A Question for You…

I’m a little sick of hearing myself….blog.

So I thought I would ask you wise people a question. A question that I have been debating for the better part of the last decade. A question that as soon I think I can answer with complete confidence suddenly confounds me.

Can guys and girls be friends?

Really close friends?

Best friends?

With what limitations?

Why or why not?

Talk amongst yourselves…

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • They can absolutely be best friends.  It’s called “marriage” 😉 

     

  • oh man, i’ve blogged about this.  a lot.  it is possible.  but there are rules, but few abide by them to make it really work.

    • Rules? Like? 

      What posts of yours should we read on the topic? 

      •  Best friends in marriage, yes. Outside of marriage if neither are married and both are young it is possible to be friends maybe even best friends, but at some point one or both may be hurt because one or both want more out of the friendship than just friendship. Often this happens at different times so that neither wants more out of the friendship at the same time.

        Then if one or both are married guarding of hearts is huge. There is a risk of emotionally getting connected to the friend and damaging the marriage or marriages involved.

        Dangerous ground, but often ground that must be worked out because friendships grow out of ministering together, working together, etc.

        Discussing with your spouse ground rules for these relationships are important.

        • Feeling more

          I’m in this exact situation too and I’m finding it difficult to remain just friends with my BFF. It’s difficult for me as a single woman to not feel for this guy who is so good to me, calls when he says he will, talks to me multiple times a day and who I just have so much fun with.

          And to answer your previous question about it limiting you from finding a relationship… It probably does. I’m not one of those girls who hangs out in bars or does the Internet dating scene so it’s difficult anyway meeting good single men. It doesn’t help that we are together if I have any free time, however I don’t know where I’d meet anyone anyway.

          So I don’t know all the answers, but from my past BFF with males experience one or the other of us definitely developed unrecipricated feelings. Is it just the way God created us to connect with another person on a deeper level? I don’t know but I do know that I have deepening feelings for my BFF! 🙂

          • I think even when there aren’t romantic feelings between a guy and a girl that having a guy as a BFF can be a little dangerous for someone who is single and longing to be in a dating relationship or married. I personally have a tendency to settle into these types of friendships and forget what I really want. And what I really deserve. 

            I also know it’s hard to transition out of these friendships, one way or another, so I’ll be praying for you.

          • Janet

            So many are saying here that it is inevitable that a man and woman can be friends.  If that is true, are we supposed to accept as a given that half the population cannot be our close friend?  I don’t think a spouse is supposed to provide every single thing a person needs in life, and there is a need for others than the spouse in our lives, whether the friend be of the opposite or same sex.  Of course, the spouse should be respected, and be aware of  the friendship.

            Of course, there is a need for boundaries and for maturity in opposite-sex friendships, but if we are saying it can’t be done, then we are cutting ourselves off from so many people, and shutting ourselves up in a “intimacy box”.  I think opposite-sex friendships need to be brought to God constantly, and given to Him, and if the two individuals make God the third person in the friendship, it can not only work, but be a blessing to both… 

          • Janet

            In my first sentence above, I meant to write, “it is inevitable that a man and a woman  CANNOT be friends”…sorry about that – 

          • I think they can be friends, I just am not sure about best friends. I actually am close to several men. I definitely don’t walk around with huge walls up around men, emmiting the vibe “I can’t be friends with you because you are not the same gender.”  One of my friends suggested that I probably shouldn’t have someone of the opposite sex in my inner circle. The added complications of one having a desire for more, of figuring out how this relationship is different from dating partners/spouses, is just a lot.

            I am not a very black or white person though so I would say there are exceptions, even to this.

          • Janet

            Yes, the added complications of having a close friend of the opposite sex is a lot to deal with.  I think we have to figure out if the relationship is worth the extra effort, and if it is, we may not be so depleted in being in the relationship.

          • haha, i mean, Jesus had women in one of his close circles, right? 😉

          • Mike

            Opps, I had typed up a pretty long reply with my two or few hundred cents. However, I triggered my touch pads short cut for the return button so welcome to the concise version.

            Can a guy or girl be friends, great friends even with the opposite gender and if so with what limitations? Does it matter? I mean if the answer is yes, perfect! If it’s no, are you really going to limit your meaningful friendships to roughly half the population of the world on the chance that someone might fall for someone and mess it up? 

            I personally would disagree with your friend’s suggestion that you don’t have someone of the opposite sex in your inner circle. Unless, you know that it’s not benefiting your life. We need and learn from all sorts of relationships regardless of gender, and not just the romantic ones. In my opinion it’s not worth limiting those experiences on the risk that it can get awkward, you accidentally hurt someone, or that you even end up hurt. You live, you learn, sometimes it gets screwed up but  you almost always get another chance. 

          • David

            I would agree with what you are saying, as a married guy almost all my close friends are women, boundaries, one basic rule, would I be happy telling my wife about this? If not it’s a step too far.
            My best friend, who is currently separated (this happened essentially before we knew them so has nothing to do with our friendship) is also my wifes best friend.
            They go shopping together or catch a movie, they recently went to london for a show, stuff that I would not do with any woman other than my wife but I share an office with this best friend so she is very much my confidant and support, having recently supported myself and my wife through me suffering a chronic bout of depression, that almost ended my life, she knows more about me and what goes on with me than anyone else except my wife.

