Friday, July 29, 2011

Just Friends.

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.

41 comments:

Pointblank said...

- One is committed and the other is just plain undesirable.

But tys,the undesirable one can still get romantically attracted to the committed one. There will be no relationship cuz the committed one is not attracted to the undesirable one. But even then they cease to be 'just' friends.


- No one is committed to anyone else but one is just plain undesirable.

Same as the above. If both are not committed, and both are undesirable, then u can prolly be just friends. But the fact that one is desirable leaves scope for some feelings (even if its not reciprocated)

There is another possibility too. When someone is not ur type. Smeone can be attractive, well-settled and fun to be with, still he may not be ur type. Very much possible.

I do think that guys and girls can be just friends. But I don't know if I can be best buddies with a man without feeling attracted towards him.

Sankoobaba said...

Can a man and woman be just friends?


NO WAY!

Sankoobaba said...

JUST FRIENDS MAYBE>>BUT NEVER BEST FRIENDS

Cocktail Party said...

Yes man and woman can be friends even when both of them are not committed and none of them is undesirable... may not be best of pals

tys said...

@point blank : the first scenario u spoke about is the same as when one party is committed and for whatever reason is not interested in going beyond a gud friendship..but u r saying that the other party wants to...and if the friendship still stand...u r rite, it will no longer be just friends...

the second scenario is almost similar to your first...but u r actually saying somewhere along the line the sex of the friends will become an issue..

but the third one is a gud one...i didnt account for the not your type scenario...but isnt that the same as one party undesirable?

i need to clarify, i didnt mean that undesirable is being physically unattractive, rather, not being the object of ur desire..its a more personal thing..

@sankoobaba : actually i have seen something like a best friend between a man and a woman..i have this cousin, shes in her 50s now...her best friend is this guy who was her college friend...i have spoken to her about it..they are both just great friends..gender never came in between...so i guess its possible..but here again, iam giving an outside perspective...


@cocktail : yes they can be...as long as they meet the criteria...again undesirable is not in the meaning of unattractive, rather not desirable to each other or to one party...

Pointblank said...

@Tys

I mistook undesirable for unattractive. In a good friendship, we share a great wavelength and get emotionally close as well. So if there is a guy with whom I share a great compatibility and I genuinely alike AND is attractive, then I would think about crossing over to smthg more, unless one of us is committed. I might be vain, but I do think its important o find each other physically attractive when you are in a relationship

Vidya said...

I beg to disagree. My best friend forever is a guy. Since college days. It's a wonderful uncomplicated friendship. I count his wife as a good friend too. Men and women can be just friends .... Without any complications

maniac.hunter said...

sexy article...and NO ia m not answering that question.absolutely agree wid that blue lagoon thing ;)

tys said...

@point blank : so wht u r saying is that , for u, if ur male friend is attractive and compatible , then it will probably become more than just friends. Fair enough.

@Vidya : Iam sure it can happen...especially if both are married..but isnt there a chance that during the college years , he mite have mistook the friendship for something more? Maybe when it wasnt reciprocated (either directly or indirectly) , he cud have reverted back to a gud friendship? I mean, u have no idea what is going on in his head, just becoz he mite not have voiced it...? i do know of many gud friendships that remained so between genders becoz they didnt act it out...ask him next time. Consider this a social experiment...a final search for the truth :)

@maniachunter : thank god...u too wud go for the basket ball , wudnt u?..i mean imagine the other scenario...cant even get a restraining order...

Pointblank said...

Yeah... There is a possibility... Not if it is one of those hi-bye friendships.. If its someone I genuinely like, is close to, share a wavelength with (I assume all three are a must in most close friendships) and is attractive, then it can grow into smthg more... Like a friendship moving on to love...I dnt think that i would make a conscious effort for that.

tys said...

