The eternal problem…

Thursday night I found myself in the kind of mood that can only be resolved by a RomCom and some low-fat ice cream (not sufficiently enough of a bad mood to justify the really good, full-fat stuff). The film of choice was a long-term favourite: When Harry Met Sally.


(Actually, I vividly remember announcing that this was my favourite film during Year 8 French conversation. Can’t quite work out how I’d managed to watch it at that age, but it certainly surprised my teacher!)

Somewhat predictably, it made me think about that eternal problem…can men and women ever be ‘just’ friends? It’s essentially the whole point of the film. Right at the start, Harry insists that it’s impossible, because ‘the sex part always gets in the way’. Exceptions to the rule are suggested, Harry decides they don’t exist.

Is he right? Admittedly, I’m coming at this from the female perspective (I don’t think Sally was ever convinced by his theories), but it’s an interesting question.

What’s in Harry’s favour?

  • Even in Christian circles, it’s an issue. We Christians (especially those of a more evangelical bent) are particularly bad at boundaries. I’d like to say that it’s mainly a male issue, but that would be unfair – women are just as bad. Thus, ‘the sex part’ is out there & gets in the way.
  • Ever been to an all-girls school? Spent time with the ‘well-adjusted’ women of the world they produce? Deprive adolescent females from the opposite sex during their formative years and it’s a recipe for disastrous friendships!
  • Women think far too much and put meaning into absolutely everything, which can be quite an issue when they start analysing even the most platonic feelings towards a guy.

And against him?

  • The obvious one being gay men, always useful for a very “safe” male perspective (and companion to social functions).
  • Married men. I’ve got plenty of married male friends who, whilst not necessarily being in the ‘close friend’ bracket, are nevertheless friends and I don’t think there’s an issue. Plus, again they’re in the safe category.
  • Whatever Harry might say about men still having issues with women they find unattractive, I don’t think the same can be said for women and unattractive men! (At this point I realise I sound very, very shallow – sorry!)

I don’t know. It must be possible, I think it’s possible, but we are all human, and sometimes feelings crop up that you didn’t really intend to happen. But we’re all grown ups and therefore should be able to deal with it in a grown up way!

At this point, maybe I should confess that I’ve not got a good track record as far as this issue is concerned, but I am learning. (I blame seven years of single-sex education personally.) Plus, it’s definitely not been an issue with every single male friend I’ve had over the years!

Flatmate’s just started the same conversation (totally independently, spooky!) and she thinks it’s possible – but argues that it’s impossible if you find your male friend(s) attractive.

What do we think? Possible or impossible?