Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Can Men and Women Just Be Friends? Let's See What Sam Says...

by Tawny

I am so happy to welcome a great author and a good friend to the Lair. I remember reading Samantha Hunter's debut book, VIRTUALLY PERFECT. I loved that book! And then, after I'd sold to Blaze and got to know her, I loved Sam :-) Samantha is not only a great writer, a 2009 RITA finalist and a fun gal - she's one of those people whose always there to help out, offer advice or support. I was so lucky to work with her on the DRESSED TO THRILL series, and will get to have just as much fun soon when we work on a 24 Hours: Blackout series together. And now she's here with us to chat about whether or not men and women can be JUST friends.

Check it out...

Can Men and Women Just Be Friends?

I love friends-to-lovers romance, so much so that I have written two in a row, my current release, MAKE YOUR MOVE, and my upcoming
Christmas Blaze, I'LL BE YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS. I was watching NCIS the other night, my current obsession, and the characters were having the age-old debate: can men and women just be friends, with no sexual overtones or temptations at all?

My personal feeling about it is yes, they can. Absolutely. My husband has female friends and colleagues, and I have male friends whom we have known for ever, some from before we met, and it's never been an issue.

However, of the people I know who have suffered adultery in their marriages (and this includes me, from my first marriage), it was usually with a friend of their spouse, or a common friend. So. . .it does start to make you wonder.

I know the opposite is true with my husband and myself -- we were never friends, we were lovers from the start, and once, when we almost broke up, and I mentioned staying friends, one of the best things he ever said to me was "no, we could never just be friends." (Makes my heart go pitter pat to think of it -- and this was way before Spike ever said the same on Buffy, though we do love that speech). In MAKE YOUR MOVE, while Jodie and Dan have been friends for a long time, the truth is that they have always been more than that, and it just takes some time to realize it.

When men and women are attracted to each other as friends, is there really more riding under the surface, but they just have the self-control to ignore it? Can women and men view each other completely without any thought about sex at all, or is there always some kind of sexual tension between the sexes, no matter what? Have you ever had a sexy friend, or a friend who mistook your friendship for something else?

What do you think? Share your thoughts, and I'll pick a winner tonight to receive a copy of my March '10 Blazing Bedtime Stories and my new book, MAKE YOUR MOVE, along with a bookmark and a designer chocolate bar.


mariska said...

mine :)

chelleyreads said...

hi sam and tawny!! great post! friends to lovers is one of my all-time favorite plot lines! i agree that men and women can just be friends without any sexual tension. but sometimes there is that inevitable sexual tension--it all depends on the situation.

congrats on the gr mariska! have a great wednesday everyone! :)


Tawny said...

LOL - Congrats, Mariska. I hope you and the wily Rooster have a wonderful day!

Tawny said...

Hi Michelle :-D

It is a fabulous storyline, isn't it? I always think friends to lovers stories have an extra layer of sweetness. Maybe it's the level of intimacy that friendship offers.

Caren Crane said...

Congrats, Mariska!

Welcome, Sam! I love this question. Ever since "When Harry Met Sally" I've been pondering this one. Watching Jim and Pam on "The Office", it seems like there is no way to remain just friends if an attraction is there.

That said, I went to engineering school, so I had LOTS of male friends. Some were guys I would have dated if things were different, but we were just friends due to...whatever. After a certain length of time and after you know each other really well, it seems to me the sparks wears off. Like it does in any long-term relationship.

My husband and I were in school together and we were "friends" before we started dating. But we were friends who were attracted to each other and really didn't have compelling reasons not to date (besides school work). So, that turned into a conflagration in a matter of months. *g* Other guys remained friends and it was all for the best.

There were any number of guys I would initially have given a chance, but as time wore on I figured out I would never have been happy with them. Again, all for the best.

So, I think men and women certainly can be friends in the right circumstances. Friends can also become lovers eventually, again in the right circumtances. I think arguments can clearly be made either way!

Gillian Layne said...

Hi Tawny, and welcome Samantha! I agree, she is always there to help out. She visited an online group recently and offered up a wealth of advice on how love scenes and sex scenes differ and change to reflect the h/h character growth during a story. Really, she's just brilliant.

The whole man/woman thing depends on that initial chemistry. If it's there, then the whole 'friends' thing, if either person is in a committed relationship, is just asking for trouble.

That's why I must never meet Richard Armitage . . .wouldn't want to put my marriage at risk. . .oh, I crack myself up ;)

Just love those Blazes, ladies!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

I love friends to lovers stories. I'm definitely going to get this new release.

