When I was in college, one of my friends introduced me to writing “rules to live by.” As things came up in life — ideas I thought were good, or things I thought I should avoid — I would write them down in a list format. Basically, it was a simple way to journal my thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Of course, a good number of my rules related to relationships with guys. One of them — that I learned the hard way was this:
107. Being “really good friends” really doesn’t work.
Strong friendships with someone of the opposite sex are a tricky thing for a number of reasons. There are your own feelings to deal with, the other person’s feelings, everyone else’s opinions and comments, and so on. (For more insights, check out Suzanne’s article, “Not Your Buddy.” It gives some really good advice on how close “just friends” can and should be.)
During the past couple of years, I’ve dealt with this issue with one of my good guy friends. We always had a lot of fun together, which meant that I received questions about our “status” constantly. Honestly, I think that for much of his and my friendship, we were too close for two people who were not dating.
About a month ago, this guy and I took our relationship to the next level. We decided to turn all of the rumors about us into a reality. We both knew that we either needed to quit hanging out or begin dating — this in the middle “really good friends” thing just wasn’t working.
I believe there’s a certain amount of wisdom involved when it comes to guy/girl friendships, and I honestly think that there’s a limit when it comes to the level of closeness guys and girls should have. I actually have quite a few good guy friends, but we don’t hang out everyday, we don’t share our deepest thoughts, and there’s no one asking if we’re more than friends.
I don’t exactly know where the line between “just friends” and “more than friends” is, but I know it exists. Speaking from (sometimes painful) experiences, I would encourage all of you to be wise about the level of intimacy you allow in your opposite-sex friendships. Sometimes it’s best to either back off or commit to one another.
And hey, maybe that really good friend of yours should be something more. It just could work out. It did for me!
Copyright 2007 Denise Morris Snyder. All rights reserved.