            Mind you, does it change things when you discover I have klinefelters syndrome? Whih means I have zxy chromosomes instead of the male xy or the female xx

          • Janet

            David,

            Your friend (and your wife’s friend) is a good example of this situation – because I believe God brought this person into your life to help you with your severe depression, and she was hand-picked by God to help you – and if you had been skittish about being her friend because she was a woman, this treasured person would never have been in your life.   I’m not saying friendships like this are not rare – where the two people in the marriage know about the third person, and they all get along and are close – but it is obvious from your friendship that it CAN happen –

            I am very ignorant about chromosomes, and what it means to have a “z” chromosome, so I can’t respond to your question – I would guess that your friend is responding to you with love and closeness because of the person you are, not your combination of chromosomes –

      • http://guidetowomen.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/just-friends-yep-im-gonna-go-there/

        there’s really only one rule.  communication.  but here’s the blog where i cover it.

    • I just spent like ten minutes that I would have been sleeping reading your blog. Which is saying alot, because I really like to sleep. 

      Glad I found it. 🙂

  • I just watched When Harry Met Sally yesterday for the first time- how funny. 😉

    Um, I have mixed feelings, but totally agree with Brandi. 🙂

    • I haven’t seen that movie forever. I need to watch it again soon… 

  •  They can be best friends – if they get married.

    If they don’t get married, and are young (translation: younger than 80), then their “best friendship” can be awesome, but isn’t sustainable.

    • hope there are no 80-somethings who read this and realize that they are “old” 😉 

  •  In all honesty, I’m clueless about this! So… Look forward to hearing other people’s answers.

  •  hmmm – i dunno.  If either of them are already married or in a relationship this seems like a recipe for disaster…

  • Good question. My closest friend is a guy, actually my ex. We dated years ago, but have been just friends for about 10 years. We are both alone. We each have our own house and don’t have any other friends or family to hang out with. 

    I talk to him on the phone often, multiple times a day. We usually eat dinner together at least once on the weekend, and we’ll go to Walmart or go for a walk together. We go grocery shopping together, driving separately but using the same cart, keeping our things separate in the cart and each pay for our own groceries. He always pays when we go out to eat (we used to take turns getting the bill, but I’ve been unemployed a long time so now he always treats) and I usually buy the food if we have dinner at my house.

    We are both comfortable with this friendship and it works for us. There are limitations though. We don’t talk about anything personally intimate/private, and while we are around each other often, we have very limited physical contact. Usually a goodbye hug is about it. 

    We care about each other very much and it is a blessing to have someone to do things with. I still hope to find a boyfriend/husband someday, and if/when that day comes, I am sure this friendship would change. But for now, we appreciate knowing someone is there and cares.

    • A question for you. A question I am asking myself about friendships like the one you describe…Do you think you are really open and available to meeting someone else when you are so immersed in this friendship?   

      • Yes, I think so. I do see your point. It’s hard for me to tell for sure because of my situation. I’ve been unemployed for a long time and things are not good for me at church, so I don’t get out much and therefore do not have structure in place to interact with other people. When I was working, I would go out to lunch with the people, mostly guys, that I worked with and I had fun doing that. 

        If I had an opportunity to hang out with other people, there would not be a problem with doing that. I am free to spend time with others and that is clear in this friendship. In fact, he encourages me to go do things with others if I have the opportunity.

        This issue is on my heart, though, if there comes a day when God gives me a boyfriend, or especially when I think about trying to move south, then my friend would be alone. That saddens me, especially because he is not a Christian, but I think we would talk about it and I would encourage him to find other opportunities to engage with people. I do not think I would let it stop me from moving on with life, especially if I felt God’s calling.

  •  I absolutely think guys and girls can be best friends, and I don’t think there’s a reason the relationship has to end…until one of them gets married.  Then things change.  If the spouse rejects the opposite gender friend, that makes things difficult.

  • Holli Teubner

    In my experience – no. Someone always develops feelings… and then, it’s over. It’s just too difficult. Happened too many times to list – either I developed feelings and got jealous when a girlfriend showed up, or I started dating someone and my guy friend suddenly got too busy to answer his phone/emails.

    My husband is now my best friend, but he was not before we married. That might sound weird, but, too much chemistry for him to be a “friend”. He was a potential mate from the get-go. We have tons of things in common, but he was never “safe”. Does that make sense?

     

    • Makes total sense…

      My experience is similar, my extremely close friendships with men always become more complicated. And not usually in a good way. 

      But it hasn’t stopped me from trying 😉

  • Joy

    I would be your friend even if I was a boy.

