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Parallax - Advice            January 22, 2001

  Daily workmate rendezvous

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Is it possible for a heterosexual man and a woman to spend intimate time together every day at work (lunch, walks etc.) and still remain just friends? Or could this situation lead to romance?

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Her view:

Dear Out-to-Lunch,

Of course the situation could lead to romance. It also could not - it's up to you. You need to decide if you're interested in romance, and you need to decide if both of you are interested in romance. If not, you have a problem and if you're the interested party it is your responsibility to figure out if your friend is similarly inclined. The worst situation would be to embarrass yourself by making a move, only to find your buddy shocked and horrified. Such moves can put permanent strains on friendship - if the friendship even survives.

If you don't have such inclinations, and you're merely curious to know if you have potential for a lifelong buddy, the answer is yes. Of course you can - men and women can be the best of friends. I'm your first empirical data point.

Just don't sleep together on the side because it never works out.

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His view:

Dear Out-to-Lunch,

Of course it is possible to remain just friends. Of course it could lead to romance. Is it possible for people to swim with sharks? Could they get a limb chewed off?

If you're asking because you want it to get romantic, then you're already halfway there. The only question is, 'How does your work-friend feel?' If you're hoping to stay friends because you don't feel romantic about this person, then yes, it can be done. Maybe you'll have a hiccup or two along the way, and maybe one of those hiccups will turn into something more and you'll end up in bed together.

It's possible to keep it entirely platonic. I've done so with a couple of pretty close women friends, but I have to say they've been the exceptions, not the rule. For more on the subject, go here.

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