Trying to explain the concept of friendship between men and women is equivalent to justifying wearing white after Labor Day. You will have those who say it works, it doesn’t work, and others who say do whatever the hell you want, but it’ll probably be a disaster.
I have been working on a post regarding the dynamic amongst men and women and if we all can really be friends for awhile now, and I still don’t even know where to start. It’s a touchy subject that hits a nerve with just about everyone, and they ALL have a different opinion on the topic. To say that I currently have a solid stance on how I feel about men and women being friends would be a lie, because it has already flip-flopped twice since I typed the first word of this post. Discussing men and women being friends is a hot mess, and since I’m the #1 culprit of being unorganized at a higher temperature than most, this is the perfect outlet to voice my opinion.
Women and men CAN be friends. We all know that. What we cannot seem to have a consensus on is whether or not those friendships possess an underlying lust that one friend refuses to bring to the surface. Some people actually come flying out of the water on that surface with their lust, and it may scare the other friend, and then they’re not friends anymore-but I’m quickly digressing.
I used to think that women and men could not be friends without one of the parties having been attracted to the other at some point in time. However, I only hold on to that train of thought by a tiny thread, similar to the one holding the thigh portion of my jeans together (I seriously tried to sew my thigh-burn hole last week- DISASTER). While I still believe that many close female/male friendships are rooted in some sort of attraction, the mere existence of other male friendships that I have now cultivated over recent years prove that theory wrong. I am friends with several men now that I would not even think of crossing that line with, but I have had a few friendships involving habitual line steppers, and on more than once occasion, that person was me. Once the cat was let out of the bag (I’ll let you figure out that play on words on your own), it was hard to retreat to the way things were, once it was obvious the romantic aspect was noticeably absent. Obviously, none of those friendships turned into anything significant, otherwise I wouldn’t be exciting you all my dating failures. Luckily, I have been able to continue many of those friendships, as well as other purely platonic friendships with other men in my life.
Funny thing is, this aspect of the male/female friendship debate wasn’t the original focal point of the discussion today. I was inspired to write about the female/male dynamic in friendships by a recent conversation with a male friend. I had been concerned that we hadn’t spoken in awhile, and I was always met with a vague explanation as to why. Finally, he admitted to me that his girlfriend did not want him to have any friends who had lady parts. After a “but does she know who I am?” comeback from me, he said it really didn’t matter to her. If you were a woman who did not call him son, grandson, or brother, you were relegated so far beyond the friend zone, that you didn’t even exist. The friend admitted he was grappling with the decision to maintain a relationship he wanted to keep, and the idea that he had to dump an entire portion of the population off his friends list. I felt for his dilemma, but I was also sad to think that I could possibly lose my friend.
I had a nagging feeling that his distant nature was due to something like this, as I am no stranger to that line of thought. I have known many men whose girlfriends didn’t want them to have female friends, as well as women who didn’t want their husbands to have a woman’s number in their phone. I have even been that woman- weary of every smile, laugh, and casual conversation aimed towards my man. It took me a minute, but I am no longer that woman. Why? For one thing, I have no man. It’s ok, you don’t have to feel sorry for me, just feel sorry for the next guy who’s going to fall in love with this hot mess. The second thing is that I am no longer than damn insecure.
That’s right. This ALL boils down to this woman’s insecurity. In herself. In their relationship. In his ability to make good choices, and not cross the line with his lady friends. Even if they are unwarranted assumptions, any ounce of insecurity is sure to blow everything out of proportion. If you are truly confident in yourself and trust your partner, there will never be a need to forbid your significant other to hang with people who they can’t go to the bathroom with. There won’t be a reason for you to not let your husband invite his female coworkers over to your family BBQ. You will have no qualms about him meeting up with his childhood friend for dinner, and you not tag along. The perfect example of this is a friend of mine, who I actually used to date. It didn’t work out between us, but we are still friends to this day, and I’m even friends with his wife. And she knows that we used to go out. And no one has an issue. Why? Because she is a confident woman, who is secure in herself, her husband, and her marriage. Everyone knows trust is the most important aspect of a relationship, and if you don’t have it, then you’re relationship will never last more than a cold front in Miami.
Another male friend of mine made a great point when he said that men and women can be friends, as long as that line I mentioned earlier is never crossed. He went on to say that if his girlfriend asked him to stop being friends with all women, he would try his best to ensure her that she had nothing to worry about. If this didn’t work, then he would actually consider ending those friendships, depending on their duration because if his friends truly cared for his happiness, then they would understand what he needed to do, and slowly retreat out of the picture. As stubborn and stedfast as I am, thinking that dumping your friends is asinine, I thought it was an interesting point of view. I even told my friend who is forbidden to speak to me about this train of thought (don’t worry, I sent the message via carrier pigeon), and he said it was something he never thought about it. I also have not spoken to him since, so there you go.
-KEEP IT A HOT MESS