I think men and women can be friends if they're not physically attracted to each other. If they are or could be, it becomes more difficult. I know there's more to a relationship than physical attractiveness, but if we're honest that's usually the first thing that grabs our attention.

Christie Kelley said...

Great post, Sam and Tawny.

I love a friends to lovers book. I've had many male friends that I worked with but I have to admit there was no attraction there so no problem. So I don't think there is a constant sexual tension between the sexes. It just depends on the people involved.

Samantha Hunter said...

Mariska, congrats. LOL

Michelle, thanks for coming by. :) I think it's entirely possible for men and women to be friends, and healthy even. We need all kinds of friends.

Hey Tawny! Thanks for having me here, and for the sweet intro -- same back atcha. :) I can't wait to see the Blackout books. :) I think you're right about the level of intimacy in friendship that sets the stage for more -- friends have history, and that history can easily turn into something else, if the people involved want that. Dan, in MAKE YOUR MOVE, has a very scientific argument about why friends stand a better chance of staying together as lovers than most partnerships. ;) Of course, he relies on statistics. ;)

Caren, I'm with you. I have had plenty of male "just friends" with absolutely no idea for anything else, and same for dh in the opposite. It does seem that culturally, friends-to-lovers is an age-old question played out all over the place, and it seems to play out in one of two ways, that knowing each other/working together is a reason it won't work, or the thing that leads to the realization of more. I like both dynamics. But I also think having friends of the opposite sex keeps people in balance; it's nice to get the opposite point of view sometimes. :)

Gillian, aw, thanks! I really enjoyed that class, and glad you felt it was worthwhile. I think friends do have chemistry, though it may not be romantic. Interesting about the idea of "initial" chemistry, because I tend to think most people will have a spark from the beginning, like Caren mentioned with her husband, too -- either you decide to act on it or not, but friends who will or could become lovers know that from the start, even if they don't act on it, IMO.

Trish, you're absolutely right -- but then there is the thing where you become suddenly attracted to someone who you never found attractive before. I have had that happen -- it's like something clicks in. But maybe that something was really there all along?

Christine, I agree. It's a mystery where that chemical attraction comes from, but I think it's a good thing we don't feel it with everyone or life would be very complicated! LOL

They had this as the theme on How I Met Your Mother this week, as well, in the reverse, that Robin was friends with both of her exes, and her current boyfriend found that a problem, though he was cool about it, but when things got serious, she had to break things off with her exes, even though they were only friends. Or were they? Could they really ever be just friends after having had romantic relationships? I think I would feel very differently if my husband had once been romantically involved with one of his female friends -- that would make it an entirely different matter. So, interesting how it can go in the reverse, as well.


Samantha Hunter said...

Also, just to mention it, I have to go help my Dad with some errands through the day (he's 90 this week, and we're planning a party, but we need to get some things done today) so I'll be gone for a bit, but I will be back to play. ;)

Didn't want anyone thinking I was ignoring you! :)


Deb said...

Good morning, Tawny and Sam! I like friends to lovers stories, too. In a relationship, there has to be mutual liking, passion, love, respect, and friendship, I think.

Men and women can be friends if there is no physical attraction, like Trish said. However, let me tell you, I could NOT tolerate my husband being friends with a woman, LOL! Um, yes, I think I am the jealous type!

Louisa Cornell said...

YAY Mariska! He's visiting you today!

Great post Tawny and Samantha!

My late DH and I were friends for over a year before we started dating. In fact, I dated his best friend for that year and when Harold and I broke up, very amicably realizing we'd kill each other if we ever married, Rog asked Harold if he would mind if he asked me out. The rest as they say is history.

I tend to agree with those of you who say it depends on initial chemistry. If that heat is there from the beginning than being friends can be dangerous. But there have been some men in my life with whom I had an instant feeling of "brotherhood" for lack of a better term and they are still my friends today.

It is funny because many of my male friends are former students of mine and when I finally met their wives or girlfriends many of them said they felt threatened by me because their loved ones always talked about me. Once they saw us together their fears were usually allayed because I have always treated those guys more like sons or younger brothers.

That may be the key. Women are usually pretty good at detecting heat when looking at a couple. When a couple tells me they are just friends and I detect heat I know they're a couple of goners!

Andrea said...

Great blog, Tawny and Sam! Friends to lovers is one of my favorite storylines (so much sizzling tension!). Perhaps because my husband and I were good friends before we started dating. :)

Laney4 said...

