Harry vs. Sally: Can guys and girls be “ just friends”?

By Kelly Sineni

You are walking down the hall with your best friend who happens to be of the opposite sex, laughing and smiling, and a friend catches a certain twinkle in your eye. They ask you about it, “Oh we are just friends,” you answer quickly…but are you really just friends?

As Harry Burns (Played by Billy Crystal in the 1989 chick flick When Harry Met Sally) said, “This is not a come-on in any way, shape or form. It’s that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.”

And so the age old question comes into play, can men and women be just friends? Being in a co-ed high school with 2000 members of the opposite sex leaves many opportunities to bond with them, but to some like Harry Burns, a true friendship is just not possible.

Chitavia Murph, Div. 271, has had a guy as a best friend since grammar school. They hang out a lot, tell each other everything and even have sleepovers (nothing happens), but she can’t deny that there is that want to be more than just friends deep down.

“I guess there is something there with my best friend. We still hang out, its not really romantic, but there is something there. I wouldn‘t date him because I don‘t want to lose the friendship,” said Murph. “They [guys and girls] can be friends, but not close friends.”

Joan Njei, Div. 270, learned in her psychology class that sometimes how you act changes without even noticing.

“There will be an attraction. We might act different around the guy without realizing it,” said Njei.

“The green monster can get in the way of the friendship ,” said Brittany Hughs, Div. 258.

“Usually it [the friendship] doesn’t work out. You find yourself getting jealous,” said Hughes.

Then there is the Sally side of this story, “That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved,” says Sally Albright (Played by Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally). Attraction isn’t always a factor between guys and girls when it comes to becoming friends (close friends in particular).

“I absolutely think guys and girls can be close friends. There can be chemistry that’s not romantic, I talk about guys, and he talks about girls and we give each other advice. We are close friends and nothing is going to change that,” said Selina Santiago Div.454.

“I think guys and girls can be friends, it works the same way with guys and guys. Friendship and affection are two different things, there is a line between it. I have a girl best friend, she tells me everything. I have a girlfriend and she has a boyfriend, we tell each other everything. I treat her like my girlfriend, but there is no affection,” said Bill Phan, Div. 258.

Joselyn Badillo, Div. 271, feels that guys are more trustworthy than girls.

“There are things that girls can’t talk about with other girls. They know more about that stuff and are more likely to backstab you. Girls are always gossiping. 90% of the time it won’t go anywhere else if you tell a guy,” said Badillo.

According to an article Dr. Jane Greer (marriage and family therapist) wrote for Marie Claire it is possible to be friends with a person of the opposite gender, because sometimes circumstances stand in the way of their romance, or sometimes its just too familiar of a relationship.

“Whatever the circumstances, the familiarity and certain common denominators make them feel like brother and sister. They can be themselves with each other. They don’t feel any pressure to put on airs, impress, or to look their best all the time,” said Greer.

“My best friend is a girl, we have the same interests and play music together. When your friendship moves away from sexual interest you can treat them like family. I yell at her like a sister,” said Josh Rivera, Div. 179.

“With my best guy friend neither of us are attracted to the other, His girlfriend happens to be my best friend. He considers me one of the guys, one of the bros,” says Kirstin Jacobsen, Div. 279.

Attraction being the root of a romance, Amy Clinard Div. 275 feels being attracted in the first place makes it impossible.

“If you walk into the friendship being attracted, you will always just see him as attractive. If you see him as just another guy, a friendship is possible,” said Clinard.

As Dr. Greer said in her article in Marie Claire, “So, the bottom line is that men and women can be friends, but the bridge to romance – and the possibility of crossing it – almost always exists.”