By: Shannon Day
When I was younger, I had a few close friends who were guys. Had you asked me then if I believed that men and women could be friends, I wouldn’t have hesitated to answer: abso-fucking-lutely! Those were the days when we thrived on complication, after all. It was the time to blur those lines, to dive into the unknown and to entertain the what ifs and why nots as we so fancied.
Throughout the teen years, even extending into our twenties, those blurry-lined friendships were our right of passage.
I’m sure you had a few of those relationships in your time. You know the ones. You’d spend hours on the phone or hanging out, talking about whatever the hot topics were in your teen world. You may have even messed around once or twice, just to test the waters. You were never a couple, always just friends with a few elements of couplehood thrown in there.
And when one of you was in a relationship, things would inevitably change but you were still friends. Boyfriends and girlfriends just had to accept your friendships. Chances are they too had friends of the opposite sex and it would’ve been considered possessive and controlling to expect anything but.
Male/female friendships might have appeared simple at the time but chances are they weren’t. They were usually tainted by a one-sided ideal of what the friendship could possibly become. They were also often fuelling half of the duo’s ego, while he or she sensed the feelings of the other and relished in the attention of it all. Or perhaps there was the appeal of: keeping options open, with the notion that at another time, a relationship may be on the cards. I would also guess that some of those friendships were created to fill time…
Now, don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of friendships that didn’t have the above mentioned elements but they were more social unions that occurred within groups. These male/female relationships were not complicated at all. They consisted of fun times in social settings. They didn’t extend to late night phone calls nor did they consist of any soul-revealing conversations or one-on-one just friends time together, which is why they remained uncomplicated.
Simplicity is where it’s at…
Now that I’m older, and married, I have only one true male friendship in my life because I honestly believe that men and women cannot just be friends. Not close ones, anyway. Of course I have some male friends. They are of the social, casual kind. No personal phone calls or text messages. No soul-revealing conversations or one-on-one just friends time together. These men that I speak of are my husband’s friends or my girlfriends’ partners, for the most part. And these friendships aren’t even remotely complicated. We laugh. We have fun together. We hang out in a group. That’s it. That’s all.
Perhaps you are sitting there rolling your eyes, thinking who is this narrow-minded idiot? Maybe you have a more open approach to relationships and boast a close friendship with someone of the opposite sex (who isn’t gay) that totally disputes my point-of-view. If this is the case, I really would love to hear what you have to say but before you comment please have another quick read of It’s Complicated… to ensure that your friendship doesn’t, in fact, fall into one of the described scenarios or that it hasn’t got another doomed formula like, you-used-to-be-a-couple-but-now-you-are-friends, for example. Unless you have kids together, is there really a need to hang on? I just don’t believe that a close friendship, within those circumstances, can be a genuinely platonic and positive experience for everyone involved.
Are you starting to see my P.O.V. yet?
If your friendship does happen to slide into one of the above scenarios and you are in a long-term relationship, be honest with yourself. What is the basis of your friendship? And is it possible that your time and energy might be better spent within your own intimate relationship?
Life can be complicated enough so when it comes to the topic of male/female friendships, I choose simplicity. If you’ve been in my heart or my pants (or you’d like to be) then you shouldn’t be in my life or even on my Facebook for that matter.
So go ahead- de-clutter! Purge those uneasily defined friendships from your life and then head over to your Facebook and your Twitter and do a quick, well intentioned, cleanse there too.
Choose simplicity. Unblur those lines. And just love the one you’re with.