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Boundaries in Opposite Sex Friendships

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with creating boundaries because there absolutely isn’t. But to just waltz into someone’s life and try to get rid of lifelong friendships simply because you’re insecure is toxic...

Many people believe that men and women can’t be platonic friends. My bestest friend of over two decades just so happens to be a guy. People have sworn up and down that they KNOW we have done something at least once on a drunken night. That just lets me know that they smash their friends on “drunken nights.”

We have never been intimate, inappropriate, kissed or even hugged too tight. Ever! I recognize that a lot of people can’t say that and so that’s where the distrust comes from in opposite sex friendships. People will claim to be a friend, or even worse, “bro and sis” and be cheating and creeping the whole time. There is so much to break down on this topic, so let’s get to it!

Bottom line, the trajectory of opposite sex friendships is largely dependent on the woman. Let’s be real, men are easily enticed. Many of them unfortunately are not capable of rejecting coochie on a platter, if it’s thrown at them. I’m not trying to put the burden of the entire relationship on the woman because society does that to us enough, but I have to be honest here. We need to be intentional in our interactions with our guy friends, if they are in fact just platonic friends.

Women will do things like text their guy friend a half-naked pic and say “look, can you tell I’ve lost weight?!” And then when he responds in the fashion that most men do to a beautiful, half naked woman, you act surprised. Sis you knew them boobs were sitting, and that ass was thanging when you sent the picture. This is not just an innocent act, especially when you know that man is in a relationship. Like honestly ask yourself what your true intention is when you’re doing these things.

Here’s the other interesting thing. The female friend rarely actually wants the male friend, hence why they are friends. However, there is something that attracts her to his attention and so she gets an ego boost just from knowing he is attracted, even if she would never go there. STOP THAT!

Then there are those who do want the guy, but he doesn’t want her, so she waits in the wings as the “friend” just to be around. She is so easy and desperate that she allows him to smash at his convenience. Then he taunts her by bringing all different types of women around her, introducing her as his bestie or his sis, as she suffers silently, so press for a position in his life. I’ve seen this with my own eyes more times than I can count, and it literally makes my stomach turn. He just gets free goodies on demand and a lifetime pass to disrespect you because you’re just his “friend.”

As a girlfriend entering this type of situation, I’d say RUN! You may not know for sure, as nobody is going to come out and say it, but your instincts don’t lie. If the friendship feels off, it’s because it is. Don’t think that you’re so special that you can change people. If they’ve been bumping and grinding on the low for the last 10 years, your presence won’t change that. That chick will be right there at your wedding on the front row, and sleep with him upon return from your honeymoon.

Now having said all that, there are some women who enter relationships with men who have had his friends for 10, 20, 30+ years and then thinks she can just dead the friendships because she has now arrived. It’s not because anything inappropriate has happened. It’s just because she’s incredibly insecure. I think men who allow this are weak. I’ve witnessed men cut off their female friends because a woman said so, and I’ve also seen those same relationships not work out. You know why? Because the issues were much bigger than friends who were in the picture before you.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with creating boundaries because there absolutely isn’t. But to just waltz into someone’s life and try to get rid of lifelong friendships simply because you’re insecure is toxic. People don’t like to be controlled, so when I see that happening, I’m like good luck with that. I know it’s a scary position to come into because you really don’t know, and may never know, the full extent of those friendships. You could get played, you could hurt, the whole nine. But you can get played and hurt in ANY relationship. Look for character in people, more than trying to control who they’re friends with.

I saw a post not too long ago that was like “when I get a man, I make him get rid of any female friends. I’m the only woman he needs in his life.” A lot of women were agreeing with her. My brain bout exploded because there is so much wrong with that statement. First of all, MAAKKKEE?? *Soulja Boy voice* And that’s exactly why she has to keep getting new men. He’s only going to be your sucker for so long before he gets tired of that mess. The other thing is sis, IF he is cheating, it’s highly likely that it’s NOT with the friend you’re so upset about. Y’all be missing it, worried about all the wrong things!

My best friend L is incarcerated right now. He’s been away for going on seven years. As a friend, I try my best to accept his calls, visit when I’m on the east coast, put money on his books, check in on his mom, and assist with other matters as he needs me to. Imagine if he would’ve let any woman pull us apart. Most of them have not supported him at all. Many of them are in new relationships, rightfully so, but that’s why you don’t dump your friends for anyone.

