Which came first: The chicken or the egg? If I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot no deputy, then who did? Why does Donald Duck use a towel to cover himself when he gets out of the shower, yet he never wears pants? Ah, these and many others are among the oldest questions known to man. And ranking high on that list is the infamous, “Can men and women really be ‘just friends?'”  
How did you respond when you read the question?
If you ask the all-knowing oracle, Google, you are likely to find that the opinions from authors, psychologists and a myriad of others are overwhelmingly in favor of “No.” But the psychology articles, scientific studies and theories by random people suggest that it is almost impossible. While it may seem, or even be, unlikely that men and women can have platonic, close relationships, it is absolutely possible. I know this because I have experienced it several times in the course of my life.
“Robyn” was gorgeous, by So Cal standards. She was smart, had a great career and a nice apartment in south Orange County, CA. She stood a full six feet even, had long, blonde hair, an athletic physique and was about as sweet as a marshmallow Peep. (Seriously, it was almost sickening.) She and I developed an amazing friendship and, to the disbelief of our circle friends, there was absolutely zero romantic and/or sexual interest. (No one was surprised that she wasn’t interested in me, but could not conceive how I could not possibly be interested in her.) This dynamic lasted for years.
“Cassandra” was a redhead. Another very attractive woman by the same standards. She was also very smart, a spiritually conscious and evolved individual, had a great career, drove a Mercedes and had a nice place in Long Beach, CA. We met via online dating and the instant we saw each other we knew there was no romantic or physical chemistry/interest. We easily maintained a platonic friendship. Neither of us was in a romantic relationship when we took a trip to Palm Springs together, just as friends, staying in separate beds in the same room – with no agenda, no expectation on either part, and no problems. (Of course, had either of us been in a relationship that trip would have never happened.)
I could also tell you about “Allison,” “Tamara” and “Kat,” but you get the idea. I only mention them so you understand these aren’t isolated experiences.
I am not suggesting that I am better, more evolved or in any way superior to anyone else. I am only stating what I know to be true: although it’s rare, two, fully functional, heterosexual people of the opposite sex CAN have a truly platonic and close friendship.
And because most good questions create more questions, the next one might be obvious: How?!
Theoretically it’s rather simple. However in practical application, not so much. What it requires is a level of intimacy, connection and honesty that is always available, but people usually ignore. But that connection isn’t with the other person. It’s with ourselves.
Think about the last person of the opposite sex you befriended. What was the attraction? (There must have been something that drew you to them, and them to you, so I say “attraction” in the most literal sense.) What drew me to “Robyn” was that she was so sweet and genuine. My attraction to “Cassandra” was that I knew she and I were philosophically aligned and had much in common, which was the foundation for great conversations and fun times. And there were other qualities for “Allison,” “Tamara” and “Kat” that had similar effects.
tennisIn every case I was absolutely clear about the nature of the attracting energy. And I was resolute in my choice to not corrupt our purposes in each other’s lives by trying to transmute it into something else. I was more than content to be friends the same way someone might be content to only use a tennis racquet with a tennis ball. Sure, you can hit a pitched baseball with it, but the racquet isn’t going to last very long because that compromises its integrity. It simply wasn’t designed for that and to do so corrupts its purpose.
In all of the above cases I was certain that there was zero energy for anything beyond friendship. So to best answer the question as to how men and women can be “just friends,” it is easier to tell you my theory on why it usually doesn’t work: Because people, more so with men than women, simply aren’t interested in investing time, money, energy, etc. on someone with whom they are absolutely certain there is no romantic/sexual energy. Maybe it’s just not exciting enough. Perhaps it’s just not interesting to them. But the bottom line is that most people aren’t interested in people they aren’t “more” interested in.
Sex can be a major motivator for men. (I know – shocking, right?!) And romance, relationship potential, etc. can be major motivators for women. So if there is zero chance for these things, something happens at the sub-conscious level that causes us to “check-out” and lose interest in anything with regard to the other person.
I have heard story after story from women where this went to an extreme. They went out with nice, polite men. But once the men decided they weren’t romantically/sexually interested, they became complete jerks. (BTW guys – be nice, respectful and generous with your time and attention. If she isn’t the one for you, her friend might be. And if you act like an ass on the date she isn’t going to introduce you. Just sayin’.)
If men and woman can tune into the energy that is present when they meet someone, clearly identify it, understand the attraction and be truly honest with themselves and each other about its nature and respect that, then a true friendship can blossom. It is certainly rare. And if one person is harboring any romantic and/or sexual notions, has hidden agendas or ulterior motives, the friendship will fail. Put simply and perhaps in a slightly distorted way, two people of the opposite sex CAN have a close, platonic friendship provided they allow themselves to be interested in someone in who they have no interest.
It’s your kingdom. Make it REIGN.
Subscribe to KEYS TO THE KINGDOM for information that helps you achieve your goals and I'll send you a FREE copy of 18 REASONS YOU DON'T HAVE WHAT YOU WANT (and how to get it)!
We hate spam too. Your email address will not be sold or shared.

About the Author -

Executive coach and motivational speaker Chris M. King facilitates the mind shift necessary for professionals and organizations to achieve authentic success and empowerment. Clients experience productivity increases of up to 40%, freedom from burnout and overwhelm, clarity in times of transition, dramatically improved work/life balance, answers to "what's next," creative solutions for innovation, and an overall increase in satisfaction in career and in life. And he does all of this without ever giving advice! Chris doesn't show them THE way. He guides them in finding THEIR way. An emerging thought leader in the men's movement, Chris also works with professional men and women on accountability, vulnerability, and empowerment. He specifically addresses the issues associated with mid-life crises and Peter Pan Syndrome. He is a volunteer for ManKind Project International, a contributing author to The Good Men Project and Elephant Journal, and is honored to be working with Sam Morris as a contributor to Zen Warrior Training®, helping people achieve self-mastery. Chris is also a coach at Project Bully Buster, coaching teens as they navigate the challenges of adolescence. He is honored to work with and support organizations dedicated to the men’s movement, to women's issues, and, as brother to a special needs sister, the US Special Olympics. Chris is currently working on his first book.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.