Maybe a problem is the way we view ‘connection’ in that it must always be/is always romantic and/or sexual? Perhaps strong attraction to people (like strong attraction to a new pair of shoes/iphone/pet/house) is normal and what is NOT normal/helpful is to see it only through the western prism of desire and a potential love/sex situation? Reply
83 Replies to “Can Men & Women Just Be Friends?”
Maybe a problem is the way we view ‘connection’ in that it must always be/is always romantic and/or sexual? Perhaps strong attraction to people (like strong attraction to a new pair of shoes/iphone/pet/house) is normal and what is NOT normal/helpful is to see it only through the western prism of desire and a potential love/sex situation?
Oh my god! I have to admit I’m just a bit shocked right now… Sorry that this isn’t to the topic of the video (It’s absolutely great by the way, just for the record), but I just needed to say it. I can’t believe you’re just 26, Matthew. Excuse me, it’s not that you look old or something, it’s just… you seem to be so kind of settled in life and sort of wise. I don’t know it’s hard for me to believe that there are only 6 years between us and I’m still staggering in life.
Just saying, you’re awesome. Keep it going!
Yes Matt I agree entirely with what you say…but I know that there are many quite ruthless women who would seduce your boyfriend or husband if they can and will try in many wily and non obvious ways. That’s why I wouldn’t like my guy to be spending exclusive time with a woman especially one that I didn’t know. There is always some sexual attraction on one side of the friendship and the other person is loving the attention Sounds paranoid but I’ve seen it and experienced it. That is not to dismiss the loyalty factor. There are many loyal guys but why court temptation. His friends must be my friends too and we should see them together and vice versa. May be I’m too old school. Love your thoughts anyway
Well, Matthew didn’t say that people need to be spending long chunks of exclusive time with people of the opposite sex. He left the question of what external behavior is prudent somewhat open (the whiskey test obviously being tongue in cheek. He stands by that, yes; but he probably doesn’t recommend it).
I agree with having the same friends. His friends being yours, and vice versa.
If I drank 10 shots of whiskey I’d be out cold so I’m not sure that’s a good test for me. lol..maybe 5 would be a verra good indicator.
Agreed, if it is truly a friendship, there is no reason opposite sex friends cannnot be friends with your significant other as well.
so….how’d things end with Jameson? ;)
As I learned in one of the other posts on your blog, men and women often agree to a date for different reasons. You (or your brother, I can’t remember which) said if a guy asks you out, he has definitely already thought about sleeping with you. Where as for a woman, agreeing to a date doesn’t mean you are sure you want to have sex with that person. My question stems from this concept as well as the idea of men and women being friends…
As a single female I often find myself in situations where I am asked out for a drink, dinner, what-have-you, by someone who’s company I enjoy, but who I am not attracted to in a romantic way. Which begs the question:
If I’m not physically attracted to this guy, but I appreciate that he has put in an effort to be attentive, and his personality stands out as interesting, is it okay to agree to a date with someone on the basis that I think we could at least be friends? Or is agreeing to go out with someone who you aren’t immediately attracted to equal to leading them on and wasting both people’s time?
On one hand I truly believe that attraction can grow between two people over time through the process of getting to know one another. But when it comes to dating, there is also something to be said about that instant pull we sometimes feel toward someone we have a genuine “crush” on or at the very least just find physically–well, Hot! In my experience that feeling can’t be forced, the spark is either there from the beginning, or it just isn’t.
Instincts are there for a reason and we are constantly told we should follow our gut–and yet, it feels shortsighted to turn down a date based on a lack of immediate fireworks, butterflies, whatever you want to call them.
Now factor in the concept of expectations. Just like there is an unspoken agreement or societal convention that says if a man takes a woman out he is obliged to pay the bill, there is often also the presumption that a woman must “put out” if she accepts a date. Perhaps the only reason I am even asking myself whether it’s wrong to accept a date with someone I am not immediately attracted to, is because in Millenial dating culture, many people’s interpretation of a date can be reduced to an exchange of services, whereby the man pays for the food, drinks, and/or entertainment, and in return the woman provides some kind of sexual favor. To do anything less would just be bad manners…right?
And furthermore, what is the best way to turn someone down, when you ARE sure you aren’t interested?
I know this turned into more than one question and some social commentary, but if you respond to any part of this I will be ecstatic :)
I think even nowadays most people understand that a first date is not necessarily going to mean sex. The guy might be hoping that sex will become a possibility later on, but he’ll probably understand that it’s not necessarily going to be a reality right away. And he might also understand that romance might end up not even materializing, that there might, just might be the possibility that it will be the beginning of a friendship, or that it is also quite likely it will go nowhere, neither to romance nor to friendship, but will just fizzle.
