Can men and women be just friends?

July 23, 2006 at 10:04 pm 33 comments


The first time Harry met Sally, he said to her, “Men and women can’t be friends because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive.  He always wants to have sex with her.”  (Please guys, tell me this isn’t true.)  Sally disagreed and found him to be obnoxious.  He, on the other hand, found her to be very high-maintenance.  So they didn’t hook up on that first meeting. 

The second time they met, they were both committed to other people.  Harry still stood by what he said to her the first time.  She still found him obnoxious. 

The third time they met, they just broke up with their partners.  They became friends, and later on they actually became the best of friends, being able to tell each other about anything, including how they feel about the people they were dating.  But they kept denying their attraction for each other. 

I love When Harry Met Sally.  The actors look so young.  Meg Ryan was so pretty.  Billy Crystal was funny without even trying to.  Harry Connick Jr, who sang the theme song It Had To Be You, also looked so young and handsome.  And I love that famous scene in the restaurant when Sally faked an orgasm just to prove to Harry that women do fake it.  And then the woman on the other table said, “I’ll have what she’s having.”  That was hilarious. 

But really, is it possible for a man and a woman to be friends without turning into a romantic relationship?  In Harry and Sally’s case, they became friends first, but there was obviously an attraction even at the beginning.   

This reminds me of a Home Improvement episode when Jill had a guy in her book club.  Her husband, Tim, was jealous when Jill and the guy went out one night to attend an event that they were both interested in.  Tim wasn’t really interested in books, you see.  But Jill assured him that he wasn’t interested in the guy in a romantic way. 

Which brings me to another question.  Can you love somebody and yet be inspired by another?  And I’m not talking about being inspired by a celebrity or famous person.  I meant being inspired by somebody you know personally.  Would that be wrong?


Entry filed under: Books, movies, music, TV.

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33 Comments Add your own

  • 1. earthember  |  July 24, 2006 at 2:20 am

    I love “When Harry met Sally” too, and often question platonic relationship between a man and a woman. Maybe such a relationship can exist, but I still believe some amount of attraction (not necessarily physical) is present.

  • 2. jane  |  July 24, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    I think it’s possible to have a guy as a “friend” only. I have a guy bestfriend and we’ve been friends for a long time 🙂 Wala namang prob with hubby, though pinagseselosan daw ako ng wife nya 😦

  • 3. Toe  |  July 24, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    I guess I never really believe in platonic relationships between opposite sexes. If it exists, one of them must be gay. 🙂 Or at least one of them has a secret crush on the other. It would definitely cause problems with the partner of at least one of them. I think one’s husband or wife should be one’s bestfriend.

  • 4. sesame  |  July 24, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    I haven’t watched the entire movie until now. Just parts of it.

    My personal experience is: it is not possible. If you become emotionally close, there will be some romantic feelings later. Maybe no physical r/s but definitely some deep feelings beyond friendship will be involved.

  • 5. mmy-lei  |  July 24, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    some people says that there is no such thing as platonic relationship, but on my part it exist. One of my bestfriend is a guy. We go out, sometimes with our partner, help each other, motivates his career and stands as a referee when i had a heated discussion with one of our friends. My family knows him and vice versa. So i guess it works!

  • 6. niceheart  |  July 24, 2006 at 11:55 pm

    Thanks for the comments ladies. There’s definitely different points of views on this one.

    So far 2 out of 5 have platonic relationships with a guy. Good for you Mmy-lei and Jane. But you see the thing is Jane, the wife is jealous of you.

    Ange, Toe and Sesame think that there could be a “secret” attraction and could later on develop into romantic feelings.

    I’m still waiting to hear from the “men.” 🙂

  • 7. Major Tom  |  July 25, 2006 at 12:36 am

    Emotions are often tricky niceheart and love and frienship could sometimes be intermingles without us knowing it at all. I can’t say I had this “When Harry Met Sally” episode in my life since all my female friends were just like that but you know, sometimes I can imagine some “what ifs”; like what if this friend was my girlfriend and I always think like “EEWWW!!!”, it feels like incest. This actually reminds me of the TV series “FRIENDS” where Joey started to court Rachelle or Chandler swinging with Monica. Gosh, it felt so out of way. I was so used to seeing them as you know, friends and suddenly they were kissing.

