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Can men and woman be friends? campus interviews from 2011


Ikarus

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I think this video perfectly sums up the amatonormative cultural attitudes around men / woman friendship. The institution of marriage, heteronormativity, amatonormativity definitely influence peoples view of men and woman friendships.

If all of the influences lifted above lost their influence, would allo people still see men and woman as potential dates? 

I would like to hear your thoughts on some of the answers in this interview video. I think its interesting to hear allos answer to this question. Obviously the answer to this question at the end is incredibly amatonormative.  "As we can see after interviewing everyone in the library, it is impossible for men and women to be just friends and under no circusmstances can it happen." But it sounds like the guy says this somewhat jokingly by the tone of his voice when he says, we can clearly see after interviewing just a few folks in a library. 

 

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Honestly, it's a lot more complicated than the guy is making it out to be.  Just because a guy likes a girl or a girl likes a guy...it doesn't automatically spoil the friendship.  It doesn't automatically make the friendship "not a friendship".  I really like my current main dinner for companion, for example.  I'm pretty sure he's not interested in me back, because I am ace.  Are we any less friends for it?  No way!

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For once, I'm going to have to side with the men here, and say that gynophilic men and women can't be friends. I had to ditch all of my gynophilic male friends because of romantic feelings for me. It's easy to pretend that romantic feelings can just stay as nothing more than feelings. However, what eventually happens (in my experience) is the dude that has caught these feelings starts acting in a way that is toxic, manipulative, unethical, whatever the hell he thinks is necessary to make something happen that can't happen. I'm even starting to be sussed out by gynophilic enbies and women for similar reasons, except they are a lot less likely to catch feelings for me (because unlike men, they don't go for the first woman that shows them any sort of attention, even if it's platonic) but when they do... I am beginning to get more and more the feeling that I should just back tf away. As the saying goes: "All is fair in [romantic] love and war" and I am beginning to take this saying more and more at face value, in the sense that just like people at war can and will commit atrocities if they can get away with it, so too will people commit atrocities in the pursuit of a romantic goal, however unrealistic. Except the latter isn't judged as heavily as it should be, because "It's all in the name of love, how sweet/romantic".

I used to have only one male friend (the rest I dropped long before him because they tried getting into my pants), who I used to think is very close. Recently he started acting super toxic and manipulative, looking for every opportunity to put me down and complain about how I'm supposedly not giving him enough in the friendship. It later turned out that he's been living in a delusional romantic fantasy for about a year, and when I had to turn him down, he decided to retaliate by not being friends with me. So now I don't have any male friends, and I'm happier for it. I don't want to touch romance with a ten meter long pole anymore, because of how poorly I'm treated when I am the victim of romantic attraction. Next time there is even a slight sign of them, I'm ditching the other person.

Edited by Firebird
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13 hours ago, Firebird said:

For once, I'm going to have to side with the men here, and say that gynophilic men and women can't be friends. I had to ditch all of my gynophilic male friends because of romantic feelings for me. It's easy to pretend that romantic feelings can just stay as nothing more than feelings. However, what eventually happens (in my experience) is the dude that has caught these feelings starts acting in a way that is toxic, manipulative, unethical, whatever the hell he thinks is necessary to make something happen that can't happen. I'm even starting to be sussed out by gynophilic enbies and women for similar reasons, except they are a lot less likely to catch feelings for me (because unlike men, they don't go for the first woman that shows them any sort of attention, even if it's platonic) but when they do... I am beginning to get more and more the feeling that I should just back tf away. As the saying goes: "All is fair in [romantic] love and war" and I am beginning to take this saying more and more at face value, in the sense that just like people at war can and will commit atrocities if they can get away with it, so too will people commit atrocities in the pursuit of a romantic goal, however unrealistic. Except the latter isn't judged as heavily as it should be, because "It's all in the name of love, how sweet/romantic".

I used to have only one male friend (the rest I dropped long before him because they tried getting into my pants), who I used to think is very close. Recently he started acting super toxic and manipulative, looking for every opportunity to put me down and complain about how I'm supposedly not giving him enough in the friendship. It later turned out that he's been living in a delusional romantic fantasy for about a year, and when I had to turn him down, he decided to retaliate by not being friends with me. So now I don't have any male friends, and I'm happier for it. I don't want to touch romance with a ten meter long pole anymore, because of how poorly I'm treated when I am the victim of romantic attraction. Next time there is even a slight sign of them, I'm ditching the other person.

I've had close male friends catch feelings for me too, and it's so disappointing. And I hate when they try to change my mind about romance. 😠

Edited by Tangerine
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I think that as with everything, it depends on the people involved.

I was, maybe friends is not the word, but class comrades. It never was a problem with him that the guy was in love with me as he knew that no means no (and maybe, the way I said no scared him). The rest of the class though... the shipping was hard. But it didn't affect how we both interacted. 

 

However I think it only works with people who respect other people bondaries or who don't catch feelings. And also, people who don't struggle with their romantic feelings if they are caught... which is not the case of most people as even if they respect "no" as answer, they often need to distance themselves to get rid of these feelings (and they usually want to if they struggle with them).