  • Natasha

    Not sure if wise applies to me but my current views are:
    Yes they can be friends.
    Good friends or even best friends- yep.
    If I were married I would want my spouse to be my closest friend but I don’t think that must (or should) prevent me or my spouse from having other good friends of the opposite sex.
    Limitations? No. Or rather, it would depend on the specific situation and people and their own particular weaknesses and strengths. Making a one-size fits all set of rules would border on legalism (caveat: I’m not talking about things that are clearly listed as sins but the gray areas). In the case of married folks, I would assume the spouse should also have a say in the limitations.

    • I agree with you, Natasha. It really does boil down to specific situations. I am married, and i have a very good guy friend who is also married. All four of us are good good friends, but this was the case BEFORE he got married. I really view both of them as “family”, and I wouldn’t/don’t hesitate to be alone with him, talk to him about personal things, etc. 

      But, perhaps we have a unique situation? =)

      For more on this interesting conversation, Dan Brennan has an interesting, somewhat edgy book on this subject called Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions.

      • Natasha

         Lol, Tiffany. I actually got my public library to buy that book the other year so I could read it. 🙂

        Maybe the reason that your situation is ‘unique’ is because people have so completely bought into the idea that it is impossible that they don’t even try?

      • Today I went to lunch alone with a close friend and co-worker who is male. I didn’t think twice about it.
        1. Because he is married. 2. Because I am extremely close to him and his wife. 3. Neither of us would ever discuss anything that we wouldn’t say in front of his wife. It is all very out in the open. Boundaries are understood by all parties.

        But when it comes down to it, he is a great friend, but he, alone, is not one of my most intimate friends. Maybe it works because he and his wife function more as a unit in their dealings with me?

  •  Totally agree with Joe.   You can be best friends but it isn’t sistanable.  However, in my view if you are both single and become best friends, then is this the person you should be married to? 

    • bethanyplanton

      I slightly disagree. You can be best friends with a member of the opposite sex without really being physically attracted to them. Chemistry isn’t everything, but it is definitely needed.  

    • I get what you’re saying, but some of my friends are like brothers! And I know they look at me as a little sister. 🙂 We’ve known each other a loooonnnng time.

  • bethanyplanton

     Lindsey, I believe that guys and girls can be extremely good friends. I am a woman who gets along much better with guys. It is no fun to watch sports or shoot em up movies with a bunch of females. One of my good friends is a guy. We have been friends for about 7 years or so now. He and are like brother and sister at this point. There have been times when people have confused us for a dating couple, but we just laugh it off. He and I use to have lunch together 3 days a week or so when we both lived on campus. When you spend that much time together, you start to share pretty deep stuff with each other. And I don’t think this relationship hindered my dating relationships. He was around for everyone I have dated, and he was always there to help me when the relationships broke up. I do think your spouse should be your best friend, but I don’t think your best guy friend would always make your perfect spouse. I see my good guy friend as a brother, and I am not attracted to him at all. There would be no chemistry, and that is a definitely an important element of a dating/marriage relationship. I care deeply and would do just about anything for my guy friend, but not in the marriage relationship way.

    Now, I am engaged, and my relationship with that guy friend has changed a little bit. He and I don’t hang out by ourselves any more, but he and my fiance are good friends as well. Now all three of us can hang out. A big part of my guy friend and mine relationship has always talking about the guy/girl we like or are in a relationship with. We were never opposed to the other having a significant other. In fact, we generally encouraged each other in this area. We were always ready to include the other’s significant other in our relationship. 

  • a few years ago i would have said yes, absolutely.

    now i say no.  why the difference? because I’m the girl who has guy friends.  had guy friends rather.  and every one of them ended up either dating me or wanting to date me.  since i’m not a hottie mchotterson the reason isn’t because i’m irresistable, but rather when two people get close chances are feelings are going to develop – at least on one end.

    my last guy friend lived several hours away so dating wasn’t practical for us but i make a good ‘penpal’ so we kept in touch.  when i started dating another dude, it weirded me out that new dude hadn’t kissed me after a couple dates.  guy friend’s response?
    “You have to make a move.  Otherwise you’ll be in the friend zone and never able to get out.  Then one day he’ll call you and want to talk about how this new girl he’s dating seems to like him but won’t kiss him.”

    That sorta hit me outta the blue.  The next date I turned new guy’s goodbye hug into a kiss.  We married 2 1/2 years ago and I haven’t talked to guy friend in a loooooooooooooooong time. 

  • Samantha Johnson

    I have had really good friends who are guys throughout the years. A couple remain to be friends, platonic, and non-sexual at all. A few wanted more and I didn’t. Once in college it was vice versa. One became my bestest friend for years. Then I ended up marrying him 🙂

  • SS

    i think close guy friendships CAN work if you both are aware of and respect each other’s boundaries. otherwise,i agree with the others, it’s probably not going to be sustainable.

  •  Nope…I do not see it possible for a guy and girl to be best friends without romantic feelings from either the guy or girl…and if you say that it is possible and that you are doing it right now you are lying 🙂

    • The older the get, the more I agree with you. 

      • Allison

        I agree with this completely! 

      • Allison

        I agree with this completely! 

