Men and women can't be friends. That’s the end of the discussion

Yes, there is that slim chance that the genders can be 'just' friends. PHOTO | POOL

What you need to know:

  • It took me a while to learn to develop healthy female friendships outside of sexual and romantic expectations as an adult, but many men haven’t.

One of the greatest comedy routines on relationships of all time was Chris Rock's Bring the Pain (1996.) If you haven't watched it, you need to.

When re-watching it, this week, one of the funniest parts played and I replayed it over and over. "You know one cool thing about women? Women get to have platonic friends. Men don't have platonic friends; we just have women we haven't banged yet," Rock says.

"As soon as I figure it out, I'm in. I do have some platonic friends but those were all by accident. It's always a woman I was trying to get with and I made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in the friend zone. Women keep their platonic friends forever.

You know why? Because you never know (when he'll be useful/ when she will need a replacement)," the comedian rallied. "Fellas if your woman has a platonic friend, that's who she's going to get with when you mess up. One of the guys you aren't even thinking or worried about. You know the next man to get with your woman. You've met him, he's been in your house, he's eaten your food. And he shall betray you," he warned.

Men see romance

Chris Rock wasn't far away from the truth. Each time I hear conversations about "platonic male best friends" by women, I nod with a smile because I see they don't see the full picture. A study on whether men and women can just be friends, by Bleske and Buss showed three interesting things. One, men were more likely to see sex and romantic potential in an opposite-sex friend as a benefit, while women primarily saw it as a cost. Two, as a result, men were also twice as likely than women to report that they had sex with an opposite-sex friend and three when friendships did not turn sexual or romantic, men were often left feeling rejected and used. In short, many men willing to accept to be called male best friends are playing a sexual long game/ long con. They're there as friends but should the opportunity arise and by this, I mean that if you forget to punctuate your texts he will strike. He will strike if he sees a crack in the window of your house from a kilometre away.

When I posed the question of boy-girl friendship to my male pals they found it hilarious if not absurd? They could not think of one friend who would never hit it when given the chance. My female pals said that many a married man has walked out of her children's prize-giving day, feigning a work emergency, because they received that 'distress' call from a female friend.

My male friends emphasized that this is the making of a man. They all admit that they've thought about getting more from their female best friends and that the only hindrance is the walls that the women have put up. But the men are also aware that the women have them on the back burner for that emergency day when they have needs that must be met or when their boyfriends break their hearts.

I know this isn't true for everyone but it's a reality most people are aware of and a few others run away from. It took me a while to learn to develop healthy female friendships outside of sexual and romantic expectations, as an adult but many men haven't.

Why it’s a no-go zone

It's for that reason that when I hear that a romantic interest has a male best friend and he is straight, I walk away because I know the odds and the game. I haven't met the guy but I already know that these are arguments waiting to happen in the relationship that hasn't even begun. I also, admittedly, have been that male best friend, and I know how opportunistic I was and once in a while, I got lucky. I know how it happens and all the tricks.

Yes, there is that slim chance that the genders can be 'just' friends. The biggest problem with the intimate 'platonic friendships' is that many times there's a difference in long term expectations, usually from the man and you have to continuously hope that they won't manifest into anything, later on.

If you're at a point you repeatedly have to ask about a man in her life and she's always trying to tell you not to worry about all the time they spend together and trips away with their friends, my best advice will be to run away or get yourself a female best friend too and let the games begin!

Men, would you be comfortable with your significant other having a male best friend? Women, are we overreacting, or is there truth some to this?

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