In my past, I accepted such invitations from men that I didn’t find attractive. Just in order to give it a chance. But I realized, my first instinct never had cheated me. Those dates only resulted in awkward moments, and it is even harder to say politely no after a date than refusing a first date.
Since, I decided I will save time and energy and I will only date men that I find attractive. It is also better not to give false hopes to someone else.
Thanks Matt. I needed to hear this. My husbands friends are 90% female, and at least 75% of them are models and actresses. Tends to make a girl insecure.
I’ve been watching these videos for quite some time now, and let me just say, they are so so helpful and wonderful and inspirational :)
But right now I’m in a dilemma and I really hope someone can help me out (this seems like the right place to ask)
I have a wonderful boyfriend who I love and care about so much, and he the same for me. We’ve been together for just over three months and everything was going well, but then a few days ago he started acting oddly.
Maybe I should start explaining from a bit further back. I know this advice is meant for adults but I’m actually still a teenager, and my boyfriend is doing his IGCSE exams this year, in about a months time. I am at another school so we only see each other once a week every Tuesday. One week I couldn’t see him because I needed to finish several projects for school, so we had to skip that date. Then, on the weekend he started to act more and more distant. I told him I loved him but he never said it back, (normally he tells me first!). The day I saw him again (yesterday) he didn’t hold my hand or anything like he normally does. This got me really quite worried. I was sure we had a stable and loving relationship but suddenly things were going downhill. In desperation, I messaged him to ask him if he still loved me.
He avoiding answering the question but said nothing was wrong. After more questioning, he revealed that his exams were getting close and it was getting harder and harder to see me and he wanted to break it off and “just be friends”. After asking what went wrong and why he didn’t love me anymore, he actually told me that he had “been an idiot” and “tried not to love me” because he knew we wouldn’t be seeing each other for a long time. He also mentioned that it seemed as though we almost weren’t going out because we hardly saw each other.
I suggested not having a “public” breakup, because that sort of things draws lots of attention and could cause him a lot of hurt if he was confused as to whether he’d done the right thing, and that would surely distract him from exams. I also agreed with not seeing him until he’d finished his exams, I told him I still cared about him and wanted him to do well with all my heart. So we reached an, if slightly ambiguous, conclusion based on what I suggested. He called it “taking a break”…
However, he also said he really cares about me and that hurting me is the last thing in the world that he wants to do and that he’d been a “moron”.
After clearing up, to a certain extent, the emotional mess, we talked about what we would normally talk about, and it turned into conversation like one we would have had in the past. I brought up some of our old inside jokes and he did too, and the conversation ended on a happy note.
I’m still hurt and confused though. I don’t know if he still loves me, or what I can do to rekindle our love, because I don’t know when I shall see him again. I don’t know whether it’s acceptable for me to message him to tell him I love him because I’m unsure as to whether we are acting as “friends” or not.
Our relationship is in a fragile state, if we manage to pull through and get back together properly then the experience will probably enforce our relationship. On the other hand, it could all go horribly wrong and he could stop seeing me altogether. This is why I am asking for your help, I really don’t want to loose my boyfriend as he is such an amazing person and we’ve been so happy together, and you are the very best person I know of who can give me advice.
I just want to know how I should proceed to act around him (well, message him) and should I bring up the subject of what our relationship status really is, and if possible, how to make him see that he does love me and need me, and find time to see me again.
Gosh, this is such a long post, out I couldn’t really shorten it any more without risking cutting out vital details I think…
Thank you so much to anyone who has a good idea of what I should do next!
I’m in a situation similar to yours, only I’m 40. My guy has been promoted twice in the last 6 months and is concentrating on his work. He literally told me he has no life at the moment.
I think it’s best at this point to back off. He needs time to study – OK. You continue with your own life.
I know it’s really hard but try not to contact him more than once a week. When you do be friendly so he knows you are still there. Communicate that you are fine and have a great life with or without him. After he doesn’t hear from you for a while he will probably be happy to hear from you. End the conversation before it gets too long and leave him wanting more of you.
Do not tell him you love him.
Your goal is to make him not feel pressured by you and want to get back to you as soon as possible. I hope it works out for you.
Thank you so so much!!!! It’s really appreciated :) I hope things work out for you as well xxxx
I have lots of male friends and it’s true what you say I’ve been drunk as a skunk and so have they on many occasions and they have not even tried anything on, those that have are not faithful men regardless of any situation. However, I have found that if they or both of us have a single period together they have always made a pass or done some kind of come on to me. I’d like to think that I’m so amazing that men can’t resist me if we’re both available, but sadly I feel that many of them have just been friends that have waited for the first opportunity to take advantage of it.
What would be your take on that Matt do men just become friendly with women in case one day they may be able to put that friendship on some kind of personal level in the future if the opportunity arises. By the way most of them are great to have as a friend but not what you would want in a man to date.
