We all crave long-lasting friendships where we feel valued and appreciated. While looking for these friendships, it’s normal to question why your previous friendships fizzled out and start judging other people’s behaviours.
Friendships rely on mutual interactions. They give us a sense of belonging, boost our happiness, reduce stress, and boost our confidence.
Friendships can happen to anyone regardless of gender. The question as to whether men can be just friends with women should not be a big issue as non-romantic relationships happen every day at work, at home, and anywhere else.
Can a Man and Woman Be Just Friends?
The answer is yes. While misconceptions and challenges face heterosexual friendships, our daily experiences ascertain that these relationships are not only possible but expected. Proper communication and setting boundaries are what make such friendships successful.
Types of Friendships Between a Man and a Woman
Movies, books, and TV shows will tell you that indeed male-female friendships make the world go round. The nuances and complications that arise from these relationships provide endless entertainment. It’s imperative to have an understanding of various types of male-female friendships.
Platonic friendships are not complicated. They happen between a man and a woman who share common interests and values without any degree of sexual attraction. Platonic friendships occur when both parties are on the same page and enjoy each other in a friendship capacity.
“Friends with Benefits”
Friends with benefits happen when a man and a woman in a platonic friendship add sexual activities to their relationship. It can be a fun, rewarding kind of relationship for someone looking for sexual fulfillment without commitment.
Professional friendships have become familiar with more women attaining the workplace status quo. In professional male-female relationships, both parties are equally valued for input during meetings, professional development, and project participation.
These are the far-known kind of friendships. They are intimate, and men and women in these relationships feel tenderness and love for one another and can be sexually involved.
A healthy romantic friendship allows parties to grow together without losing their sense of individuality.
Benefits of Male-Female Friendships
When we cultivate healthy male-female friendships, both parties benefit from them. Both parties enjoy companionship, and such friendships can help boost self-esteem foster respect for social status and shared resources.
Friendships help us improve in almost every area of our lives. When a woman has a male friend, they feel connected with a sense of belonging, which counters the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Such friendships can also help you be yourself about your mental health and lower stress levels.
Despite the positive attributes of male-female friendships, they often are difficult to sustain due to evolutionary differences in how men and women view members of the opposite sex.
Women may feel safe in their friendships with men believing that lack of sexual elements will allow them to have a more stable friendship. On the other hand, their male counterparts may feel frustrated when they can only be “friends.”
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