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What do you think when people say "People can't be friends with the opposite sex"?

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oldgeeza

Anyone mind if I throw a spanner in the works and ask another question in relation to this, do you tell your friends that you love them if you do, regardless of gender? I do, okay so I'm an old fart, I've lost a lot of close friends over the years, I never told them I loved them, when I say love, I don't mean love in a sexual way, but I have a lot of close friends that I love as the friends that they are, my friends are more like family than my own family, I love and respect them, so why shouldn't I let them know?

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CBC
19 minutes ago, oldgeeza said:

Anyone mind if I throw a spanner in the works and ask another question in relation to this, do you tell your friends that you love them if you do, regardless of gender?

Honestly not really, no. Or rather, mostly not. I'm sort of retraining myself a little in terms of expressing things to people, though. I've never been one for sharing serious emotion for others in that way, but that certainly doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If a friend says it to me I'll say it back, but I'm not ever the first to do so. Even in the context of familial love and, until my current relationship, romantic love, I'm usually in the position of replying to someone else. I think my partner is the only person I'll say it to as the initiator, not the respondent. I've realised I never did that in my prior relationship. Or with anyone else my entire life, with any form of love. Huh... like, just realising that right now.

 

Anyway. So it's weird for me, but I try to be a bit more open with such things. I don't feel like opportunities to tell people I love them actually arise very often. I'm also not too genuinely close to many people. I've built a lot of walls over the years.

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Guest Jetsun Milarepa

Never. Only my daughter gets 'I love you' because I feel that's her status.

 

I'd say I'm very fond of my friends though.

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Skullery Maid

I used to, with frequency tbh, but I've been chastised for it and probably wouldn't again in the future. 

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CBC

I'd be worried about being chastised, so. Or made to feel weird and stupid somehow. The vulnerability thing is not my forte, so it's just not innate.

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ryn2
6 hours ago, sithgirlix said:

I think it's a lot more social conditioning that anything. I seriously don't understand what makes people think men and women can't be friends. You don't see gay guys only hanging out with hetero girls, nor gay girls hanging out with only gay guys, so it's not an attraction thing. Heteronormativity makes it appear to be, but it's not.

Yes.  Especially where there are still fairly rigid gender roles, there’s a pervasive sense that men and women don’t/can’t have nearly enough in common to be friends and basically would never associate with one another if it weren’t for the pursuit of sex.

 

Affairs have nothing whatsoever to do with loss of control over oneself.

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ryn2

I often say “I love you guys” in a very slightly joking tone to collective friends.  I’ve also said it to individual friends but normally in the context of something specific they just did or said.

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Telecaster68

Is this another geography thing, maybe linked to the way gender roles seem a lot more rigid in the US than Europe? Or maybe somehow linked with the whole dating culture thing, which also seems alien - if you see the opposite gender as dating fodder, being friends is going to seem odd, I guess. Or maybe it's me in my pleasant middle class bubble...

 

I've always had male and female friends, and it's always been common in my friend group. If they start spending a lot of time alone together in a pair, then maybe there simply is more developing.

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Serran
6 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Is this another geography thing, maybe linked to the way gender roles seem a lot more rigid in the US than Europe? Or maybe somehow linked with the whole dating culture thing, which also seems alien - if you see the opposite gender as dating fodder, being friends is going to seem odd, I guess. Or maybe it's me in my pleasant middle class bubble...

 

I've always had male and female friends, and it's always been common in my friend group. If they start spending a lot of time alone together in a pair, then maybe there simply is more developing.

Its an out dated thing from back when it was taboo, along with a hollywood thing since every male/female pairing has to turn romantic. 

 

I always have had mostly male friends. Only time it was an issue was when I was little the overly religious group my grandmother had me in felt girls had to stop being friends with boys by puberty to avoid sinning. 

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Snao van der Cone
3 hours ago, oldgeeza said:

do you tell your friends that you love them if you do, regardless of gender?

I hate saying "I love you" period, so I generally don't. It's awkward and forced when I do, even to my mother. The times I can remember friends telling me they love me is either amidst a major thing (like their wedding, as I've been a bridesmaid a few times), or when they're not doing well and want to help themselves by expressing things like this. It's not a common thing.

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Homer
3 hours ago, oldgeeza said:

Anyone mind if I throw a spanner in the works and ask another question in relation to this, do you tell your friends that you love them if you do, regardless of gender?

German offers expressions to get that point across in a non-romantic sense. And yes, I use it where I deem it appropriate.

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ryn2
53 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Is this another geography thing, maybe linked to the way gender roles seem a lot more rigid in the US than Europe? Or maybe somehow linked with the whole dating culture thing, which also seems alien - if you see the opposite gender as dating fodder, being friends is going to seem odd, I guess. Or maybe it's me in my pleasant middle class bubble...