@pointblank: hi-bye friends dont count...they are people we know...friendship is who , i believe, u share urself with..theres a certain amount of investment...not consciously ...what it developes into is not a singular choice...it happens...

question. wud u be able to predict such a relationship? what if u are committed? wud u still risk it? wud u be able to reign it in?...can a woman and a man, be just friends?...without the said criterias?

xyzandme said...

Unfortunately men and women dont think alike.

Friendship is a learned virtue.
If you place a hot woman in front of a guy, his primary thought would be lustful. That is natural. Its only after she establishes communication with him that there seems a chance of a friendship devoid of sex. While the man can try to contain that "natural" part of his instinct, it never goes away.
Women on other hand can sleep on the same bed with a guy and still not think anything even remotely sexual.
And they find it offensive or unimaginable that men cannot do so.

They say " oh he is my best friend, he wont ever see me like that"

Bleh.

Vidya said...

good question... will do so today itself

Ponnanna said...

@Vidya: Thank you for asking the question. Let me address the response to Tys

@Tys: At the outset this is a question that I have asked myself because like your post suggests most of my friends believed that it is impossible for a man and woman to be just friends. They would keep pestering me with questions because they thought there has to be something more to this relationship. But the fact that our friendship remained a just that without any hint of it needing additional "definition" is proof that people can be just friends. The basis for our friendship was some common interest and value for each others opinion. This may not be a common occurrence but it is possible!

Pointblank said...

@Tys - I think if Iam committed to a person, I won't develop feelings for a friend. Because when I have been in a relationship, I have stopped having crushes on any one. Who am I kidding? I stopped checking out guys altogether. I think when am committed to someone (or just hugely interested in someone), all my romantic feelings are invested in that person only.This person takes up all my mind space and I just don't look beyond him.

tys said...

@xyzandme: u know something? i had a similar experience long ago when i had this friend in college...a great friend..we have even slept in the same bed with nothing happening...the thought didnt occur..it was only after she died that i look back at it with a touch of romance...but at that time, i know in my heart there was no expectations , only an acceptance..

as a man, (iam not sure if its the same for women) , most of the time, we do tend to get attracted to attractive friends...maybe its a instinctive conquest kinda thing...something to accomplish and then continue...

but iam sure there are exceptions

@vidya : u r such a great sport! one more question...how many of ur male friends fell in love with u?...is Ponnanna a rarity?

@ponnana: thanks for ur input..like i mentioned earlier, i do have a cousin who seem to have had such a friendship...so i guess it can happen...but how often? did u ever have a woman friend which turned into more than just friends not necessarily thru actions but even in thoughts...
( i have a dirty feeling u guys will never invite me home now:) )

xyzandme said...

Wow! Someone finally agreed!
Also, interestingly enough, there are no exceptions to this instinctive behavior. Every man knowingly or unknowingly.. consciously or subconsciously does think lustfully or in more tender words.. is attracted to another female.

I think Dr. Helen Fisher, a renowned Anthropologist has explained the "whys and why nots" of this behavior in her books.

Heres a modified version of a conversation between Sheldon and Leonerd from The Big Bang Theory:

*Leonerd is lifting their hot neighbor's furniture*
Sheldon: Are you expecting to have coitus with her?
Leonerd: Men do things for women without expecting sex.
Sheldon: Those would be the men who just had sex.

Vidya said...

*lol* Tys, you're incorrigible... I don't think I had any male friends in college (or even maybe later) who were in love with me...I guess I remained just friends.. but I am also brilliant at missing hints/signals.. Arun can vouch for this. But friendship between the sexes can be uncomplicated.

Hip Grandma said...

I've studied in a co-ed school and vouch for the fact that boys can be great friends and JUST friends. I don't remember having the slightest crush for any of them and I am sure it was the same with them. Don't tell me that things were different 45 years ago. I think when one interacts with the opposite sex on a daily basis they become the most reliable 'just' friends. When I did my M. Sc. I was married and had three children. So I was 'didi' to my class mates But the eligible ones in the class were also just friends.

