BU Today

Campus Life

YouSpeak: Can Men and Women Be Just Friends?

Age-old question pondered anew


The romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally explores the differences in the ways that men and women approach relationships. In one of the film’s first scenes, Harry and Sally, two recent college graduates who barely know each other, drive together from Chicago to New York. Along the way, Harry famously observes, “You realize, of course, that we could never be friends.” When Sally asks why not, Harry responds, “Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.”

Is he right? With Valentine’s Day arriving tomorrow, BU Today decided it was a good time to hear from students on the subject.

So this week’s “YouSpeak” asks: “Can men and women be just friends?”

Don’t remember what happens to Harry and Sally? See a scene from the end of the film here.

And Happy Valentine’s Day!

“YouSpeak” typically appears each Monday.

If you have a suggestion for a question we should ask, post it in the comments section below.

Kara Siebein (COM’12) assisted with this video.


3 Comments on YouSpeak: Can Men and Women Be Just Friends?

  • Laura on 02.14.2012 at 8:35 am

    I’d just like to point out how heteronormative this is. Some men aren’t attracted to women. Some women aren’t attracted to men. Some people don’t identify as men or as women. Some people are attracted to people of a variety of genders. Are they then not able to have friends?

    • Nathan on 02.14.2012 at 11:30 am

      “Harry’s” premise in the movie clip is that a man WHO IS ATTRACTED TO A WOMAN can’t just be a friend. “Sally’s” response is that a woman can be just a friend.

      By ‘Harry’s” definition, it is the man identifying as a man who cannot be friends WHEN SEXUALLY ATTRACTED to someone – the object of “his” attraction is irrelevant.

      It is the heteronormative self-identification as a man which is explicitly the point of “Harry’s” argument.

    • Carlitos Corazon on 02.14.2012 at 11:38 am

      “Heteronormative” is, by statistical definition, the 98% solution. Without a sexual dynamic, there is no question to ask. For instance, “Can Gay men and Women Be Just Friends?” Duhhh! However, “Can Gay Men and Straight Men Be Just Friends?” is a legitimate (and intriguing) question. But considering that only around 2% of the population identifies themselves as gay, the YouSpeak query was on the mark.

Post Your Comment

(never shown)