 

I've always had male and female friends, and it's always been common in my friend group. If they start spending a lot of time alone together in a pair, then maybe there simply is more developing.

The belief may be cultural/geography-based.  In practice, plenty of people have opposite-sex friends in the US without anything developing.

 

I keep hearing people say US dating culture is weird.  While that may be true, I’m a little puzzled (genuinely, not in a snarky way) because I guess I don’t know what our “dating culture” is that’s so different than other places (at least places that don’t arrange marriages).  I have friends all over the world and their dating stories seem similar... and the dating apps in use seem to be the same.

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Snao van der Cone

Oh, I should add that @Homer frequently says it. Europeans, amirite?? :P

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Homer
2 minutes ago, Snao Cone said:

Oh, I should add that @Homer frequently says it. Europeans, amirite?? :P

What's worse: I also mean it. I guess I ate one too many gay frogs for lunch :D

 

Seriously though - re: original question: I think they're wrong. Simple as that.

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MysteryAuthor

I think anyone can be friends, regardless of gender. That whole "men and women can't be friends" thing is ridiculous to me. I see people as people, not their gender or sexual orientation, and I certainly believe that any two people can be very close without sexual attraction or desire entering into it.  I've had male friends, and honestly, without sexual attraction on either side, and as a woman with lesbian friends, I feel I can be close to those friends without sexuality entering into the relationship as well. 

 

The whole issue arises from expectations put on us by the media, society, religion, etc. But those are constructs, not what is necessarily honest and true in actually experiencing life. 

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Duketor Memphenstein

If I befriend women, I hope they don't stab me in the back. I may be romantically inclined to women, but I don't expect my friendships with women to turn romantic for the most part. I know the value of a great friendship and platonic love.

 

No matter who someone is, I just don't want anyone to stab me in the back.

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CBC
3 hours ago, Snao Cone said:

I hate saying "I love you" period, so I generally don't. It's awkward and forced when I do, even to my mother. The times I can remember friends telling me they love me is either amidst a major thing (like their wedding, as I've been a bridesmaid a few times), or when they're not doing well and want to help themselves by expressing things like this. It's not a common thing.

Yep, mostly same. Honestly it's primarily been since becoming a very frequent internet user that I've encountered people I've become close with online who will voluntarily say "I love you". It's never been common amongst those immediately surrounding me. Other than my mother, and (this is awful, but) I feel vaguely irritated most of the time she says it.

 

Doesn't mean I don't appreciate hearing it though, or that I don't try to reciprocate and learn to communicate more openly. I struggle with massive self-worth issues -- as in, I have very little -- and it's embarrassingly easy to get me emotional over an expression of caring. Doesn't even have to be "I love you". I'm beyond baffled when people seem to value me (my thoughts, opinions, character, whatever), claim to like me, voluntarily choose to interact with me, remind me to care for myself, whatever. It confuses me that they feel something genuine and positive, especially to the point they want to express it. So all of it is pretty emotionally loaded for me, not just "I love you". It's nice to hear, though. In the past year or two perhaps, I've realised how much social contact really is necessary. More than I once thought. I've spent a lot of time removed from most other people and it's not healthy. It's difficult to go from a state of isolation to a concerted effort to pursue voluntary interactions, and to be surprised by the information that anyone enjoys anything about knowing me is just that -- a surprise.

 

"I love you" feels really big, but maybe it doesn't need to.

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CBC

Lol, I feel like that whole post should come with the hashtag #damagedpeoplethings. 🙃

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Guest Jetsun Milarepa

Nah, just folk who are sparing with such serious emotions.

I fear there are too many gushing insincere 'love you's ...they kinda tend to be said by the same types that say 'awesome', 'adorable' and the like.

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CBC

Yeah, some people overdo it with the "I love you" for sure. I place them in the same category as those who regularly end sentences with five exclamation marks and use so many emojis that half the conversation is more like hieroglyphics than English.

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ryn2

I think there’s a difference between things like “love ya,” “OMG I love you!!!” (as a form of “thank you”), etc., and a one-to-one “I love you” as a confession of deep feelings (romantic, especially, but also familial and potentially platonic).  It’s the latter where things can get awkward if misinterpreted.

 

I might tell one friend “I love [other friend]; I don’t know what I would do without them!” but I probably wouldn’t sit down 1:1 with [other friend] and tell them I love them.

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CBC
45 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

I think there’s a difference between things like “love ya,” “OMG I love you!!!” (as a form of “thank you”), etc., and a one-to-one “I love you” as a confession of deep feelings (romantic, especially, but also familial and potentially platonic).

