lifestyle

Can men and women really be close platonic friends?

58 Comments

Ladies do you think you could possibly get along with a guy just as well as you do with your female friends? Not in exactly the same way, but on the same level without it changing into something romantic. And fellas, do you really think the “friend zone” exists with a woman or is that just her way of getting you off her back.

Japanese bridal information site Bridal Soken conducted a study last March asking 3096 single men and women between the ages of 20 and 50, “Is a friendship between a man and a woman real?” According to the results many more men and women think it is than isn’t, but the deeper we go we can see that gender is but a single piece of a bigger puzzle.

When asked the question, 44.6% of men and 57.9% of women said it was “highly” or “somewhat” possible for men and women to become close friends and close friends only. On the other hand, 21.7% of men and 16.6% of women said there was “absolutely” or “very much” no way that men and women could become true friends.

So overall it would seem that women are a little more optimistic when it comes to men and women intermingling on a sincere deeper level.

If we look at it in terms of age, men clearly steadily feel bleaker about inter-gender friendships as they get older, sliding from 52.9% of believers in their 20s to only 32.6% in their 40s. Conversely, the number of non-believers steadily rose from 17.6% to 30.3% in the same period.

Women, however, only drop slightly in believers from 20s to 40s slipping from 62.1% to 51.9%. In addition, the number of women who don’t believe in real friendship actually dropped off a little too, from 17.3% to 14.1%.

From these responses we can figure that men clearly get more jaded with age while women just get a little more uncertain about true male/female friendships.

Considering the relationship status of the single people surveyed, for men, having a girlfriend or not didn’t seem to impact their feelings about friendship between a man and a woman.

Yet for women, the presence of a boyfriend seemed to significantly affect their views on real friendships between guys and gals. Of women who were believers 38.4% had boyfriends, whereas 47.8% of all women who don’t believe in such true friendship have boyfriends.

Form this data one could deduce that if you’re a guy, and you think have a close female friend, the moment you get a new girlfriend, there is a one in ten chance that one of the ladies has got to go.

Source: Bridal Soken via Business Media (Japanese)

© RocketNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


58 Comments
Login to comment

Sure. Just get married.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Sure. If the man is gay.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Platonic relationships are possible but I believe there is a critical period in which people can no longer be just friends. Physiologically and psychologically humans are wired for reproduction and pair bonding, and many factors contribute to attraction. My belief is that when these contributing factors form a certain amalgamation there is no turning back. The relationship that was once considered Platonic is now destined for destruction. Therefore the collapse of a Platonic relationship can happen when two people can progress to a greater state of togetherness, such as a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship or the mutual need for a progression of the relationship will not be felt thus leading to awkward feeling together and collapse of the relationship. As a result a Platonic relationship probably does have a critical point of termination because we are genetically predisposed and historically programmed to be more than friends.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Most relationships are platonic between a male and female on a daily basis. We all have working relationships that require us to work together, without having sexual relations or sexual encounters. If we start breaking those barriers, then we are going to end up with severe problems, and will have to pay severe penalties at the work place, and eventually at home.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Yeah.... after you did it only once.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'll put in my thoughts. I'm a highly sexual guy. Um it is possible to just be friends if your married or have a girlfriend...but it's only natural for the man to start thinking sexual thoughts towards the woman. The more time together the more intense it gets.. It really depends on what type of person. Everyone as you all know has their turn ons and turn offs. Some girls you see as "mates" some girls you see as "dates" is the way I like to put it...

In closing if I was a single man being good friends with a girl...there is a 70% chance I would think sexual thoughts about her.

Sorry!

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

Excellent points, sfjp330. Men and women are friends in the context or work and community organizations all the time.

At present I have a number of single and married male friends who are members of clubs I have joined. With some of those who are single I enjoy drinks and dinners and email exchanges. Sometime if schedules converge we might meet up in foreign cities when we travel independently. Some of the younger ones I sometimes mentor and encourage. Another has a steady girlfriend in another city but we continue to enjoy each other's company without romantic attachment. It all comes down to two people agreeing to and respecting each other's boundaries. There is a lot more to meaningful connection between men and women than "doing it."

