Platonic Relationships: Can Men and Women Be Strictly Friends?

todayJune 15, 2024 57

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Steve Harvey once sparked backlash when he stated that men and women can’t be platonic friends, but is that really true? This question has long been a topic of debate among dating experts and love hopefuls. Much like what Harvey suggested, many believe that platonic friendships between opposite sexes are not always possible due to men likely developing a physical attraction, even if they suppress these feelings. However, Dr. Linda Sapadin, Ph.D., a psychologist and success coach, says a male and female friendship is possible, though boundaries must be established early. Additionally, she advised that friends of the opposite sex have an obligation to make their romantic partners feel comfortable with the friendship.

“Other people, particularly spouses/committed partners, may feel threatened by your relationship. Do not discount their feelings. If the shoe were on the other foot, you would probably feel the same way. It is your responsibility to integrate your friendship with your committed relationship. Include your spouse in the friendship,” she wrote in a November 2013 blog posting.

While Dr. Sapadin tends to have an optimistic outlook on platonic friendships between men and women, some of her professional colleagues seem to align more with Harvey’s perspective. A study conducted by professors at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that men are typically more attracted to their female friends. It also found that men often believe their female friends share this attraction, which is not always true.

It seems a strictly platonic friendship between a man and a woman depends on the people involved. Still, it can be achieved only if both parties are open about their feelings. Refraining from entering a sexual relationship is a good tip if the goal is to remain platonic. Ultimately, it’s possible but must be handled with great care.

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