      • the older i get the more i agree as well. but, i’ve still got some pretty close guy friends…ones who truly are like my brothers…who really are just friends & that feeling is mutual. but maybe they’re close friends & not best friends. i guess maybe it depends on how we define all those labels 🙂

      • the older i get the more i agree as well. but, i’ve still got some pretty close guy friends…ones who truly are like my brothers…who really are just friends & that feeling is mutual. but maybe they’re close friends & not best friends. i guess maybe it depends on how we define all those labels 🙂

      • me too… 

    • APB

      …Or the other person is the one with the feelings.

      I completely agree with you, and I would take it an extra step and say that if there is ever a guy/girl “best friend” thing going on, ONE of them harbors feelings for the other. I just don’t think you can have the kind of emotionally intimate relationship necessary for best friendship without at least one of the people being in love with the other. Otherwise, it’s much more fulfilling to have close friendships with people of your own sex.

  • Gchalfont1977

    Lindsey,

    I believe that men and women can be friends, good friends, close friends, or whatever,  as long as there are boundaries and they are followed.  I believe that marriage and/or dating isn’t required to be friends with the opposite sex   If one gets married, that will change things, however, it’s possible to still stay in touch and go to lunch or whatever, as long as there’s communication.

    Before marriage, I had friends that were women, one of them whom I have been friends with for 15+ years.  Now since we both got married, our friendship has changed.  We still talk every now and then via e-mail or the once in a while phone call though.

    However, back to the subject…Since there were boundaries, I never were “involved” with them, and we had great times. Even if I had the “what if’s” (which I did, I will admit), I would remember the great times I’ve spent with that person and ask myself if I wanted to jeopardize that and future times to hang out for something more.   90% of the time, the “what if’s” went away. 

    Hope this helps…

  •  I think you can be good friends, with someone of the opposite sex but i’m not sure about best friends. I cannot think of a relationship where a guy and girl were best friends and one did not have feelings for the other. I have a few good guy friends but we do not get into deep/intimate topics and we spend time together in groups, rarely one-on-one. They’re much more like older protective brothers than friends. 

  • From a guys stand point, no. Especially no if either is already married, We are just wired to eventually to want to be with someone and together, and not just in a platonic manner. As you yourself have as much said, it’s very difficult because something innate eventually kicks in making it very difficult.

    I also believe this is why we received council from Paul on being single versus married. Paul tells us it would be better to remain single and focus ALL of your energies on God. But he knew there are very few wired for this so encourages marriage so as to not stumble in the process of worshiping God.

  • Jennifer

     If you had asked this 5 years ago I would’ve said absolutely.  However, my best guy friend got married, to someone I introduced him to, and while we’re still friends, I hardly ever see him anymore.  And even before he met his wife, there were a couple of times he admitted to having feelings for me, but I didn’t reciprocate. 

    Yeah, it’s disappointing, and I do miss just hanging out with him sometimes, but that’s just life.  I mean, if I were married, I don’t know that I would want my husband hanging out with women all the time.  So I get it.

    So I guess in short, yes, they can, until someone gets married.

  • s.

    Depending on your definition of ‘good friend’ I either have very few or no male good friends. I am a very open, transparent person, and as such I have an extremely difficult time entering into friendships with men. There are situations where I’m a big/little sister or good friends with a married couple (and even then, I’m ALWAYS much closer to the wife). I, personally, just cannot do it…to be myself in that friendship I’d have to share way too much of who I am and I wouldn’t be guarding my heart very well.

    That’s not to say that I believe my approach is for everyone, but I do think that close, intense friendship requires emotional intimacy. For most people it’s becomes difficult to keep that platonic.

    I take my friendships VERY seriously, so until I get married my heart is safer with NO male best friends! 🙂

    • I am very close friends with several married couples.

      I would say that it is important to be friends with the same sex person if you are going to be friends with the opposite sex person. The interactions between you and opposite sex person need to be out in the open. So that you are never having an intimate conversation that same sex person isn’t privy to. 

  •  Well, Matt kinda summed up most of what I was going to say…

    When I look at the number of friends I have held over they years, women outnumber men. In high school, in college, in grad school and afterwards, my closest friends were female. In all three – yes, feelings developed but they were quickly replaced by the common sense of (a) it. would. just. be. WEIRD. and (b) honestly, we knew each other a little TOO well. Although one (or both) of us might have had a slight “What If?” thought about the other, it was too much of a risk to lose someone who was just THAT close to us. 

    Yes, my wife IS my best friend, and she knows me better than anyone else – and knows WAY more dirt and secrets than I ever told any of my other female friends. Even though she doesn’t have a huge hangup with the fact my cellphone is dominated by numbers with people who have two X chromosomes, my relationships with these women have changed – drastically – since I got married. One in particular, who I spent years laughing, crying, praying, fighting, and goofing off with, who I seriously considered my best friend for the longest time, has now been relegated to a friend I text/call/email about once a month, as opposed to once a day.  