    I guess it doesn’t really become so unusual when one become “inspired” by some other person you know cause as I sai, emotions are often mysterious, its always a dynamic thing, and we just have ro ride on it and put a rein on it whenever it becomes a little too over the hedge…

  • 8. Jayred  |  July 25, 2006 at 7:40 am

    I also love “When Harry Met Sally”! I keep watching the video every now and then.

    I think it’s possible to have friends from the opposite sex. I have a close friend who’s male and who’s now married. We were called “twins” in the newspaper company I used to work for because we were always together — from interviewing people to eating out to watching movies. There was no romance between us, although other people speculated that there might had been. Some think that he’s gay. I don’t know.

    Come to think of it, I have lots of male friends. These men say that I’m “one of the guys.” I think it’s easier to deal with men than with women (no offense to female readers), generally speaking.

    My sister and husband, meanwhile, espouse the belief that one can never be truly friends with somebody from the opposite sex. The “sexual tension” element gets in the way, they said.

  • 9. Jayred  |  July 25, 2006 at 7:44 am

    Here’s a related story: “Can Men and Women Be Friends?” found at

  • 10. ann  |  July 25, 2006 at 8:00 am

    I also have a guy bestfriend. I have my family now and he has his own too. But we’re still the best of friends. No jealousy.

  • 11. karen  |  July 25, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    i think it’s possible. i know this group (male and female) of people who’ve been friends since highschool and they never dated anyone within the group. some of them are now married and not even one partner came from that group. as for myself, i have my cousin as my guy best friend. and most of my friends are females — i went to an all girl’s school kasi. so i can’t really speak for myself :).

  • 12. Eric  |  July 25, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    Honestly speaking, It was difficult for me to be close to a woman as a friend — roo many issues woulod get in the way. Either I eventually get very attached to her or she with me.Not unless the interaction was always of a group thing. One on one basis is tough — I don’t necessarily mean just the sexual aspect of it, but the emotional as well.

    Embarrassed to admit it,but it’s just as difficult now, though I’m much older.

    However, with the Internet, I am able to establish warm friendships with women and able to appreciate their “spirit” — and they mine — without the risk of getting physically/emotionally attached. So all’s well in the respect.

    Incidenetally, about 15 years ago, I got more involved in mentoring at work. At an investment bank where I once worked there was a group of young people (four: 2 male/2 female) that I mentored. Unbeknownst to me, one of the females got enamored with me. I treated her more like a daughter, but she treated me as her idol. Once her infatuation became more apparent to me and the entire office, I was wise enough to accept a better job offer and leave the bank immediately.

    BTW, I tagged you for this meme I received from Major Tom. Thnaks!

  • 13. niceheart  |  July 25, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    It’s good to know, Jayred and Ann, that you were both able to maintain close relationships with your guy friends. I had more male friends when I was still single back in the Philippines. They were actually my husband’s (then boyfriend) friends. No jealousy. Just good camaraderie.

    Karen, I think it’s cool to have your guy cousin as your best friend. 🙂

  • 14. niceheart  |  July 25, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    Thank you Major Tom and Eric for sharing with us the male point of view.

    Major Tom, I also sometimes have that “what if” moments. But I don’t go Eeewwh. Probably just Naahh!

    I was OK with Monica ending up with Chandler, not so much with Rachel and Joey though. Because I was rooting for Rachel and Ross.

    I also think there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by someone. Sometimes you can’t help it. Just as long as you don’t mistake the emotion for something else.

  • 15. niceheart  |  July 25, 2006 at 11:42 pm

    Eric, I think the emotional aspect of it is what makes it tough for men to be close to women, especially if you want to be just friends. But there are also guys that are emotional. I once got close to this guy and I think he thought that I was feeling something for him and he made the first move to distance himself. Which to me was just fine because if he was not comfortable, it’s not worth making the effort to be friends with him.

