Can Men and Women Be Friends?

A few friends have been posting about men and women being friends on Facebook. Is it possible for people of the opposite sex to just be friends? What happens when one of you is married or in a relationship? Is it possible? The notion that, once a person is ‘in a relationship’ all other affiliations need to be truncated, really annoyed me. I don’t understand why people are even questioning such things. But I don’t understand a lot of things, so this is not new for me. I just know that many of my good friends have been “boy” friends. You have heard me talk about my girlfriends. Why not talk about my friends who are guys?  Mr. Bernie sees nothing wrong in having friends of the opposite sex. He has several female friends. My friend Michele is the one he calls when he wants to talk politics. She will listen and loves to debate him. Me not so much. It’s a bond they have that I appreciate and don’t see threatening at all.  It makes me smile when he goes on a rant and I tell him to call his girlfriend. I know this is a bit long. I didn’t want to break it up in several posts.

My first boyfriend, Ed, was a friend for many years. I still consider him a long lost friend. There is nothing sexual about our relationship at all. We did have an intimacy that many couples don’t enjoy.  We could complete each others sentences; Call each other at 3am if we had a bad dream;  or Go sit at the lake for hours and not even talk. When I had one of the worst break ups of my life, Ed was there to dry my tears and comfort me. We had a love for reading and magic and a million other things. A hug from Ed made me feel warm and safe. I always knew that he would be there for a spur onto the  road trip to nowhere.  He was my go to date when I needed to be escorted somewhere. My boyfriend had a hard time getting used to the idea of me having a male friend to confide in. Eventually, he came to understood that Ed was in my life first. It was an all or nothing thing with me. They tolerated each other for my sake.

Next came Bob. I met Bob when I was a Nanny in PA. I took a road trip to a National Park on the PA-NJ boarder. I stopped at this Historical Village and met Bob. He was a young ranger at the time and loved to have someone to talk to. Bob is a talker and this park didn’t get a ton of traffic. We talked for a few hours and I had to go back to NJ. I kept going back up to visit the park and Bob on weekends. Eventually, I started staying in his guest room at the house he stayed in. We would sit up for hours talking about both being single. We had no attraction towards each other. We just talked about nature, my job, his job, and so on. I used to love to watch him talk to tourists. One weekend I brought some Nanny friends up with me. Little did I know that one of them would become his wife! Yes, I set my best guy friend up. She was wonderful and understood that we were friends and didn’t expect me to take a long walk off a short pier. They got married and I was in the wedding.  They had 5 children! Sadly, she passed way several years ago. Mr. Bernie and I made the trek to WI for the funeral. That was the first time that Mr. Bernie and Bob met. They had heard a lot about each other. My guys hit it off very well.  So well in fact, that a couple years ago Bob came out to see us in MT. He stayed for about a week. Bob and Mr. B talked hunting, fishing, animals and so on. It was so cool to watch them. When we got married, Bob read at our wedding. He teared up during the wedding, which made me tear up as well. He will always be in our hearts and on our minds.

Charlie is a friend I met online. However, neither of us feel that way or look at it like that. We both belonged to on online book swapping site. I loved how bitchy and sarcastic he could be. Both fine friend qualities for me. He is understanding and kind and great fun to talk to on the phone. He was supposed to come to our wedding, but was unable to. He has talked to Mr. Bernie on the phone. He loves to send out surprises in the mail now and then. He always remembers Mr. Bernie’s birthday with a book that fits him to a T. When we talk on the phone they can go for marathon sessions. We talk about our jobs, partners, fur kids, his real kids and so on. He never ceases to make me laugh. He also is very good listener! I keep trying to talk him to bring his partner to Montana so we can have them out and show them the wild west. One day! Until then I just know he is there for me to talk to and lend an ear or a great book suggestion.

