If I didn’t have friends of the opposite sex, I’d have very few friends left.
I grew up with a gaggle of brothers, male cousins and uncles so it naturally extended to my friendships. My comfort level around men was second nature. Excluding the ones I was crushing on (and my childhood bully), I’ve always been my most comfortable self with them. Never worried about being judged for my hair, my clothes, or my looks. I was simply part of their crew. The little “sister” they clowned around with, sought advice about girls from, played dominoes and UNO with, and whose company they simply enjoyed without any stress or drama. With them, I never felt awkward.
Which is why I tilted my head in curiosity at (my girl! ❤ her!) Mary J. Blige’s most recent comment about opposite sex friendships in her marriage: “All females for me, all guys for him. There’s none of that, ‘Oh, that’s my female friend, Oh, that’s my guy friend,’” Blige said. “No, not in a marriage, I’ve never seen that work.”
She’s not the first person to stand on the side of ‘no’ to the question of whether men and women can ever be just friends. But I still don’t get it. My husband and I both count opposite sex members as best friends. At our wedding he had a Best Woman and I had a Man of Honor. Were we supposed to terminate two long-standing, supportive friendships because of unnecessary insecurity? What sense would that have made?
Simplistic or not, in my head you either trust the person you’re marrying, or you don’t. Trust the relationship, or don’t. If the stability and longevity of your marriage depend on banishing opposite sex friendships, perhaps your foundation wasn’t strong enough to begin with.
Just my two cents. What’s yours?