There are questions and then there are questions.
There’s the unanswerable, “Do you think I look fat in this?"
The mind numbing, " Are we there yet?" asked by a 3 year old and her 7 year old brother with 3.5 minutes frequency from the back seat of the car.
The inconsequential ones like “Is there a god?”, “What’s the meaning of life?" which stands proudly alongside other idiotic ones like “What’s your religion?”, “If my god and your god has a pissing contest, which one would win?"
The weird ones, “What do you do?”, "How are you?”, "Does it hurt?", "Are you sleeping?"
The leading ones like, “Have you ever been in love...really?”, “Are you happy?”, " Does he/she understand the real you?”, “Has anyone told you how beautiful you are?"
The 'none of your business' ones like, “How do you plead?”, “What’s your qualification?" “Are you married?" “Which part of India?" “Where are you going?"
Then the stupid one: "Who are you?"
But the one question that generations have been forced to confront, even though the issue probably must have been one ancient one is:
Can a man and woman be just friends?
It all started with that chick flick movie 'When Harry met Sally”. Never has a movie raised such a level of self introspection, except perhaps Blue Lagoon, which gave raise to that often repeated probability question, "if you were stuck in a deserted island who you would like to be with you?"
For me it’s a basket ball. But I am digressing.
So can they be? Just friends?
I believe they can be, under certain conditions. After years of research and several months of banishment to the couch, I have the answers that you seek, thereby putting yet another question to rest among ones like "Does size matter?"
The conditions for a man and a woman to be just friends the below criteria have to be met.
- Both are committed to someone else they still care about.
- One is committed and the other is just plain undesirable.
- No one is committed to anyone else but one is just plain undesirable.
- Both are uncommitted and both are scared of rejection/humiliation.
- Both are uncommitted and one is scared of rejection.
- One is committed and the other is scared of rejection/humiliation/end of friendship/physical harm.
- One of them is gay. (This is same as point 2 and 3)
Okie. Let the lynching start. But before you let your self righteous cloud your judgment, please be honest and decide for yourself, where do you fit in the above criteria.
There's no rule saying that man and woman has to be just friends. No matter how much we like to peg, identify and label relationships, for the sake of yourself, others ,the mysterious society or for that inherited baggage we like to call our culture and heritage, the truth is that it really doesn’t matter, does it?
There is also another set of criteria that seems to work also.
- Both are committed to another, who they may or may not care about but one does not want it to go beyond a good friendship.
- Both are committed to another, who they may or may not care about and both do not want it to go beyond a good friendship.
- Both are not committed to anyone and each does not want for whatever reasons go beyond a god friendship.
What is this good friendship?
Does it mean only no sex?
I was talking to a family friend of mine about this. A woman.She says that eventually there comes a time where the relation reaches a stage where, normally its the man, shows an interest beyond just friendship. She just sleeps with them. According to her most men cannot differentiate between lust and love and this is a phase they have to cross.She has got lots of friends she said with a smile.Just friends?, I asked. She just smiled and said, between a man and woman who are friends, there are only degrees.
I guess that's true of any friendship, irrespective of gender but I doubt I will ever sleep with Dog.
I mean, I fall in love with all my girl friends. I don’t see how I cannot. They are great people, great company, great sense of humor, and they are girls. I love them. Nope. I have not slept with any of them. But I am married to one (brownie point alert!)
Here's my take. Man and woman make great friends. I have not met a single woman who says otherwise. Women like having male friends. They feel they are less complicated and more fun. As long as they are not married to it. Marriage seems to sometime make a friend into a prison warden.
It must be the same with us too. Once we get over our initial very male feelings, we can make great buddies. It’s like having a dog. We just need to be put in our right place and taken for walks. After that it’s just party and great fun. But watch out when we start talking about our doomed marriages and misunderstanding wives, we are probably trying to get into your pants. We can be persistent.
But you knew that when you wanted to be just friends, didn’t you?
That is what friendship truly is. To accept instead of expect. No other relationship has that much freedom. To label it will only cheapen it as we have already done to so many of our relationships.
So, can a man and a woman be just friends? Hell no. But that's probably the beauty of it.
But how many of us will admit to it?
That was a leading question.