Can Men and Women Just Be Friends?

This was a timely piece for me, as this was on my mind over the weekend: can men and women just be friends? In an op-ed for The New York Times, William Deresiewicz writes:

There’s a history here, and it’s a surprisingly political one. Friendship between the sexes was more or less unknown in traditional society. Men and women occupied different spheres, and women were regarded as inferior in any case. A few epistolary friendships between monastics, a few relationships in literary and court circles, but beyond that, cross-sex friendship was as unthinkable in Western society as it still is in many cultures.

From his own personal experience, the author concludes:

Consult your own experience, but as I look around, I don’t see that platonic friendships are actually rare at all or worthy of a lot of winks and nudges. Which is why you don’t much hear the term anymore. Platonic friendships now are simply friendships.

The one portion I disagree with:

Friendship isn’t courtship. It doesn’t have a beginning, a middle and an end.

Friendships can begin and end as easily as romantic relationships. Your thoughts?

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Related: a must-read on solitude and leadership, also by William Deresiewicz.

2 thoughts on “Can Men and Women Just Be Friends?

  1. Each time I’ve allowed myself to get close to a guy acquaintance, one of us developed feelings. All of my guy friends have admitted that they have wanted to sleep with me at one point or another. That doesn’t happen with my female friends. If the thought of sex crosses your mind, it’s not a friendship, it’s something more.

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