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to think a man and a woman can't be friends?

(162 Posts)
QueenBach Sun 25-Aug-13 22:15:25

Seems to be the sad conclusion that I've reached.

I've been working at a new place for 4 months now, have a desk next to a guy - really like him, he's funny, easy to chat to and we have very similar tastes. I do not like him in any other way but friendship and he has a girlfriend who he loves.

Like I mentioned we have very similar tastes and both love the same music. They are playing in our home city next year and I'd love to ask him to go (I have very different music tastes to my friends and therefore they wouldn't want to go with me - fair enough.)

However I would never ask him because he has a girlfriend and I'm sure most women wouldn't their partners going on an evening out with a female work colleague. So our friendship sticks to work hours and we would never communicate or meet up or text - so can't really develop that as a friendship.

Another guy at work I was friendly to him, if we had a break together we would go outside and chat. He asked if I was single when very soon on (I am) and towards this last month has been pushing me to go on a date with him. Why can't we just be friends?

Now I'm not a Samantha Brick and definitely not as good looking as her either grin but it seems to me if a man is in a relationship is quite a no go zone to start a friendship with him and if they are single then the majority of the time it will turn in a sex or relationship thing.

So from my experiences (there are other examples but these are the most recent ones) men and women can't be just friends.

fabergeegg Tue 27-Aug-13 10:51:54

These threads are always interesting because there seems to be such a militant voice coming out of the mouths of relatively few posters who pretty much take over the threads most times. I don't think they realise they're doing it - or realise that others with different viewpoints tend to turn away after a few posters have been angrily shot down. Why does it touch such a nerve? If you're going to get so cross with anyone who has a different opinion, why not leave the thread? Why stay to make sure that every...last...opinion... to the contrary has been stamped out?

I was interested to hold an unpopular position a few months ago, on a thread that excited this kind of black/white thinking (in that instance it was overseas aid, I think) and it was a bit sad - posters who agreed with my viewpoint kept messaging me privately because they didn't want to be ripped to pieces. That's not how a discussion is supposed to work, you know. Or you can do it if you like, but be aware that it's not an open discussion when a few are prowling around like tigers, making sure that nobody who holds an opposing view is allowed to make a nuanced point. If people who disagree get on your nerves, why not let the thread die?

One technique that I've seen occurring over and over is the habit of a little baying mob forming, then cutting and pasting phrases from unpopular posts in order to discuss it between themselves, often in a humiliating way. Again, I suppose you can tell yourselves this is a frank discussion if you wish, but it does seem to be a cheap way to clear everyone else off the thread as it's so humiliating and alienating to see one's own words over and over with a disparaging one-liner tacked up.

If people here see something beautiful about choosing each other everyday despite having many friends of the opposite sex, then I suppose that's up to them. If it's worked for you for three million years, fine. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with an opinion that it is not fine for most of us, in principle. If you wish to judge married men who won't be cool with accompanying you to gigs because they just don't do that kind of thing, that's your decision. I'd be surprised if such a person would hit it off with you anyway!

LookingForwardToVino Tue 27-Aug-13 10:55:22

I think platonic relationships can only work when one or both parties is not remotely sexually attractive to the other.


blueshoes Tue 27-Aug-13 10:59:56

Haha, LookingForward. Amen.

cheeseandpineapple Tue 27-Aug-13 11:11:44

OP, I understand where you're coming from and as you acknowledge, the title is misleading. I was all set to disagree and say I have quite a few genuine male friends but fact is like most people posting, these are friends from decades ago, ditto for my husband.

I agree that if my husband developed a new friendship at work I'd be a little wary (especially as that's how we got together!) but if he said to me that he wanted me to meet her and join them somewhere, I'd be open to that. But not all spouses will be, so I also understand you're nervous of changing the dynamics with your work colleague. Tricky one. But maybe rather than launching straight into the concert option, how about having a dinner party or organising some drinks and invite him and GF and some other friends so you can meet her casually and then take it from there so she doesn't see you as a threat. Plus if they don't accept a casual fairly impromptu group type invitation it's less of a big deal and you can gauge how receptive he was to the invitation in the first place.

