Monday, March 26, 2012

Best friends: a man & a woman?

A recent experience in my life set me thinking of the age-old question, "Can men & women be best friends and remain just friends?".

In my circle of friends & acquaintances there are many who are friends - work colleagues who get along very well, hang out together; college friends who still meet up and keep in touch even if they are hitched, with or without their spouses. But any instance of two members of the opposite sex being best friends and the relationship remaining platonic… not one. Then I thought, "Hey, maybe it's my circle of friends… maybe there are others out there who are in really good friendships that have stayed platonic."

So I dug around. This is what I found:

(a) Girl Friend 1 - Has remained good friends with this guy who she has had serious 'romantic' feelings for. The feelings went unrequited and have abated a fair bit but they still remain. She keeps in touch with him, partly with the hope that he might one day change his mind and partly rationalising to herself that even if she doesn't have a romance going with him, she can at least have his friendship. He falls in and out of love, when he's in a romantic relationship, he disappears for that period of time and when he's not, he gets back in touch. The friendship gets picked up where it was left off, platonically, as always.

(b) Guy Friend - Best friends with his work colleague. She eased him into the company when he was a newbie, she went drinking with him, was his shoulder to cry on (and vice versa), they shared their views, opinions & most secrets. He was crazy about another woman (who was his good friend from elsewhere) who told him she didn't feel the same way about him. This best friend consoled him & offered her support. One day he did get together with the girl he was mad about and life went on its merry way. All seemed too good to be true. These two friends continued to meet, drink and be merry as often as they could (without respective partners) given schedules and other commitments. Until one day she dropped a bomb, things hadn't been as unromantic as he had suspected. She had developed a crush on him over time (which she claimed had gone away and that's why she had got up the courage to tell him). He was shocked and bewildered, hadn't suspected it one bit. He has moved out of the company where they worked together but they continue as before, being best friends, trying not to think of that 'crush' that was. But has the unspoken 'romance' really gone away?

(c) Girl Friend 2 - Is in love with this amazing, wonderful man. Everything she could hope for in a life partner. He has a large circle of friends, she knows most of them. He has this one best friend - you guessed it, a woman! She knows her too, it is someone he worked with once upon a time. He says they are simply friends and no other feelings between them. She believes him but she's not sure if the 'best woman-friend' feels the same way too. That this is about just being friends and no scope for anything else. Girl friend gets mad that they are constantly meeting up and always without her. But 'best woman-friend's' friends are allowed. This has been going on for as long as she has been seeing her partner. Until one day, terrified of losing her partner if things continued the same way, she exploded. The meetings stopped. So far. Was the girl friend just jealous or was there potential for something to develop romantically between the two best friends? Hmmmmmm!?

Then I took a good look at the examples we have in movies, TV etc.

When Harry Met Sally

My Best Friend's Wedding

Made of Honor

Friends - Chandler & Monica (and the rest of them too in between now & then)

If these are supposed to be a reflection of society (at least a little bit), then...?

Scientifically speaking, the experts say that it is possible but not without having to overcome some huge challenges. Once you get past those barriers and your friendship has survived, it's possible. Bottomline: you have to get past the challenges & survive!

For the full article, click here

I, for one, have begun to believe that it's only possible for a heterosexual man/woman to have a best friend of the opposite gender if the friend is gay/lesbian respectively :)

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship. ~ Oscar Wilde

(Pic courtesy: Google images)

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