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Is "just friends" for real?

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

the "just friends" debate

That age-old question of whether or not men and women can be “just friends” has never really been answered. Everyone has a different opinion and the topic can easily spark heated debate. But we have some recent stats that do support one side of that argument and show us how the average American feels about guys and gals being pals.

woman and man that are just friends

Just friends: The stats

While we were inclined to guess otherwise, a recent Harris Interactive survey found that quite a few of us believe that sex doesn’t have to be the only thing men and women do together. Eighty-six percent of Americans feel that men and women can be “just friends.” The survey was commissioned by Skout, one of the world’s largest mobile networks for meeting new people, and looked at the friendship notions and habits of over 2,500 U.S. adults aged 18+.

When it works

There are very few reasons men can’t be friends with women and vice versa. Nearly every woman we know has friends that are male, and most guys we know count females among their peers. If you get along with someone, no matter their gender, you should be able to build and maintain a friendship. But (and there is a but), this can only work in the long term when neither party harbors romantic feelings for the other. If both of you just have a bunch of stuff in common, love hanging out and think highly of one another, there’s nothing standing in the way of a solid friendship.

When it doesn’t

If one of you has more-than-friend feelings for the other, friendship (as in real, lasting friendship) can be difficult. You can think your guy friends are cute (or even smokin’ hot), but you can’t really be his friend and also wish you were sleeping with him, or that he would finally realize what a great couple you guys would make. Trying to be “just friends” with someone you’re actually in lust (or love) with is torture and can’t often be done successfully.

The bottom line

Of course men and women can be “just friends!” Duh. Just be sure no one involved is setting themselves up for heartbreak by saying they only have “friend” feelings for someone they’re actually smitten with.

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