Can Heterosexual Men and Women Truly Be Friends? Why We Can’t Just Get Along

Can Heterosexual Men and Women Truly Be Friends? Why We Can’t All Just Get Along
By SJ Johnson

I just spent last night having a great conversation with a man I just met. Only to find out that the bond we made had nothing to do with my stimulating conversation or sparkling personality. He wants benefits. Are we really post-feminism? Is this the modern age that Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem struggled to create?

What happened to respecting inner beauty and intelligence? Have we lost sight of the importance of having a personality? In this modern world, men and women can only be friends if they find each other repulsive. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is simple. Men and women can only be friends if they are not romantically attracted to each other. If either party feels an attraction or urge for more, the friendship will not work. Repulsion is a necessary requirement. Think I’m crazy? Well, there is research to support my theory.

The Reasons Men and Women Can’t Be Friends

Men and women think differently about the opposite sex. Men are more likely to develop sexual feelings toward their female friends than women are toward their male friends. The truth is that men are more interested in women sexually than as fellow human beings. So, is the issue that men can’t see women as friends, or that women are trying to change men into something that they are not?

To be fair, I wouldn’t want to bash men for their strong biological urges when women send out mixed messages that lead to confusion. American women spend millions of dollars to enhance their beauty, in the form of plastic surgery, beauty products, and hair supplies. No price is too high. Compare those figures with the amount spent on inner beauty and education. The message is clear. A woman must be attractive in order to be loved. Don’t hate us if we are beautiful. What a joke! The most popular women are Hollywood starlets, movie stars, and the Kardashians. What message does that convey? Are we more concerned with being beautiful than being smart?

Like most modern women, I struggle to find my way in American society with its mixed messages. I should be smart but not too smart. Smart women are threatening, and they are not sexually appealing. Most women want to be sexually appealing. Therefore, women are sending men mixed messages. One minute, we are equals, but the next minute, we want men to find us sexually desirable. Conversely, the problem could be a different issue.

Modern Society’s Role in Male/Female Relationships

Maybe, the problem is modern society. A hundred years ago, a woman’s role was simple. A woman belonged in a subservient position. Today’s woman must multitask and wear many hats. This role change may be the problem. You cannot truly be successful unless you are juggling a career, family, and a fabulous group of female friends, à la Carrie Bradshaw. Get real. It is hard enough to do one of these things, let alone all of the above. There are research studies that confirm that women multitask more than men, but ask the top female executives, politicians, moguls, etc. and they will tell you just how difficult it is to have everything. Want examples of women who had to make sacrifices, think of Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters, and Hilary Clinton, to name a few.

This is Why We Can’t All Just Get Along

So, there you have it. These are the reasons I think that men and women can’t be friends. Sure, there will be exceptions to every rule. An article in gives a list of possibilities that must exist to support a man and woman friendship. Anything is possible, such as the existence of unicorns and mermaids, but the facts are the facts. There are more botched male/female friendships that are ruined when one party tries to transition the “friendship” into something more. Sure, research will say the only reason for this is that men and women are different. We use different sides of our brains, etc. Nonsense!

Men and women can get along well enough if they are not sexually attracted to each other, regardless of our brains. We have to admit that men and women cannot get along with each other when sexually attraction exists. If adults cannot act mature in these situations, how can we expect male and female children to appreciate each other’s differences? We badger children to play nicely together, but even at that young age, boys tend to play with boys and girls gravitate to other girls. It is in our DNA. No wonder as adults, we cannot play together.

Artwork by the author SJ Johnson 2013

SJ Johnson is a New York based freelance writer whose articles have appeared on Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Voices, various websites, and blogs. Want to read more from SJ Johnson? Here are several articles written by SJ Johnson for other websites.
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