It is not that difficult or impossible.

diyadear said...

oh i soo agree with u tys.. Having experienced n no of my best buddies ending up proposing me :(.and it somehow leaves an after taste in your mouth sp getting back to friendship dosnt go that smooth always.. im one of those people who now have a big void of male "just friends" in life..
Well some disadvantages of being a married, cool girl eh ?;)

tys said...

@vidya : I did not say that a man and woman cannot be just friends. I said they can be, provided the said criteria are met.

@hipgrandma: then the criteria which was listed is being maintained. Any friendship that falls outside the criteria will evolve into more than just friendship...either one sided or with mutual consent

tys said...

@diyadear: but i think u can be married and still have male friends..if u can send the correct dont cross the line vibes u will be fine..trust me , we do not like rejections or to look like a fool..so we will toe the line

Poornima said...

You most definitely can be the 'just friends' with a guy. But this is what I think. In the 12 years of our marriage, Ive never been able to convince my husband that this is possible. Now you're kinda saying it too... So as usual the male mind dances to a different tune altogether :-)

I have the best girlfriends on earth & their friendship has seen me through thick & thin, but I personally feel most at home with the guys..the guys are whom I forge the best friendships with & the deepest 'pure-friendship,-even-bordering-on-brother-sister (really & truly.)' bonds with.

Okay. Now Ive got to honestly examine myself to see if its because Im in a committed & happy relationship, or because my head is wired like a guy's, which means (in the words of my Mom) I really have no 'clutch & brake'. Guys are more accepting of a lack of clutch & brake you know...hmm.

tys said...

@poori : iam sorry to break the bubble but i still feel that a man and a woman just friend relation is based on conditions..under certain conditions it will work without crossing any limits where it becomes uncomfortable for both parties to maintain it as just friend...

but i really dont think it shud make u question the friendships that u have or will make in the future...in the end its all upto u..i think a man and woman makes great friends..and its probably becoz of the differences and the chemistry..

Madhu said...

Overrated discussion! One has friendships with people - maybe like minded ones but even that is not a criteria. Just the thought process is archaic Tys. Enough said.

tys said...

@madhu : ah, dismissing it all with a word i didnt understand...i had to look it up...but i still maintain what i said...havent seen a single one wherein these criterias are not met and still remained just friends..open minded or not...thing is , i believe that its easier for a woman but most men tend to fall in love with any show of affection...we are like pups...we are so adorable that way..

what the hell is archaic anyway? sounded like something archie suffered from...see? even he is in love with his friends...all the friends in friends ultimately fell in love with each other at some point or the other...rules babe rules..

Dog said...

"I guess that's true of any friendship, irrespective of gender but I doubt I will ever sleep with Dog".

As the Dog in question, I beg to have my 2 barks worth in this discussion.

Firt of all Tys, we have slept together...many times...and I dont want to hide the fact that I really enjoyed it. Havent slept so soundly since the mid 90s.

Secondly, sorry to desert you on this soapbox, but I am with Madhu on this one.

Lastly, you seem to have totally ignored the "Friends with Benefits" arrangement.

Have I given you enough material for your next post? :-)

♪♪HARINI♪♪ said...

Lol I loved this post!!

I died laughing at "I doubt I will ever sleep with Dog"

But the best friends I have are guys. And yes my feelings for them have degrees :P
But then again, we are always 'just friends' cos I'm just plain undesirable.

Jules said...

I have tried to be just friends with so many men. It might be next to impossible. I've tried it time and time again. They always speak up and confess their feelings and then it all just gets fucked up. Even if i'm in a committed relationship, they still fuck things up. "I've loved you for so long". Bah. I just want to be your friend means just that. Ok? Lust after me if you need to, but seriously boys.. keep it to yo damn selves!

Wanna be friends, Tys? You seem to have a handle on the situation.

tys said...

