Same Sex Friendships

Originally published Tuesday, 29 January 2013.

I bet I wasn’t like you growing up.

I was taught not to become friends with boys. Boys had kudies and could get you pregnant just by looking at you. Gross.

I developed an unhealthy fear of boys at a very young age that stuck with me until college. Even then I was always cautious. To this day, I can still hear my parents yelling “10 inch rule! 10 inch rule!”

Don’t lead him on. So I didn’t.
Don’t let him get too close. So I didn’t.

But when it came to girls, no rules applied.

I could have late night phone conversations, sleep overs, and hang out pretty much wherever or whenever I wanted.

When I was upset. I’d call her.
When I needed encouragement. I’d call her.
When I just needed to talk. Her.

I could share everything with my girl friends. My BFF’s were always there for me no matter what. Because we were both the same sex I could trust them with my life. No secrets. My deep insecurities were laid bare. No more hiding.

And I could–at first.

Eventually one of us would pull away due to schoolwork, jobs, or another relationship. No big deal. We’d just pick up where we left off. Like when that big day came sooner for her than for me–I had to get rid of my jealousy. Or when she moved away I cried for days-but we made plans to see each other again soon.

Those weren’t the kind of friendships I was worried about.

It was the other “friends” who I thought were my best friends.

Friends who supposedly made me feel better about myself before they took it all back by their words and/or actions…I never thought I’d say this, but being friends with girls is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

I was taught growing up that you should, can, and will always trust your girl friends.

Maybe I’m a bit naive.
Maybe I’m not.

Now that I’m married to my best friend (who is obviously not a girl), I’m finally seeing the error of my ways.

Proverbs 12:26 says, “A righteous man is cautious in friendship.”

What the proverb doesn’t say is that a man can or should only be cautious with opposite or same sex friendships–it’s both. Just because we both have the same body parts doesn’t mean I can–or should dump everything on her and think it’s okay. Or run in the opposite direction and assume all girls are catty.

Boundaries should be important with same sex friendships too.

All this time I was too busy guarding my heart with my male friends, while being reckless with my female friends.

When I told Marc what my blog was about this week he laughed.

He said something like, “Remember that time we were looking for a new church and you committed to get involved after just one Sunday?”

I laughed because it’s true. I feel like it took me getting married to open my eyes. I used my singleness as code word for busyness. Now that I’m married–I don’t want to over commit my time because I love spending time with my husband. Sometimes I feel like it’s cost me friendships with the same sex, as I wrote in Married With Friends, but as I’m learning now no matter who chooses to love or leave you is on her or him. It’s their loss.

The ultimate test of friendship–male or female–comes with time, which is why I believe it’s important to be cautious. Not bad cautious, but good cautious!