Point and Counterpoint: Must Romance Always Get in the Way Between Friends?


On a small campus like Lincoln Center, some feel it’s inevitable for romance to develop within one’s circle of friends, while others believe it’s easy to keep things platonic. (Colleen Thornhill/The Observer)

Men and Women Can’t Be Friends

By MICHELLE TALIS, Contributing Writer

I cannot stand those girls who have this notion that they are the Carrie Bradshaw’s of the world. Those falsely fierce and drippy girls who sit over their candy-colored cocktails extolling their own rhetoric about men. They sit there, lamenting over lost loves, kvetching about chivalry being dead and whatever else they can get into their claws.

Yet sometimes I find myself becoming one of them. Give me the right man who did me wrong, and the independent woman who used to reside in my head is duct-taped down by the crazy obsessive chick who just wants to shout “Can’t we still be just friends?” Only to answer my very own question with a nasally whine, “No, we really can’t, because men and women can never be just friends.”

To all those girls who are about to tell me how I’m wrong because they are friends with boys and are not dating any of them,  I start with the example of a good friend of mine. She has always thought of herself as “the guy’s girl.” She plays poker, prefers beer and can outwit and out vulgar them all.

She is not the exception to my rule: she is the one that proves it. Every good male friend of hers has either had an unrequited crush on her or had a mutual attraction so they ended up dating without officially calling it such.

She really doesn’t have one true platonic guy friend. There was always one person left wanting and waiting for more. Their conversations became fraught with tensions. This is no longer a friendship, but a precursor.

In reality, relationships are just extensions of friendship. They require trust, openness and two people who rhythmically vibe together more than just inside the bedroom.

A friendship in its most basic meaning doesn’t even exist. It’s not just about people who have common interests. Friendship is a form of love—it is intimacy in an altered form. It may not be the frat boy’s idea of intimacy, but it is still intimacy.

A deeper understanding and camaraderie exists between friends; add a shared respect and that friendship becomes something more. This is what my friend has with her “boys.” It’s more than just playful insults: it’s something more meaningful.

When she reveals a part of herself to them emotionally, they suddenly become more than just friends. What we claim to be the boundaries of friendship are always being muddled by us, the very creators of the definition. Men and women can’t be friend because the denotative meaning of the word simply doesn’t exist: there is always the possibility of something more.


How to Be Friends (And Only Friends) With Women

By HARRY HUGGINS, Staff Writer

“Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.”

This line from “When Harry Met Sally,” one of my all-time favorite movies, represents a philosophy that seems to govern the interaction of the average young adult with the opposite sex. This philosophy is ridiculously childish.

Maybe if you believe all the movies that are about mixed-gender friends—we had two just this year, “No Strings Attached” and “Friends With Benefits”—it makes sense. They’re always about how friendships can’t exist when sex is an option. Of course, since this is Hollywood, they have to end up happily in a relationship—they just can’t remain friends.

But wait, what about “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” a film where, in the end, the protagonist actually realizes that she can love her best guy friend and remain friends? Or the fact that most Fordham students are actually old enough to distinguish movies from real life? What, then, is the real cause of the belief that men and women can’t be friends?

I’ve had female best friends since eighth grade, and not once have I experienced any Hollywood-style complications. What I have experienced, however, is the surprised reaction when people learn that I am, in fact, NOT dating the girl who I hang out with on a regular basis. How could I possibly spend so much time with someone I’m not sleeping with?

When I’ve asked people why they don’t believe that I’m actually friends with girls, their answers are usually fairly juvenile. Some would argue that it takes more work to be friends with people who aren’t your own sex, but I find that ridiculous.

Is it work to be open to different life experiences? Is it work to appreciate new viewpoints? Thinking that you can’t be friends with men because they’re rude and violent or with women because they’re emotional and gossipy is too close-minded for someone our age to still believe—I didn’t even think that in middle school.

Think about it this way: for any person of even average complexity, there is no way limiting yourself to friends of your own sex will be as fulfilling as hanging out with both men and women. There just won’t be enough diverse personalities to keep things interesting, and you’ll end up being a duller person.

If not for my girl friends, I’d be much more uptight, have little-to-no appreciation for musical theater or photography and I’d still hate the French. My female friends are insanely better at organizing outings/parties than guys, and I’m always thankful for them when I need to dress to impress. Obviously, men and women should be friends—only children would say otherwise.