Among the top age-old debates is the controversial question, can men and women be friends?
As a woman with male cohorts, I can confidently say that, yes, a platonic relationship can exist between the sexes. We can stand to gain valuable insight from the benevolence of having friendships with the opposite sex.
Having male friends, for me, stimulates my curious side. Through them I get to see a whole new look on life from the male perspective. In some ways male companionship is an escape from all of the drama filled air some female friends can bring.
It’s no secret that women can be highly emotional and irrational. I know this because I’m a woman and sometimes I just need a break. Therefore, having meaningful conversations with someone who does not emotion like me serves a therapeutic purpose. It’s almost like taking a break from myself.
There is the caveat of maturity, respect, and understanding that men and women should be mindful of, especially if you are already in a relationship with someone else.
Male and female friendships can be complicated by a superbug called feelings. It’s easy for one or the other or even both individuals to become smitten with the each other.
That’s why it’s important for you to have boundaries, guidelines, and expectations for the people you decide are worthy and necessary components to your life.
My husband and I had this conversation about friendships and where we both stood on them.
Of course, we entered into our relationship with our own set of established comrades so having friends wasn’t much of an issue.
For both of us, especially after having been in previously unsuccessful and misunderstood relationships, we were ok with friends but understood they needed to be bound to a mutual agreement.
We both agreed that it was healthy to maintain contact with our friends and we both were cool with the phone calls, text messages, and social media interaction AS LONG AS IT REMAINED RESPECTABLE.
When it comes to getting together for some face-to-face catching up, we are a package deal. Take it or leave it.
He and I both had to let go of friends of the opposite sex because they failed to pass the criteria that we agreed upon to maintain the comfort levels and functionality of our relationship.
His former friend wanted to talk and text but admitted discomfort in doing so when I was present. My former friend didn’t respect the boundaries of our relationship at all and insisted on striking up inappropriate conversations.
They both had to go.
It is the responsibility of you and your significant other to establish the foundation that your relationship is built on and to demand all outsiders respect it.
If your friends of the opposite sex can go with the flow of the life you are trying to build as a couple. They are definite keepers.
Determining where your friends stand in your relationship isn’t the only obstacle you need to get a feel for. Your own personal feelings play a major role in whether or not you should part ways with that long time buddy.
Here are five questions that you can ask yourself to help determine if your friendship is hazardous to your relationship.
- Have you ever fantasized about your friend?
- Do you make comparisons between your friend and your significant other?
- Is there a physical attraction for your friend?
- Do you or your friend change the way you behave with each other when your significant other is around?
- Would you be comfortable if your significant other was in a friendship with someone of the opposite sex that mirrored your behaviors and feelings?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then you need to take a step back and give yourself a reality check.
Your friendship is toxic to the sustainability of your relationship but before that, if you feel that type of behavior is okay, then you yourself may be toxic to the relationship.
If your relationship is your priority, friendships with those characteristics have no place in your life and it’s time to say goodbye.
Share your story. Have you been faced with the decision of having to choose between a friend and a mate?