If you ever watched When Harry Met Sally, then I’m sure you will remember the scene where Harry says to Sally that Men and Women just cannot be friends:
Harry Burns: Would you like to have dinner?… Just friends.
Sally Albright: I thought you didn’t believe men and women could be friends.
Harry Burns: When did I say that?
Sally Albright: On the ride to New York.
Harry Burns: No, no, no, I never said that… Yes, that’s right, they can’t be friends. Unless both of them are involved with other people, then they can… This is an amendment to the earlier rule. If the two people are in relationships, the pressure of possible involvement is lifted… That doesn’t work either, because what happens then is, the person you’re involved with can’t understand why you need to be friends with the person you’re just friends with. Like it means something is missing from the relationship and why do you have to go outside to get it? And when you say “No, no, no it’s not true, nothing is missing from the relationship,” the person you’re involved with then accuses you of being secretly attracted to the person you’re just friends with, which you probably are. I mean, come on, who the hell are we kidding, let’s face it. Which brings us back to the earlier rule before the amendment, which is men and women can’t be friends.
Sigh. Which sort of inspired me to write this post really. Because, who doesn’t love Meg Ryan? Plus, I had a long discussion with my partner about this topic, which sort of sparked a light bulb, because there are so many situations you can say yes or no, it’s okay to be just friends.
1) Yes, they can. The answer Daniel Radcliffe says, when asked on his interview for ‘What If’, can women and men just be friends? It’s tricky, because there are people who are happily friends with other people with no attraction, no not in that way (although the ambiguity with one or the other having feelings is never clear). Or they may be a, what I like to call, brother-sister relationship, which in that case, I say it’s totally fine.
2) Maybe, depending on the situation. If it’s a group situation, where the relationships are not deeply made and not too intimate, then it’s possible to be just friends. Or, if the friend is a friend of your partner, relative or friend and you are friends with them too, then that’s fine.
3) No, feelings will get in the way. When we make friends with someone, it generally means we like this person and we want to be around them. When I met my partner we were best friends for half a year. Then both of us realised we were supposed to be together. We understood each other, our humour was similar and the happiness and good times made it clear.
By no means, are there only these answers, because everyone has such different experiences. However, my view is that women and men can’t be just friends, not unless they have a brother + sister relationship, don’t talk too emotionally/personally and set boundaries. It can depend on how much time they spend with one another, what they talk about and the miles they will go for one another. Otherwise, I think often one person might fall for the other.
What are your thoughts, I’d love to know.
Can Women and Men just be friends?