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?

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 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’d 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.

The 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” or certain aspects of life, I can always bounce this off them

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

If I was 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.

The only one thing that is non-existing in these relationships or friendship is anything that can be seen as emotional attachment, sexual feelings or desires. “Them 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…

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

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 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. That 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 colours when it comes do 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”.

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 do 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 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 called 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.

I guess the answer to the question lies with each person’s view and perspective. Your view and perspective are 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?

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