The current crop of opinion seems to say no. Surprising, considering that the last decade has seen a lot of change in societal attitude and openness with more women opting for higher studies and work. Let’s look at the views and counterviews.
Most people believe that a friendship between a man and woman cannot last for ever, as sometime or the other it leads to something else. Either sexual tension develops, or the friendship fizzles out. This point is amply illustrated by the Hollywood film When Harry Met Sally. It is quite true that there aren’t any great sagas of man-woman friendship like we have of same gender friendships, like Sholay. However this could be simply because man-woman friendships don’t have a long history. It is a recent phenomenon, starting with women’s liberation.
There are quite a number of people who think otherwise too. Men who enjoy friendships with women say that they don’t have to act macho with their women friends. They can show their emotional side without risking being dumped a wimp. There is more tenderness and caring among friends of different genders. For a woman, a guy friend acts as a good counsellor as he can offer the man’s point of view. A guy also provides more physical security to his women friends.
Overall, there are few who would deny that a man-woman friendship is great fun while it lasts. Here are a few tips that would help you to have a pleasant going with friends of the opposite gender.
Remember that a friendship between a girl and a guy cannot be the same as friendship between individuals of same gender. This is an important key. There are some topics that one should avoid discussing with a friend of the opposite gender. For instance, a girl would do well to keep her PMS crams for discussion with her girl friends. Similarly memories of that stag party are for sharing among guys only. Also avoid mentioning intimate details of any romantic relationships you may have with your friend of the opposite sex. These may go down with the other person as signals that you want to connect romantically.
When you start a friendship with someone of the opposite gender, check your own motives. There are some who say that ‘let’s be friends’ hoping that it will lead to a romantic relationship later. Some friendships do lead to love later and you may not be aware of any attraction factor with your new friend at the moment. This is quite alright. However saying ‘let’s be friends’ while you are fully aware of your motives is dishonest, and may lead to problems later. If the other person is not attracted to you and takes your invitation to friendship at face value, you may end up being hurt.
There are also those who say ‘let’s be friends’ to someone who proposes to them, as a way of saying that ‘I’m not interested in you’. When you say that you want to be friends with someone, make sure that you mean what you say, and it is not just a way of saying ‘I don’t want you’.
There is also the question can people involved in a romantic relationship remain friends if the romance comes to an end. This depends on several factors- like in what way the relationship had come to an end and how mature the partners are.
To sum it up, it is not time yet to conclude that a guy and girl cannot remain friends. The history of such relationships is short, and with trial and error we may find the right way to maintain such relationships. For the present, just remember that a man-woman friendship is different from friendships of the same gender. Be aware of the pitfalls and remain honest with yourself. All in all such friendships are fun so go out and enjoy with your friends!