Platonic Relationships?

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Are we really "Just Friends?"
Can men and women be "just friends" - or will one person always feel more romantically inclined toward the other, making interaction awkward for both parties? Society has long been fascinated with this question, to which almost everyone claims to have an answer. Or at least an opinion. In a Time Magazine article, published in the September 1st 2003 issue, Pamela Paul decided to put in her two cents regarding this phenomenon. The article, "We're Just Friends. Really!" explores real-life platonic cross-sex relationships, surveys and polls, as well as what researchers conclude in answering this puzzling question. Overall, the article argues that despite the complexities, many men and women manage to make long-term platonic relationships work. When studying gender communication, topics such as relationships between men and women come up often. In the Communication and Gender course at The University of Kansas, we will be reading about friendships between men and women in chapter eight of the text book, Gendered Lives, written by Julia T. Wood. In this chapter, she discusses how friendships between genders pose distinct challenges; however they do offer a chance for growth (Wood, 2006, pg. 190). Our culture is full of pressures to conform to romantic and sexual relationships in order to be seen as a successful human being. Because of these ongoing pressures, it is difficult for men and women to not see each other in sexual terms (Bingham, 1996; Johnson, Stockdale, & Saal, 1991). We have also discussed in the course, the factor of sexual hormones that adds to one bias that men and women could never be "just friends." Wood does differ from this belief by explaining that in these types of friendships, each person does benefit from one another. In general, a primary benefit in the friendship for women is the companionship and less emotional factor which is not always available with their female friends. As for men, they tend to truly value...
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