    My relationship with my female friends was always different from my male friends, but only in that we interacted with one another as befitted our interests, and not out of constructed gender differences. For example, I’d go camping with the guys, because most of my female fiends didn’t really care to.

    So, yes. Friends. Best friends. Best friend with the ONLY benefit being they’re someone you can open up to about stuff you might not be able to with a friend of the same gender.

  • Three of my best friends in high school were girls. We never got into dating…we just had a blast. In my experience it seems to work in groups but a one on one situation inevitably becomes more…i don’t think it’s possible for guys to keep it from becoming so, although it would seem that girls can. becomes more…i don’t think it’s possible for guys to keep it from becoming so, although it would seem that girls can.

    • Yeah…I think the frequent one on one situation is what typically leads to…confusion. 

  •  I have several close male friends. I actually find I need some brotherly company because I can’t deal with the make up/guy/bitchy-gossipy chat or shopping sprees. I need some good crime drama. And I need football. And I don’t want to watch chick flicks! 

    But yes, there are boundaries I have with my male friends that I don’t have with my girl ones! Like I never tend to be staying in the same room as them overnight which I might do with my female friends. They never see me getting changed or not being fully clothed (again, getting ready for a night out or trying on stuff in a fitting room or something – my female friends may see my bra!). And there are certain conversations that are ‘girl only’. But I really value get a male perspective on things – and I know my male friends have often come to me for a female perspective sometimes too.

    And if they have a girlfriend or wife – their best friend is that person I hope, rather than me. With all my close male friends, I’ve become good friends with their girlfriends (a couple now wives) and there has never been an issue. I make a point to make sure they know me and they have space as a couple and never to put my male friend in a place where something could happen between us which could lead to being ‘more than friends’.

  • Anonymous

     I have a great friend who is female – in fact, we are so close that a guy she was interested in was convinced that we are sleeping with each other! That never happened. We don’t really have any limitations – we respect each other and it never even came up about our different races. There is no sexual tension at all, and we can talk about ANYTHING.  So it is possible.

    • But it obviously hinders, at least her, dating life 😉

      • Anonymous

        It’s not my fault that the guy’s insecure… *grin* 

  • Los

    Guys think about sex, food, and sex. 
    The ones who are your close friends have thought about having sex with you.  Or at least you naked. 
    After that they have decided that A…they will not think about you naked again…or B…will think about you naked until they can actually see you naked.
    And the friendship exists somewhere in between.
    It’s that easy.
    😉
    Los

    • truth

    • Preach 

    • sarah

       so do guys only befriend girls they’d consider dating?

    • Kgentry365

      As a girl whose best friend is a guy, I totally 100% agree with you.

  • Laura

     what a great post and feedback from everyone!

    best…in a marriage, absolutely. outside of a marriage relationship, using the term, ‘best’…it begs questions:

    – what am i getting in this friendship that i do not have with my spouse?
    – what is the motivation for this friendship/relationship?

    as someone within ministry and circles of interest where it’s often male-dominated, i have my fair share of dudes for friends. prior to marriage, i had male friends who i spent quality time with, took to events, etc. after marriage, the group of male friends broke into 2 portions: those who never spoke to me again [some admitted feelings that they were suddenly aware of once my husband came into the picture] and those men who did stick around [and are now friends with my husband and i sometimes tag along  🙂

  • Boundaries make good friends no matter what the gender. 
    I always think that the term, “best friend” is over-used and almost too exclusionary.
    Closest friend at the moment, perhaps??  I have only 1 set of “identical” friends and they are even very different from each other, otherwise I need and gain something rich from each individual I have the privilege to call friend.

    I have many guy friends and most of them I would affectionately refer to as “chic dudes”, they know it, they are creative types who think in emotional ways but are still very much “guys” and some of them are the deepest wells I have ever met and it hurts to even think what I would have missed in my life had I been to afraid to befriend a guy.   I would have missed one of the biggest blessings in a beautiful man, Jackie street who passed 3 years ago had I not been open and healthy enough to have a guy friend.

    I have many girlfriends, absolutely the same thing.  Enmeshment is a relationship destroyer, boundaries and voiced expectations are vital to friendship and it took me at least 35 years to learn that!  It is a no brainer though that you never make someone else’s spouse (opposite sex) your confidant, deep friend or etc…they are a unit, bound together, he honors her above anyone else. Don’t tell my husband anything you wont tell me, if you want to be his friend you best be mine, I’m just sayin!

    Single folks, oh man,  it gets more complicated, you have to be brave enough to both speak and handle honesty to have a true friendship anyway.  Feelings change, grow and I can’t imagine the pain that comes from “loosing” someone you love to someone else.  It is scary to let people get too close if there is the possibility of loosing them, but don’t we all face that?  Yowza, do I hit post or not? 

    I think if we stand long enough in front of the day care window at the YMCA and watch the toddlers, maybe we get a deeper answer, you giggle, you play, you tug, steal a toy, push, shove, hug, cry, spit, offer a toy back and at the end of the day you share crackers, juice and forgive quickly, love each other, you hold no grudge and you grow!