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"If we look at it in terms of age, men clearly steadily feel bleaker about inter-gender friendships as they get older" Not necessarily. It could be that younger generations are more open-minded about friendships with the opposite sex.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Remember this is about close friends, not just light workplace friendships. Could you have a close platonic relationship with a member of the opposite sex?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In very very rare circumstances yes. Generally no. Maybe it can only work when any kind of sexual activity is clearly off-bounds from the outset - such as your friend's girlfriend......... so there is no mutual attraction in that way from the outset. In the case of work, this kind of activity although dangerous, is not ruled out at all........ which makes it a bit of a grey area

2 ( +3 / -1 )

My answer is a resounding no! I thought I had a female friend (one) but I guess she's mad at me for not coming on to her after buying her dinner (probably wounded her self-image as no longer being attractive to men). She's divorced now but I'm not.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Um, the claim that men and women can't be platonic friends is BS. Absolute rubbish. Of course men and women can be platonic friends, even assuming they are both straight and around the same age. When people claim they are incapable of being friends with someone without having sex with them, I kind of judge their social skills a little bit.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Not if the woman is hot.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Probably depends on degree of overall maturity of each individual, but yes, I do think men and women can just be friends. Important however that the nature of the relationship is mutually confirmed in clear fashion so that there is no misunderstanding or false expectations on the part of either party.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, People can be really good friend's. Work place friendship's often die when one person leaves the job, However, while they're both employed they are friend's. I love alot of people, but I am not sexually attracted to all of them. I believe close friendships can exist between opposite sexes. Moral's are necessary to coexist...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think its possible, those above that compared it to an office, sorry that aint what the topic is.

I think its easy when the friends are part of a larger "group of friends/aquaintences", when its really just 2 people.........ehh much harder to do imo. And besides others likely wud say ah yeah just friends............riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

It is easy within a bit of a group I wud say, much harder one on one, come on folks be honest, you KNOW I am righht haha!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes, but less frequently than same sex friendship

4 ( +4 / -0 )

GW- it may or may not involve work/office friends etc, hence the mentioning. Meaning a "Friend" being someone that you might spend time with. The reasons you spend time with those people varies; it may be essential for a work project/assignment , it may not be directly invovled with your own work but working for the same company means you have something in common, you may or may not have wanted to spend time with this person had they not worked at the same company/industry. I think people have many "friends" who are a result more of circumstance than anything else. So it depends on the motives/expectations of both parties and whether there is any sexual chemistry involved.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sure, if you forget that night in Yamaguchi after the meeting.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No. I am a highly attractive man and avoid any contact/bonding with women in case they want to pork me. Same goes for any men who I suspect are a little loose in their loafers.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Work friendships can become very close in spite of the fact that contact originated in the same company. Close M/F friendships can include attractive people. They can be quite free of the inclination to "pork" anyone. But I also agree with AKBfan that such friendships are not as frequent. No doubt, some of that may be due to cultural conditioning. Not too many generations ago even Canadian and American women (who are among the most empowered now) did not socialize with men. Those who did were considered fast and loose.

Judging from the comments above, I suspect that another reason may also be due to a large percentage of immature and shallow men who respond to women as sexual objects only. And, um, think a little to highly of themselves and their charms.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"large percentage of immature and shallow men who respond to women as sexual oblects"...haha! Another reason could be due to a large percentage of immature and shallow women who need to work on becoming more interesting to convince men they are worth more than just a sexual object. Just an idea.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

This question has already been answered for all time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8kpYm-6nuE

Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.

Sally: Why not?

Harry: What I'm saying is -- and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form -- is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Sally: That's not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.

Harry: No you don't.

Sally: Yes I do.

Harry: No you don't.

Sally: Yes I do.

Harry: You only think you do.

Sally: You say I'm having sex with these men without my knowledge?

Harry: No, what I'm saying is they all want to have sex with you.

Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sally: How do you know?

Harry: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.

Sally: So you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?

Harry: No, you pretty much want to nail 'em too.

Sally: What if they don't want to have sex with you?

Harry: Doesn't matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

Sally: Well, I guess we're not going to be friends then.

Harry: Guess not.

Sally: That's too bad. You were the only person that I knew in New York.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I'm still really good friends with my ex. We are better friends than partners in a relationship where we both felt pressure somehow. With sex out of the equation we became really close friends when that tension was gone . Can't say I would feel the same way about any other woman... I've tried, but it feels uncomfortable, as if waiting for something to happen.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have REALLY close female friends. Would I cross the line and sleep with them? Yes!

Have I done it? Yes. Are we still friends? Yes.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

sure, if they are both not good looking.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am nearly 42 years old and I can honestly say that I have only spent time with 2 NON-FAMILY females that I enjoyed spending time with where I didn't feel a sexual attraction. Neither of these women were overweight or ugly, but they were both military girls and kind of felt like "one of the boys" when we would all hang out together. I did end up having sex with one of them when she plopped down in my lap after a night of drink. She admitted that she had feelings for me the next morning but I told her I didn't feel the same. Didn't really hang out much any more after that. So based on my personal experience, I would say that male/female platonic relationships are a very rare thing, so if you have one, enjoy it!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I can honestly say that I have only spent time with 2 NON-FAMILY females that I enjoyed spending time with where I didn't feel a sexual attraction...

...I did end up having sex with one of them when she plopped down in my lap after a night of drink.

