If Men and Women Can’t Just be Friends, How Can the Friendzone Exist?

“man and woman surrounded by red and green floral trees during daytime” by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

In “When Harry Met Sally”, Harry declares to Sally that men and women can’t be friends. Sally denies this, sharing that she has lots of male friends. “You only think you do,” says Harry.

He affirms that men and women cannot be friends because attraction always gets in the way, mostly for men who will eventually want to have sex with these female friends. Therefore, a man cannot just be friends with a woman he finds attractive. Moreover, a man would even sleep with a female friend he finds unattractive.

When Harry and Sally bump into each other five years later, Sally is reminded of Harry’s point that men and women can’t be friends. She asks her boyfriend if he agrees with Harry, and he doesn’t. But when asked if he has any female friends, he says he doesn’t.

I’ve asked and re-asked this question for many years, flitting between Harry’s and Sally’s side. Spoiler alert: if we go by the events of the movie, Harry technically was right because when the two became friends, even going as far as to say, “You know, you may be the first attractive woman I’ve not wanted to sleep with in my entire life,” they get together in the end.

What’s my opinion now? I don’t think men and women can be just friends. I just can’t see it anymore.

We know Harry’s argument and we realize that he wholly speaks from a man’s perspective. But what about Sally? Sally’s argument, coming from the woman’s perspective, is that she has male friends that she wouldn’t sleep with.

In Sally’s world, of course men and women can be friends because she knows guys she isn’t interested in! So as far as she’s concerned, they’re just friends. In Harry’s world, men will always find women interesting, especially if she’s already close to him. She can’t just be a bro. It’ll never happen.

So the reason I don’t think men and women can be just friends is because I’m a guy! As a result, I have a certain way of thinking. And I’ll be honest with you, I’ve developed feelings for girls I never felt a thing for as soon as a certain level of vulnerability or flirtation was shown. It’s weird being a slave to things like that but *shrug* why lie? It doesn’t always mean that something will happen, as I can still think logically to some extent.

Therefore, the argument of the friendzone can only exist from the perspective of a man not being able to sleep with a woman. “Dude, she put me in the friendzone. Womp.” — or perhaps, men and women who have a more masculine approach to sex and dating. People with the masculine approach wouldn’t even consider the people they want as just friends and as a result, there would be a difficulty in keeping things strictly platonic. Desires will rise.

On the other hand, the friendzone to women and men who have a more feminine approach just sounds like a stupid buzzword for butt-hurt people who can’t hear no and respect it. They are able to have friends of the sex that they’re attracted to because they have a more rigorous filter.

One study highlighted that women chose partners who were more ambitious and had greater earning potential. Whereas men were more drawn to physical attributes. Another study revealed that water is wet. Let’s face it, who didn’t know any of this? We may lambast this type of talking point because it’s stereotypical, but there’s a reason it’s stereotypical — it’s happens often!

So it is natural for women to friendzone because she cannot see the potential in a guy, but if things were to change in the man’s life such as earning potential and ambition, he would get a second look. That’s why the notion that if a dude goes in the friendzone he’ll stay in the friendzone is a lie. There’s a chance of upward mobility.

Interestingly, men probably would do well to have a potential partner as a friend rather than seeing them in a purely sexual way because if looks matter that much to men, they are going to need a reason to stick around when their ladyfriend gets older. In more groundbreaking news, men like youth but in having a relationship with someone, it takes more than just attraction to sustain a relationship.

Attraction is largely unconscious but if you’ve been in a relationship long enough, you have probably learnt how to love someone. Many older men are not willing to leave their spouse for a 20-year-old and have to go through those growing pains again, no matter how firm her ass is. With age comes wisdom.

So overall, the answer of whether or not men and women can be just friends depends on who’s answering. Each sex will answer differently because they are looking for different things in a partner.

If you are sleeping with someone, that person is not just your friend. If a man sleeps with his friend, he’d be weirded out by it, just like Harry was in the movie. If a woman does it, it’s because he’s not in the friendzone and she sees potential mate written on his penis. You just don’t sleep with someone you classify as a friend. If you do, then it’s friends with benefits which is still a different relationship dynamic to friendship. It’s the middle ground between friendship and a romantic relationship.

I know what you’re thinking. Well can’t people who already have partners be friends? Yeah… no I still don’t think so. But again, I’m a guy. My perspective isn’t any more right or wrong than a woman’s. It’s just based on who I am.

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

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