  • i’ve often been the dude thats the best friend of the girl and really often, what ends up happening, even if the girl has no desire to date me or marry me or jump my bones…she projects her emotional needs of a husband on to me and and it quickly becomes unhealthy for her in finding emotional marital fulfillment in someone shes not married to and for me in the sense that i am completely weirded out and then run…leaving her feeling like crap once again…i love this post and reading all the comments. such a good conversation…

  • 2 quick stories.  One of my best friends for years was a girl.  We BOTH had feelings for each other but were to young and insecure to say anything.  Any way She started dating a mutual friend of ours I got over my feelings for her and they got married. I remained really close with both of them  until they split up (nothing to do with me I swear).  I ended up losing contact for many years with both of them. but recently reconnected with her.  We are both married and live in different states but are still good friends.

    Now the story of my wife.  We were friends in college not best friends or even close friends, just friends.   We were always together in some assembly of people and since she had a ca she would give a bunch of us rides to worship team rehearsal (30 mins from where we lived) eventually the crowd started thinning and it was just the 2 of us making the weekly treck.  We talked and grew closer and long story short she is my wife and the mother of my 2 girls. 

    With all that said I agree with Los….

  • www.ristowswife.wordpress.com

    They can be friends. But it will EVENTUALLY lead to one or the other having feelings that he or she decides to act on or not act on. This may cycle through a couple of times, over the course of years even, if no action is sought.

    Bu we are people who seek intimacy. We seek to be closer to those we are close to and love.
     

  •  so many insightful comments here… it’s good for me to just hear people’s varying perspectives on this. 

  • I used to think so but of course, this was generally when I was in love with my best guy friend and dreaming that one day he’d feel the same way.  As I grew older, I believed it was possible so long as there’d at one point been a conversation along the lines of “you’re like a brother to me” or “we could never date.”  Now I think it can happen in rare occasions but it can be hard to maintain clear boundaries.  It seems easier when my guy friends are dating or married because that romantic option is not even on the table.  Though that can make it trickier too depending on their significant other.  I find even my mind wanders concerning a good guy friend of mine- we would be horrible in a relationship and would never consider dating- but when I’m in a dating drought, I can’t help it.  Then I snap out of it and carry on!

  • Tim Dahl

    I had three good female friends in college. I decided to try and date a 4th, a roommate, and caught all sorts of heck for it. It turns out that the one who I thought of as my best female friend actually had a crush on me.

    I’m not saying that it can’t happen, that men and women can’t be good friends…but I’m finding it harder and harder to believe.

    Tim

  • I’m a guy, so I’m gonna post from a masculine perspective.

    I like to think of it as a series of zones.  There is your spouse zone, which is occupied only by those with whom you’re maintaining a sexual relationship.  Outside that is the emotional intimacy zone, which is shared by at least your spouse, but probably a couple of other trusted friends.  The thing is though that there is only enough space for either a girl in the spousal zone or a few girls in the emotional intimacy zone.  The two possibilities exclude each other.
    Outside your emotional intimacy zone is fair game and healthy relationships with girls can exist outside this zone.  Colleagues, friends who you see regularly but aren’t close to are in this zone.

    The thing about intimate but not sexual male-female relationships when you’re single is that there is usually some form of sexual undercurrent that has started the relationship on at least one side of the ledger.  Typically it’s a guy who’s attracted to a girl who isn’t interested in him, but it can be the other way around.  After all, why talk to the people of the opposite gender who you’re not interested in, when there are plenty who are in the “potential” basket?  That’s not to say that these feelings will last or are anything more than transitory but it’s my experience that someone will be at least mildly attracted to the other at some stage.

    • Janet

      I’m responding to the last paragraph in Stephen’s post above.

      If two people of the opposite sex are friends, and there is a sexual undercurrent, is that so horrific?  Isn’t it just natural that this should occur?  It doesn’t mean that you have to act on it.

      I am wondering about this myself.  I am a married woman in a friendship with a man who has romantic feelings for me.  My feelings for him are not nearly as intense.  I trust myself, that I will not act on any romantic feelings present in the relationship.  This comes from a history of many years of having male friends to whom I was attracted and vice versa, and not acting on it sexually.   My friend also adamantly agrees that we should not act on the relationship sexually.

      My husband is completely and totally aware of the existence of my friend – in fact, I feel guilty if I do not tell him what is going on with it – when I spoke to my friend or wrote to him, etc. 

      I also bring the relationship to God on a daily basis and ask Him to guide me in it, according to His will.  My friend and I share our experiences of God often, and have called God the “third person in our friendship”.

      Am I kidding myself?  Is this “emotional adultery”?  (That dreaded term I have heard recently…)  Are we supposed to push away all relationships with the opposite sex for fear of any sexual feelings that may emerge?  Are the sexual feelings the “death knell” of the friendship?  Does this has to be?

      Anyone who feels like responding to these questions, please do. 

