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Can men and women be friends?


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Old 20th November 2014, 2:12 PM   #1
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Can men and women be friends?

I have a single co-worker that I work with on my 2nd job so we see each other roughly monthly. I would like to be professional, but he is someone very comfortable with women and touching them. I've seen him do this. The first time we worked together he wanted to hug me when we were done. Usually we all just shake hands. So I shook his hand and the 2nd time he went in for the hug and then remembered I did the hand shake and shook my hand.


He still likes to be personally close to me. I know in my gut he talks to the other guys about me (I'm the only female worker). The last time I worked with him he shook my hand but took it in both of his, put his hands on my shoulders and said to have a happy Thanksgiving and said he'd see me soon. I just kind of nodded.

I'm not sure how to read this or if I should be more adamant about personal boundaries. Or if this is a gigantic hit or means nothing?
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Old 20th November 2014, 3:13 PM   #2
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Yes men & women can be friends. the debate about that is as old as time though.

Friends isn't your issue. His touchy feely nature is your issue. I have people I don't hug & people I have told, please stop, you're making me uncomfortable. If you don't want this co-worker in hugging distance -- except maybe on special occasions -- make that clear to him. You are responsible for setting your own boundaries with people.
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Old 20th November 2014, 3:35 PM   #3
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If you don't routinely see him hugging men, then no, friendship isn't in the cards, at least not platonic friendship. He's hitting on women with his 'touchy-feely' style and probably does it a lot.

When you express personal boundaries regarding such physical contact, expect him to express incredulity, like he didn't realize anything was inappropriate. Perfectly normal for men like him.

Usually, with one hard smack down, they move on to easier targets. Some may have to be reported for discipline by superiors.
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Old 20th November 2014, 3:44 PM   #4
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He's hitting on women with his 'touchy-feely' style and probably does it a lot.
I see him at least back pat all females around his age - including the very unattractive ones...

oh yeah, I can tell him to back off... but I just wonder why do some men do this?
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Old 20th November 2014, 4:00 PM   #5
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It's sexual. Men like having sex with women and touching is a part of that. If you routinely saw him hugging men and touching them, too, that would indicate he's a touchy-feely person in general. Some people are like that and are generally very outgoing and friendly with everyone. I have male friends like that.
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Old 20th November 2014, 4:04 PM   #6
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can he be doing this and NOT thinking of me sexually? Because if he is, I may not be interested in working with him again.
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Old 20th November 2014, 5:34 PM   #7
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I get along with my friends and lovers (except my first ex) very well.

I know people say acting like a kid is "immature" and frowned upon, but I really do admire how easily kids can just be friends without hidden agendas, politicking, and putting one's self-interests first. Kids tend to just take friendship for its face value for companionship, and to do platonic things together. It's this innocence that becomes harder and harder to convey and deliver for some people, simply because all these preconceived notions of the opposite gender have been dictated by society, as if males would take advantage of something wholesome just to satisfy sexual urges.
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Old 20th November 2014, 5:38 PM   #8
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He sounds like a sex pest in a subtle way. Tell him to stop!

Men and women can definitely be friends, though in my experiences it normally starts off with an attraction from one party..most of the time in my experience, the friendship will dissipate, but my best friend is a lady...who fancied me initially, but we got past that and I love her to bits in a sisterly way.

I've had lots of female friends, who have found a guy and that was it, they back right off from a friendship, a lot of the time, i feel, to appease and please their new significant other, which is sad, but that's life.
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Old 20th November 2014, 5:40 PM   #9
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Anything is possible. However, in my 55 so far as a man, where there's a look, a touch, a 'friendly' encounter, it's invariably followed by a comment (not to the person, but to fellow men) of a sexual nature, whether overt or covert. Whether the man is married or not is generally irrelevant because, well, he's not dead.

This has been going on since men were chasing their secretaries around the desk a century or more ago and probably long before that. Sure, some men don't do it and, yep, some men entertain only the purest of non-sexual thoughts when interacting with women. Commonly though, it's sexual. When one lives an exception, one notices the rule a lot more than if living the rule. The rule is there because it works and the species lives on.
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Old 20th November 2014, 6:10 PM   #10
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You're going to have to start your own business and work with only women if you want any kind of realistic chance of avoiding someone thinking about you sexually.

Guys generally do it because it's a powerful tool. He's got you wondering whether or not he's thinking about you sexually just with a handshake and a pat on the shoulders. And that's not an abnormal reaction.
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Old 20th November 2014, 9:18 PM   #11
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can he be doing this and NOT thinking of me sexually? Because if he is, I may not be interested in working with him again.
Nope.
Kudos for not hugging him. Some men find that arousing, just from feeling your soft body next to his.

To answer your question^
If you mean friends as in platonic, the answer is no unless shes very old or unattractive. Most men are hanging around a woman because hes attracted to her. Ive never had a guy friend who didnt eventually hit on me.
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Old 20th November 2014, 9:44 PM   #12
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I've had platonic make friends before but we never hug, kiss or touch each other. Because then you're making the moves on them.
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Old 20th November 2014, 9:45 PM   #13
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It depends on the generation, to an extent...

Guys my age(late 40's ) and older dont really have much in the way of female friends..I have only had one in my entire life...She has worked for me for years...Very attractive, but only friends..

IME, the Millennials and younger are more inclined to co-mingle in a platonic way...The men have become more feminized and the women have become more masculinized so the blurring of the typical gender roles have made it less of an issue...

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Old 20th November 2014, 9:48 PM   #14
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This sounds very unprofessional.
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Old 20th November 2014, 9:56 PM   #15
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Yes men and women can be friends.
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