Friends: A New Perspective?

Why is it, especially in our Indian community do men and women ‘hide’ the friendship they share with the opposite gender? Why can’t a married man or a married woman be good friends with another male or a female?

8 replies
Bali Sanghvi
June 7, 2017


  1. This thing is mostly observed in small towns. In cosmopolitan cities men mostly have women as their close friends and it’s quite evident so they try not to hide it. Also, both the genders expect the other gender to be okay about it. You cannot expect the mentality to change overnight. Slowly small town will also adapt to this change. It’ll take time but eventually it will.

  2. There are many happily married men and women with good friends of the opposite sex that I know of. It’s only when one of the spouses develop an insecurity in their own relationship with their partner that the problem rises. This leads to ‘hiding’ such friendships, basically to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and scenes at home. If we are able to maintain a good, loving and mutually respectful relationship with our spouses, friends of opposite sexes poses no problem.

  3. Indian society is such that if a married man or woman has a close friend from the opposite sex, they think that an affair is going on.
    Also, like Salman Khan’s debut film Maine Pyaar Kiya said, ” Ek ladka aur ek ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte” (A guy and girl cannot be just friends)

  4. I presume you mean hiding it from their spouses. One – the friendship may be beyond platonic lines, in which case it’s more an affair than friendship, so they definitely want to keep it secret. Two – though platonic, the closeness might threaten the bond shared with the spouse, which will be evident from the kind of questions asked about you and your friend by your spouse. Just the difficulty in trying to make them understand your connection, that it’s innocent, will finally make them hide it.

  5. Thank you for the pertinent question, Bali. I still can’t understand why. Married men and women can be friends, no doubt. Perhaps we need to ‘hide’ it because we don’t want to cause complications in our already ‘complicated’ marriages- where the socio-cultural constructs make us live our lives according to set ways, once married.

  6. Very relevant Bali. I think we indians do not know how to handle our opposite gender relationships since it has been a while that we have been kept away from each other. My opinion….but would like to hear what others have to say on this.

  7. But gender does come in between right? We have not really learnt to be friends with each other.

  8. I personally think it’s really difficult to be friends with the opposite sex like one is with girl friend. You can be best friends with a guy if he is gay or you have already had an affair with him and now for you he is another woman. Once I was in animated conversation with a guy married to a friend. In the middle I had this strong desire to touch him so I flicked an imaginary speck from his nose. It’s too volatile being friends with the opposite sex be ready to be scathed!

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