      Janet

      • Hi, Janet

        I don’t know you or the specifics of your situation, so I hesitate to offer advice from this distance. However, I wonder if you can answer this question for yourself? What is your husband’s attitude toward this guy who has “romantic feelings” toward you? I think my husband would have a pretty strong opinion about how much we were together to talk about our feelings. : )

        • Janet

          Hi, Felicity,

          My husband and I have been married for 34 years.  He and I are very close, and have a monogomous relationship.  He’s not thrilled with my relationship with my friend, but I ask him about his feelings about it constantly, and also tell him that I would be willing to give up the relationship if he were troubled by it. 

          He also knows that my friend has emotional problems, and that his two adult children have serious illnesses, and I have to say that this is a factor which keeps me from ending the relationship, as my friend trusts me and confides in me about the pain he’s in.  I realize this is classis (The “I can’t talk to my wife about anything” syndrome)…but when you care about someone, you think twice before cutting them out of your life.  My husband agrees with me on this.

          I do re-evaluate and pray about this relationship all the time – in fact, I am going through a major period of re-evaluation about it right now, so this discussion is very timely!

          Thanks for your response –

          Janet 

      • Rachel R

        I have been married for 7 years now and I have many male friends , so I do not believe that you cannot have friends of the opposite sex. That being said, I do believe that if some kind of extra emotion arises that it needs to be dealt with. 
        I know that if I had a friend that expressed an interest in me that I would have to cut off the relationship, as hard as that might be. In my opinion, there is not really any room for a gray area when it comes to this. If the shoe were on the other foot and my husband was finding companionship outside of our marriage, there would be real issues. The idea of sharing your experiences of God with each other is not necessarily a bad thing, but with the added romantic feelings, it creates too much room for feelings to grow and for things to happen. I have personally witnessed 3 marriages that I can think of off the top of my head that were rocked and/or ruined by adultery by friendships that started out just this way. (Having seen how easy it is to slip down this slope, I tend to feel very strongly, if you can’t tell.) 🙂

        • Janet

          Rachel,

          I very much appreciate your response, and the non-judgmentalness of it.

          As I just wrote to another person, I am constantly re-evaluating this relationship and praying about it, and wondering if it is ethical.  I am re-evaluating right now, as a matter of fact!

          You all probably think I am a bit of a ditz, but I should add that my friend lives across the country, in another state, and we only communicate via phone or e-mail – however, the communication has been constant and daily, for several years.   But it would be much more difficult to maintain boundaries, obviously, if he lived in close physical proximity to me.

          Thanks again,

          Janet

           

        • Anonymous

          I have to agree with you here. Having guys as friends, especially Christian ones, can be a good thing. But once either one of you expresses deeper feelings…it’s got to end. If those feelings are there but kept silent that’s one thing entirely. But once those are voiced, it’s too slippery a slope. I’ve seen countless marriages ruined by exactly that. So I think the feelings can be there but must be brought before the Lord continuously and must be kept totally silent. 

          I’m married and of course I have guy friends. I try to be careful about how intimate the conversations are, emotionally. Sometimes that can’t really be helped. As ridiculous as it seems if I want to get together with a guy friend to chat, it needs to be in public, not at my house or his unless spouse or kids are present. That’s as much about appearances as it is about intentions. I try very hard to befriend his spouse too, but sometimes I just click better with the husband than the wife. But I make sure his wife and my husband are completely aware of the friendship. 

          I believe with the Lord’s help it’s possible to take captive your thoughts and feelings for someone other than your spouse in order to maintain a good, Godly friendship. But you have to be aware of your feelings and bring them before Him and NOT try to rely on your own strength in that area. Once those feelings are expressed they can’t be taken back and the whole thing is a mess. 

          • Janet

            Sarah,

            What you express here comes closest to how I am feeling about my friendship, especially your statement, “…feelings can be there but must be brought before the Lord continuously and must be kept totally silent”.

            My friend and I have both agreed that he cannot write or speak to me in romantic terms.  (I never have spoken with him in this way.)  He has broken this a few times, and I have very strongly and adamantly told him this is not acceptable.  He then stops the behavior.  He virtually NEVER speaks to me in seductive or sexual ways.    I also ask about his wife a LOT, trying to bring her into the relationship – she knows about me, and has been present when my friend writes to me or talks to me on the phone. 

            I also very much agree with your statement, “…with the Lord’s help it’s possible to take captive your thoughts and feelings for someone other than your spouse in order to maintain a good, Godly friendship.”  I also agree that we cannot rely on our own strength in this area, which is why I bring this relationship to God every day, often several times a day.

            Thanks so much –

            I’m sorry I’m writing so many responses to this discussion!

            Janet
             

      •  If my husband were in this position, I would not be a happy wife.

        If I were in this position, my husband would not be a happy husband.

        I don’t know if you’re kidding yourself or not, but I do know that you’re dancing around a fire pit.  Please be careful.

        • Janet

          Thank you, Lindsay, for your concern.

          I have been overly-cautious all my life, and continue to be – I am anything if not cautious.

          But I know there is truth in what you write.

