Can a man and a woman be only friends?

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  • Publicado : 19 de marzo de 2011
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The subject of male-female friendship is intriguing and circumstantial, and everyone seems to have an opinion. Things are changing but still there are a lot of us who think that men and women can't be real friends, blame the sexual tension that almost inevitably exists between any red-blooded, heterosexual man and woman. This belief comes from another time, in which women were at home and menwere in the workplace, and the only way they could get together was for romance. Nowadays they work together, share hobbies, interests, sports and socialize together. This cultural change makes me put forth the following message: Though it may be tricky, men and women can successfully become close, very close and even intimate friends. What's more, there are good reasons for them to do so.
I havestarted my research because one of my best friends is a man, for over 5 years already. The number one thing we do together is talk one-on-one. Other activities we prefer like dining and going out —simply facilitate that communication. We can talk for hours, on the phone or catching up face to face; we sometimes go on holidays, have fun and really enjoy the time together. I think these kind ofrelations are funny and smart. We rely, help, trust, respect each other and have absolute confidence, as in all kind of friendly relationships. What we should keep in mind is that all true friendships require shared experiences where trust and loyalty are proven over time.
If you are looking around, you will find out a lot of similar cases, in work places and other social areas where the sexes aremingling more and more. However, men and women continue to have surprisingly few opportunities to interact. It is evident that men and women have different personalities and overviews, a completely different approach that is very useful and enriching to a relationship, so we complement each other. Male-female friendship is becoming not only a possibility but also a necessity.
If men and womenwork, play and coexist in modern society, it is believed that men and women must learn to understand and communicate with each other. To that end, the field of improvement and changing is still in its infancy. New generations of kids grow up believing that boys can play with dolls and girls can take kickboxing, and they're crossing paths more frequently as a result. Only nowadays are we beginning tounderstand some basic truths about male-female friendship. Society has long singled out romance as the prototypical male-female relationship. We have rules for how to act in romantic relationships (flirt, date, get married, have kids) because this keeps the life cycle going and it is perfect, even same-sex friendships (boys relate by doing activities together, girls by talking and sharing). Butthere are so few platonic male-female friendships on display that we are at a loss to even defining these relationships.
Not until high school does puberty really draw boys and girls together, which then continues into college. But as people develop serious romantic relationships or get married, making and maintaining cross-sex friendships becomes harder. Even the most secure people in a strongmarriage probably don't want a spouse to be establishing a new friendship, especially with someone who's very attractive and this is not surprising, because we have grown up with the idea that consorting with the opposite sex outside of wedlock is taboo.
Men rate cross-sex friendships as being much higher in overall quality, enjoyment and nurturance than their same-sex friendships. They liketalking to women, to listen and to be listened to—something they can't do with their buddies. On the other hand, all that sharing and discussing in female-female friendship can become exhausting, as any woman who's stayed up all night comforting a broken-hearted girlfriend can attest to. With men, women can joke and banter without any emotional baggage. Friendships with men are lighter, more fun. Men...
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