Can it work?

I recently had a conversation with someone who told me he has a hard time making friends with women. His mind often goes ‘there’ and he’s continuously distracted by that. I can’t say I’ve always done the same thing with my male friends but I’d also be lying if I said the thoughts never crossed my mind. Does it affect my ability to make friends with certain men? Maybe. For my part, at my full-time job I’m surrounded by men and by the time I’m off the clock, I want to spend time with some sane female friends. 🙂 Oh yeah, I said it!

I wrote a story a short while back called “On Thin Ice” and the basic premise was best friends becoming lovers. It’s a common theme in romance and maybe one of the most heartfelt. Hasn’t everyone at some point or another harboured a secret crush on a friend of the opposite sex? (Or the same sex, depending on what you’re into.) Maybe it has developed into more for you, or maybe not.

Reviews for my story were mixed, at best. It was probably one of my lower rated in the “Ice” series. As the author, I know it could have used more work, but when I say that, I’m referring more to the editing and polishing, rather than changing the story itself. Readers were mixed in how they felt about the main characters and how they came to be together. Some loved it, felt it was ‘real,’ while others didn’t like how they acted and how they fought. I won’t say more and risk giving anything away – then again, most of you reading this blog have probably already read it. 🙂

I wonder though, did my story received mixed reviews just because it was subpar, or because it struck a nerve with some readers? Were they upset that the two best friends fought their growing attraction so much? Everyone knows how they want these kinds of stories to go but there’d be no story if there wasn’t conflict. I also think that you are hurt by, and hurtful to, the people closest to you. Not intentionally, of course, but because you love someone else so much – friend or otherwise – their opinion matters to you so much more. When they say or do something that hurts, it hurts that much more.

But I’m veering off topic. What I’m wondering today is, can men and women be just friends? Whether or not you’re in a relationship, can you really spend any amount of time with a member of the opposite sex and not start to feel something?

Think of your closest friends. What is it about them that attracted you? Yes, you become friends because you’re attracted to them, whether you want them naked in bed or not. The difference is that when you’re seeking a friend, you’re not thinking about getting them naked in bed. You’re thinking about grabbing a coffee and chatting. You’re thinking about that inside joke that had you both laughing until tears ran down your faces. Or you’re thinking about just how long you’ve been friends (something I recently realized about a couple friends. 🙂 Made me feel old.) Anyway, when you want a friend, you’re not thinking about sex. Usually.

Now think about your lover, partner, spouse, whatever. Do you automatically think about sex? Or do you think about grabbing a coffee with them, laughing about that inside joke or do you think about just how long you’ve been together? The only difference is obvious. So if you’re making friends with the opposite sex, what keeps you from going ‘there’ with them? And can you keep that up indefinitely? At some point, do your physical urges get in the way? Of course, just because you have urges doesn’t mean you need to act on them.

On the other hand, doesn’t it seem like a nice idea to become friends with someone first, before you become romantically involved? So often people will leap into relationships without really getting to know the other person. You become attached, maybe sexually, maybe not, but you come to realize that you’re maybe not as compatible as you thought. That’s not to say that you can only be compatible with someone you’re friends with. We all know there’s far more to finding a life mate than just a few points of interest.

I suppose that’s why the friends angle is such a popular subject in romance novels and movies. It can go so many different ways. Sometimes knowing each other the way best friends do can do more harm than good and vice versa.

I think I’m straying way off topic here… Forgive me. It’s been a long week and it’s late now. 🙂 I really just wanted to touch base and see what y’all think of being friends with someone of the opposite sex.

I will at some future point attempt a friends-to-lovers angle in another story but like anything else, it’ll be different from how I’ve done it in the past. I hope you’re all still around when I get to it.

Until then, take care and happy reading!

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1 Comment

Filed under Free Stories, Writing

One response to “Can it work?

  1. Lady Falcon

    Wow, I love this subject / debate. I have had it with several people at different times over my (ahem, 39 years). Looking back, my answer has always been…yes, men and women can be friends with the same sex they are drawn to for sexual relationships.

    I was the first born and to this day I believe my dad wanted a son first. He didn’t let something as insignificant as my gender stop him from having a first born he could “have a beer” with if you get my meaning. I started out sitting on the wheel well inside the engine compartment of my dad’s Chevy Deluxe 1974 blue pick-up handing him tools (Its still sitting on the farm although its relegated to farm use). It’s one of my first and most precious memories.

    I played sports every season. Dad and I went everywhere together; fishing, golfing, hunting, to games. I climbed trees better than several boys in my various neighborhoods (we were a military family so we moved every 3-4 years). My dad coached most of the teams no matter the sport I played on and was harder on me than anyone else so he couldn’t be accused of showing favoritism. I finally asked him to just be a spectator when I turned 13. 🙂

    My dad was in a male oriented career field in the military and I hung with him whenever the shop got together socially. The only girlfriends I ever had were on my softball teams and they were just as feminine acting challenged as I was. So, growing up, my best friends were always guys. I just understood better how they thought than I did girls. It’s still the same.

    My husband was my friend before we became sexually involved, but, I can’t be honest and not say the feelings weren’t there from the beginning. I had such a crush on him. Lord, have mercy, I had it bad. lol.

    I also joined the military and was in a male oriented career field as well. So, again, all my friends were guys. Off duty, we’d sit around in the day-room or somebody’s room and shoot the breeze, watch TV, play pool, drink. There were rare times over the years when one of the guys and I would start a sexual relationship but it was an exceedingly rare case for no other reason than its hard to get the guys to treat you as one of the guys and respect your contributions to the job and then get them to start treating you like a woman and go back to one of the guys at work. Doesn’t work so well at least not in a physically demanding job. I’m wandering.

    My husband is still my best friend and that has been our strength as a couple. We rarely are sexually active anymore…but we are intimate. If that makes sense. We have the shared jokes and can finish each others thoughts. We know how the other will react to a situation and therefore can when needed speak for the other even when its not what we would choose personally. Trust. An integral quality to any friendship and I think if its present then any relationship regardless of platonic or sexual can be successfully navigated.

    As far as “On Thin Ice”, it’s one of my favorites because I adore the friends to lovers stories, gee, I wonder why? lol 🙂 If a couple have been friends for as long as the two in that story it is hard to re-script the mind sometimes to think of the other in that way. I have had male friends that were friends for so long and so intensely close platonically that it was hard to think of them in other ways….one time in particular it nearly cost me the friendship. But, a little distance, I went away to college for a year, and when we reconnected it wasn’t so difficult anymore to imagine kissing him. And we did for several months go the non-platonic route then we went on with our lives in different directions and we still talk today and sometimes flirt outrageously despite being happily married to other people.

    Tamara, I can’t wait to read your next story. If its a friends to lovers story than that is just the cherry on top. I still think we need a female hockey player and a male hockey player together….I can so see the scenes on and off the ice. The competitiveness the two would have would be highly charged with adrenalin and could easily lead to some wild encounters sexually and platonically.

    Ciao, Bella! You are Magnifique!

    (I have no idea if I spelled that right but it sounded good in my head. lol)

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