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Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Can men and women just be friends?

    When does one side, or both, start to confused platonic affection for romance. Can one maintain a healthy friendship with the opposite sex with out developing feelings? If they do develop, should you live in silence, cut the relationship, or confess?

    • This is a fascinating topic, and it speaks a lot of how relationships between men and women are handled in writing. In real life, when both men and women have a friend of the opposite gender, other friend always hint at you like that friend automatically. Why is this? Why does their automatically have to be romantic implications? You could talk about how writing and other forms of media have reenforced this mindset that men and women are better off as lovers than just friends. – Aaron Hatch 4 years ago
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    • I think a lot of what gets confused as "specific affection" is simply a very affectionate personality. Both men and women are capable of being extremely polite, helpful, and generous; and yet those feelings can easily be mistaken by one or more persons as genuine attraction or flirting. But it's usually unintentional. It therefore falls to the other person to make reasonable judgements about this seemingly affectionate person, and to rationalize if it really is flirting, or just enthusiasm and politeness. People can also find other people a joy to be around, and can develop a "strong" platonic attachment to them like one would with a sibling. So sometimes it could get rather confusing unless you are honest with each other, and you talk these things out openly. In my case, I am always looking out for a relationship, but I have yet to meet anyone whom I'd genuinely like to ask out for coffee or something, and yet I've had a few people show an interest in me, because they appreciated all the nice things I tried to do for them. I've often been the shoulder to cry on, the person with good advice during tough times, and that can be a comforting quality. I completely understand how the other person feels about me. But I can't in good conscience reciprocate their feelings, nor would it be fair to me to go out with them just because I feel sorry for them. – Jonathan Leiter 4 years ago
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    • I also find it really irritating that people still refuse to talk openly about how they feel, and allow their (perhaps misplaced) feelings to be bottled up so much, that if they do finally talk about them, it might make things really awkward forever after. I dislike this idea of "signals," and "secretive gestures," or hints and clues. Things that are all related to flirting, but that only serve to confuse people if they are done unintentionally, and are read incorrectly by the other person. So if one really thinks there could be something there, then it might just be best to talk about it openly. Or, if you feel, or can see that the other person is pursuing other people, or building a life and a career that doesn't look like you could fit in it, perhaps its better not to say anything. – Jonathan Leiter 4 years ago
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    • Any article to the contrary (which is, of course that men and women can just be friends) would probably generate a lot of hate and controversy. Finding or understanding that someone is attractive, same gender or opposite, doesn't mean it will interfere with the relationship. So what? They're hot, that doesn't mean you're attracted to them as a person. That's exactly why we as humans don't run around in a giant orgy. The question itself is far too broad. Any given person can attest to being friends with the opposite sex all their life and never developing romantic inclinations. Maybe a more specialized direction like: is it easier to be friends with the opposite gender once you're in a relationship? It sounds silly and is kind of sexist, but I've found that in myself. I didn't have any male friends until I got a boyfriend, now almost all my friends all also males and there's nothing awkward about it. Does having the notion that "nothing can ever happen" make people more socially compatible, knowing no awkwardness need arise and if it does that it doesn't have to mean anything? – Slaidey 4 years ago
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    • I'm assuming that this would be applied to scenarios within books? For example, one could do a comparison between books and analyze which offers a more "realistic" representation of the male/female relationship, or how this representation has changed throughout time in literature. As just an analysis of the possibility of men and women being "just friends", I wouldn't think that the content would be suitable for this platform; if someone takes this topic, be sure to tie it in to one of the categories so your hard work isn't rejected! – Laura Jones 4 years ago
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    • Along with books, one can examine how this idea is also present in movies or tv. I personally think it would be interesting to show how this idea is reinforced in both literature and tv/movies. – Afasciano18 4 years ago
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    • Not really a fan of this question as it is exceedingly heteronormative. If anyone were to write this article, they'd have to take the LGBTQ+ community into account. – CHRISagi 4 years ago
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    • This is an interesting topic but I have to agree I think it's looking into things over-analytically. I have plenty of female friends and I don't grow the desire to date every single one of them. Plus after you've been in a long relationship you start considering is it worth going trying to be romantically involved with certain girls over others? Not always the case as much as you may think. – SidMot 4 years ago
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    • Might be worth it to look at this from a philosophical perspective - particularly modern philosophers who deal with love and sexuality...possible suggestions: "The Promise of Happiness" by Sara Ahmed "The Will to Change" by bell hooks "The History of Sexuality" by Michel Foucault "I Love to You" by Luce Irigaray "Works of Love" by Søren Kierkegaard (not really modern, but still pertinent) – SonoftheSpaceman 4 years ago
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