Monday, 18 July 2016

LLL - Thinking Out Loud - Can a Man and Woman be Just Friends?

"Not sure you're going to like this one"

That was the message sent with this week's Love, Life & Lightchild (LLL) post. Of course with that kind of message, I was more than eager to read what it was that I might not like so I quickly scanned the first paragraph and I laughed internally... A topic that I take a stance on passionately and have engaged in many a serious debates with different people on lol. I could almost bet what/whose case he would be going for, so I was ready to read and in Mortal Kombat's voice 'Finish him It' hehehe... But, I was pleasantly surprised.. I found myself nodding at many points, reflecting and learning as well... I will kontinu with my thoughts post-script so that I don't give it all way.. 


I was at a friend’s dinner party recently and a few of us (good mix of guys and girls) got talking about friendship and friends and then I decided to ask the one question that usually divides even the closest of friends, based on personal opinion: Can a guy and a girl just be friends? No strings attached?

"This is not my real face" :-D (source)
And as you probably predicted, the general consensus was noooooooooooo! It’s not possible, it’s either they have dated each other at some point, it didn’t work out and they stayed 'best friends' or one of them is secretly liking the other and is dying in silence, or waiting for the right moment to drop the bomb that will probably end their friendship – the “I think I like you more than a friend”.

For some strange reason, this whole conversation got me thinking real hard after dinner and on my way home, I decided to take a look at my friendships and relationships and ask myself if this 'general belief' is actually true in my own life.

You’d most probably not agree with a few things I’m going to say, but I will say it anyway!

So on my drive home, I had this conversation with two of my close friends (yes, you probably would have figured out that they were girls) and wanted to hash out this whole “guys and girls can’t be friends, something must have gone on somewhere, or is going on somewhere” business.
Who is a real friend? (source)
First question I asked was:

Who’s a real friend? What’s a real friendship like? What makes a true friend?
The dictionary puts the definition as “a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations – a person who you know well and who you like a lot, but who is usually not a member of your family."

What makes a good and true friendship?
Love, trust, respect, honesty, being mindful, caring, compassion...

I look at my close friends that are female and I can say that the proof is evidently there: they know me to a large extent, there is a mutual level of love, respect, honesty etc. that we share individually and collectively…

They have seen me at my best and at my worst, they are not afraid to tell me the truth or reel me in if they feel that I am not doing what’s right or getting into situations I shouldn’t be in…

If I need to just chill and hang out, I can with them…

If I need some “advice” on certain aspects of life, I can always bounce this off them.

If I’m being unreasonable with my habits (health, work, eating), they call me out on that...

If I am low, they are there to cheer me up…

All of these I can say exist with those I call my close friends and it is vice versa. 

Friendship shouldn't be so complicated! (source)
The only one thing that is non-existing in these relationships or friendship is any thing that can be seen as emotional attachment, sexual feelings or desires. 'Those kind of things that you’d be doing or feeling for someone you’re married to.'

So one of the guys asked, how am I so sure that none of my 'close friends' don’t like me like that and are just 'pretending' to just be friends and waiting for the 'right time to surprise me' or perhaps it’s vice versa? My answer was this: I know that if I liked someone or was attracted to someone, I’d be upfront about it and not try to be sly and be acting like a friend when I know I’m thinking something else on the inside. That’s too much drama and stress. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Nah!

If one party starts to 'catch feelings', then you be honest about it, address it and deal with it. The outcome of this would usually test the genuineness of your friendship!

Sadly, because of the times we are in, when people see a guy and a girl together or talking or hanging out, they would usually want to add 1 plus 2 to get 15 and say there is something going on between them. "They are more than friends...." blah blah bla..

Truth is, it’s not that it’s difficult to talk about a man and a woman being just friends without adding emotions, feelings or sex into the mix.

