We're Just Good Friends : Women and Men in Nonromantic Relationships book cover
1st Edition

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

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ISBN 9781572301870
Published July 1, 1997 by Guilford Press
193 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides a long-overdue look at the challenges and rewards of nonromantic friendships between women and men. Drawing from a range of literature and her own extensive research, the author presents her examination of these relationships in a clear organizational framework. Topics covered include the everyday dynamics of cross-sex friendships and their societal effects and influences. The author also explores ways that these relationships are developed and maintained, and ways they may come to an end. Illustrated with numerous interviews and segments of conversations between male and female friends, the book offers important insight into such issues as gender-role expectancies, relationship norms and goals, and cultural assumptions about friendship and sexuality.

Table of Contents

1. Comparisons with Paradigmatic Social Relationships
2. Friendship Features and the Influence of Gender
3. Opportunities for Development and Continuance
4. Managing Romance and Sexuality
5. Managing Third-Party Relationships
Appendix A.: Methods of Research
Appendix B.: Interview Protocols and Survey Questionnaires

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Kathy Werking, Ph.D., teaches adult learners in New Hampshire and Maine and is continuing her research into the dynamics of friendship and marriage. She received her doctorate in communication from Purdue University in 1992.


If you have ever wondered how to be 'just friends' with a member of the opposite sex, or have become jealous of your lover's cross-sex friendship, this book is for you. Werking has produced a much needed scholarly, but accessible, treatise of a topic which fascinates us all but which has been neglected by investigators of relationships. Weking masterfully entwines the research literature on male-female relationships with vivid examples of the conduct of actual friendships. The nature of cross-sex friendship is revealed through rich descriptions and conversations from the many true-life friends she interviewed and surveyed. Werking is careful to explicate society's assumptions about this unique form of friendship, as well as her own assumptions and those of the friends themselves. In so doing, she provides the proper context for reviewing what is known about cross-sex friendship and generating a framework for future discussions. This is an excellent manual on cross-sex friendships, both for those who wish to research them and those who wish to have them. We're Just Good Friends is not to be missed by cross-sex friends, whether they be scholars or laypersons who want to better understand and derive meaning from their relationships. --Perri B. Druen, Ph.D., York College; Close Relationship Researcher

What a great read! Werking's book will appeal to multiple audiences. The detailed, multi-disciplinary literature reviews will benefit academics conducting friendship or other relational research. However, the book's approachable style will illuminate the experiences of most anyone ever in a cross-sex friendship.

Admirably, Werking manages to quite successfully pull off that delicate balance between reporting research and capturing life experiences. Numerous quotations from interviewees make the chapters come to life and provide glimpses into the wealth of data she's analyzed. Furthermore, Werking situates the research in context and with an awareness of social norms. The reader will see the workings of friendship across the backdrop of social and relational context -- a very integrative approach.

As an additional plus, Werking provides detailed methodological information, poses significant questions for further inquiry, and includes her own instruments in the appendices -- a great benefit to her colleagues.

In short, a compelling text -- a must read! --Joy L. Hart, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Louisville