Re other bloke, can you just say to him that you like him but don't want to go on a date and are happy to do things as friends and see if he's open to that?

SilverApples Tue 27-Aug-13 11:13:40

Faberge, it's the sweeping statements that irritate me, 'a man and a woman can't be friends'
The generalisation is irksome, as if those of us who are capable and comfortable with it are either deluded, or not in long-term relationships, or are so hideous in looks and personality that we are safeguarded by our own loathesomeness.
If the posters said 'I'm not happy, I'm not comfortable, I'd find it weird' that would be fine by me. That is their experience, but not mine.
I do mind being made out to be either delusional or a liar because our choices within our relationship are different and we both have friends of the opposite sex without a conflict of interests.
Why the need for everyone to fall in with the OP's line?

cory Tue 27-Aug-13 11:14:08

So why is it that the small handful of posters thinking it can be all right is to be described as a baying mob, while the equally sized handful of posters who do not think it is all right are presumably not a mob, fabergeegg.

Personally, I tend to cut and paste because it makes it easier to see exactly which bit I am responding to. Don't see why that should be humiliating: are you saying that you are embarrassed to see your own words? Why? Was there anything wrong with them?

Blueshoes and I have made roughly the same number of posts on this thread, but coming from different angles- so why am I taking over the thread any more than she is?

I am not trying to make sure nobody holds an opposing view. But I do find it irritating when other posters try to lay down general laws about how life and relationships work for "most of us". How do they know they are the majority?

cory Tue 27-Aug-13 11:15:34

For the record I probably am defended by my own loathesomeness. grin

Don't see that as a problem.

ViviPru Tue 27-Aug-13 11:22:19

But I do find it irritating when other posters try to lay down general laws about how life and relationships work for "most of us".

So do I.

"in our circs"
"I'm not sure about the 'majority' but speaking for myself"
^"more in mine and DH's circs^"

<polishes AIBU etiquette halo>

fabergeegg Tue 27-Aug-13 13:33:13

This is a thread in which people are saying 'I do think/don't think such and such is true because that is how it works for me' - on both sides! It's how a conversation works!

Surely it's taken as read that people saying 'I can't imagine how men and women can be friends because I've only ever seen it end it tears and have now decided that I don't think it's wise' are giving a personal response that isn't meant to be a direct assault on anyone else. It may be irksome but that's how these conversations work and if it hacks you off then why stay? I'm not suggesting we all follow the OP, just that the conversation doesn't escalate simply because someone is bold enough to state a belief that clashes with someone else's personal experience. They're both valid and should both be stated without apology. It's actually just as irksome for a married female poster with male friends to turn to another married female poster without male friends - because she doesn't believe it's a good idea/possible - and say 'Well, you're wrong, because I'm mature enough to do it'.

If you're going to be personally offended by views that seem to penalise your activities, either learn to enjoy the process of explaining your own views and understanding others, or leave because life's too short to post on this sort of thread unless you're specifically look for opportunities to be irritated. If posters are going to wait for an opposing view to be personally offended by, then pounce on it, you do come across as a baying mob. Or premenstrual. Anyway, there's not much intelligent discussion to be had.

Regarding the cut-and-paste-and-then-discuss don't have to be ashamed of your words not to like seeing this done, as anyone who has experienced it will know. It's disingenuous to pretend you've never seen this done for the sole purpose of initiating ridicule.

And now that I've had my little rant, I expect you all to have a nice time pointing out how patronising you find it when someone criticises your behaviour. Have fun smile

MistressDeeCee Tue 27-Aug-13 14:14:33

Very well said

StuntGirl Tue 27-Aug-13 18:18:44

Quoting sections of a thread is just what happens on online forums...its how we make the conversation flow online vs real life where we can respond to points as they're made.

Jengnr Tue 27-Aug-13 18:29:45

I have loads of platonic male friends.

One of whom I was very close to. He is married, we used to talk a lot, when I was in London we'd meet for lunch.

He's now my brother in law smile

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