He/She Friendships: How Close is Too Close?
It’s time to get yourself boy friends or girl friends. Look at your social circle – if it’s lacking friendships with the opposite sex, then make more friends. If you’re a female ready for marriage, you’ll have to train your brain to look for friendships with men rather than romantic relationships with men. Same goes for men with women. This is because when you’re constantly looking for a spouse, you’ll have a more judgmental view of others. You’ll judge that person from the lens of whether he or she is marriage material for you. Instead…just make a friend! This way, there’s less pressure, less judgment, and less anxiety. Then, if things click, revisit your list of “What I Have to Have in a Man to Marry Him,” and if it’s all good, date. If not, don’t date. (Super simplified…I know). But this philosophy creates a lot of questions: Can I truly be just friends with the opposite sex? If so, how close is too close? How vulnerable should I be? Can I be best friends with the opposite sex, but not date that person?
For some reason, I imagine a wise, older man answering NO to all the above questions. But my answers are different. My answers are probably going to make more sense to my female audience than my male audience. The bottom line is that women can remain just friends with a number of men, but most men find it difficult to remain just friends with women. And I’m not referring to female acquaintances, the kind you send a mass text to to see what the weekend plans are. I’m referring to a woman who a man is pursuing a friendship with. For many men, the motivating force behind opposite sex friendships (not acquaintances) is purpose driven and accomplishing the end goal of, say, marriage. They’re more interested in the possibility of actually dating that girl and what that could lead to. And the motivating force behind opposite sex friendships for women is companionship, communication, and fun. So let me answer the above questions from a female perspective:
- Can I truly be just friends with the opposite sex?
- As a woman, yes you can. I think it’s very important to learn how to have healthy friendships with men. If a guy views you as his best friend, or a close friend, or calls/texts you all the time to hang out, chances are GREAT that he likes you as more than a friend (whether he knows it or not!). Keep that in mind.
- If so, how close is too close?
- Use you’re discernment and judgment. The hard part isn’t having discernment; the hard part is actually doing what you know you need to do.
- For example: Your discernment says, “He pretty much loves me!” Your action, the hard part, should be to do what you can to protect his heart. Distance yourself, have a DTR, don’t spend alone time together, no friends with benefits stuff, etc. If you don’t follow through with these actions, eventually, you’ll just be leading him on. It’s too easy to accidentally lead someone on…don’t be that naive.
- How vulnerable (or emotionally intimate) should I be?
- Not very. Girls, you have girlfriends for a reason. Vulnerability leads to intimacy. If you want a romantic relationship with a man (AND he wants one back), then be vulnerable. Otherwise, enjoy the surface level company of your male friends.
- If a man allows you to be vulnerable with him, he likes you. I know you want to disagree with me, but if he is consistently there for you, interested in soothing your emotions, and seems to genuinely care about the emotional part of you, then he likes you (again, he may not know this yet). Men just don’t have the same interest in or patience for women that women have for women, unless there’s an end goal that seems possible to achieve, for example, dating or marriage.
- The only exception is if the guy is a really nice, patient guy. Believe it or not, there are a lot of these…but you’ll know he’s not into you when he gives more attention to another girl and/or his interest in you and patience for you begins to dwindle (because if he’s not into you, it will dwindle).
- Can I be best friends with the opposite sex, but not date that person?
- Can you? Yes. Should you? No.
- Again, if a man views you as his best friend, he probably likes you. So, without you realizing it, you’re probably leading him on.
- Not to mention, when you have an opposite sex best friend, how are you available for someone whom you actually want to date??
- And even if you do start to date someone else, your best man friend is going to become your former best man friend because your boyfriend, if serious, should become your new best man friend.
- My two cents: Date your best friend!
But still - Have opposite sex friendships!! And have plenty of them. Maintain a healthy balance in your relationships with the opposite sex, doing what you can to protect your heart and theirs.