Just friends.. Without adding emotions, feelings or sex into the mix (source)
Unfortunately, we are the ones missing out in the end, as most people are engrossed with being on the path or journey of finding 'The ONE' and everyone we meet or choose to relate with would have had to be passed through the “is he/she the one?” test before we decide what category we would like to place them – “Try this one out”, “Definite Bae of life”, “Friend zone”, “Avoid at all costs!”, “Time waster”, “Do not pick up”, “Flee all appearance of evil”, “Jesus bind you”!

There are some things that you’d expect that one would learn from home (parents, siblings etc.), but not everyone gets that opportunity in life for various reasons. There are some things about life, or even about the opposite sex that you’d learn from a true friend that in the end, will benefit you and the person you marry.

For instance, one of my friends once told me that because I tend to be overly nice, someone I am just meeting for the first couple of times could easily take it as me showing an interest (of more than being friends) in them or making advances or even leading them on to believe there is more than 'just being friends' on the table. This has saved me from potential sticky situations and drama.

As creative as I am, I can find myself in a fix when it comes to trying new things out, most especially mixing colors when it comes to dressing up (I prefer my safe monochromes – black, white, blue and grey)… But apart from my sisters, my friends don’t shy away from getting me out of my comfort zone when the need arises for me to 'dress up'. 

                 From this....                                                 ....To this (Thank God for my friends!) (source)

And the same goes for them as well - whether they are in relationships or not. It doesn’t stop, hinder or wade in on either parties being in meaningful relationships that lead to marriage etc. Where and when that’s the case, boundaries are respected, space is given and partners are well respected also.

Above being able to do everyday life things with friends, the fact that our faith can be shared, and enjoyed, (it’s not everyday fun fun, party party or go out stuffs), I enjoy the fact that I can engage in spiritual activities with my friends, whether going to Church, fasting, praying, doing some study of the Bible etc.

We’ve lost the true meaning of friendship!

Evolving times, media, society, changing times, modern times, call it what you want to. All of these factors have come into play when we talk about friendship.

In the early days of the Bible, as God intended it, you couldn’t just rock up and call any Tom, Dick, Harry, Potter, Chantelle or Shaniqua your friend! Friendship was considered to be a sacred thing, a thing that was never entered to lightly. In fact, for you to call someone a friend, there was some sort of covenant that was entered into, it was that deep! You can look at the accounts of God and Abraham, David and Jonathan.
Beautiful, innocent, pure, deep, friendship *No strings attached* (source)
I guess the answer to the question lies with each person’s view and perspective. Your view and perspective is your reality and that is what you will live by. And until we begin to see things, see life and live it as God intended for us to, we will be the ones missing out on the countless beauties and blessings that are around us, simply because we choose to let the world influence our minds and outlook on life itself.

No wonder the Bible tells us to renew our minds daily and not think like the world thinks. Easier said than done, I know but the rewards of living through God’s reality and not ours is endless!

So what do you think? What’s your take on it? Yes? No?
You can follow Lightchild on Twitter @light_child , Instagram @lightchildfamily and Facebook -LightChildFamily
Permission to be the first person to respond to Lightchild's question lol.

Many times, I have debated and vehemently asserted my opinion that guys and girls can't be 'just' friends.. Something is bound to happen to the 'just'. For me, it's just too risky to venture into.

Personally, I have been burnt and in other cases burned (sorry!). The first time I ever had a male bestie, I got burnt (oh sorry, I haven't told you guys that story! lol. I should blog about it!). However, I am still very grateful for that experience because it made me learn a lot! It made me more comfortable with guys, I learnt a lot more of what to do, how to do and it was an invaluable friendship. It didn't stop the emotions, indeed it fuelled the emotions without me even knowing! For me, that's the danger and the risk you run in friendships like that. It doesn't always happen but it can happen and it's not very pretty!

I have to say though that reading Lightchild's post made me hopeful. I think in an ideal world, guys and girls should be able to manage being just friends - and what a beautiful thing it would be. I have met amazing guys who I believe would have made fantastic friends but unfortunately that wasn't explored because I feared that lines would be crossed or blurred and we would have to start looking for ways to try to make sense of it all.

