends after that or they lost all interest in me. Basically, if a man has been in my life outside of the office, he was my boyfriend or fuck buddy. I’ve never had a boyfriend or FWB start off as a friend — there were always clear intentions up-front. I should say, I don’t dress sexy, make sexual references, come across as highly sexual, or flirt. I don’t even know how to flirt!

But, lately I’ve been making more male friends, usually my co-workers and probably because of my somewhat recent interest in participating in sports. Plus, my job of nearly two years is male-dominated. My three most recents “flings” are all friend material, but only one has really stepped up to the plate (Cutie) as someone who could be a true friend. My Original FWB can’t be my friend because he wants to sleep with me and has a girlfriend who won’t have sex with him. Runner . . . well, I don’t know what is up with him. He did text me yesterday to tell me he’s recovered from all of his recent travels and wants to “connect” and “chat”. I texted him back, “OK” and haven’t heard anything. I need to give him his dishes and, I admit it, I do want to hear what he has to say (though I think I can guess) but I can’t put any effort into him anymore. Afterall, I can only give what I get. “OK” is the most I can do. I digress . . .

About a year ago I made friends with a co-worker. He has lots of friends, both male and female. He is also married and has a child. He’s a good guy, funny, non-threatening, easy to get along with, kind, all that good stuff. I don’t find him attractive but honestly I’ve never really thought about it. He’s a buddy type, plus he’s married. He left for a different position maybe six months ago and we’ve stayed in touch. Last night he invited me (last-minute) to be his faux date to an event. It was cocktail attire so we both dressed up and met near the venue to have drinks with mutual friends.

We went to the event, had a nice time, and settled in the back eventually. This is where things went awry and he vomitted some information that I really did not want to know right onto my lap. Basically, he and his wife had gotten into the swinger lifestyle not too long ago. They have extended that lifestyle and agreed that they could each see people on their own with whom they have a connection. I do not doubt their marriage is strong and they have been happily married for nearly 20 years. I was not phased by any of this as I have heard my share of stories from friends who were also into it or had dipped their toes. No biggie. I’m pretty open-minded anyway.

Then, much to my dismay, the bomb was dropped. He told me he found me very attractive and felt a connection to me. I did not allow it to go farther than this and cut him off by thanking him for the compliment and telling him he’s a good friend and that I felt a frienship connection with him as well. I tried to save the evening but it ended poorly and then he sent a text to apologize and . . . yeah. I don’t know. I drove home disappointed. Another one bites the dust.

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5 thoughts on “Is it possible for men and women to just be friends?

  1. I have maintained good friendships with women for years. In a few cases, they are former girlfriends, but in a few others, there hasn’t been any sexual connection at all. When there’s attraction on one side, or both, it can take some effort to create healthy boundaries. And sometimes significant time and space is needed to make the friendship work. But it definitely is possible.

  2. I think it’s rare, but it’s possible. It’s probably also more difficult for more conventionally attractive women – one downside to being pretty, I guess. I have a handful of good friendships with guys, and those friendships have been completely devoid of flirtation, sexual tension, etc. – which is why they’ve remained such good friendships. The biggest challenge, IMO, is when those male friends get girlfriends who just do not understand or respect your friendship. But that’s neither here nor there. Sorry to hear your friendship wasn’t what you thought it was; I think once that element is introduced, it’s hard (but not impossible) to ever go back.

  3. I don’t think it’s possible. I have a very good guy friend. I love him dearly, he loves me too. We talk on the phone, text, email and get together for dinner, drinks or just laughing when one of us is in the others city. But he’s gay. I believe it’s the only reason it works.

  4. Pingback: Overwhelmed while underwhelmed | 36 and Single

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