According to the movies, friendships between men and women rarely work. Often, they go through a period of non-stop hanging out, someone’s feelings shift, that person starts acting weird, they hate each other for a while, they end up realizing they can’t live without each other, and then they marry. You can almost hear the soundtrack in your head, can’t you?
We’ve talked quite a bit about male/female friendships. (See links at the bottom of the post.) We think it’s possible and good for men and women to be friends. But back to our original question: Can men and women be best friends? Can the opposite sex hold that #1 spot as your ride or die, your bestie, your biffle? Would you call a member of the opposite sex your best friend? And if you do, should you?
SingleRoots Writers Say…
For wise counsel, we asked some of our SingleRoots alumni writers to weigh in on the matter. Here’s what they had to say:
“In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis says that male and female friendships will eventually slip into eros/intimate love unless (1) they aren’t attracted to each other physically, or (2) one of them is not being truthful and is already attracted to the other. I think this is spot on. I’ve been friends with some really great guys. I’ve even been really good friends with a few more guys, but it never crossed into eros love because I wasn’t attracted to them. And the ones I was attracted to—well, that attraction increased the closer I grew to them and when the attraction wasn’t reciprocated I was left heartbroken.
You’d think a few hurt hearts would keep me from being friends with more guys, but that’s not the case. I love guy friendships. I love the perspectives and the balance they bring to the table. I love how they show me character traits that I’m looking for in a husband. But I do know, short of marrying one of them, they can never be my best friend. There’s always going to be a line that I can’t cross in discussions with them. We can talk about everything from politics to relationships to theology, we can travel the world together with our friend groups, and we can hang out by ourselves—those things are all fine and good. By definition, though, a best friend is someone who should have a no-holds-barred access to your life, and the differences between men and women, along with my fragile and deceitful heart, have shown me that I should not be completely vulnerable with my guy friends. Eventually, that relationship is going to change—one of us, or both, will marry and we won’t be hanging out and talking about life matters in the manner we used to. I think it’s wise to invest the term ‘best friend’ into another girl (or two or three) who are in it for the long haul.”
:: Liesl Bennett, author of Never Been Kissed…or in Love
“I’ve got more brothers than I can count, so I’m naturally at ease around men. I’ve had many great guy friends over the years. Without exception, our relationships have changed when either one or both of us were in romantic relationships with others. And marriage is only a more permanent version of that change. While men and women can be great friends, there are necessary boundaries that must be built when lives move on. Even today, one of my best friends is a guy. I’m also friends with his wife, but am much closer to him. I don’t hang out with him alone. I’ve learned to be friends with her. We hang out in groups, and I enjoy catching up and laughing with him there. Small price to pay to be on the up and up, and keep my good friend in my life. Change stinks sometimes, but such is life.”
:: Ruth Rutherford, author of Are You Longing For More?
“Things usually became complicated or feelings were eventually hurt whenever I had a girl that I regarded as my very ‘best’ friend, but that’s not to say it can’t work for you. Don’t believe the line that you can only be close friends with your gender and the other gender is for dating only. Some of my closest friends in my single days were girls because they provided support and perspective that no guy ever could. God generally gifted each gender differently and it has always been rewarding to have the full complimentary set of perspectives in my close circle.”
:: W. Brandon Howard, author of Are You That Guy?
“To say that at cough:34:cough that I struggle with this is an understatement. It’s not easy for some, but you also have to lay some definitive boundaries. Over time I think one person will develop feelings beyond friendship for the other, as you see things in that person you define as things you want in a partner/spouse. But I think if you are both honest with one another, at times you can allow that to be good for the friendship. There are things I talk about with my best guy friend that I don’t dig into with my girlfriends. We talk about relationships, and I seek his perspective on how to manage emotions while he asks about the intentions of females he encounters at times. I do believe that both individuals should be single though, as the dynamic shifts when one gets married.”
:: Sara Stacy, author of Syncing Your Calendar to Your Life
Explore the Topic Further…
For further discussion on friendships between guys and girls, check out these posts:
How Do I Encourage and Invest In the Opposite Sex without Leading Them On? – “There’s always much discussion about whether or not guys and girls can have a good, platonic friendship. The general consensus tends to be that it is possible as long as both parties are clear that the relationship is strictly a friendship and nothing more. But what does that look like?”
Caring for Our Sisters’ Identity – “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with giving a good friend a legitimate compliment, but there’s a difference. It may be a fine line, and may even be a line that’s different for each person, but there is a difference between that and saying a casual sentiment for the sake of flattering a girl.”
Friends…with Benefits? A Look at Opposite Sex Friendships – “I enjoy the shock value of the phrase “friends with benefits.” It’s the perfect response to those people inquiring about your opposite sex friendship in an effort to figure out your dating status. Of course, in the case of this post, I don’t mean the culturally insinuated sexual benefits, but the relational benefits that accompany friendships between guys and girls.”
3 Ways to Have Healthier and Happier Relationships – “You could say that my relationship experience has been across the board. I’ve been friends with and dated people who are flaky, rude, and annoying as well those who were compassionate, loyal, and steadfast. So far it has taught me that one of the top things people seek in relationships is happiness.”