I think it DOES come down to self control. I am VERY happily married (for almost 29 years now), but I have felt "sexual tension" (for lack of a better phrase) with certain men throughout the years. The trick is not to act on it. Besides, inevitably, it wears out and you wonder why you ever felt that way in the first place.
My DH and I are lucky to have each other, despite all of our imperfections. I can't imagine ruining our marriage for those fleeting moments. It's just not worth it.
As for mistaking friendship, yes, I have had someone mistake it for something else. It was an awkward situation, to say the least. Now I make sure situations cannot be misconstrued.
I don't think it's a problem to look (I am human), but the trick is not to touch. At all. Ever.

MsHellion said...

I have had male friends; I have male friends now. One is the husband of my best friend--so we don't think of each other in that way; however, on the whole, I don't think men and women can be friends. I think sex is going to get in the way one way or the other. Even if the sex is with you or not. (After all you can have a falling out too if your best friend starts dating someone else and drops off the planet, never to see you. And you end up jealous. *LOL* Not because of the sex, but because you don't matter more than sex. *LOL*)

CrystalGB said...

I am a big fan of the friends to lovers theme. I do think men and women can be friends without any sexual tension.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey, Mariska! Looks like the bird is heading overseas! Have fun with him today.

Hi Sam, welcome to the Lair!! Tawny, a wonderful post, as always.

Friends? Men and women? Really? Snork. Yes, yes, I know, it CAN happen. And like Chellyreads, it's one of my fav plot lines. And I have men friends.

I just like my DH better. Grins.

p226 said...

ahahahaha, no.

Men and women cannot just be friends. Women delude themselves on this regularly. Most men understand it instinctively. But no, you cannot just be friends.

You can be friends and have the self control and moral fortitude to avoid screwing up in horrific ways. We all do that all the time. But you can't be "Just Friends."

My wife disagrees with me emphatically on this issue, claiming to have guy friends that are Just Friends. I bet a bunch of you make the same claim. But I can tell you. You. Are. Wrong.

There's a way to test this, you see.

Invite your "Just Friend" over alone. Shortly after he arrives, excuse yourself to the bathroom. Return from the bathroom buck naked, and say "want to?"

Your Just Friend will most probably jump your bones in an instant unless he possesses incredible willpower indeed and/or has way too much to lose (say, if he's married) or is ... well, gay.

When you were single, not one of you women has ever had a straight guy Just Friend who was also single, that would pass this test. There are some rare exceptions, but I won't go into the details, as they're lengthy.

Debra Key Newhouse said...

Hey Sam - Great post! And Kudos big time since it was brought on by an NCIS episode *big grins*

I am reading Savor the Moment by la Nora, and it's a friends for life turning into lovers story. I love those stories. There's so much rich history - some funny, some poignant, but always adding into the tapestry of the relationship.

But can men and women be "just friends"? Oh yes! Like Caren, I went to engineering school and in the early '80s, there still weren't a lot of women in that field. Consequently, several of my dearest friends in life are men. Later I made some very close friendships with male co-workers. And the thought of a sexual spark with any of them makes me throw up a little in my throat. lol But talking to them for hours about anything, like I would a girlfriend? I have done that many times. Part of the friendship came from common interests, but I also love the integrity, the love of their family, and most of all, the falling down laughing humor of those guys. All of them are married, and I love their spouses for putting up with those loons. And all of them love my own dh, probably for the same reason *grins*. But I know this - my life is so much richer for knowing them.

As far as my dh, he is my best friend EVAH. But like you and your dh, and Buffy and Spike, we could never be just friends. My heart would hurt too much.

Great post! And hands off my Gibbs!! lol

Virginia said...

Congrats mariska on getting the rooster he is probaly tired today I worked his hard yesterday!

Some of my best friends have been men and yes I did have one that thought it was something else! My husband and I started out just as good friends and ended up married!

Donna MacMeans said...

I like the friends turned lovers stories, but I agree with P226 - there's generally an undercurrent of sexual tension waiting for the right time or situation to erupt. Not so much when the two people are married and the two couples are married - but let them lose their spouses and things heat up.

As an accountant, I was in a predominantly male profession (not so much anymore), and had some friendships there that I suspected could easily turn into more if I gave any indication that I was willing. We stayed friends - and friends only - which I suppose is why I'm still married (grin).

Denise said...

I do think that men and women can be just friends. I have plenty of male friends...but I do find that generally I'm not attracted to the guys with whom I'm friends. And if I'm attracted to a guy but just friends with him, I don't act on it either because he's in a relationship/married or because I think we're better off just as friends.

