When I was in High School my best friends were a mixed group, guys and girls. I would go over to my guy friend’s houses or they would come to mine, we would hang out after school, sometimes in a group or just us, watch movies, listen to music, play video games, talk. During college I made some more friends, and some of them were guys who were been better friends to me than 98% of the girls I met at school. After college I had a few co-workers who saved my sanity and were friends like only working together could have made us. They were all guys.
But when it comes to male/female friendships I have found that there are some needless complications that can occur. For instance, attraction or perceived attraction. If you’re dealing with a friend being attracted to another friend, well, either keep it to yourself until it goes away or go ahead and make that friendship strain by telling the person how you feel. Honestly, and this is a technique that I believe to have saved my hide a billion times, I will not tell a male friend if I have feelings for him or if I find him attractive. I will not tell them what they don’t need to know, because
- Being friends with someone can make you attracted to their personality, which does not mean that you should have any romantic involvement
- Being attracted physically to someone doesn’t mean you should have any romantic involvement
- Real talk: I have horrible taste in guys so I should never trust my attractions. Ever.
Hence, don’t bother bringing up something that will put unneeded strain on a relationship. What else does this cover? Usually it also covers what I like to call perceived attraction, which is when you think one of your friends is starting to have feelings for you but you’re not sure. I’ve been on both sides of this one, on the one hand having to put up different boundaries because a male friend was not being subtle at all, and on the other being confused about why a male friend was accusing me of being into him. This situation can get real cloudy real fast in the Christian community, what with the assumption that every single girl is trying to turn you into her husband before she runs out of eggs in her ovary basket. I actually get a little offended when that happens, because I’m a person that prides herself on being very forthright about everything all the time, including my own intentions, and also I’m a prideful sinner and I can’t be perfect, sorry. Not sorry.
So what I’ve come to believe about these male/female friendships is that, as I mentioned before, there should be boundaries. I agree with what Drew Barrymore said,
You have to have endless love with constant boundaries.
I also firmly believe that there are a lot of different people in the world and that my boundaries in my friendships will not be the same as theirs. I’m still finding where the right boundaries are for me, the ones that existed before in the best friendships and the ones that should have been in place in others. I know that my first rule is to attempt to treat all male friends as brothers, which thankfully I’ve had some training for with my little brother being one of my best friends. My second rule for myself is not to take any of it too seriously, but also to know where I stand. Someone will always find themselves watching When Harry Met Sally and reconsidering the entire idea of male/female friendships, and everyone will experience them differently. But where I stand on the subject is that yes, there can be friendships between guys and girls, and that I can say because of experiencing it.