Cross-gender friendship

Can a man and a woman be true friends? Does cross-gender friendship last long? The questions seem ordinary but they are thought provoking. Everyone wants to make friends. In Aristotle’s words a friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies. Having friendship with someone is significant. Keeping friendship with a person of the same sex is okay, but when it comes to having cross-gender friendship, the family and society do not take it positively. This kind of gender bias is prevalent almost everywhere, but more dominant in the countries like ours.

People have cross-gender friendships in their workplaces or schools, colleges or universities. Many friends of opposite genders are great from the start, but fade with time. Generally, the relationship comes to almost an end after the marriage of one. In theory, most couples want their partners to be happy and to have friends of opposite gender. In reality, a husband hardly allows his wife to have intimacy with any other male. Similarly, a wife becomes jealous of the close relationship of her husband with other females. It is difficult to make friends of the other sex but it is even more difficult to maintain it. The cross-gender friendship can continue until one earns his or her spouse’s trust.

When the vested interests work in pure cross-gender relationship, clashes occur and it can’t go further. When an unmarried couple discloses their love it can be okay but if the relationship is with many cross-gender friends it may be different or relationship after marriage is still questioned. Furthermore, people in traditional societies tag such relationship an ‘immoral activity’.

At present, prejudices on the cross-gender relationship are decreasing gradually especially in schools, colleges, and universities. Many students feel free to talk, chat and have lunch with friends of the opposite sex. They share their books, notebooks, and lunch as well as feelings with each other. This does not necessarily mean that they are in ‘love’. They can just remain friends. This is a significant sign of developing consciousness. But after marriage such relationship is less frequent.

Friendship should transcend erotic desires, ill-intentions and prejudices.  There is no reason to denounce cross-gender friendship. Biological factors should not come as barriers for pure relationship. In some cases people pretend to be pure friends but fail to be so because hidden desires come up.