Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Is It So Hard To Believe That Guys and Girls Can Be Just Friends?

When Harry Met Sally dealt with the question way back in the 80s. Harry said it was impossible for a man and woman to simply be friends while Sally disagreed with every ounce of her little feminist self.  Of course, in the end, the Hollywood standard prevailed, and Harry fell for Sally and she fell right back.  But let's pick the question back up...  I have friends ~ strong, life long friends and relatively new friends ~ that are guys and there is not a lick of attraction there.  I love spending time with them.  We have brilliant conversations and fun adventures, but I don't feel anything romantic for them. However, people respond to our friendship as if it is a precursor to a romantic relationship, not a valued platonic bond.  So, let me ask you, my friends, why is it so hard to believe that men and women can be just friends?

The mindset seems to be that if you see a man and woman out to dinner or going to a movie that they are a couple. Why? If I go to dinner with a girlfriend, no one suggests that maybe I should date her.  If I say I am going to the beach for the weekend with my best girl pal, no one thinks it is a romantic getaway.  There's a little bit of a double standard there. Of course, there's also the truth that many of the best relationships begin with two people who are friends hanging out and then suddenly realize that their best friend was the perfect match all along... at least in Hollywood movies.  What chick flick ends with the guy and girl being friends unless the guy or girl is gay?  Even Seinfeld muddied the water of Elaine and Jerry's friendship by having them sleep together denying the truth that you cannot be just friends and share a bed.  If you are just friends, then be just friends.

Why is this my topic for today? First, I am guilty of doing one thing and then, thinking everyone else is doing another.  I am chaperoning 8 amazing Student Council kids at the State Conference.  They are all just friends.  The other chaperone is a co-worker who is a great male friend.  We are just friends. Earlier, my co-advisor and I were checking out possibles things to do tomorrow before the conference kicks off, and a lady walked by.  She suggested that we do a carriage tour which I had just mentioned.  "See?", I said... The lady said "Listen to her.."...  It wasn't what she said, but HOW she said it...  It was like he should listen to me because we were a couple. It was odd... She wouldn't have said it that way if we had been two men or two women.  Why are we a couple simply because we are members of the opposite sex?

I am guilty of the same mindset at times though.. I'll admit it...  I told the students that the girls couldn't be in the guys rooms and vice versa. Really? they asked...  Really, I said.. and then, I thought.. What are you doing?  I teach these kids.  Two of them I have every single day.  They are friends..  nothing more..  so why did I just treat them like they were a couple simply because they are members of the opposite sex? My walk didn't match my talk...  I hate when that happens, when I rail against other people doing something that I turn around and do myself.  I need to work on that...

I'm going to do just that starting tomorrow.  We are going to enjoy the sights and conference.  All ten of us, irregardless of what our genders are. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Harry was wrong...  Men and women can be just friends!


  1. Oh, you did the right thing. You sound like a professional person who doesn't want to deal with any scandals right now. As a teacher, you don't want your name and picture on the front page of the local paper with a story about your students in Charleston, now do you?

  2. Good Point! Definitely don't want to be in the paper.