How to Overcome Challenges to a Male-Female Friendship

Can men and women be friends? Many of us will give a negative answer to this question for various reasons. You can blame it on the sexual tension, the pre-existing romantic feelings, or the differences between the sexes. Even some research studies suggest that a platonic friendship between a heterosexual man and a heterosexual woman cannot exist.

On the other hand, there are psychologists who believe that these friendships do not necessarily need to be obstructed by sex. It’s possible to be friends with no benefits, they say. Still some challenges need to be overcome.

Let’s say you have a heterosexual guy friend. You enjoy his company. You feel like you can open up to him. He’s proved himself a man of good intentions and honest feelings. You would like to maintain that friendship, but there is a concern that you two might blow it due to your red-blooded human nature. Your concern is well-grounded.

Friendships can end for every reason imaginable. Male-female friendships definitely bring more challenges into the picture. However, if you care deeply about maintaining the true platonic friendship the two of you have, there are some things you can do to make it work.

These are some of the most common challenges to male-female friendships, and tips to overcome them:

1. Define the Relationship

The popular DTR rules apply here as well. Are you friends? Friends with benefits? In a relationship? Is it complicated? It is. It is complicated and answering any of these questions is not as easy at it seems.

In spite of all the hardship defining a relationship can bring, you absolutely must do it. This is a challenge number one that you have to overcome, in order to preserve your friendship.

2. The Importance of Equality

Man and woman using laptop outdoors

Friendships are built between peers. The question of equality is in its most part societal, but now, with the developments we’ve seen in the past decades, we are very likely to see the end of male dominance era.

Therefore, you, as a female, are no longer perceived as someone who has to assume the more submissive role. The society has started accepting the fact that both genders are equal, and you should build up your friendship based on this premise.

3. You Have Similar Interests

Young handsome man with glass of red-wine and two attractive women

Men and women have started sharing their interests. Nowadays, both sexes engage in similar activities, go to the same places and have the same jobs. The more interests you share the more likely you are to become friends. Explore all the things you have in common, and they will be a great boost for your platonic friendship.

Challenges do exist and so do male-female friendships. You might end up falling in love with a guy who started off as a friend, and he might misinterpret the intimacy inherent to a friendship for sexual desire.

Unfortunately, like friendships with girls, friendships with guys also come to an end sometimes. It may happen for different reasons, but you have to agree that this is not an obstacle big enough for you not to try to develop a close platonic friendship with a guy.

About the author


Lisa is a young lawyer with various interests and hobbies to keep her mind off her work at times. She is a true fan of contemporary American literature, European movies, Asian food, African Wildlife and all those little things in life that make us genuinely happy.

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  • My best friend is a guy and lately we have been seeming to go in the direction of more than friends. You know the usual flirting( or what I interpreted as flirting), sexual tension all that jazz. So long story short, I think that I scared him off the other night when I initiated flirting with him. Now encounters have been really awkward and I kind of brushed it off as me just being my playful self( I was being juvenile I know) but he definitely seems to be like a deer in headlights at the moment, not returning text, etc. So I’m wondering if I should call him up and apologize or just kind of let it blow over. I’m realizing now that I’d rather have him as a friend than nothing at all and we may not be a good match as a couple( just eerily similar at times , really share a lot of the same negative qualities).