Monday, December 12, 2011


This video is doing the rounds at the moment.

It's fun.

It's got me thinking again about friendship.

What is a friend, anyway?

friend  (frÉ›nd) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
— n
1.a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection, and loyalty; acquaintance or associate ally in a fight or cause; supporter
4.a fellow member of a party, society, etc
5.a patron or supporter: a friend of the opera friends  to be friendly (with)
7.make friends  to become friendly (with)

According to this definition, there is no reason why men and women can't be friends. A man may fight alongside me for a common cause. He may, through the course of life, become well known to me. I should regard him as a friend. The question is, whether sexual desire trumps and nullifies all else. The men in the video thought so.

I don't.

Sexual desire inevitably complicates a friendship (and it lurks in pretty much all male/female interactions), and puts (often annoying) boundaries on how far it can rightly progress... but, hey, in this fallen world, all friendships are complicated. What about the envy and competitiveness I feel while doing lunch with the school mums? And what about people with homosexual desires? Are all warm human interactions impossible for them? Has lust drowned out all else?


But of course I'd say that. I'm female.


  1. I think that no-one has told the males in that video that you can have romantic feelings (requited or not) for someone and still be 'just' friends with them. Otherwise they're in for a rude shock when they find the girl of their dreams and then find that they may also be attracted to someone else. Or (gasp!) they may find that they meet a girl and she does nothing for them in the attraction department at all! What will they think then? Or do they only hang out with girls they're hoping will return their affection?

  2. This is a no-brainer for me. I'm friends with my mother-in-law. QED.

  3. Very funny video, but what's going on underneath is quite sad.

    I think it expresses the collapse of a sense of sexual self-discipline that has been one of the stories of the last century - the current hook-up culture (of which American college students are notorious for) is simply the latest expression of this (although I think you'd be hard pushed to find something more libertine outside of the 60s and parts of the 20s), and it is swamping everything else.

    The women are right that it is possible. What probably needed to be observed is that friendship (with its attendant emotional intimacy) between the genders *can* lead to something sexual - it is a path towards that. While we mightn't like how previous eras did it, there is some wisdom in observing that sex is a fire that can burn as well as warm, and everyone needs to pursue friendship with the gender they are attracted to with care for that issue.

    But with those safeguards in place, friendship across the genders is both possible and a definite good, especially so in our over-sexed world.

  4. Of course the question is being asked of adolescent males. Women mature earlier, hence their more grounded answers. More mature males are likely to answer differently. Most of us have many women friends, including women we may once have been attracted to but on closer acquaintance realised were good friends for us but better lovers for someone else.

  5. When I was at Uni I was very good friends with a girl (K) my age. And I never considered that our friendship would become anything else. In fact, when I married Rachel, K was in the bridal party, on my side.

    We are still friends.

    So it is possible. But pretty rare.