A woman and a man can become good friends

Friendship between man and woman: can that work?

The good news first: friendship between men and women is possible. After all, every third person in surveys says that his or her best friend is of the opposite sex. The ideal case, quite clearly: When women have a gay best friend. That simplifies the situation enormously. However, if the best friend is straight, a purely platonic friendship is much more problematic. This is also confirmed by Felicitas Heyne, psychologist and successful book author: "A friendship between a man and a woman always has the potential for explosions that at a certain point one of the two wants more from the other than 'just' friendship."

This does not happen that seldom, as a survey by the American communications researcher Heidi Reeder showed. 28 percent of the respondents said that they find their best friend quite physically attractive and 14 percent secretly hoped that they would get more out of it. Almost 40 percent also had unplatonic intentions, at least at the beginning of the friendship.

The cliché: sex interferes

So is there anything wrong with the cliché that there can be no friendship between a man and a woman because sooner or later sex interferes? "Always of course not - but often," admits Felicitas Heyne. "In terms of evolution, we are simply programmed to perceive and 'check out' a person of the opposite sex who is sympathetic to us as a potential reproductive partner."

The good news: It does exist anyway, the completely unproblematic, purely platonic friendship between man and woman that has worked for many years or decades. The old sandpit friend in particular has a good chance of being with us for a lifetime. The reason: once a certain kind of familiarity and intimacy is present, the risk of sexual attraction decreases - that is also the problem in many long-term relationships: intimacy and familiarity kill the erotic. We either get one or the other.

Decisive advantages ...

Above all we women seem to place great value on friendship with men. Simply because it is different from friendship between women. Felicitas Heyne explains the advantages: "It has a lot to do with the fact that friendships with men (at least as long as there is actually agreement about their platonic character) are often less complicated than friendships with women. Men are usually more direct in their communication than women. You can benefit from it assume that they will say what they mean and, conversely, can take an open word. "

And there is one more decisive advantage for women to be friends with men. Friendship with a man also gives women interesting new (masculine) perspectives on many aspects of life (and love). Ideally, you can learn a lot from it. Men also benefit from having a woman as a friend. For example, when they are grieved but never pour out their hearts to their male buddies. An understanding friend is worth gold.

... and lots of problems

But there are also a number of things that complicate the friendship between a man and a woman. Because of course you have to explain to your partner (if any) why there is another man in life - even if only platonically. With extremely jealous partners a rather hopeless endeavor.

Especially when your best friend is single and looking for a wife. Then there is also an imbalance in friendship. If one is single, but the other is in a steady partnership, the given friend feels more obliged to take care of the other, i.e. to play a bit of a 'partner substitute', at least in emotional terms. It becomes easier when the best friend is also taken. That makes the fronts clearer.

Variation number three: both are single. But this constellation is also problematic. Because if both friends are single, but actually want a partner, then the question often arises, why not just try it together - and if that is not mutually agreeable, the problems are inevitable.

Special cases: staying friends ...

There are a few 'special types' of friendship between a man and a woman that will definitely cause trouble. For example, when a pair of lovers should become friends. Hardly a sentence that arouses more frown and skepticism than "Let us stay friends".

Felicitas Heyne also sees this rather critically: "In order for the ex to become a friend, certain conditions must be met. First, the separation must have been really amicable and there must not be too many injuries on one or both sides. Second, it must be on both sides be very clear that there is no turning back. And thirdly, any future new partners on both sides must tolerate the relationship without causing trouble. "

That should be difficult to do if a best friend of the opposite sex is viewed with suspicion if nothing else has existed than platonic friendship. The friendship with the ex, with whom we used to be more, becomes a double source of jealousy.

... and friendship plus

Another problem case: The so-called friendship plus, in which sex occasionally interferes, but you still try to maintain the status of friendship. Can this model be a real friendship or are you just fooling yourself? "In 95 percent of the cases this is more of a transitional emergency nail model for people who do not want or find a permanent partner at the moment."

In studies, the majority of respondents also admit that they expect more from a friendship-plus relationship in the long term. Women in particular often secretly see it as a kind of 'entry-level model' that eventually evolves into a normal relationship.

Small consolation: A love relationship that arises from a platonic friendship does not have to be the worst, as expert Felicitas Heyne says: "'A good marriage is based on the talent for friendship', Nietzsche once wrote Partners see each other as their best friend too, usually work extremely well. " Whereby 'just' best friend is not enough, of course, but when you add sexual attraction to it, it's practically perfect.

When platonic love simply becomes ... love

Confessing your true feelings is not that easy. Especially when you have a long platonic relationship with your (secretly) loved one. In the event that you should make the courageous decision to reveal your feelings to him anyway, we have a little help for you:

Here you will find the most beautiful ways to confess your love without taking your loved one by surprise with a cinematic "I love you"! Because as everyone knows, these 3 magical words can put some men on the run ...

Also on gofeminine:

Friendship Plus: The 10 most important rules of the game for all Friends with Benefits

Small gestures, big feelings: How you can tell that he REALLY loves you

Open relationship: total trust or just a license to cheat?

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