Can men and women ever be friends? According to the screenplay written by the immortal Nora Ephron in When Harry met Sally, they cannot.
Harry Burns, the male lead and antagonist told Sally Albright that men and women could not be friends because the sex part was always there. Every man wanted to have sex with any woman who was attractive, or unattractive, therefore making it impossible to maintain a friendship.
Is that true? Is it impossible for men and women to ever REALLY be friends?
Jesus Christ, who was without sin, had women friends. He was befriended by Mary and Martha, who were sisters, along with their brother Lazarus.
He and they were very close friends, and of course, there was no sexual connotation.
They were decent women and He was without sin, so lust was not an issue.
Jesus met a Samarian woman at Jacob’s well on his way back to Galilee. He asked her for a drink of water.
Keep in mind that Jews and Samarians didn’t mix, but the even greater fact was that Jesus spoke to her. Jewish men did not speak to women in public as a rule, especially if they weren’t acquainted. This woman was at the well early in the day as her people and family had shunned her due to her immoral behavior.
So, Jesus, could’ve taken advantage or he could have shunned the woman as well. However, he chose to be kind and tell her of His path to salvation.
This is not to be a religion lesson, but we see Jesus in His perfection treat women very well, especially in light of his religion and the times.
Of course, we are not Jesus, even as we try to be Christ like in our Christianity.
We still haven’t answered the question of men and women as friends.
There are men who pretend to be a friend to a woman in hopes of sexual relations at some point. When they finally learn that sex is off the table, they seem to be friends no longer, causing the woman to wonder if they ever really were friends. This can be very hurtful.
These “friends” most likely were not instructed in how to respect their mother, sisters, aunts, etc. because they were given the idea that men held a more exalted position in life.
Some cultures thrive in the higher position of sons versus daughters. It would stand to reason that these males would very rarely think highly enough of a mere female to genuinely call a woman a true friend. The allowance of such cultures to enter the United States is a dangerous precedence against women and the rights they have fought for in the last forty years. Women from these cultures believe their place is lower and will never stand with Western women in this regard.
A well brought up young man will hopefully see his father respect his wife, his mother, his grandmother and all woman. This example would allow for him to respect himself and others enough to form lasting friendships from both sexes.
This new trend of setting male against female and belittling gender roles is a very slippery slope to climb. Gender roles of men and women (sorry folks, there are only two) are equally important and should not be discounted as one as more necessary than the other.
Instruction by both mothers and fathers in the home showed the value of the two working together and their virtues.
The introduction of premarital sex has done much to diminish friendly relations between the sexes. Before the sexual revolution, there was little alternative to developing much more than being friends first, dating and building a relationship that may eventually lead to sex and marriage. Innocent dates and fun were practiced first. In most cases, couples got to know each other on a human level before carnal knowledge got between them. It also built anticipation of the time when intimacy would occur. In this way, it was treated as a special goal between those who were in love.
Naturally, everything was not a fairy tale and didn’t work out in perfection every time, but those who broke social rules were ostracized by their peers. This discouraged bad behavior for the most part.
If two people of opposite sex respect themselves and each other, friendship has the opportunity to thrive. Men and women can indeed be friends.
This is a most important lesson to be learned, but more important is to remember that there are factions who would drive a wedge between men and woman in order to destroy the solidness of marriage, family and the church.
It is vital that young people are shielded from this evil by and hold onto their values. The very fabric of our society is dependent upon this cornerstone.
Image: CCO Creative Commons; Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/beard-business-walking-businessman-2365810/