We're Just Good Friends: Women and Men in Nonromantic Relationships

We're Just Good Friends: Women and Men in Nonromantic Relationships

We're Just Good Friends: Women and Men in Nonromantic Relationships

We're Just Good Friends: Women and Men in Nonromantic Relationships

Synopsis

Building on studies in sociology, psychology, and communication as well as her own extensive research, author Kathy Werking presents an organizational framework for studying friendships between the sexes and offers a thorough examination of the character and dynamics of these relationships. She looks at both societal effects and influences as well as the interpersonal dynamics between the participants to explore the development, maintenance, and decline of these friendships; the differences in gender behaviors and roles; topics typically brought up in day-to-day conversations; as well as the challenges and rewards of these relationships. Bringing the research to life, each chapter opens with segments of conversations between cross-sex friends. Chapters delineate the issues involved in cross-sex friendships, covering such topics as what happens when sexual and romantic feelings arise, handling jealous romantic partners, other people's scrutiny of the friendship, and societal barriers to such relationships. Concluding with a critical look at the literature and proposing new directions for future study, this interdisciplinary work provides both a solid reference and a springboard for future research. It serves as a valuable resource for readers interested in gender studies, communications, relationships, social networks, social psychology, sociology, and cultural studies, as well as for family and couple therapists.

Excerpt

Interviewer

Do you think that nonromantic friendship between a man and a woman is possible?

Male interviewee

Yes.

Interviewer

And why is that?

Male interviewee

'Cause they are people too. I don't see where sex has to do with whether they are your friend or not.

Interviewer

Do you have any close friends who are female?

Male interviewee

No.

The number of studies examining friendship has increased noticeably in the past decade. Such study could be characterized as trivial (O'Connor, 1992) since the research concerns itself with an emotional relationship whose status in the social world remains fluid and largely undefined. Regardless of whether it is nebulous, however, friendship performs important (as well as mundane) service in the everyday lives of women and men. For example, friends provide comfort to each . . .

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