Nancy said...

Hi, Tawny and Sam--What a thoughtful post on this eternal debate.

Yes, I think women and men can be friends. It's easier, of course, when that little extra ping doesn't enter into the equation, but I also think that even when there's an undercurrent of attraction, many of us have the maturity, ethics, and self-control to keep it under wraps. Obviously, plenty of people don't, which leads to the adultery problem.

Sometimes people stay friends because they don't want to risk the friendship by adding "benefits."

Mariska, congrats on the rooster!

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Sam - welcome to the Lair. Any friend of Tawny's is a friend of ours!

As someone who married one of her best friends, I love that plot line! I understand the tension of do you risk you friendship for something more very well!

I think men and women can be friends without it leading to more or even the thought of more. I have a lot of male friends.

But, I think there is always the possibility for more if there is an underlying attraction and if circumstances are right. I have had a couple of situations where friends have wanted more and it's been tricky for a while because I wasn't interested. Luckily, things moved on and it was all okay.

Pissenlit said...

I'm quasi-sitting on the fence for this one but I think I'm leaning towards p226's side.

I've had 3 best guy friends(erm, not all at once) and all 3, out of the blue, ended up suggesting the friendship be something more which then killed the friendships...though to be fair, I did give it a try with the third one even though I knew it wouldn't work. Anyhow, after that, I decided to only have regular run-of-the-mill guy friends ever since. And I'm pretty certain, had I shown the slightest bit of interest, a number of those guy friends would've been up for changing up the relationship.

I mean, I think it's healthy to have both male and female friends and with boundaries, men and women can be "just friends" but I think it includes the air quotes 'cause there's usually going to be that undercurrent of sexual tension.

Pat Cochran said...

Hello, Samantha & Tawny (or should
I say Blaze, Tawny? LOL)

We feel that it is possible to
have good friends without that
old bugaboo popping up. And yes,
my love is my BF & my BF is my
love. No one else is allowed to
even entertain thoughts of
entering into the equation that
is us!

Pat Cochran

Pat Cochran said...

Sam and Tawny,

I meant to add one more line:

"We're at 49 years and counting!"

Pat Cochran

Tawny said...

Caren, I wonder if you hit the nail on the head.... There's now way to remain friends IF THE ATTRACTION IS THERE.

Tawny said...

ROFL Gillian... I feel the same about Johnny Depp. Its for his own good that I haven't chased him down. Really.

Thanks for posting a perfect example of how helpful Samantha is :-) That sounds typical of her!

Tawny said...

Trish, definitely read this book :-) You'll love it!

The theory that it all comes down to attraction (ie: chemistry) is working for me :-)

Tawny said...

Christie, like you I've worked with or dealt with plenty of men I was friends with and had no attraction toward. 3

I do think tension can come into play if there is attraction on one side and not the other, though, don't you?

Tawny said...

Happy Party Prep, Sam ;-)

Lois said...

I think it's a big, huge excuse that people say members of the opposite sex can't be simply friends. Sure they can! I got along sometimes better with some of the guys in my high school class than the girls, and sure wasn't any dating or more involved. If anything more happens, it's because the people involved want it to, plain and simple.


Anna Campbell said...

Hi Samantha! Lovely to see you here and huge congratulations on all your success. Tawny has turned me into a Blaze reader - I'll have to check out your books, they sound delicious!

Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew said...

Hey Sam and Tawny, two of my fav Blaze writers!!

Been married 28 years, and he is my best friend!
I have had male friends, still do. Do I look at them and wonder...sure, why not? Would I act on it? No way. The pull would never be strong enough for me to act on it, but it is fun to fantasize. Or, I just go read a Blaze, LOL!

All the best Sam for your release!!

Tawny said...

Morning, Deb :-) Or I guess its afternoon, now. I'm behind today *g*

I love your list- liking, passion, love, respect and friendship are all vital to a good, strong relationship.

I'll bet Sam covers them all in this story, too!!

Tawny said...

Louisa, what great examples of friendships, both that turn to lovers and that just stay friends.

I'm still giggling about this line:

very amicably realizing we'd kill each other if we ever married

Tawny said...

Hi Andrea :-)

I do love that sizzling tension - and all the emotional push-pull that a friends to lovers story offers!

And its so cool to hear how many real life friends to lovers stories there are here on the blog!!

Tawny said...

I don't think it's a problem to look (I am human), but the trick is not to touch. At all. Ever.

Wise words, Laney!!! Very very wise words!

Helen said...

