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Made in India Magazine | November 27, 2020

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CAN A MAN AND WOMAN BE ‘JUST FRIENDS?’

CAN A MAN AND WOMAN BE ‘JUST FRIENDS?’
Divya Singh

Male-female relationships have been mysterious beyond reason for much of humanity’s modern era. In this piece, we decode this question and give you a few plausible answers. Read on to find out more.

This is the fundamental question of existence in the twenty-first century. As women have become more liberated throughout the twentieth (thumbs up, ladies!), and as more and more women entered the work force and social life in general, the opportunities for people of different genders to meet and build relationships have gone through the roof. And now, with the advent of the internet, the world is truly such a small place; nothing stops you from making friends of both genders from around the world.
So in this world of true equality between the genders, we must ask the question again: is it possible for a man and a woman to be friends without a possibility of sexual tension between them?
The answer, as it turns out, is yes. Here are four different ways a man and a woman can engage with one another, as revealed by new research.
1. Friendship attraction
This is the pure, ‘innocent’ form of attraction that we refer to when we say the word ‘friendship’. It is neither romantic nor sexual in nature, but has more to do with the quality of companionship the person offers you. This is the most common form of attraction between friends, as one can expect, and almost 96% of people who were surveyed in this study responded ‘yes’ to a question of whether they felt friendship attraction for their friend.

2. Romantic attraction
Once again, the term is quite self-explanatory. However, it should be noted here that this has nothing to do with sexual attraction, though sexual attraction does play a part. Romantic attraction is when there is a desire to change the friendship equation into a relationship, often monogamous and exclusive in nature, with all the social bells and whistles that accompany entering into a ‘couple’ phase. Almost 50% of the people surveyed admitted to feeling romantic attraction in the beginning of a friendship, but a full 36% said it fizzled out.

3. Subjective sexual attraction
This is when one of the friends is sexually attracted to the other. There is a desire to introduce sex as a component into the relationship. Almost a third of respondents felt this kind of attraction towards their friends, but like romantic attraction, this also tends to decrease over time.

4. Objective sexual attraction
This is perhaps the most interesting of all; in this, one of the friends is objectively aware that the other is sexually attractive, but does not feel it themselves. A full half of the respondents in the survey reported this kind of attraction (identified by statements such as: ‘I can see why others would find him attractive’).
Of course, this does not mean that you will feel only one kind of attraction at a time for your friend, or that it will remain the same throughout your relationship. The most important thing is that you should be open and communicative with your friend, and hopefully they will respond to you with maturity and empathy. There are no right or wrong answers. Good luck!

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