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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.

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

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.

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

Very well said

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

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>

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.

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?

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?

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?

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

Haha, LookingForward. Amen.

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.


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 10:49:26

I would say yabu...

but then I am about to marry my best friend so maybe that proves your point haha

blueshoes Tue 27-Aug-13 10:45:05

Cory, I am also getting stereotypical impressions of the place you work, but to each their own.

Bahhhhhumbug Tue 27-Aug-13 10:44:53

My DH has lots of female friends , has stayed friendly with all his exes (except first wife, very acrimonious on her part but even with her is on 'civil' terms now). This is mainly because he has lived all his life in the same town so lots of lifelong schoolfriends etc. both male and female. I couldn't be married to him if l was the jealous type put it that way. Always some random woman squealing and throwing her arms round his neck when we are in a pub or whatever. One ex practically mounts him - I just roll mi eyes grin
I have several male close friends who were just friends of his when we met. I have been out with a couple of them to various 'do s' etc when DH cant make it or just doesn't fancy. Albeit with other people in our group present but still have travelled there with them , walked in with them , on our own - yes - a man and woman who are not an item <shrugs>.
I love the fact l can do this and l love having male friends as my first H was very possessive and suspicious and no way could l have so much as walked to the corner shop with a male back then !!

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Tue 27-Aug-13 10:36:46

Hmm, interesting topic, OP. My H has some female friends he's very close to (one was his best "man" at our wedding!) and I have no issue at all, but then again he has one or two that just set off some territorial response in me. I couldn't tell you exactly what the difference is between any of these women, but I do react differently to his friendship with some than others.

I have lots of male friends I'm very close to without being attracted to in the least and AFAIK H isn't at all bothered by this.

I think on balance, YABU. Yes some friendships will cross over into attraction, fleeting or long term, but that doesn't mean that all cross-gender friendships are doomed.

cory Tue 27-Aug-13 10:36:11

Sounds a horrible environment, blueshoes. Not like that where I work: far more respect and interest in people as people than in superficial attractiveness and gossip.

blueshoes Tue 27-Aug-13 10:32:32

I suppose plain people would invite less gossip.

Our respective offices are bursting with young and not so young but mostly thrusting individuals. I work in the City, if that makes any difference.

Littleen Tue 27-Aug-13 10:31:42

I think it's fine - although easier if both are in a relationship (or just one, and the other respects this fact). Have lots of male friends, although have been errr with most of them, once or twice, in my very hypymanic single phase. But they know it was just for fun, and we're not just platonic friends with the odd flirty comment. (Which I see nothing wrong with, I flirt with everything and everyone) My boyfriend also doesn't mind, as he knows that if I wanted to be with these blokes, I would have got with them when I had the opportunity, and I didn't - I got with him smile
He also has female friends, and his best friend was a girl - although she's now more my best friend than his!

Would however feel weird if he or I made new, single (close) friends of the opposite sex now, because it would perhaps feel like a "back-up" friend, if that makes sense. The ones from before our time together are fine though smile

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 27-Aug-13 10:31:36

I have a male friend that I have known pretty much since birth. We have always been excellent friends, nothing more at all, not even a drunken teen snog. I was delighted when he got married, and was keen to befriend his wife, but she was always extremely "off" with me, and in the end, I just gave up. I still see my friend intermittently for drinks and dinner, but never his wife. Our kids are the same age, but have never met, which I think is a shame. I initially suggested getting us all together one weekend, but he said although he thought it would be a great idea, just to drop it, as his DW "had a real problem" with our friendship. They have been married 25 years this year, and DH and I have been married 20 years... hmm

I also have a good male friend that I met through work, and I now see more of his DW than I do of him, as we hit it off straight away.

ViviPru Tue 27-Aug-13 10:31:13

Good point MrsMink, that I have overlooked.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Tue 27-Aug-13 10:29:24

OP people suggested you ask gf too. you says perhaps you would feel like third wheel.

Would that be so disastrous? You get to see the band. you get to meet his gf and you might not feel like the third wheel.

With partners i generally go by i will happily meet any of my male friends gfs and look them in the eye. i have nothing to be ashamed of. and if my dp has a female friend as long as they will look me in the eye then we are fine. if they start excluding me or won't meet me in first place then i wonder why.

You could also ask someone else to come too. then you will not be third wheel.

Unless you really want to go just the two of you?

cory Tue 27-Aug-13 10:28:34

Come to think of it, most of the "adulterers" I have known have been very plain. Not that it matters.

cory Tue 27-Aug-13 10:27:00

I have no reason to assume that I would be inviting gossip by regularly having lunch with a male colleague. In fact, now you mention it, two of my colleagues (one happily married, the other single) do have lunch together very frequently. They have interests in common, they are good friends, they talk. Noone has ever felt the slightest urge to gossip. It's not that kind of environment.

How do you define attractive anyway? Sounds a bit like teenagers where you have a definite list of where every member of the opposite sex ranks in attractiveness. If I thought dh was checking out my colleagues in terms of some kind of ranking lists of attractiveness I would be seriously bemused. How would he know?

Ime the people who do have affairs are usually not obviously attractive to the onlooker: their one defining characteristic is that they are people who are up for an affair.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 27-Aug-13 10:24:06

'I have met them in other social situations and happy to leave him to meet up with them separately'. Happy to?!?! Seriously? People vet their partners' social activities and companions and decide whether or not they're 'happy' for them to go on?

I wouldn't dream of checking out my partner's female friends to make sure I'm 'happy' for him to see them (or to reassure myself that they're not that attractive hmm) and he wouldn't dream of doing the same to me. Because we respect and trust each other.

'It is massively disrespectful to my dh to invite gossip by being regularly seen with one male colleague'. God, I still feel as if we're in 18th-century Bath. Do people really have such tiny dull lives as to gossip about a person being seen with another person? And do people CARE about any gossip emanating from such people?

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