Well, can you be just friends with a man? Let’s find out…
When a new relationship begins, inevitably, both the man and woman bring a certain amount of history, and some would say baggage into the mix, with them.
Depending on your age, any number of things may be lurking in your closet. A failed marriage, or two, a few long-term relationships that fizzled out, a coach load of children, maybe a prison sentence or health issue. Any or all, just sitting there ready to come back and haunt you at any given moment, or become shots fired across your bough during a heated argument.
Perhaps things that happened in the past are easier to accept because there’s been some sort of closure, but how will your new relationship be affected by people that have not been relegated to the closet, and are very much still relevant in your new man’s life? Such as your new man’s best friend, who just happens to be a woman. How are you going to react to that, will you believe that they are genuine ‘just’ best friends, or will you secretly have your doubts and always think they have, or could cross the up close and personal line?
There is often absolutely no negotiation over a man’s best friend, be it a man, a woman, or indeed a dog. But for obvious reasons, for a female embarking on an adventure with a new love interest, the man and the dog are possibly easier to cope with, the woman, less so.
There are of course two backgrounds within the ‘she’s my bestie’ scenario.
Firstly your man and his female best friend might have grown up together, maybe they were neighbours or school friends from a very young age. Perhaps the friendship went on through University, and they hung out together in a wider friendship group.
She saw him through his first ‘true love’, and the breakup, whilst he saw her through… pretty much the same things. But there is and never was any romantic involvement, they regard each other as almost siblings, and the thought of anything more might make them both cringe with embarrassment.
But the other scenario can happen too, whereby, your man’s best friend is actually an ex.
They’ve been in a relationship, it hasn’t worked out romantically, BUT they love each other in a best friends kind of way and so continue texting each other, having the odd coffee together, and she is one of the first people he contacts when there is some big news to share, good or bad.
I think the ex is understandably much harder to accept when in many cases it should be the easier one of the two. The line has already been crossed, it didn’t work out, and now she’s in the friend zone, albeit, the bestie.
One of my good male friends has a female best friend. They met whilst working together some 30 years ago now. Although he was already married, they occasionally met up for a meal with other colleagues, then they met up without the other colleagues. His wife knew all about the close friendship, and after a while, they became friends themselves, and even his parents more or less looked at her as a surrogate daughter.
His bestie joined him and his wife for the odd holiday abroad, and weekends away, and you may have assumed that there was more to it than they let on, but there definitely wasn’t. His wife knew that his friendship was non-negotiable, and any attempts to stop them from seeing each other would have been ignored. They have never crossed the line, and never will. I think they know that a casual fling, for whatever reason, would ruin their relationship for good, and they value the friendship far too much.
Another of my friends was in a relationship with a girl for 10 years. They lived together, bought houses together, and ran a business together. We all thought we’d be buying wedding presents one day.
But it ran its course, houses were sold, and businesses dissolved, but they stayed best friends. Any subsequent girlfriends he had, just had to accept this girl was always going to be in his life, and now, 15 years later, he is a special uncle to her children, they still go shopping together, and he is a frequent visitor to her house.
He is now like an annoying brother to her, she is like an annoying sister to him. But they have each other’s backs and are each other’s ‘go-to’ people in times of trouble. However, if anyone dared to suggest there was anything more going on, they’d both admit to feeling quite nauseous at the thought of it.
I think it is entirely possible for a man to be ‘just’ best friends with a woman but I think the boundaries can easily get blurred. Let’s face it, after a few too many shots, or after he’s raced to the rescue during a tearful breakup with her boyfriend, when emotions are running high, and defences are down, it’s so easy to misjudge a situation and read more into it than is intended.
The friendly kiss on the forehead and the reassuring hug can just tip an already confused woman (or indeed man) over the edge of reason, and that split-second decision to take things on a different path is always a risk. For both of them.
But generally, if your man is open and honest about his long-standing friendship with a female, speaks to her openly in front of you, and is even happy to introduce you, then I’d accept it all gracefully.
And of course, it would be so churlish of me to suggest you go and find yourself a best MALE friend just to make a point!