Last, but not least, is Joel. Joel and his wife own the best coffee shop in town. I met Joel through his wife. I was new to town and she was very friendly to me. She knew my name by my second visit! I don’t think that Joel, nor I, could tell you when we started being friends and not just a typical customer/owner relationship. His wife works overseas and Mr. Bernie and I had him out to dinner the first month she was gone. (not the whole month) He is very cerebral and reminds me of Mr. Bernie in some ways.  He has a great sense of humor and is a reader. That is always a plus! His kids are fur kids as well. So we talk about our “fur kids” and how they are doing. When Mr. Bernie goes hunting in the fall I’m sure we will go have a beer some Saturday. Sometimes I slip out of work to get a coffee for me and the Mr. I usually end up taking a little longer with Joel. I go there if it’s  slow and Mr. Bernie is at Master Gardening class. It’s nice having a guy friend in town. Mr. Bernie, Katie, and I were downtown. I called Joel and asked him what he was doing and if he wanted to visit for a bit. He did and came down to give Katie some loving. It’s nice to have a friend in town.  I mentioned to him that I wanted to write this blog post. He said something that I thought was really insightful: “I have one simple rule for opposite sex friendships with married types. It’s the same rule I had when I was single: Any issues you are having with your spouse are off-limits with me. Talk to your girlfriends, pastor, or counselor, not with me. ” I thought that was a good way to put it.

What are your thoughts about Men and Women being friends? Care to share your story? Has having a friend of the opposite sex hurt your relationship? Has it been a blessing?

A big thank you to Mr. Bernie for helping to clean this post up.

~Bernie

Comments

  1. I think that woman and men can be friendships can also be sometimes easily squelched by “society” and the thoughts of others – jeasously or gossip. I want see more of these healthy types of realtionships. Thanks for sharing yours.

  2. Oh also, love the stick figures :D

  3. Well now I know why I lost touch–dumb blogger reader unfollowed you!! I do think men and women *can* be friends, but we humans so like to complicate everything.

  4. Men and women can be friends, it’s just sometimes we are putting malice on it.

  5. I so enjoy conversations with guy friends! I don’t think my husband minds at all, and i can honestly say that i don’t mind his female friends/coworkers (even the one who thinks he walks o nwater and is so uber helpful). Btw, since I couldn’t be trusted to check your blog everyday (after realizing it doesn’t show up on my blogger list anymore), I went ahead and subscribed by email…and must’ve done it wrong. Luckily I remembered to check in today!

    • I’m sorry its not showing up. I wonder why. The uber helpful thing made me giggle. Mr. Bernie’s Master Gardener gals think the same thing about him.

  6. In so many ways, I really believe that guys make the best friends. They’re honest. They’re (usually) above things like drama. They’re real. My guy friends don’t ever pretend to be someone they’re not.

    I definitely think that guys and girls can be friends. But jealousy sometimes rears its ugly head, and things become complicated. In those situations, I’m not really sure. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, and it can ruin both male and female friendships with one swipe.

    Great post, Bernie!

  7. Well, since my husband Joel was quoted in this blog…I guess I should put my two sense in too. Joel is a great guy friend to several girls while he was growing up. When we met, this was hard for me at first, but through the years I have come to understand that my husband is very easy to talk too from a girls persepctive (hence why I married him) :) . I have gotten to know many of the “girl” friends and have enjoyed what that have brought to Joel’s life as well as my own. Thanks Bernie for your post!

    • I wouldn’t even be friends with either of you if you weren’t so darn nice when I first came to town. I didn’t even like coffee drinks, but you were so nice to me and made me feel welcome. I learned to enjoy them. So thank you!

  8. I have always had guy friends, came with the package when I got married. I think its usually woman who have a problem with it because they tend to be more insecure, that’s especially true when they are younger.

  9. Great post and now I know all of your guy friends!!! I think it is possible to have these types of relationships if all parties involved are mature!!! :-) I had one great guy friend in particular who really became a mentor and confidante when I was working in the church a few years ago. Working in a church is a totally different beast and it was good to have someone there who understood and supported me–especially when Chris was gone. A man’s perspective is totally different than a woman’s and he offered me such great insight at times that I never would have gotten from a woman. We are still friends despite the distance and I miss that camaraderie that we shared on a weekly basis. He was married, I was married and yet we still were able to share a great friendship. I have had other male friends but probably he is the one that I would consider the closest. And surprise of all surprises—he was not an “old man” …..those are the types I am usually drawn to. It will be interesting to see what others comment —-I think you are blessed!!!

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