Male Stereotype Number Nine: Men Can’t Be Friends with Women
This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
I must start by explaining that I am referring to straight men here. A gay man would probably not feel sexual tension while in the company of his female friend, so this stereotype is specific to the context of straight men and (typically) straight women involved in platonic relationships. My focus is on whether a straight man can handle this arrangement and whether he should.
I consider myself a near-expert on the subject because, throughout my 30-plus years on the planet, I have had a number of platonic relationships with women, many of whom I had romantic feelings for in the past — and still do in some cases. There were some I previously dated who morphed into friends and others I never formally dated. It did get confusing and frustrating for me at times.
As studies have shown, the potential for conflicts of interest and misunderstanding in this context is enormous. Is it hard to establish proper boundaries or communicate (often) mixed feelings in these situations? Absolutely. Is it impossible? No.
Should straight men avoid platonic relationships with women they are attracted to because of the difficulties? No. And I’ll tell you a good reason why: it’s excellent practice.
I do not mean that platonic friendships are not inherently rewarding (they are) or that men should treat female friends as a means to an end. I mean that healthy friendships between men and women are essential for developing the skills necessary to maintain a romantic or sexual relationship when the time comes. Boundaries and clear communication are just as important — if not more important — in a romantic relationship as they are in a platonic friendship. Practice makes perfect.
For my part, I have never had a romantic relationship that has lasted more than three years, but I have maintained friendships that have lasted ten years. I have gained so much from these friendships that I plan to keep them regardless of what happens on the romantic front.
◊♦◊The Good Men Project is different from most media companies. We are a “participatory media company”—which means we don’t just have content you read and share and comment on but it means we have multiple ways you can actively be a part of the conversation. As you become a deeper part of the conversation—The Conversation No One Else is Having—you will learn all of the ways we support our Writers’ Community—community FB groups, weekly conference calls, classes in writing, editing platform building and How to Create Social Change.
Here are more ways to become a part of The Good Men Project community:
Request to join our private Facebook Group for Writers—it’s like our virtual newsroom where you connect with editors and other writers about issues and ideas.
Click here to become a Premium Member of The Good Men Project Community. Have access to these benefits:
- Get access to an exclusive “Members Only” Group on Facebook
- Join our Social Interest Groups—weekly calls about topics of interest in today’s world
- View the website with no ads
- Get free access to classes, workshops, and exclusive events
- Be invited to an exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” with other Premium Members
- Commenting badge.
Are you stuck on what to write? Sign up for our Writing Prompts emails, you’ll get ideas directly from our editors every Monday and Thursday. If you already have a final draft, then click below to send your post through our submission system.
If you are already working with an editor at GMP, please be sure to name that person. If you are not currently working with a GMP editor, one will be assigned to you.
Are you a first-time contributor to The Good Men Project? Submit here:
Have you contributed before and have a Submittable account? Use our Quick Submit link here:
Do you have previously published work that you would like to syndicate on The Good Men Project? Click here:
The post Male Stereotype Number Nine: Men Can’t Be Friends with Women appeared first on The Good Men Project.
December 9, 2018 at 09:06PM