          Janet
           

  •  This can be very complicated. A lot depends on how emotionally stable you are and the other person. There have been times in my life, where a female “best friend” was needed, but other times when female “best friend” would have been disastrous. So I have to ask myself, what am I looking for in this relationship? Am I healthy enough for this kind of investment? Can I see the boundaries clearly? Amazingly, if we are not healthy, it becomes even harder to see the boundaries, and hence easier to cross the boundaries.

    Regardless, God can and does bring hope, healing, and the ability to establish proper relationships.Just some ramblings from an old codger…

    • those are some great questions… what am I looking for in this relationship? Am I healthy enough for this kind of investment? Can I see the boundaries clearly?
       

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  • Sorry Cant Say

    I would have had said yes and defended it passionately a few years ago. Until I had an affair with my best friend and hurt my wife and my best friend hurt her husband. Our families were close. Our kids were close. We honestly never saw it coming, but in hind site, all the signs were there, yes, it is self-deception. You lie to yourself, because you really really love and want the friendship as it brings a lot of happiness. We were both relatively happily married. I say relatively in honesty, because no marriage is perfect, and the friendship fulfills things the marriage isn’t and for awhile you have the best of both worlds, but a friendship with the opposite sex CAN NOT coast, it can ONLY GROW. That is how we are wired. Period. I had to learn that the hard way. Unfortunately. Now I have lost that friend. I am actually reconciled with her husband and I am friends again with him (that shocks a lot of people) but I can no longer be friends with her at all, again, because it can only grow. My wife forgave me because AS SOON as the friendship got sexual, we both admitted it to our spouses and stopped it and cut off the friendship and owned up to our failure.

    So I believe the answer is no.

    • wow. thank you for sharing. may we all learn from you…

  • I am 40 and have been married for 22 years. I now do believe ALL the guys whose comments and words I have heard & read over the years, about how much they think about sex (wouldn’t it be stupid and selfish not to take their word for it?) I now dress more modestly and am more cautious in friendships than I was in my 20’s (even though I’m less desirable  now!)…out of respect for THEM.

    I know (from experience) that women can very easily get emotionally entangled. And I believe guys when they say they think about sex constantly.

    And if you think it can’t happen to you, you are very, very foolish.

    Great conversation! Love Los’ comment.

  • one of the single ladies….

     I am single. One of my best friends (and I say that with utmost intentionality) is a guy. A guy who isn’t even a believer (I am). However our cirucmstances and personalities are such that we have such a strong bond. At first, we thought it was romance but we talked about it and realized that’s just part of our connection. We moved on from that “romance” stage (it lasted – an hour – we just talked it through) and now we deeply care for each other, we do share very personal things with each other, we don’t judge each other, and we are there for each other at the drop of a hat. To me, his gender doesn’t matter. I support him dating and likewise. It has been a relationship built on trust and honesty and we both know that if the emotions start heading romantic, we talk about it, which usually squelches the fire, and we move on. Our friendship is not worth losing over “feelings”…

    • one of the single ladies

      i say “usually squelches the fire”….there has actually been no incident of fires, so…all that to say, whatever we do squelches what would be a fire. it’s just the way we are.

  • What a fun topic!  I think it is a dangerous dance but that doesn’t mean you stay away completely. I think the differences between men and women are something we can bless each other with through relating. I have had a close guy friends for the last 11 years.  I have been asked many many times when we are going to date.  We have had a great time being there for each other, hanging out, watching movies, going to dinner, talking about relationships and God.  He is one of the most encouraging people in my life.  He listens well and challenges me.
      We have had some talks around the subject of what we mean to each other and only one specifically direct defining moment.  We have learned to be careful if it starts to look like what I call “fake dating”.  If we start being the fill-in partner, some steps need to be taken back.  I think it can be too easy to go to this person when you are feeling lonely or want that male attention.  I don’t want to “use” him and it is good for me to sit in that place and take my desires to God rather than going to him in the mean time.
      I think it is tricky for girls because of what makes us feel intimately close.  I learned the hard way from an ex-boyfriend.  We both have similar passions about God and people so we would still talk sometimes for hours and afterwards I would think wow, that was amazing, I feel closer. Are we going to get back together?  I found out for him it was just a good conversation, he didn’t feel closer or that anything had changed afterwards.  I have had a couple of best guy friend in the past that I end up falling for because I feel like we “know” each other so closely and because of the shared experiences. I start hoping it will flip.  Or I get really confused and think am I supposed to be with this person?  Is this what it is actually about?
      Whenever my guy friend has started dating someone I get jealous. I like that he tells me things and asks me to do things. I don’t like sharing my time and attention.  Then when he is single again it’s back to normal.  Yuck!  I hope one day we will both have people in our lives and we will be able to hang out and talk about life but I have a feeling you know when you are crossing the line, what’s appropriate. I also hope I will respect his girl and will not think selfishly but will consider her in my interactions.
      Long story…  Anyway I love this topic and have thought a lot about it over the years.

  • Having been married over 20 years, our hard and fast rule is just don’t spend time alone with a member of the opposite sex. Always keep things in the open, have no secrets.

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