 

So, yes, I think it is possible, but that if feelings are caught, it often means the end of the friendship or at least the end of how it was : it either turns into romance if the feelings are mutual, or create distance if they are not. So possible but complicated.

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On 9/14/2023 at 1:03 AM, Ikarus said:

I would like to hear your thoughts on some of the answers in this interview video. I think its interesting to hear allos answer to this question. Obviously the answer to this question at the end is incredibly amatonormative.  "As we can see after interviewing everyone in the library, it is impossible for men and women to be just friends and under no circusmstances can it happen." But it sounds like the guy says this somewhat jokingly by the tone of his voice when he says, we can clearly see after interviewing just a few folks in a library. 

But I have more thoughts regarding the video as a whole: I wasn't there when he did the cut. I haven't seen the raw source material. Everything that didn't fit the narrative may have been cut out.

Also: this guy really likes to vaunt being "politically incorrect" - but strangely, he stops halfway. What about differences in sexual attractiveness? That must be a factor, right? And here we just have conventionally attractive college-aged women...

On 9/14/2023 at 3:45 AM, Firebird said:

For once, I'm going to have to side with the men here, and say that gynophilic men and women can't be friends. I had to ditch all of my gynophilic male friends because of romantic feelings for me. It's easy to pretend that romantic feelings can just stay as nothing more than feelings. However, what eventually happens (in my experience) is the dude that has caught these feelings starts acting in a way that is toxic, manipulative, unethical, whatever the hell he thinks is necessary to make something happen that can't happen.

So if you're pan, you can't be friends with anyone?

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On 9/16/2023 at 8:46 PM, Firebird said:

Not what I implied, not going to clarify what's already clear.

But you're also living in your own bubble (like everybody), and it's not clear if your experiences truly can be really generalized.

I suspect it has something to do with emotional maturity. So maybe it's like that for those teens or college students who are relatively carefree and over-fixated on romance. Those people may never even intend friendship. While in most cases, you know that pretty soon there are also those risk-adverse guys who drag it on.

More emotionally mature people don't do this and develop friendships for various reasons. Like for example, sometimes we get help from a person, who might be of the "wrong" gender.

It's kind of sad to believe that it's always just romantic / sexual feelings behind it. To take some random example, Edward Snowden was given shelter and hidden from the authorities by a poor Filipina woman in Hong Kong. So even in these circumstances, it would be fake when he calls her a friend? We must assume hidden romantic feelings. It can't be other feelings of sympathy. Sorry, I don't believe that.

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  • 2 months later...
On 11/26/2023 at 4:13 AM, Synthetic Adrenaline said:

For example one of you is morbidly obese, ugly,

Why would either of these things be a reason why two people aren't compatable. Just because someone isn't "conventially attractive," doesn't mean that two people can't feel attraction towards each other. 

Back on the topic of the original topic, this kind of thing is terrible in my opinion. As a male presenting individual with mostly female friends, I constantly face the "are you two dating?" question and I'm sick of it. I don't see why males and females can't just be friends without the fear of the other person being attracted to them. If that is the case, then it shouldn't just automatically ruin the friendship. 

 

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On 11/26/2023 at 11:13 AM, Synthetic Adrenaline said:

I do think unless there's some reason why people aren't sexually compatible it's a bit hard for men and women to be just friends.

For example one of you is morbidly obese, ugly, gay, too old or too young.

It's not a moral judgement. It's just reality.

Reality... 😶‍🌫️

There's a world of difference between

  1. the edgy it-is-true-because-it-is-politically-incorrect "men and women can't be friends" and
  2. the nearly trivial truth that if people match each other's sexual preferences, then sexual attraction might sometimes - depending on many other factors, like personality - complicate their friendship.

We know there are male-female friends, who would object to 1. But people who subscribe to this idea assume bad faith then, and we get into the "it's the friend zone" discussion.

The problem with 2 OTOH is that it is so trivially true and really just sets a lower boundary. But the effect could be very strong and theoretically most friendships between men and women might be just bad, manipulative or full of hidden, unrequited feelings.

So at this point, I guess anything that further could be said needs evidence, like a psychological study.

Because it-is-true-because-it-is-politically-incorrect simply is a logical fallacy.

PS: The video is not evidence! We haven't even seen the uncut footage!

Edited by DeltaAro
grammar
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15 hours ago, DeltaAro said:

Reality... 😶‍🌫️

There's a world of difference between

  1. the edgy it-is-true-because-it-is-politically-incorrect "men and women can't be friends" and
  2. the nearly trivial truth that if people match each other's sexual preferences, then sexual attraction might sometimes - depending on many other factors, like personality - complicate their friendship.

We know there are male-female friends, who would object to 1. But people who subscribe to this idea assume bad faith then, and we get into the "it's the friend zone" discussion.

The problem with 2 OTOH is that it is so trivially true and really just sets a lower boundary. But the effect could be very strong and theoretically most friendships between men and women might be just bad, manipulative or full of hidden, unrequited feelings.

