One of the most cliché yet still socially relevant and perplexing relationship question to ask is can men and women be friends? To up the difficulty, people usually qualify it by asking can men and women be just friends? As if platonic friends don’t exist. But a multitude of pieces have been written on those. If you want to start major controversy, ask a person how they feel about their mate having friends of the opposite sex.
Even in the so-called modern and equal world, most people are all right with their mate having friends, as long as they aren’t of the opposite sex. The minute people find out you have friends of the opposite sex, conspiracy theories, rules and suspicion become abundant.
Two of my absolute best friends in life are women. As you can imagine, it has put a strain on all of our dating lives. We have friends or people we’re interested in or dating who question or can’t understand the sincerity of our friendship.
Here are a few questions and issues that women usually ask me about having a friend of the opposite sex. My friends Tempest and Reece will help with the answers.
What do you think makes our friendship different than other friendships you’ve had/have with other men?
Tempestt: We haven’t had sex. But seriously, sex changes the dynamic of friendships.
Reece: Honestly, it’s organic. It just naturally flows that way. No thoughts are put into this. We never define it and there were no such thing as a crossed boundary, we have that chemistry, we are just honest and supportive of each other and at the end of the day, trust.
Has me being your friend ever been intimidating or a problem for a guy that is interested or dating you?
Tempestt: Yes! Men don’t really like women having men friends they call their “best friends” other men never believe it’s just friendship. Especially if the male friend is single.
Reece: For people that knew the both of us … this could be very possible but I wouldn’t have noticed. I have been told this, but the individuals who shared this sentiment weren’t people that should NOT be dating in the first place and were “vultures,” Their opinion means nothing.
If both of you are good people, why did you never date?
Tempestt: Different taste in the people.
Reece: It never came up. It was never a topic. There was never a “we should date” moment. It just never came to mind to either of us.
How do you keep your friendship strong and transparent when one of you is in a relationship?
Tempestt: Let your significant other be a part of it. The worst is when a significant other doesn’t feel included.
Reece: I don’t notice or see a lot of outside factors influencing our friendship, because we are so open and because there is nothing off limits. There really isn’t a “how to,” it’s just what we are.
How does your friendship change when one or both of you are in a relationship?
Tempestt: In my case I focus on my guy until I’m able to weave in all my other relationships.
Reece: It doesn’t.
How do you deal with a situation if your mate doesn’t like your friend or vice versa?
Tempestt: We would have to talk and see why. Being intimidated by irrational fears isn’t a good enough reason not to like someone.
Reece: If you didn’t like the person, you are able to articulate it and have sound reasoning and justification; there is no dealing with it. I just expect honesty from you and you’ll let me still go on with my decision. If the mate didn’t like you, I’ve never been in that situation, but they better have a justification and reasoning behind this, not an, “I just don’t like him.”
The keys to maintaining your friendships and your relationship at the same time are to root everything in respect, honesty and transparency; and to assure that your friend and mate do and know the same. There are to be no secrets. Your mate must know that you have a friend and your friend is to know that you a significant other, and you are to carry yourself at all times. Everything is public. It’s also very necessary that your friends and companion meet and get a feel for each other. You’re asking for trouble if they only hear about each other; it’s a bad look.
Secondly, your friendship has to evolve and mature with your lifestyle and relationship. Your friend has to know and understand that once you have a partner, some things are going to change. We can still be friends, but how we are friends and the ways we interact will change. We can’t continue acting like both of us are single, the optics matters.
If they are true friends, they will always have your best interest at heart and in mind, and they’ll want to see you happy. As far as being uncomfortable, any woman dealing with me has to understand that my best friends and I are a package deal. You don’t have to like them, but you must respect them. I’m not asking you all to be besties or sisters, just have a respect and acknowledgment that you both love and support me.
If it makes you uncomfortable that your mate has a friend of the opposite sex, look for solutions not to exasperate the problem. Hangout with them, do double dates, do group activities and invite other friends along. If you’re still uncomfortable, communicate with your mate and /or the friend about what makes you worrisome. Maybe it’s how, when, or where they hang out, the frequency, or that you don’t feel included. But beware of trying to dictate who someone is allowed to be friends with male or female.
It’s selfish, conceited and egotistical to believe that you can or should be the end all or that they can’t or won’t interact with anyone of the opposite sex ever again because they are with you. That is isolation and it’s the beginning stages of abusive and controlling relationships. If you have to worry or you don’t trust your mate’s decision or risk taking skills, you shouldn’t be with them. If you’re worried about them cheating, honestly it’s not much you can really do about it; people don’t ask to cheat, but they will find a way. But true friends male or female will hold you accountable, won’t let you risk your happiness and they support you in being your highest self.
Written By: Johnny Brownlee II
Follow Johnny on Instagram : @slin_k_polymath