To be honest, I'm not sure I've been fully persuaded by Lightchild BUT I am more open and would hope and pray that we can enjoy friendships in its purest form - male or female.

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  1. There's a very thin line between desires to maintain a pure boy-girl friendship without catching emotions. Have a friend- we talked, joked, yabed, watch movies etc. but ab initio told her nothing more than being friends. I could feel her wanting more but thought she'd overcome it with time until she paid me a surprise visit one day with her friend & casually complained of neck pain & needed a massag So I thought I was up to the task as a gentleman I obliged until I realised blood still flows freely in my veins & stopped.I think unless the lines are drawn ab initio, we may not predict what might result eventually unless there's a very strong restraint on both sides or they are both just not attracted to each other in anyway. Finally, I hope it's just possible to maintain friendships without emotions set in - that would save the troubles of being too cautious which robs the boy-girl friendship its originality.We still live in real & not ideal world.

  2. Thank your both Lightchild for your great post and Ayo for your honest response. Ayo I totally understand your concerns, since I have been through some very difficult situations and conversations already.

    My experience is this: Friendship with the opposite sex work only in two ways:

    1st way: You really don't consider the other person as a potential candidate. It's not that they're bad people, but maybe due to personality differences, geographical distance, age difference or similar factors you really can't imagine you two together. If you feel the other is feeling the same way, an easy-going friendship is possible. For example, I have a Nigerian female friend (Ayo you might know her ;) ) who I get on very well with. We often laugh, tease each other, talk about culture, gender, life etc. but since we are VERY different (esp. concerning religious issues), I know she will always remain just a really good and funny friend I can have a good time with. It works great with her.

    2nd way: There is at least SOME possibility that you could get together. You kind of like spending with her, you have similar goals etc.. Well, then you CAN have a friendship, but only one marked by CAUTION. You might have lunch together, go to church together, go out with a group, write each other OCCASIONALLY, don't overshare and DON'T do things that are considered romantic in your culture - romantic presents, overly romantic dinners, too much looking in the eyes. can To be honest, there is NO way to protect your friendship from romantic feelings, human beings are unpredictable. If you feel that transparency is needed, then have a talk...

    In my experience, some opposite-sex-friendships work well if you have one or two "specialities" in your friendship. I don't know if that's the right word, but what I mean is that you do some things rather regularly and stick to it, based on common interests/ activities. Examples: I have one female friend I like to do some jogging with. So we meet occasionally and run around a lake, nothing more. Another female friend of mine used to send me a lot of fun Christian videos and I did that too, so we had this common interest of joking about Christian culture. Another female friend is my "relationship advisor" (she is in a relationship herself) and whenever something happens, I let her know and she gives me some candid and wise advice. I also have a female "library partner". We both happen to study/ read in the library quite often since we are both too distracted to study at home. So when we bump into each other in the library, we sometimes have a break together. I have another female fellow-student who is very much an intellectual and oftentimes we talk about theories, literature, we share novels and talk about whether we liked them or not. She is kind of my "intellectual friend" and we don't really do a lot of things on top of that and I think this friendship works well. So I think you get the idea what I mean with "specialities".
    By the way, this also applies to same-sex friendships - you don't need to have just one super friend who has it all. Many friends have certain aspects/ attributes that might be interesting and you can focus on these instead of hoping that one friend covers all areas of life ;)

    Sorry for my long comment, I kind of got into the mood of writing again :D

  3. I love the phrases he used in describing finding the one ''Try this one out'', Time waster'', Don't pick up'', ''friend zone'', LOL. I agree with the way he defined of friendship. Yes a guy and lady can be friends but must have boundaries, if there are no boundaries and the guy can just pop up in the girl's house at anytime,or if he wants to hang out the only person he goes for is that girl, or shes the only person he talks to all the time on phone,watsapp, facebook,face time name it. Ah my dear lets be real they have a strong bond which is similar to kind of union the bible describes that should exist between a husband and wife, so they can as well get married lol. So my point is you can be friends but know when to draw the line.