@Dog : Hush you lil pup! This is public forum and now i will have to clear the air about the sleeping together bit. Image, man, Image. But you will have to admit that I did keep my hands and other things off you. We were just friends.

Now the friend with benefits part :) .. considering that almost every girl friends of mine tied a rakhi and made me a spontaneous brother, i am not in a position to elaborate on that but, hey, please dont let that stop you....please do go on and let me know those friends of yours...lets destroys some families out there :)

i knew u wud side mads...its only because she feeds you...traitor.

@harini :havent met a single undesirable woman...maybe you got some good friends.

Dog is actually a friend of mine...one of the very few I have..he is now out to defame me...do not believe him...i did sleep with him, but not 'with' him...i swear on the kamasutra.

@jules : I thought we were already friends :) ... but trust me , that's no guarantee for anything...i of all the people have no handle on anything...

The Grunt said...

Well, most hetero guys have that built-in drive to procreate, so it is going to get in the way eventually. That is, like you said, unless you really can't get past her looks. I just resent girls trying to turn you into their "gay" friend when you are not gay. I don't mean they try to set you up with guys and shit. But they try to lay the same emotional crap from another relationship or love on you, almost to insult you--like you don't have any attraction at all. When girls do this to their straight guy friends it bores them and if you are going to bore your straight guy friend you should at least give him a blow job to compensate.

xyzandme said...

@ Grunt

+1000000

Kathy said...

blue lagoon stole my innocence.

Sonia said...

I have a bestest (can that be a word?) friend since childhood and contrary to predictions by many many gossipy aunties that we would hook up, we were and are still just friends....Maybe the fact that he is gay has to do something with it? :)

tys said...

@grunt : i guess u havent been in a 'like a brother to me' relationship...thats like putting salt into an inflicted wound..

@kathy : now i am curious...how? ... please feel free to elaborate..dont let me stop you from going into details...

@sonia : u think?! :)

rm said...

perspective. match stick and cotton if not ignited can be friends.

Santosh Kumar said...

Man and woman can be friends, but they can not remain friends. It's hard to finish as friends. Either they will expect more in the relationship or they will be get bored of the "Just Friendship" tag.

There will be comparisons with other, expectation would remain high for being 100% faithful Sometimes, some women (per% is high) wish to keep their friends intact. Some men are sick of being jealous, where as men doubts their friends very quickly.

Answer to the raised question is "It depends on individuals", figuring out conclusion would be tough, it's easy to check life, Go get in friendship of women and Life will teach you.

tys said...

@rm : we have a saying that goes like a girl and a boy are like petrol and fire...but i think thats a lil stupid...what iam saying is that this question is only arising due to outside influences which demand a kind of defining a relationship....iam of the opinion that there will be an attraction , possibly more from a man becoz like grunt said, its in our nature...but weather we will act upon it depends on a lot of things...

@santhosh : all relationships ends up having too much expectations..me? i have lots of female friends... i fell in love with all of them but left the feeling alone without acting upon it, it has morphed into a great relationships...so i guess its possible but i do not take credit for it becoz i think the women involved had more to keeping things in perspective...but denying that and pretention of 'just friends ' seems a like a lil ostrich approach..

Anonymous said...

Tys

So we can conclude that petrol and fire can be friends as long as they both are void of oxygen. Is this what you are saying TYS.
Hmmmm!

H

tys said...

no H, I am saying the possibility of attraction will always exist due to the gender differences ( baring the ones that go by the said rules).. i also think that men to a large extent know the lines when it is drawn but that doesnt mean they just stop...they may just put in the back burner until a chance or a chink in the armor provides itself..sex will hover around somewhere...hell, that's nature.

Anonymous said...

@ TYS
From your answers and response to the questions I can tell and I may be bit out, but what you are saying is that men and women can never be friends without sex ( gender attraction )getting in the way. Is this your answer if it involves you?
because it is in my case.

H