Can heterosexual men and women be just friends without falling in love? What about after they’ve already broken up? The entertainment world tends to always say no.
From Ross and Rachel of “Friends” to Dylan and Jamie of “Friends with Benefits,” television shows and films alike make it seem as though straight men and women can never avoid leaving the “friend zone.”
I decided to survey a few UF students to see what they thought about the possibility of heterosexual men and women being “just friends.”
What the Women Think:
Nursing sophomore Haylie Heller, 18, said she thinks it depends on the people and their situation.
“If one develops feelings for the other and it isn't reciprocated, then it usually won't work out,” she said. “But if you grew up with a male best friend then feelings usually aren't there.”
Alexis Weisman agrees.
The 20-year-old linguistics junior said a friendship could work between a man and a woman if the two don’t find themselves attracted to the other. However, if crushes develop, they can turn into feelings, she said, and if one of them doesn’t feel the same way, the feelings can turn into jealousy.
“Then it's awkward, and the friendship isn't the same or [is] pretty much over,” she said.
What the Men Think:
Lucas Barros, 21, said men and women might be able to remain friends, but that it would be difficult because “some sort of attraction is the base of every relationship.”
The industrial engineering senior said he thinks the friendship depends on the each person’s relationship status.
“If both are in a relationship with someone else, then they definitely can be friends,” he said. “A single man and woman can try to be friends, but it can be difficult and usually a lopsided relationship… typically either the woman or the man may want more.”
On the other hand, Richie Steinfeld, a 20-year-old business senior, said he thinks men and women can be “just friends” regardless of the situation.
Although some men become friends with women just for sex, Steinfeld said many are “mature enough” to leave the sex out of it.
“I know girls that I can rely on as friends more than some of my guy friends,” he said. “Not everything has to be about sex all the time.”
Overall, these answers didn’t surprise me. I spoke to about 20 UF students regarding this topic, and only two people said men and women could never be “just friends” – one female and one male.
What do you think? Was Harry right when he said “the sex part always gets in the way” in “When Harry Met Sally…”? Or can men and women ignore the entertainment industry and truly be “just friends”?