Why We Can’t Just Get Along
By SJ Johnson
I recently wrote an article, "Can Heterosexual Men and Women Truly Be Friends," where I tackle the question of whether straight men and women can be friends. In the article, I explained why I believe heterosexual men and women can't be friends if they are sexually attracted to each other. When either the man or the woman is attracted to the other party, the friendship is in jeopardy of turning into something more. I based my theory on personal experience and research.
Through the years, I've had many experiences where a man I thought was interested in a platonic friendship turned out to want a sexual relationship. In fact, many of my female friends and relatives say they also have difficulty maintaining platonic friendships with men. Nicole Smith (name changed), a 40-year-old Brooklyn resident, laments, "Men always expect benefits."
Why Heterosexual Men and Women Can't Just Get Along
I'm not blaming men or women for the current situation. I believe that both parties are at fault. Let's look at the research that supports my theory. According to the research, men are more likely to develop sexual feelings for their female friends than their female counterparts are towards them; frankly, women are less likely to see their male friends in a sexual way. However, my reason for believing men and women can't be friends if a sexual attraction exists isn't only because of men's sexual urges. It is also because women want to be sexually attractive. We spend millions of dollars on beauty products, cosmetic surgery, and other enhancements to be sexually attractive. This creates confusion and sends mixed messages. On the one hand, we want to be treated as equals, yet we want to be desirable to men. In my article, I even went so far as to question whether women have achieved equality. I wrote, "Are we really post-feminism? Is this the modern age that Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem struggled to create?"
Even people in the pro-male/female friendship camp admit that it is extremely difficult to have a true friendship. PsychologyToday.com published an article that lists the challenges men and women face in their pursuit of platonic friendships and acknowledges that many conditions must be present to allow members of the opposite sex to form genuine friendships; however, it admits that these friendships are challenging. Therefore, I stand by my belief that a friendship can only exist if neither the man nor the woman feels any sexual attraction to the other. If you enter a heterosexual male/female platonic friendship, use caution, and don't become a statistic. There are more botched male/female friendships where one party tries to transition the "friendship" into something more than there are success stories.
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