Always the girl friend, but never the girlfriend? You might be the girl who has more friends of the opposite sex than average. If you’re like me, being the “sister” to the guys in your life doesn’t bother you. Your guy friends are just that—friends—and dating them sounds just as appealing as dating…well, your real brother.
Having a lot of guy friends can be beneficial. You get to know how men think, and you learn to interact with the opposite sex without the pressure of a relationship. I’ve been there! At my wedding, there were as many (or more) guys than there were girls, and my husband is now friends with a lot of the guys I grew up with.
But friendships with the opposite sex don’t come without drama, and every godly girl should keep these cautions in mind.
1. Be prepared to battle jealousy.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve known the guy since kindergarten. You don’t own him. Girls with a lot of guy friends have to be prepared to fight jealousy as the friendship grows. The memories from elementary through high school might be sweet, but they are just that: memories. One day we have to let our friends move on and grow into the lives God has for them—lives that might not include us.
Friendships between sexes are unique. Some will move forward into dating relationships. Some will drift apart as time goes by and each party meets the person God has for them. A few are able to maintain limited contact even as the guy and girl go their separate ways. This last type of friendship can only be maintained if jealousy is completely off the table. Possessive behavior does not bring friends closer; it drives them apart. A true friend will be happy when her guy friend likes someone else—not be possessive of his time and company.
2. Honesty is always the best policy.
This brings us to the foundation of quality friendships: honesty. If you find yourself jealous and insecure when your guy friends look past you in their dating lives, do you really see yourself as a friend? If you see yourself as something more—if you wish there was something more between you—honesty is the best policy.
Girls with a lot of guy friends tend to stick on this point because they “don’t want to ruin the friendship.” But the truth is that friendships with guys will be “ruined” at some point or another. Either he’ll get a girlfriend and the friendship will grow distant (as it should), or you’ll date and break up, or you’ll date and stay together. In all three cases, the friendship is “ruined” in the sense that it changed in its intent. If you like one of your guy friends as more than a friend, be honest! It’s what they prefer.
3. Recognize that friendships with the opposite sex have limitations.
As the previous two points have indicated, friendships with the opposite sex have limitations. While these can last through mutual relationships and even marriages, they will not look the same. As your guy friends grow up and get married, you will make an effort to know their wives. You will need to create space and distance with your guy friend out of respect for his relationship, and he must do the same for you.
Guy/girl friendships are also limited by responsibilities. Job changes, moves to new cities and distance cause many to drift apart. Long-distance friendships can be maintained with honesty and transparency about intentions: being respectful of one another’s relationships and clear about your personal feelings.
Having a lot of guy friends is a blessing. I love that my husband can know the guys I grew up with—young men who are now married and starting families of their own! Like me, you can have quality, long-term friendships with the guys in your life—but take the above cautions to heart. Jealousy, insecurity and possessiveness destroy good relationships, but honesty and genuine, brotherly love go a long way in preserving friendships for the long haul.