  4. I feel a guy and girl can be friends period, my best friend for a long time was a guy, we never dated, he was more of my brother. The uniqueness of such friendships especially when you are both christians is the broad view angles of life situations from a criss gender perspective. Alot of people asked why we never got married and I often explained that the beauty of our relationship was in the honest friendship which is very hard to come by. Truth is of all the frienships I have had ours was the most real.

  5. hmm great article Lightchild! One of my bests from you so far! So about the topic in question, I kinda agree and I kinda don't. In an ideal world perhaps yes, guys and girls can just be friends without any strings attached but 8/10 times, I'd say there is bound to be "complications" no matter how short these "complications" last for. for guys I have been friends with, I would sometimes be concerned if there I can't any sort of attraction towards me, warrapen?!?!? :). Seriously though at a certain age, the marriage season in one's life, the lines are even more blurred as it's natural to start to consider each opposite sex friend as a potential mate for life. I do like what Sebastian said also, about the different categories of friends that he has. Also I think maybe the way guys and girls view friendships might be different......, women being more emotional and guys being better at separating head from heart issues!

  6. It must take a very understanding husband to accept that another guy is his wife's best friend or that of all the frienships she's had the one with another guy, not the husband, was the most real

  7. @ Belema my dear sister, oh well I know your former best friend and I know you guys where genuine best friends in University, meaning that you were very close, always hung out together and did all the stuff that best friends do, but I also remember that in your later stage of life,that's after school and when you started working even tho Jide was called your best friend, you where not with him all the time or that close, there was gap between you guys, you could go for weeks and not see or talk to Jide? Yes I know sometimes he use to come around and he was of help to you when you needed him, same as you when he needed you, infact he became a brother to our family. So this is where I will stress my point, You get to a stage in life even if your best friend is of the opposite sex, the person either becomes a spouse or just a friend or acquaintance or a brother or sister to you and your family but not best friends. Please lets try to understand the word best, when you say something is best, it means it tops anything , so saying someone is your best friend means that relationship you have with that person is the best and more important than any other. So my point here is the only thing we should gain the best friendship from apart from God is our spouse period. Because that is the person we confide in, we cry to, we show our weakness to, we must always be with except he or she traveled or at work etc.Infact that is the person we do anything with period. So my dear on this note you cannot have a best friend of the opposite sex at a particular stage in life such in your 20's, 30's and so on. Yes its something that can happen at the early stage of life, as a teenager. I think I have said enough for now I got to run lol.

  8. Some of my most treasured pure genuine friendships along life's pathway, were males. No strings attached. They interestingly were in committed relationships during that time period too.

  9. Interesting!
    1plus, didn't we just breeze about this topic the other day? Lol!
    For me, I believe that such friendship as lightchild has described, is possible.
    However, I also believe that we can, and often do cross the lines. This is not entirely bad. For instance, friendships can start off with 'purpose'/boundaries / non of it, and still "criss-cross" into emotional attachment etc... But what you do with this is what matters. If the parties involved agree that criss-crossing is the next best step for the relationship, then, why not? But if not, then, God's grace is able to relieve the emotional -attached from such 'burden', and move the friendship forward...
    So yes, there are friendships with strings attached and without strings attached.
    God bless Ayo and Lightchild.
    P.S: Sebastin, yes! We know Ayo 😅😄

  10. Yes a man and a woman can be just friends. It depends on their level of maturity, knowing & being true to yourself and setting the right boundaries.
    I agree that yes to some extent we have lost the true meaning of friendship, personally I think that while we may talk and relate well with a multitude of people it is important to check who you allow into your inner circle. Thanks again Lightchild for this post


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