Growing up I was always a tomboy. I never wore anything remotely girly, played sports, and even had short hair (though that one was totally my mom’s doing). So it came as no surprise that the majority of my closest friends were of the male variety.
When college came around, I’d finally gotten out of that awkward tomboy phase and I was meeting guys who just saw me as a cute girl, not the girl who used to beat them up on the playground. I knew that if I was going to date in college it had to be with a guy who was OK with the fact that a lot of my close friends were male. I didn’t want a boyfriend who would get jealous if I went out with my best friend without him. Fortunately, I struck gold with my boyfriend, Matt. He got stuck in the friend zone a lot in high school, too, and his best friend happens to be a girl. He totally understands where I’m coming from and doesn’t get jealous when I go see movies with Luke, or go have dinner with Andrew, or go for a run with Steven.
But while he’s A-OK with me hanging out with other guys, it seems that no one else is. Especially my girl friends. Whenever I mention hanging out with other guys who are not my boyfriend, I get some really strange looks. Here’s how it usually goes down:
Me: “Have you seen (newest released movie) yet? I saw it with Dan last night and…”
Girlfriend: “Wait, you saw a movie with Dan?”
Me: “Yeah. He even picked me up on his motorcycle. It was awesome.”
Girlfriend: “You rode on a motorcycle and saw a movie with a guy who isn’t your boyfriend?”
Insert judging face here. Followed quickly by my “what is the problem?” shoulder shrug.
Seriously, what is the problem?!
I don’t understand why people have such an issue with me doing stuff with a male who isn’t my boyfriend. If he’s OK with it, why is it a problem? More specifically, why is it your problem? Contrary to what Harry told Sally, it is possible for a guy and a girl to spend time together without it being at all sexual. Especially when one of the two happens to be in a very serious and committed relationship. I will never – I repeat, never – cheat on my boyfriend. And hanging out with other guys will not change that fact.
Now, I know it’s probably a total anomaly that I have a boyfriend who just so happens to have a best friend of the opposite sex like myself. And I know that there are many girls out there who aren’t so lucky and have to navigate the whole “male friend” situation with their boyfriends (and, subsequently, their judgmental friends….). It’s not easy – people can get really sensitive and jealous when their feelings are on the line – but at the end of the day it all comes down to honesty and trust. And that’s between the couple, not their friends. If you’re honest with your partner and trust that they are being honest with you it won’t matter who he or she (or you!) is hanging out with. And if having friends of the opposite sex is a problem, it might only be a sign of larger trust issues that should be addressed.
Guys or girls, friends are friends. And regardless of our relationship status, everyone’s allowed to have them.