Congrats Mariska have fun with him

Hi Sam and Tawny

I agree great post very thoughtful I met my hubby a few months before we started going out and he was someone I could talk to easily and then one day when we were coming home from ice skating he held my hand and I just knew he was the person I would spend the rest of my life with and that was when I was 15 and he was 17 we married when I was 20 and we have been married for 33 years. But over the years I have had lots of male friends ad there has never been anything else in it and he has lots of female friends and yes they are just friends so yes I do think that males and females can be friends without anything else in it although I feel that they probably are already in a strong relationship with their partner.

I have heard lots about your books Samantha I need to find them and get reading them.

Have Fun

Tawny said...

Interesting theory, Ms. Hellion :-) I think I'd agree that if there is a sexual attraction, it's definitely going to affect the possibility of friendship.

But that said, there are guys I've had NO attraction to, and we were just fine being friends. I'd have to assume they weren't attracted to me either -or they were amazing at hiding it *ggg*

Tawny said...

Crystal, I think it's like Ms. Hellion said -it all comes down to sex. :-D

Tawny said...

Jeanne said: I just like my DH better. Grins.

LOL -and this is a good thing!!!

runner10 said...

Yes. Men and women can just be friends. It is nice to get the opinion from the opposite sex when you are dealing with relationship issues.

Tawny said...

Annnd the guy's side is in.

No way, huh, P226?

I wondered and almost called my husband to get his opinion, but then decided I might not really want it *g*

Tawny said...

Debra, I'm really looking forward to reading Nora's latest. It sounds great. And she does an amazing job with friends to lovers stories!!

I wonder if an element that helps us believe that men and women can just be friends is our own commitment to our spouses? If we're in a relationship, we're theoretically not looking. So we can accept 'just friends' and put off that vibe, which means men understand the boundary - a boundary they might have themselves if they are married?

and was that a totally convoluted theory?

Tawny said...

Hey Virginia :-)

Another tally for the YES IT CAN HAPPEN column *g* Thanks!

Tawny said...

Okay. P226's words kept nagging at me, so I gave in and called my husband. Shockingly, he agreed with P226. He did add that -and I quote - "if you've already got your own woman, then you probably aren't looking and it doesn't matter. But if you don't have one? You're always looking."

He did offer to ask the guy's at work to give me more info, though :-) I'll share the deets after he reports in.

Who knew... men and women do think differently.

Tawny said...

Hey Donna :-)

It all comes down to sex, doesn't it (well, doesn't everything?!)

PinkPeony said...

Hola Tawny & Samantha!

Great food for thought!

One of my best friends is a guy and I've known him longer than my husband. We used to work together and he's seen every side of my personality but we were never romantic. He officiated our marriage and even though he lives in Chicago, he calls me twice a week to chat. My husband is cool with that. His ex-gf still calls him on his cell phone-never the house phone :) - and I'm okay with that. It's not cause I didn't sign a pre-nup (heh), but because I know we have a solid, trusting relationship. And I actually like the woman a lot and invite her over for dinner. I met my husband back in 1999 when I made a sales call at his firm and we were friends for over ten years before we walked the plank. I will say if there's chemistry between a man and a woman, married or not, then it can be an issue. There were times when the opportunity presented itself but I'm a firm believer that the fantasy is always better than the reality and no matter how much greener the grass looks on the other side, someone's still got to mow it.

Tawny said...

Denise, I hear ya :-) Attraction and action are what're necessary to move things from friends to more, right?

Tawny said...

Sometimes people stay friends because they don't want to risk the friendship by adding "benefits."

And this, Nancy, is where we get conflict in our romances, right? Its such a great theme!!!

Tawny said...

Anna :-) Your best friend hubby is such a total sweetie pie and proof that Friends to Lovers is a GREAT CHOICE!!!

I agree that if there is an underlying sexual attraction on one side but not the other, there is definitely added tension. It really does test the friendship.

Samantha Hunter said...

Deb, thanks for coming by! Really, you wouldn't like your hubby having female friends? I have to admit, I have one close male friend, and I am always glad my dh isn't jealous of him, and visa versa, I know he has at least one close female friend, and I don't have any jealousy there, either. Different strokes, I guess, but I figure trust has to be at the base of it all, love or friendship, right?

Louisa and Andrea, thanks for coming by -- and I think it's nice when lovers start out friends (obviously, or I wouldn't love writing those stories so much, LOL), so it's nice to hear about real couples who started out as friends, too.

