In one of my favorite rom-coms of all time, When Harry Met Sally, Harry and Sally argue about whether or not men and women can be friends. Harry of course says no, although later he adds a stipulation that they can if one or both are involved in a serious relationship with someone else. Although I love the movie, I hate this answer. Thus, I offer you my own, better answer. (YOU ARE WRONG, HARRY!)
So, can single men and women be friends? I argue YES, but with several limitations.
- Some women can never be friends with any men
- This is the flirty, needy type who doesn’t see men as individuals, but as soulless tools of validation. They can’t go to a ball game, go on a hike, or watch a movie and be chill. They have to make sure that the focus is always on them and how adorable they are.
- How to spot: Refusal to participate in activities that do not highlight their cuteness; confusingly wild laughter at their own ditzy behavior
- Some men can never be friends with any women
- This is the guy who constantly infuses romantic advances into every interaction. They can usually trick us women for a while by seeming like that sweet friend who just wants to be a shoulder to cry on, but if you give them an inch they will take a mile. They’re basically loitering around in the pretense of friendship, hoping that the woman will someday rise from her slumber and be filled with overwhelming love and affection for him.
- How to spot: An overuse of emojis in text messages; awkwardly long hugs; usage of pet names
- Some men and women can never be friends with each other
- These are the people who really can generally be friends with the opposite sex, but when it comes to this one particular person, their friend skills wash away in an ocean of attraction. I see this a lot with people who date and then try to be friends afterward. I think it’s just more difficult after you’ve romanticized with someone to spend time and talk with them and not “go there” again. You’ll be laughing over some past experience with an angry waiter or something and then remember, ‘oh yeah, that was the same night we went on a romantic moonlit walk and he told me I was the most beautiful girl he had ever met’. It’s difficult to remember that, rally with a quick Anchorman quote, and proceed casually.
- How to spot: If you’re ‘just friends’ with someone but would feel a little burned if they started dating someone; if you get irrationally angry with that person for relatively mild disagreements (don’t forget: indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love!)
BUT if you don’t fall into any of these categories, and neither does your friend of interest, REJOICE! My guy friends bring such amazing joy and rich perspective to my life. I hope that we can all stop over-sexualizing everything and just enjoy members of the opposite sex as the unique, beautiful unicorns of individuals that they are. ❤