Oh definitely, yeah. I've said "Oh my god I love you!" to people, probably even here on the forums, like in response to something they've posted. Just a way of expressing appreciation for their input. Clearly not the same as telling a close friend or family member or romantic partner that I genuinely love them (or telling a romantic partner that I'm in love with them, obviously). Major difference.

 

Personally I do still think I need to learn to be more emotionally expressive. There's one person I feel completely comfortable telling them I love them (my partner) and one other person to whom I feel ok saying "Love you" in a more casual -- yet still sincere -- way (my mum). Two isn't very many people to be comfortable with.

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Moonman

I say it pretty casually to people yeah. If it's how I feel I just come out and say it, I'd rather people know how I feel about them instead of having to assume or interpret. Usually what I think is something loving but once or twice I have had to confront people for their bullshit actions and likewise I've been confronted. I know my best friend loves me because one day she said "what you said about me really upset me, you know my past isn't the best, you made me feel like shit". She noticed that the comment wasn't right and she had the difficult talk with me where I admitted I had fucked up. She had my best interests at heart because she knew it wasn't right that I was treating her that way when she could have just started ignoring me, or given me the cold shoulder but none of that body language, mixed signals vague shit actually helps me. I love her for what she brings to my life and I tell her as much.

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Traveler40

My children are told how much they’re loved often which comes naturally, but rarely do I say it to my husband. On the other hand, my lover is convinced that I’m in high school.  Apparently, being transparent, and without inhibitions makes one seem younger?  Whatever is fine by me, as long as he knows how I feel.  

 

Oddly, given English is his second language, I really like to tell him in his own language.  I like it about as much as I enjoy cursing, ordering dinner, asking for certain physical acts or pondering deep thoughts in the phrases he’s taught me. Simply put, it’s just enjoyable to feel like I’m communicating in a more meaningful way with him. It’s all in my head of course, but meh. He has no idea what I’m saying sometimes, but I’ll throw in a few dirty words to right the ship...

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Serran
8 hours ago, ryn2 said:

The belief may be cultural/geography-based.  In practice, plenty of people have opposite-sex friends in the US without anything developing.

 

I keep hearing people say US dating culture is weird.  While that may be true, I’m a little puzzled (genuinely, not in a snarky way) because I guess I don’t know what our “dating culture” is that’s so different than other places (at least places that don’t arrange marriages).  I have friends all over the world and their dating stories seem similar... and the dating apps in use seem to be the same.

My wife is from the UK and she finds the idea of dating a person you arent friends with first odd. She also finds any sort of should do this or that by X date idea weird (like the 3rd date rule cosmo and tv shows push). 

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Telecaster68
Just now, Serran said:

My wife is from the UK and she finds the idea of dating a person you arent friends with first odd. She also finds any sort of should do this or that by X date idea weird (like the 3rd date rule cosmo and tv shows push). 

Tinder and Match etc. have brought the whole dating thing over here (the UK) to a bit, but basically, yep - UK dating protocol involves taking a shine to someone you meet socially, talking to them more and more over a period of (probably) weeks, possibly a few transparent excuses to meet up without other people, and then an embarrassed alcohol-fuelled pass. 

 

That's how we do it, and that's how we like it.

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Serran
3 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Tinder and Match etc. have brought the whole dating thing over here (the UK) to a bit, but basically, yep - UK dating protocol involves taking a shine to someone you meet socially, talking to them more and more over a period of (probably) weeks, possibly a few transparent excuses to meet up without other people, and then an embarrassed alcohol-fuelled pass. 

 

That's how we do it, and that's how we like it.

I think thats why 3 out of 5 of my partners have been British...

 

I dont like dating strangers. I tried it and it is just weird, awkward and all kinds of not working for me. Kissing someone after hanging out only three times?!?!?!? Omg just cant do it. 

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Telecaster68

I think we got over the 'rules' shit in the 19th century.

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CBC

@Serran Same as your wife. I've no idea why I'd go on a date with someone I didn't already feel attracted to, either in that we'd been friends for a while or that we met somehow and felt a connection and decided to go on a date. 

 

What even is "American dating culture", actually. I haven't the foggiest.

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CBC
5 minutes ago, Serran said:

Kissing someone after hanging out only three times?!?!?!? Omg just cant do it. 

I could do that, but then after hanging out three times, I'd probably know if I was attracted to them.

 

I've kissed a complete stranger before though. That was dumb. Some guy on a dance floor in a club, met literally minutes beforehand. There was nothing enjoyable about it. He asked for my number and I said "I don't think so", lol.

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