So at this point, I guess anything that further could be said needs evidence, like a psychological study.

Because it-is-true-because-it-is-politically-incorrect simply is a logical fallacy.

PS: The video is not evidence! We haven't even seen the uncut footage!

Nobody said that.

Nobody made an appeal to political correctness.

People are physical beings with endocrine systems. Unless there's some reason why you're not attracted to each other a friendship can easily spill over into sexual attraction. I don't see what is so wrong with pointing '2' out. 

If other people are managing to have friendships with the opposite sex that are just friendships that's great and I'm glad for them.

But if I could go back in time and make different decisions I would definitely focus more on making female friends because I have often had male ones get awkward. Not always but there's no need to risk the headache.

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  • 2 months later...

I have several male online friends with whom we befriended over shared interests, whose company I enjoy and don't feel awkward about it. Maybe there's a difference with offline friends who see your physical appearance on daily basis, I don't have male offline friends and cannot tell. In online friendships possibility of romantic or sexual attraction doesn't seem to matter because you don't see each other's physical form and interact only as a person. 

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On 11/27/2023 at 3:35 PM, Synthetic Adrenaline said:

Sure but it's a bit hard to be sexually attracted to such people. This is not a judgement on their humanity or dignity...it's just a fact. I can like them and respect them but I wouldn't get any urge to have sex with a 500 lb man lol.

Like what Alto said, don't speak for everyone. There are many people who are obese or fat that are literally married. And I don't see how you can even try to speak for everyone when other people try to speak for us. There are some people try to give us "respect" and "dignity," but secretly don't view us as valid.

There are people who don't see the validity in our friendships or relationships because of what we are. There are people who don't see the validity of our very own existences. There are people who say that it's "reality" that everyone falls in love or experiences sexual attraction, or wants some kind of relationship, even friendships. So, you can't try to speak for other groups of people.

Edited by The Newest Fabled Creature
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  • 2 weeks later...

I think men and women can and should be friends (I hate that movie How Harry Met Sally that just enforces the idea that they can't), but I will say it is difficult for me to stay friends in the same way after someone has confessed to me.

I've dealt with people not respecting rejection and still trying to get me to date them after I've said no that it has made me kind of paranoid. Now whenever someone whom I know was attracted to me asks for something like to hang out or for a hug or something, I get worried about whether they're trying to subtly convey their romantic interest and whether I am "leading them on". This isn't just between men and women though because I had this experience with a girl I've known since childhood who cried over me rejecting her, said she accepted it but then kept asking me if feelings were blossoming between us. 

As for dudes, I've had a coworker text me about how he finds me sexy and it's just hard to forget about that the next time I see him after rejecting him—he seemed to take it well, but then I found out from someone else that he's married with a kid? Like, bro? What?—I feel I need to worry so much about my body language or what I say to avoid giving people the wrong idea. And I also met and talked with a guy online who is an apprentice plumber like myself and we bonded over plumbing, but he still decided to send me a message out of the blue saying "I want you to sit on my face." How can things be the same after that? It's like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube.

It's a lot of stress to worry about other people's attraction or romantic/sexual interest in me that it makes a friendship more difficult or complicated. I can't control other people's romantic/sexual thoughts or feelings but I don't really want to hear about them in regards to myself.

I want people to know that I would say no to any relationship romantic or sexual and that I am not someone who can be persuaded on won over in that regard. It doesn't matter what their gender is, I am equally uninterested in a relationship.

 

I like friendships regardless of the person's gender. I like bonding over things like The Legend of Zelda or my work just as long as the relationship stays platonic. 

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On 9/16/2023 at 3:28 PM, DeltaAro said:

But I have more thoughts regarding the video as a whole: I wasn't there when he did the cut. I haven't seen the raw source material. Everything that didn't fit the narrative may have been cut out.

This is a valid point, and considering the interviewees gave surprisingly similar answers, it seems reasonable to suspect everything that did not fit the narrative was cut out. However, even with the raw material I would not take this too seriously. All interviews took place at the same university library, perhaps on the same day, with all interviewees from the same age group. This is definitely not representative. With such a small and specific sample size, you can get basically any outcome you want, based on how you recruit the interviewees.

My personal experience is that it is not so much attraction that impedes friendships between men and women, but more so amatonormativity and in particular monogamy. I have and have had friendships with members of the opposite sex without complications, however, all of my closer opposite sex friendships were nonmonogamous or single. I have not had a closer friendship with a woman in a monogamous romantic/sexual relationship with another man yet. Those friendships always remained relatively surface-level as otherwise her partner had a problem with it, or it became clear to me she was motivated by intentions that were conflicting with the relationship with her partner.

There is a second part of this video that has the same limitations regarding representativeness, but I still recommend to watch it as well since it shows the problematic thinking:

Basically, many of the interviewees say it is fine to have opposite sex friends while being in a relationship. However, when asked specifically about their partners having opposite sex friendships, all of them clearly say it would bother them. Even if they just said they themselves hang out with members of the opposite sex outside of the relationship one-on-one.

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