  • 16. domestic rat  |  July 26, 2006 at 3:05 am

    Men and women can never be close friends, without risking developing affections for each other. Pplatonic relationships are rare to come by these days.

  • 17. Eric  |  July 26, 2006 at 7:49 am

    You’re right, Irene. And although most men will never admit it, we have a tough time sorting out our emotions. In fact, when it comes to break-ups, it is the men who, I believe ,suffer more, but just don’t show it.

    That’s some heavy post you got here! hehehe 🙂

  • 18. niceheart  |  July 26, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    I think you’re right, DR. It can be risky especially if one or both parties are involved with someone else.

    This started out as a light post, Eric. But I was surprised that people shared their experiences. I wasn’t planning on sharing mine, but somehow you got it out of me. 🙂

  • 19. Hsin  |  July 27, 2006 at 11:41 am

    Like most of your readers here, I think platonic relationships between men and women don’t exist. Deep emotional feelings are bound to develop and this will invariably cause trouble if either or both parties have spouses. I know of someone who is exactly in this position and thinks his wife crazy for getting jealous. Even though there’s no physical part to the relationship, he shares his deepest thoughts and feelings with this other lady. The question is, is this considered adultry?

    I think it’s okay to be inspired by someone who isn’t your spouse, as long as you don’t over do it and find yourself idolizing this person.

  • 20. niceheart  |  July 27, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    Is it considered adultery? I think that’s very debatable, Hsin. That could be another post. 🙂 You know, I’ve been watching a lot of the Dr. Phil show and that question comes up a lot of times. What I’ve learned from the Dr. is that a relationship is not just physical. It also has an emotional side. Once you start sharing your thoughts and feelings to another person, of the opposite sex, that already constitutes a relationship. I think that wife has every reason to be jealous.

  • 21. Phil  |  July 28, 2006 at 9:55 am

    Wow! Look at all the comments… and naturally, I have one.

    In my opinion, a woman is NOT qualified to answer this question, ONLY to ask it. I guess I can’t speak for ALL men, but I think I speak for many of them….here is how it seems to work in these “guy girl relationships:”

    The woman “controls” if something sexual is going to happen in almost ALL relationships. If a woman wants to, eventually, the man will go for it.

    I’ve had lots of so-called platonic relationships with women, and I can honestly say that I would have slept with just about everyone of them if they had “sent signals.” In fact, I’ve had female friends that I eventually had sex with, but ONLY after THEY advanced it to that point.

    I’m trying to think of a female friend that I WOULDN’T sleep with right now if she asked me to… Nope, I’d sleep with all of them… It’s a good thing none of them has come on to me!

    Sorry to disappoint NH! As Popey says, I yam what I yam….

  • 22. niceheart  |  July 30, 2006 at 9:13 am

    Thanks for the honest input, Phil. I also thought that if it’s the woman who makes the first move, a guy would take the next step. 🙂 But as in Señor Enrique’s case, he didn’t want to get involved, so he pulled away. Which, I think is the best move. Which now makes me think if I sent the wrong signals to my guy friend who distanced himself from me. Now it all makes sense. 🙂

  • 23. jillian  |  September 20, 2006 at 8:15 am

    I have a best friend, with whom I discovered i am inlove with. We are very close and at one stage were very intimate but never had sex. He just told me today that he has a girlfriend now. What do I do? Do i walk away from this friendship or do i just be his friend from a distance? I feel very hurt and I kept on telling him that he doesn’t hurt me, when I am now..

  • 24. niceheart  |  September 20, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    I’m the wrong person to ask jillian. But just to give you my input.. If I were in your shoes, I would be honest with him and tell him that I am hurt.

  • 25. JO  |  January 3, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    I maintain quite a handful of close guy friends [from college days], but not as close as I am with my husband.

    I guess my friendship with them goes to going on trips, watching movies, play bowling, or simply hanging out together… but I never confide deep deep emotional feelings with any of them. I do confide some problems but there’s a limit to it.