Laney, yes -- I think you hit it on the head. There's nothing wrong with a little chemistry or attraction, but acting on it is a whole other matter. And I think it is about self-control, and also respecting the relationship you are in, as you say -- I would never do anything to hurt my dh, like you, and I know he wouldn't, either. But as you say, married doesn't mean dead! LOL

Ms Hellion, that was pretty much the view they had on NCIS, too. ;)

Hi Crystal!

Let me post this and come back to do more -- so sorry I was away for so long -- long day with family things going on...


Samantha Hunter said...

Jeanne/Dutchess, LOL -- I guess you can be friends, or you can be friends with benefits, eh? I have known people in what I would call platonic relationships who have had sex now and then. Not me, but if I were single, with the right person, I could see that happening. Maybe. But like you, I prefer my current relationship with dh. ;)

p226, you had me grinning. I love your frankness on this. Honestly, I could never see myself conducting your test, for many reasons, but no, I'm pretty sure my few male friends wouldn't go for it, if only because at least one of them I did know when I was single, and we would even spend nights together in the same apt (and in fact, he lived with me for a few months when he came back from China) and we never were tempted, not even once. Of course, I was "seeing" my current husband then (though just online), but nope, we were just friends. Still are. Though I never feel like he is "just" anything -- he's a close, dear friend, and I do love him, but naked? Um no. :) I'm very sure he would agree, LOL.

Deb, thanks so much for high-fives on the NCIS -- you know if I can, I will. *G* Could I be "just friends" with Gibbs? Um, probably not (you've had him long enough, be nice and share!). Make that a no. Tony? Sure, I think so. :)

Virginia and Donna, the last time I had a friend who thought it was more was high school -- but it was difficult, because I didn't want to hurt him, but, well. Just how it is. There is a part of me that thinks sexual tension, a non-serious kind, between friends, isn't a bad thing, necessarily, as long as we don't ac on it, but it can give the same zing to life that flirting can, etc.

Okay, will post this and come back for more! Great posts -- I'm loving it! :)


Samantha Hunter said...

Denise, that sounds completely reasonable. :)

Nancy, you said it perfectly. I think even that little ping can be fun, if you keep it in check, and know where your priorities are. The friends with benefits thing has always been an interesting idea -- I do know a few people -- very few -- who have made that work. It all makes for great story ideas, though :)

Anna, thanks for the welcome! I'm sorry I wasn't a better visitor today - my Dad turns 90 this weekend, and we're planning a huge party, and had so much to do to start to get ready. I think everyone here has some really balanced ideas about this. I'm really glad it worked out with the friends you had misunderstandings with! It would be so hard to lose a good friend to something like that. Sex would definitely not be worth it, as friends are gems. (Well, okay, maybe with Gibbs... I would risk not being his friend for more... LOL).

Pissenlit I am in a tough spot because I agree with most of the posts I'm reading here, even when they are contrary, LOL -- I think your take sounds perfectly reasonable, and given your experience, I could see where you'd develop that idea about men and women in relationships.

Pat, well said and congrats on 49!

Tawny, thanks so much for picking up the slack today, and helping me out -- I love your comments!

Lois, that's so true -- for a long time, and sometimes even now -- at a party, etc I will hang with a group of men, and I usually have more to share. That's changed somewhat as I've gotten older, but in grad school, at work, etc I tended to have more male friends than women friends. Now it's probably more even. But I was a tomboy when I was young, and I am very comfortable around men, where I sometimes don't share the same topics of conversation with women.

Anna! Awesome! love another Blaze convert. If you happen to pick it up, I hope you enjoy :) (or you might win here, who knows?)

Karyn, when you say "Do I look at them and wonder...sure, why not? Would I act on it? No way. The pull would never be strong enough for me to act on it, but it is fun to fantasize. Or, I just go read a Blaze" I think that is the perfect response. Like I mentioned earlier on, we're married, not dead. ;)

Posting this, and on to the last few comments -- hope folks didn't give up on me. ;)


Samantha Hunter said...

Helen, yes -- that's a key point well put -- no matter how much attraction you might feel to someone, it matters naught when you are truly in love with your partner. Attraction might be unavoidable in life, we're human, but when we are in love with our partners, there is no possibility for more than friends.