Wait... what?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The key word is "close" friends. I think it is rare, but it is possible. Hypothetically, it is possible that a particular straight man is not interested in a particular straight woman and vice versa, but they know each other for a long time, live closeby, and thus, are good friends. I know one couple (in Japan) fitting that description, but only one, so it must be very rare.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Can man and woman be platonic friends?

Yes, after they've shagged!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I have a very hot work colleage who asked me this, and she has a very strong conviction that man and women can't just be friends. Her theory is based on the idea that most relationships with people of the opposite sex we have are defined by some overarching connections that generally 'prohibit' a sexual relationship from developing. So, generally your friends of the opposite sex are; work colleagues, are in existing relationships, you know them through other people, are people your friends have dated, or are friends of your partner etc etc. There is some link associated with them that makes them a 'safe' person to hang out with.

If you meet someone completely randomly who you have absolutely no connection to whatsoever, say, like in a coffee shop, get chatting, hit it off, one, or both of you will pursue the friendship only because there is attraction involved. And either the attraction is felt by both and it becomes a relationship, or only one and is ultimately doomed.

I couldn't think of one example that didn't fit her formula - including her, so I have to concede that, in my case, she is right.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Of course you can have plutonic friends. But the difference is I could have stay overnight with a guy friend , but I couldn't with a female friend.

The trouble with plutonic friends even with singles is that often one person thinks they are or wants to be more than friends.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

yasukuniOct. 16, 2012 - 07:12PM JST The trouble with plutonic friends even ...

I find this Freudian slip very funny, considering that Pluto is the largest body very far away. :)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Platonic relationships are possible but I believe there is a critical period in which people can no longer be just friends. Physiologically and psychologically humans are wired for reproduction and pair bonding, and many factors contribute to attraction. My belief is that when these contributing factors form a certain amalgamation there is no turning back. The relationship that was once considered Platonic is now destined for destruction. Therefore the collapse of a Platonic relationship can happen when two people can progress to a greater state of togetherness, such as a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship or the mutual need for a progression of the relationship will not be felt thus leading to awkward feeling together and collapse of the relationship. As a result a Platonic relationship probably does have a critical point of termination because we are genetically predisposed and historically programmed to be more than friends.

novenachama - with fuzzy-warm delivery like that, you must really make women swoon.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

In my case, no. I used to have a guy "best friend" and we ended up having an affair, cheating on our bf/gf. I also used to have close guy friends but it got awkward when they started to like me. Now, I stick to gays and girls. I still have guy friends but not that close. If I do get close to a guy, it's only because I like him i.e. I have a hidden agenda lol.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

why not ? if there mature enough not to let temptation get the best of them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The only male & female relationships that are truly close friends are siblings. A woman can't have a boyfriend and a guy friend on the side because it would interfere with her romantic relationship with her boyfriend and vice versa on the man's end. So unless its a double date (her with her significant other and her male friend with his significant other...) it usually never ends well in the "we're just close friends" department.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Another reason could be due to a large percentage of immature and shallow women who need to work on becoming more interesting to convince men they are worth more than just a sexual object. Just an idea.

Perhaps. However, that still leaves the question of whether men who consider some women not "worth" being "more than just a sexual object" have the capacity differentiate. Shouldn't all human beings have the right not to be objectified as a starting point? If so, it seems rather contradictory to then decide that under certain criteria (such as not interesting enough or whatever else) women then qualify as a sex object. That implies that being a sex object is better than nothing. And that sort of reasoning can only reinforce the point that men who think that way are shallow and immature.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sure, but it's more difficult if one or both of the people have little sexual experience. If they don't have much experience, then it's entirely too easy to seek it out with someone they feel close to, and there goes the platonic relationship. With more mature and experienced folks, it's a little easier to make choices not based on raging hormones.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As long as they aren't hormone-ridden teenagers, I would think so.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is a stupid question. Of course "men" and "women" can form close and purely platonic friendships.

There are three important truths that never seem to get acknowledged when this conversation comes up:

1) Some men and women are incapable of forming purely platonic friendships with the opposite sex; the key here is that "some" is not "all" - many who fall into this category make the mistake of projecting on others.

2) Any individual may be able to form purely platonic friendships with some other individuals of the opposite sex, but not with others. You can be naturally attracted to one "type" and not to another. Intimate friendship may overcome that, or it may not. It's not automatic, and some are more susceptible than others.

3) Just because a relationship is not "purely platonic" doesn't mean it isn't a "real" friendship. I can be attracted to friends of the opposite gender to some degree and still be friends with them with out it being sublimated unrequited love or some sort of sham to get into their pants. I can even be presented with the opportunity to act on those desires and not take that opportunity because, for various reasons, I would prefer our relationship to remain at the friendship level. (Hell, maybe we could even have sex and not form any sort of romantic attachment, "friends with benefits" style - it probably wouldn't work for me, but it would be presumptuous of me to project that on everyone else. It might work for some people.) In other words, you can think your friends are attractive and still be friends with them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

if your married to a Japanese woman and she has turned off the sex, I guess a platonic "friendship" is whatt you end up with....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Can men and women really be close platonic friends?"