I completely agree with what you have to say here, but I’m in a little bit different situation. The man I’m seeing has a best friend who a woman. While I believe he is faithful and there is nothing romantic or physical between the two, there is definitely what I sense as emotional intimacy. My concern is this emotional intimacy is keeping him from opening up to me because he’s already getting it from another woman. She runs one of his businesses, so they travel together, text on the regular and also hang out socially, but I truly believe him when he says there’s nothing more than friendship. I’ve seen texts and pictures though that show it’s an extremely close friendship and if our relationship progresses I wouldn’t be comfortable with some of this behavior because I want to be that person to him from an emotional level. I’m not sure where to take it from here. We’re about 2-3 months in, see each other twice a week and communicate regularly, but I can’t shake this concern that it won’t progress with this woman so close to him in his life.
it sounds like we are involved with the exact same person
Oh gosh, wouldn’t that be crazy. Well I live in the Boston area, don’t tell me you are too.
My problem, I guess, is my bf and I are in a long distance relationship, going on 3 years now. It’s not he easiest, but we love each other and make it work. (back story, we did meet when both of us were living in the same town, and we were friends, but I made it out of the friends zone with him. We started dating, he moved for work, and we decided to stay together and make it work.) I am in the process of moving out there within the next year, at some point. He has just made a little group of good friends. His friend from work and his wife have a single, female friend, who I found out he’s been hanging out with all of them a lot. (I have never met them). I don’t think he’s hung out with just her, alone. Mostly they are just this “fun” group of people he says. I am just concerned that with it always being the 4 of them, or her always around, something more will come of it. He does find them interesting, which means he’s attracted to them (from what Matthew said). We have recently gotten into some arguments about this, bc I’m a little insecure that he will start having a better time with her/them then with me. That is how him and I started off, and now I’m afraid all this “hanging out” will eventually turn into being into each other, like him and I did. My concern too, is that I am too far away to visit him regularly, so this girl gets to see him more than me, and he gets to hang out with her more. I fear he’ll start to forget our connection.
I’m in a very similar long-distance situation, except my husband does hang out one-on-one with his female friends, one in particular. I feel replaced, and I’m jealous that she (or all of the shes) get to regularly hang out/have lunch/have dinner/go to movies with him and I don’t. I don’t want to be jealous, because it’s not like I think they are sleeping together, but it’s so hard not to feel replaced. I hear you.
I’ve got 5 bottles of Woodford reserve whiskey in my cupboard. Just in case. Can’t believe you are drinking the same drink as I am. Haha x
Matthew!! this video has such a great perspective. I struggle internally when I feel a man I am with seem attracted to another woman “friend”. I seriously PLEAD with you to kindly elaborate on the following: Where is the line drawn of remain loyal? (What if they text those new little emoji hearts and kisses to each other? Is FaceTiming passing a line?) and I never heard anyone discuss this and I am SO interested in your input. What are your thoughts on men who have ZERO male friends and all single female friends??? Please answer regarding this. I feel like it would be a great video as well!!! Thank you so much. Can’t wait to see you on tour soon :) have my tix!!
agreed!! yay:) well said matt.
I have plenty of guy friends and that’s all we are! I have sat and drank many a drink with them and nothing has ever happened I believe we have the mutual understanding that we are just friends and that’s all we will be!
I have friends who have easily passed that test. Only one of my guy friends failed it; but he has a girlfriend. What should I do?
We are so like-minded, Matthew. You speak my mind 98% of the time. That is why I started following you anyway. I agree with your statements in this video. Besides the friendship thing, it is not realistic to think that your partner will never find somebody else attractive again. Especially in long term relationships, people might have little, temporary crushes on other people once in a while. It happens. It doesn’t mean you fall in love with the other person or you want that person over your partner (like you said). But it is human nature. Anyone who says that never happened to him/her is straight-up lying or they haven’t met many people. It is best to be open-minded and accept it as it is.
Growing up in a very social home environment, I’ve never had any problem talking to guys. I am so comfortable in that many times when I just joke around with a guy, he might take it as I like him, but the truth is I am probably just being friendly. I give compliments to people, not because I am attracted to them, but only because I am naturally a very encouraging and positive person. If I like someone he would know it from my strong eye contact even if he is on the other side of the room. Eye-f*ck is one of the most stimulating and erotic activity between two people. I think your whiskey shot test is a good one. And let’s not forget the ‘friends with benefits’ thing, it is very common.
I am not in a relationship at the moment but have always had male friends whether I am single or not. However there always comes a point where the guy wants more and I just want to be friends. I try to make it clear from the outset that I am not interested in a relationship, I am not a physical ‘touchy-feely’ person so I don’t think I am leading them on, but the pattern repeats and I end up uncomfortably facing ultimatum of getting involved or losing a friend. It makes me feel used, like there was always an ulterior motive for them when I just wanted someone to be a friend with.
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