I hope you do get a chance to try one of my Blazes :)

Ah, I see Tawny spun this theory out as well -- when we are in a committed relationship, it's easy to be just friends with other people. ;)

P226 and Tawny (and Tawny's dh) this was the vote on NCIS as well. *G*

Peony, same here -- dh and I both have close friends of the opposite sex from before we met, and we are still friends with those people. He goes on trips and will maybe meet up for dinner, they email, etc and I do the same with my friend. When dh was on a biz trip in Boston, I was on my own, so my pal drove down and we did a Fenway tour and had lots of fun hanging around the city together, then met up with dh for dinner. We have all become friends with each others' friends! ;)

I think I have gotten everyone here, and will check back tonight and tomorrow morning -- so sorry I had to be out through the day, but you guys rock -- this has been a great discussion :)

Thanks so much for having me!


Tawny said...

Pissenlit, I won't even tell you where my mind went with you talking 3somes *ggg*

And giggles aside, I think you're totally right - boundaries are vital to SO many things, friendships between men and women especially.

Tawny said...

WOW Pat :-) Congratulations!! That's such a wonderful thing to celebrate. 49 years, wow!

Tawny said...

Lois, I agree. We're always at choice, aren't we?

Tawny said...

Anna, you definitely want to check out Sam's books :-) They are wonderful!

Tawny said...

Karyn... read lots of Blazes :-) I like that answer!!! Fantasies are a good thing ;-)

This has been such a fun discussion, the range of answers have really made me think and consider.

Tawny said...

Helen, I highly recommend Sam's books :-) I hope you'll check them out!!

and I think you nailed it -so much comes down to what relationship a person is already in. If they have a loving, respectful one with a partner, all those pings Nancy mentioned are easy to ignore :-)

Tawny said...

Runner, I think getting another perspective is always a great thing!

Tawny said...

btw, LOL Pat on the Blaze thing. I totally screwed that up, didn't I? I was checking gmail for the Blaze Authors blog and forgot to log out, then didn't think twice when I commented here. Big oops.

Grace Tyler said...

I absolutely believe that the reason we love to read romance is that we love the emotion of falling in love so deeply. It's safe and fun to do it vicariously with no risk involved. I don't have any desire to "start over" with someone new in order to experience falling in love, but it's so fun in a book or watching a movie, and it can heat things up at home, too!

Friends to lovers is my all-time favorite. And I think that you can be just friends, but I know for me, most men I really like, there is that little tiny bit of attraction on my side (don't want to know if they feel it DANGER!) but nothing is going to happen about it, and I'd never say a work. I think it's fine.

MsHellion said...

Actually P226 said it better than me. THAT is actually my belief system; and I thank When Harry Met Sally for it.

There's that scene where Harry and Sally are discussing this, and Sally says she has men friends. "No, you don't," he says. And then she says, "A man can be friends with a woman he wasn't physically attracted to" and he said, "No, you pretty much want to nail them too."

That is the essence of male nature right there! *LOL* I just think they're better at hiding it because if we really knew or understood how much sex occupies their minds, we'd never sleep with them at all...and then where would they be?

jo robertson said...

Hi, Samantha, welcome to the Lair.

I love friends to lovers stories. They just warm something inside me.

As to the reality of it, I guess it depends on the people involved. Often one "friend" feels like more of a friend than the other, and of course, then the complications begin!

mariska said...

Wiee.. i love this "no, we could never just be friends." So Sweet :)

i have more male friends than girls, coz i feel much cozy to be with them than with the girls.

i make my self clear that if i want to be a friend with them then i will be friend not more than that. And that's what i always do.

it'd different story with my DH. we're lover from the beginning. so no friend things between us :)

one more thing, friends to lovers are one of my favorite plot !

Pissenlit said...

Tawny - Pissenlit, I won't even tell you where my mind went with you talking 3somes *ggg*

*spluttersnickersnort* Oh dear. :D

WriterGirl said...

I thought men and women could just be friends. I had several male friends who were married and I was also friends with their wives. Until a male friend of mine ended up getting divorced to be with another friend of ours. I had even told her not to go after him because he was married! Oh well, as long as everyone is happy!!

limecello said...

Oooo so I'm a little late to the party, but this is a fantastic post, Sam and Tawny! And hi Sam - thanks for visiting with us today :)

As for just friends? I say yes. Maybe at some point you might like him or he might like you- but nothing HAS to come of it. Especially if you grew up with the person of the opposite sex. (I think when you met him/her matters.) But... long story short, in general, yes, guys and girls *can* be just friends. In fact right now all my guy friends are just friends. Nothing shady or scandalous going on here! :P

Tawny said...

Oh Grace, what a lovely way to sum up one of the joys of reading romance novels :-) Thanks for that, reading it made me feel really happy :-)

Tawny said...