Yeah sure they can, if the man is dead, a eunuch, the parent, , grandparent, gay or asexual (gay). Then they can be best friends and go shopping and gay clubbing together, other than that, no.

All the women I was friends with (before I got married), were friends with benefits.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why would they want to be even if they can?! Platonic sounds rather painful.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I believe it is possible but the big question is 'How will your partner (wife or girlfriend) react to such a relationship?' Guys can you honestly accept your partner going out for dinner and drinks with a guy? Or vise versa?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tamarama ; Nice description, i think that is what I was getting at but maybe didnt explain so clearly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

philly-

Perhaps. However, that still leaves the question of whether men who consider some women not "worth" being "more than just a sexual object" have the capacity differentiate. Shouldn't all human beings have the right not to be objectified as a starting point?

I would disagree. People have the "right" to think what they want. Yes it would be nice not to be objectified but humans are hard-wired to do so. U don't embark on a relationship with someone as a friend unless there is some mutual benefit, might be sex, might be $, might be simply enjoying their company, might be connections you can use.... why is it frowned upon if this benefit is sex?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes you probably could be platonic friends but why would you want to? It serves no purpose for my life. Its like trying to make my dog my cat. Women are for relationships, men are for friends.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Define friend...I dont consider all my Facebook "friends" to be the traditional idea of friends. Not even close. My colleagues and I are friendly but not friends. We work together and disuss the weather when not discussing work. Kind of platonic I guess but not friends. I throw catsheeit over my neighbors fence so we are definetely not friends. If you know my birthdate, my kids birthdate, my phone number, my favourite food, my least favourite food, my email address, blahblahlistgoeson only then are you my friend and If you are of the opposite sex and know all this stuff then we have had full sexual interourse more than once...I guarantee it..even if you dont remember..in which case our friendship is over or you're fired. Now if you'll excuse me, I've totally lost my train of thought and I must roger my secretary.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it's entirely possible, but that the success rate is probably quite low.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, I think men and women can become close friends without becoming physical but, I prefer the female friends that come "with benefits"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm sure it's possible, i know at least one woman i've known for years and never ever had sex with lol. I don't know any woman i've known for years i never TRIED to have sex with (when i'm single ofcourse, no cheating since the same is expected from the other side etc.) so i don't know about that there

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No, not from my experience.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Platonic friendships become less and less constrained as societies shake off the boundaries and restrictions of 'role playing'. In strictly 'role observant' societies, there are way too many gender based expectations and requirements to sidestep them all into ordinary or platonic friendship, but that will change, because a common love of 'freedom' demands that it must. According to 'the rules' of my current location, all but one or two of my friends are 'wrong gender' for my society, but all it means is, that I have to take care to avoid taking part in the mating rituals and games that are recognized as part of sexual bonding. The body language, the dressing up, the pursuits of sexual bonding, (before the act) are usually definable, and can be omitted. When you recognize the mating rituals, and do not practice any of them, then your fellows can accept more easily that you are 'safe' as a friend. Those societies where males and females are brought up to think of each other as 'brothers and sisters' have more success in ordinary friendships.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sure they can.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Notice how the belief that men/women can be close platonic friends drops with age. Perhaps this is because of personal experience that the reality of those friendships being very difficult to maintain. Once either friend gets involved in a romantic relationship with someone else, it becomes problematic. Jealousy is a powerful natural force. They may have to stop seeing their cross-sex friend to maintain harmony in their romantic relationship. My girlfriend and I both have cross-sex friends from work and from our life experiences. We both agree to not see our cross-sex friends alone one on one unless it is in a group situation or her or I are together with them. We need trust in our partners. Our partner's actions should reinforce that trust, not weaken it. Neither me or my girfriend feel jealousy with this agreement and we are both happy with each other. We both had issues with each other's cross-sex friendships and we devised this agreement as a solution.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We both agree to not see our cross-sex friends alone one on one unless it is in a group situation or her or I are together with them. We need trust in our partners.

By requiring the other's presence, you aren't showing trust in your partner.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mammals and crustaceans are built with pre-defined interfaces to attract and judge the opposite sex.

As for humans, these interfaces are dulled or sharpened by various factors such as age and experience, tendency to or away from monogamy, etc.

A relationship you felt was platonic may have been strongly felt the opposite by the other party, and you might not realise it until years after that fact.

But in opposition to that, in some cultures if you couldn't maintain platonic relations with the opposite sex, you just couldn't function in the workplace, unless you hid it really well. Whereas in other cultures such relations would be assumed to be impossible and in a self-enforcing way become so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites