Back in 2009, I attended a three-day youth leadership retreat. In the second day, there was an open forum. Someone asked the panel, “How do I deal with a best friend of the opposite sex?”
One of the panelists responded, “That’s impossible, for the only person of the opposite sex you can be best friends with is your spouse.” Another commented, “If you are married and you encountered problems, will you go to your best friend instead of your spouse?” It makes sense.
Now the audience laughed at the second response. Immediately, the panelist raised his voice and drove home his point. The audience became silent at an instant. I guess we got his point.
I wanted to write about this topic long ago. But I just had no opportunity. I believe now is the perfect time.
CAN IT BE “WITHOUT FEELINGS” FOR LONG?
This question will inevitably rise in this discussion: Can a guy-girl bestfriendship thrive without any of the two falling in love?
Given enough shared time and enough shared emotional energy, it is virtually impossible for stronger feelings not to develop. That’s great if it happens to both at generally the same time, but when only one of you begins to “fall,” the friendship is on an unavoidable track to change. But when “buddy” feelings start giving way to deeper heart feelings, it is rare to ever go back to “buddies.” (Emphasis added)
So it is difficult, if not impossible, for a guy and a girl to be best friends and for at least one of them not to feel anything romantic. This is because of the ample time and energy shared together. As I always tell my friends: “Proximity is the killer.”
COWARDICE AS COURAGE
In my time with the youth ministry, I have observed a trend. Since in my youth group exclusive relationships are highly discouraged, teenagers have resorted to guy-girl bestfriendships. They claim to be best friends with a person of the opposite sex, but everybody knows that there is something more. The bestfriendship is simply a façade for their mutual affections.
Now let me talk to men at this point. Some of you find yourselves being best friends with a woman whom you romantically admire. But you are comfortable staying in that situation, and stay in it for long.1 And you even think that it’s courageous of you to be best friends with her. But guess what? You’re simply hiding your cowardice and mask it in the form of courage.
So here’s my advice: Man up! If you really like (as in “romantically” like) the woman, or your female “best friend,” then be intentional towards her. Don’t just settle in “we-are-just-best-friends” zone. Initiate to declare your affections and define the relationship. Take some risks. Save yourself of making an emotional investment into an otherwise undefined relationship. And relieve yourself and her from being the gossip of the town (believe me; it happens).
DO YOU HAVE A FEMALE BEST FRIEND, ENZO?
I’ve been blessed with a lot of godly female friends. And for some of them, I’m enjoying a close friendship. But I don’t have a female best friend, with whom I share enough time and emotions with.
But if ever I’ll have a girl buddy someday, I’ll make sure that I will marry her in the future. After all, she is the best female friend I have ever seen.
1There is nothing wrong being best friends with the opposite sex, as long as it has a potential for courtship and marriage. What I do not approve is when a man settles to be best friends with a woman he romantically admires and does not act intentionally towards her.
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