Can women and men just be friends?

by Dilvin Yasa

I HAVE sought the company of men for friendship for as long as I can remember.

For someone like me – the only girl in a family of brothers, male cousins and hordes of uncles – it just made sense.

While my familial situation has had its advantages (I’m a gun at push-starting cars and reciting dialogue from the first two Rambo movies), it has also left me unable to relate to many women in a way they positively respond to (put me in a room with someone who wants to “workshop their feelings” and I start panicking as I search for the exit).

For a long time, my opposite-gender friendships worked a treat – until everyone started partnering up with the women who went on to become long-term girlfriends and wives and we discovered a complication standing in the way of our collective happiness.

Me.

The first time it occurred to me that there could be a problem with opposite gender friendships was about five years ago, when my best mate called me up out of the blue to tell me he wasn’t allowed to see me any more.

He’d begun seeing someone who wasn’t happy with our “unnatural” relationship.

“I’m sorry – Jeanette* doesn’t believe men and women can be friends and told me either you have to go, or she will.”

I was both distraught and incensed. . . .

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