Why I'm not Best Friends with Women
My best friends are always there for me. They are there when my grandma dies. They are there when my car is in the shop and I need a ride. We go on vacation and eat meals together. They are there when I had a break-up. They pick me up when I’m down. They celebrate with me when we have successes. I would do everything in my power to help them if they ever needed it.
My best friends are loyal, courageous, a bit crazy and we never have a dull moment. But there is something my best friends will never be: women.
I am not suggesting to stop talking to everyone of the opposite sex you are not related to. No, the reality is that in today’s world, you are going to always have to interact with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse, sibling, parent or child. I am saying step back and take a look at your relationships. Romans 13:8-14 gives us a principle regarding this. It asks us to work for the good of souls of others, to love them rather than seeking to please ourselves. The bottom line is, that I believe it is very difficult to honor these principles in the context of a deep, intimate friendship between two single Christians of the opposite sex.
This is a newer issue. Men and women rarely sought each other out as intimate friends. Deep sharing of life was something meant for marriage. Most people understood this. Whether single, dating, engaged, or married, you still have to be aware of the way you relate to someone.
Ask a few questions the next time you are with the opposite sex.
1. Would I want my spouse having this conversation with the opposite sex?
I am a terrible judge of women’s fashion and trends. I don’t get it. I probably never will. So, yes, I’m going to ask a woman for her opinion on buying jewelry. I’m also going to ask for advice from my mom if I get into an argument with my girlfriend. But if I’m having a relationship issue, I’m keeping that to people of the same sex. One is so my significant other does not get opened up to gossip and the rumors among friends (and guys talk about other people’s relationships, too). The other is I would never want my significant other to be talking about our problems with one of my friends. He then is put in the awkward situation of taking sides (terrible idea) or giving advice, which he might use to exploit, and not to help.
Women also prefer the emotional connection deep conversations offer. By sharing deeply with each other in a personal setting, the man or the woman may become vulnerable to feelings. Sharing deeply about each others hopes, dreams and daily routines reflects the type of sharing meant for, well, a committed relationship. Try to keep it to your own gender.
2. Am I asking the opposite sex because I’ve lost trust in my own gender?
Have you ever heard a woman say this: “Women are just too much drama. I prefer talking with guys.”Guys, have you ever thought this: “Well, my bro’s don’t want to hear about my problems, and I don’t want to come off weak.” Why are you saying these things? Is it because the past, someone you thought you trusted did not follow through with their end of the bargain, shared with others your problems and it lead to more problems? People do get burned. It does hurt. But are you then reaching out to the opposite sex because you do not want to get hurt? Reach out. Try to repair. It might feel like baby steps. But in the future, you will be helping your future marriage.
3. Am I trying to get what I want out of this to fulfill something that is meant for later?
So this is similar question you would ask regarding physical intimacy. How far is too far? Can I have a deep conversation and have it not really mean something? Intimacy is not just physical. Intimacy is also emotional. Emotional intimacy is meant for your spouse and future family. So if I’m waiting until marriage for physical self, I should also wait to share my emotional self. Creating friendships in which you behave as you would in marriage reduces someone to “friends with benefits.” It is possible that you may be using the person for what they give you, without any commitment in return. It can be emotional too. You want to be deep with the opposite sex? Be willing to commit!
4. Have I ever had a romantic attraction to this friend? Have they? Do I know?
I remember in university I had a couple of friends who were women and I never thought nothing of it. But then at one point, a woman who I only ever thought of as a friend told me she was interested. Well, everything after that was just peachy. No actually it wasn’t. It was painfully awkward, and she eventually ended up not being my friend anymore. I thought I was just being nice. But I think she saw me being a nice guy as something more. Ladies, I’m sure you have had something like this happen before. It’s the whole “mixed signals” issue.
Even if you say that there is communication in your friendship, to the degree that one person’s feelings have been clarified to the other, there is always one part of these of friendships that involves a mixed signal. No matter how clear you have been in saying that you only have a friendship, the way you interact with that person is suggesting a committed relationship or marriage. If one person in this friendship was met with the response of “not interested”, to continue in a non-existent place of ‘best friends’, is to take advantage of the vulnerable party.
Friendship in Community
If you find that one of your opposite-sex friends are receiving more one-on-one attention than your other friends, it’s probably time for one of two things:
1) making your intentions clear or changing in the status of your relationship
2) a change in the way you interact with that person. This is going to hurt. Either you’re going to hurt them, or they’re going to wonder what the problem with them is and they will give some backlash, which will hurt you. You are going to have to maturely work this out on a case-by-case basis. But that’s why the four questions earlier are there to help you.
Is there a formula for whether a friendship or series of interactions is too intimate? Maybe not. But to avoid getting too connected, it is a good idea is to hang out in groups; serve together, chat and be friendly with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Don’t view all your relationships with the opposite sex as scary, now. We must never forget that we can have meaningful relationships with the opposite sex. On the contrary they should be as Scriptures put it: “Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as a father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters with complete purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1-2 But, don’t treat your future spouse like your sibling. That would just be weird. They’re your spouse! Treat them as Christ loves the church and submit to them as the Church does to Christ.