‘Why Men and Women Can’t Be Friends’ the news headline states. Men and women with lots of friends of the opposite sex respond on Facebook, the idea is nonsense, it’s idiotic. The topic of friendships between men and women has caused quite a kafuffle. There seems to be some confusion, however, so let’s clear it up. Should we really restrict close friendships with the opposite sex and keep them only for our partner, or prospective partner, or can it be a free-for-all; it doesn’t really matter? Here are three reasons why close friendships with the opposite sex are meant to be exclusive – why we should be close friends with just one member of the opposite sex, and why it should be in a relationship. In the end, it all comes down to the kids.
1. We’re made for wilderness
It’s obvious but it’s worth pointing out, nature didn’t make us to survive in cities; we were made to survive in the natural world, such as the plains of Africa; we have evolved to live in wilderness. In that hostile environment, where food can be scarce, and predators lurk waiting to pounce, children need two parents, not one. One parent is going to find it pretty hard to protect and find enough food for vulnerable children on their own. Besides, it’s also tricky to breast feed and hunt at the same time; hide the child while you hunt and it could be a predator’s supper. In short, nature made us to stay together, no matter what, as a supportive couple for the sake of the children. That means it needed to find a way to keep us together, and want to help each other long enough to ensure our kids thrive.
How might it do that?
2. We are driven by desires
Well, how does nature get us to do anything? Not by booming down orders, ‘thou shalt find nuts and eat them!’. That would be noisy, and impractical. Instead, it gives us desires, drives to do things, such as hunger to find and eat food, and thirst to seek out water and drink. What desires might it use to make us stay together long enough for the sake of the kids?
Well, sex won’t work. Someone else comes along whose really sexy and it’s ‘see ya!’, I’m now with them.
What about looks, or wealth, or status?
All great while they last, but looks fade, and so can wealth and status.
Even attraction, or what we sometimes call romantic love, won’t do the trick. If we don’t get along it won’t matter how attractive the other person is; we can only take so much crap.
That leaves desires of friendship. Besides, we already have those; they are the desires that make us form into groups; we are social because we are safer and more secure with others like us. Our friendship desires already drive us to unite.
3. Supergluing our relationship
Why make friendships with the opposite sex exclusive; make it such that only a close friendship with only one member of the opposite sex will ever truly satisfy us?
Suppose friendships with the opposites weren’t made exclusive – they were the same between all of us – that would leave us living like a herd of cows or sheep; no reason to form a bond with just one person; it’d be an equal bond with everyone.
Make a friendship exclusive between the sexes though, make just one person truly, deeply, satisfy us enough so we really want to stay, and we can create a bond stronger than superglue. We can stabilise our families, and keep them strong and united for our kids.
Friendships with the opposite sex are special, they have to be. They have to satisfy in us desires that no other friendship ever can. Yes, we can have as many friendships with the opposite sex as we like but in the end none of them will ever truly satisfy us; we will be left with an empty hole inside unless we make one friendship with a member of the opposite sex exclusive.
Does this mean men and women shouldn’t be friendly?
Heck, no; we should all try to make each other feel valued, respected, cared for and supported; we should still all work to meet each other’s ten friendship needs. But the deepest emotional connection, the greatest sharing and caring, should be reserved for just one. Not only so we create the most satisfying relationships we can, but for the sake of our children. They do best of all when they grow up in a stable, caring, loving family; when they too learn how to be close friends.