  • 26. niceheart  |  January 4, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    JO, I think it’s quite alright to maintain friendships with guys. It’s when you become involved emotionally that it gets complicated. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • 27. lyn  |  August 21, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    My husband has a friend of the opposite sex who he works very closely with and in stressful situations. I do not like or agree with the friendship. I have no problem with a professional relationship, but I think it should end there. I recently went on a vacation with my children and I noticed that she called him every night around 9:00-10:00 pm. She doesn’t do this when I’m at home. I don’t trust her. She is married with no children and I can’t make assumptions regarding her marriage, however, I don’t think it’s appropriate for her to be calling him every night when I’m not home. Any thoughts? Am I just a jealous wife?

  • 28. Alex V.  |  September 7, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    I have a situation. My girlfriend who I am in a very deep relasionship with and we are both very understanding about things. We talk alot and we share our feelings with each other. She and I are very honest with each other and we have virtually no problems except one. I’ve had a friend that i’ve known for over 10years. In the beganning it was nothing she and I had no feeling for each other but then we started to hang out more and more and I developed feelings with her. I couldn’t fight it anymore and I told her how I felt. She explained that she didnt feel the same for me. I was hurt and took a year away from her. I then came back and told her that I rather have her as a friend then not have her at all in my life.
    We were great together we always been there for each other and I would be a fool to let her go over somthing that I knew I could control. All this happened within the first 4 or 5 years that I known her and way before my recent girlfriend. My girlfriend and I love each other very much because of how understanding we are of each other and how well we click, we want more out of this relasionship and its only been about 6 months. I’ve known my friend far more longer then my girlfriend, but my friend and I have come to a huge understanding that nothing will ever happen between us. We value our friendship way to much. Heres when It gets hard, I told you that my girlfriend and I are very honest with each other and so come time in the early stages of the relasionship I told her that I one time had feelings for my friend. She went quite and didnt speak much about it after that but all hell breaks loose very time I talk to my friend or I go out with my friend. Shes terrified that one day we both will fall for each other and I will leave her for my friend. I tell her in all my past relasionships i’ve always been loyal and I’m still loyal till this day. I will never leave her for my friend even if she beged me. I try to be the best man I could be. She loves me she tell me every day but this is the only thing we find outselves getting into fights about.
    I tend to feel stuck in the middle with the woman I want to have a future with someday marry and have kids with and my friend who i’ve known for over 10years. That kind of friendship you just dont make that easy, especially when you reach an older age. You just wouldnt have the time to delvelop that kind of friendship. So I dont want to toss my friend who i’ve known for so many years to the curb like she ment nothing and I dont want to give up on the best relasionship I’ve ever had. What should I do, anyone know?

  • 29. niceheart  |  September 7, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Thank you lyn and Alex for sharing. I think you are both in tough situations.

    I will also have suspicions if I were you lyn. Why would she timing her call when you are not around? It could be that she knows that you don’t approve of it. That’s why she or both of them are hiding it from you. But see, that’s the problem there. If they are hiding things from you, I don’t think that’s good. But hey, what do I know? But I don’t think you are just a jealous wife.

    Alex, you are in a really tough position. I understand your point about how that kind of relationship don’t come that easy. But being a woman, I also understand where your girlfriend is coming from. Her fears of what might develop between you and your friend.

    I’m sorry but I don’t really have any answers. Maybe somebody can give us their point of view?

  • 30. Ulf Raharjo  |  September 19, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    oh lord my baby your driving me craz. Ulf Raharjo.

  • 31. lyn  |  September 29, 2007 at 10:13 pm


    Your situation sounds similar to what I’ve been going through. I think that you have to decide what is important to you. If your friend really cares about you, I don’t think that she’d want to come between you and your girlfriend. Have you discussed this situation with her? In a relationship, if one partner is uncomfortable with ‘anything’, it’s important for the other partner to listen and be understanding. The threat that your girlfriend feels (real or perceived) is something that you need to take seriously. Just be honest with your friend… I think that if the shoe were on the other foot, you’d want your friend to do the same, and your girlfriend for that matter.

  • 32. Jumana Fanni  |  October 21, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    that’s why it will never wor. Jumana Fanni.

  • 33. Can men and women be just friends? « My Movie Room  |  November 4, 2009 at 7:00 am

    […] Read the rest of this entry. Leave a Comment […]


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