Ms Hellion, other than the famous restaurant scene, I haven't actually seen When Harry Met Sally (bad me, I know) but thats pretty much what my husband said, too. He, all the guys in his shop, and P226 LOL.

But... here's my question. Yes, a guy might be hanging out and being a friend because somewhere in the back of his brain he's thinking 'maybe, someday' but... he's still being a friend, right? So the friendship can exist, even though the guy's might have an ulterior hope lurking?

And we blithely ignore it *g*

Tawny said...

Jo, it's all about balance, isn't it?

and balance is so hard to achieve.

Tawny said...

Mariska, I think boundaries are vital, and it sounds like you have a great handle on them :-)

Tawny said...

Pissenlit, I won't even tell you where my mind went with you talking 3somes *ggg*

*spluttersnickersnort* Oh dear. :D


Tawny said...

WriterGirl, great example of poor boundaries and bad choices *g* And people who can't resist being 'more than friends'.

Tawny said...

Hey Lime :-) Better late than never!!! I'm glad you came by :-)

You know, I definitely had some aha moments with today's blog, but the one thing that stands out in a big way is that it's a choice. Yes, men and women can be friends. One or the other might wish it was a little more, but as long as boundaries are in place, if the person wants to be a friend, they'll accept those boundaries.

Or, well, you know, if they want to hang out and wait just in case the boundaries change *g*

flchen1 said...

Way late to the party, Tawny and Sam! I love, LOVE the friends-to-lovers theme. As for real life, I think that it's not impossible for men and women to just be friends, but it's hard. At some point, one or the other can develop romantic feelings, and it's hard to work through. Also, I think it's hard to avoid complicating feelings if you are already in a relationship, and that person can feel jealous of your closeness with a friend of the opposite sex. I'm not saying that that's right, but it's part of reality. So... possible, yes! And yes, I think that those friendships can make a really wonderful basis for a deeper relationship. I'm blessed to have snagged one of my best friends, after all :D

Congrats on the GR, mariska!

Laurie said...

I think men and women can be just friends if there is no sexual attraction between them. I have male friends that are just like brothers and thinking about them in a more intimate way has that ick factor. But if there is an attraction, then that thought of something more, whether it's acted on or not, is always going to be present.

Back in my younger days I did have male friends who wanted more than friendship but I had my guy. :)

Great blog, Sam and Tawny!

Tawny said...

Fedora :-) YAY, you made it *g*

I think your points are really great ones. Relationships, even as simple of ones as 'friendship' are complicated things and they do get murky and weird with the added layer of sexual tension, jealousy, etc.

I think its so sweet that you snagged your best friend :-) It seems to be another theme here today -that the friendship is vital in marriage!

Tawny said...

Hi Laurie :-)

I agree. And if the guy's theory holds and all guys harbor sexual interest, only turned off if they are currently in a relationship, then that undercurrent is probably always there. We women, it seems, just seem to be lucky enough to not notice it LOL.

Laurie said...

I think that men & women can be friends. I have a lot of male friends that I am not interested in romantically and vice versa. I'm still friends with a gut I dated in HS.

People have to have integrity, know right from wrong. If someone is married they are OFF LIMITS! Trust is a huge issue in any marriage.

Samantha Hunter said...

Grace, I really like your take on that. I agree.

Jo, hi, thanks :) So true -- we're all individuals, which is why we can't ever generalize about anything. People are all different, will react differently to every situation. And why these age-old questions are never really answered, because it's never the same for everyone. :)

Mariska, sounds like we're on the same wavelength. :) Thanks for coming by. :)

Writergirl, ouch. Doesn't sound like *everyone* was happy -- I had that happen (I was on the other side of it, though) and while my life has been all the better for it, and better to get people like that out of your life, but it's not happy at the time, that's for sure. Hard to lose a friend and a marriage at the same time.

limecello, no worries, I have been late all day, LOL. But I agree with you, I think we can be just friends, too.

Tawny, I am so bad -- I kind of would like them thinking "well, maybe..." LOL. The same way we like to flirt with someone, but nothing comes of it. It's kind of nice to know someone finds you attractive, though not let it disrupt your life, you know?

Fedora, it can go the opposite as well -- I know guys I was attracted to or had dated, and that kind of never "took" and we knew we were just meant to be friends. So it can be in the reverse as well -- good to see you here!

Laurie, interesting on the "ick" factor. I think that could be because we see good friends almost as siblings, as family members, not as potential lovers. So, some male friends are like brothers, and that kind of gets rid of any "attraction."

Thanks for the great discussion, folks!