He had always making sure I was straight when I was down and out. He gave me lots of loans that I never repaid, that helped get me through college, be it for purchasing books, maxed out credit card payments, or simply food money. Oddly enough, I would end up paying those loans back over time with his current situation. Life is reciprocal in nature. Now is my time to show him all the love and support that he’s ALWAYS shown me. That’s friendship. That’s my dawg. That’s my bestest friend in the world. And I’d never let anyone change that. My husband knew that from the first date. Every boyfriend before him knew it too.

I’m grateful for solid, longstanding, genuine friendships of the opposite sex. Three of my closest friends in life are men. Then I have a few brothers who are my literal family. I’m grateful for what each of them adds to my life. I’d be devastated if any of them allowed an insecurity of an essential stranger, to pull us apart. In fact, my guy friends have added so much more to my life by giving me more sister friends in their wives/girlfriends. When everyone understands boundaries, and has no ulterior motives, it can be a beautiful thing.

So let’s get to the boundaries. When your guy friend gets into a relationship, there are certain things that need to change. You might use to talk all night until the sun comes up, but those days are now over sis. That goes both ways. I was the first to enter a serious relationship between my bestie and I. We never even had to have a conversation about it, things just naturally changed. We didn’t call each other all hours of the night anymore. Naturally, my boyfriend (now husband) started hanging out with us sometimes. This was not a requirement, just the way things progressed, which gave them opportunity to form their own bond.

Also, tell dating potentials UP FRONT, about your opposite sex friends. You cannot just spring that on somebody a year later. Pick up the phone when they call (when you can). Have some of your calls on speaker so your mate can feel the energy of the relationship. Over time they’ll know that it’s pure…..if it is. If you only can talk to your opposite sex friends when your mate isn’t around, that’s def going to create suspicion.

Tell the truth. If you’ve had a sexual past with any of your close friends, tell people early on. Nobody wants to feel betrayed by finding out something like that down the line. I truly believe that authentic conversions can happen, but again, everyone must be honest. Everyone deserves to have a choice and by withholding information, you’re literally stealing the choice away from the other person.

Another one of my best friends in the world just so happens to be my ex. I don’t think of him as an ex, just my friend. But for context, we dated many years ago and were always homies, even in the relationship. I don’t believe we ever had real romantic chemistry so the transition to platonic friendship happened easily for us. I don’t know, maybe I’m a a guy myself! Lol It took time, growth and maturity on both sides, as well as some tough conversations. He and my husband have a good relationship which I’m also grateful for. He started dating someone that I could tell he really liked. He asked what he should tell her about me. I said THE TRUTH! I’m so glad he did. Weight lifted!

I’m a genuine person and I LOVE my friends. I never want to be inauthentic smiling up in somebody’s girlfriend’s face without her making a conscious choice to be there after knowing the truth. I make a point to be genuine to my friends’ ladies, speak to them if I call and they are around, or even try to include them in the conversation when appropriate.

If you do all those things, and the girlfriend just doesn’t like you, that’s her own problem. As long as your friend is solid, the girlfriend will likely be gone before you will. I’ve seen soooo many come and go! I’ll def do my part as a friend to support and respect my guy friends’ relationships, but I’m never kissing ass. If he switches up on you for a girlfriend, he wasn’t real to begin with and that’s not a friendship that you need. Period.

Always be cognizant of the responsibility not to entice your friends, and not to be disrespectful to their relationships. Some pictures are for your girlfriends only. You don’t need to sit on his lap, for any reason. You don’t need to detail your sexual encounters to him. These things are just inappropriate. Don’t be funny and then try to play victim like you don’t know what you’re doing. Also remember, that he is your friend, not your man! Some things, he should not be getting the call for, nor will he have time to jump at your every beck and call, especially if he has a lady. Don’t try to use your guy friends to fill the void of a romantic relationship.

If you’re in a relationship with someone (or considering one) where an opposite sex friendship makes you uncomfortable, spend some time assessing it fully. Don’t just assess them, you need to look at yourself also. Are you just insecure? Why? Are you holding them responsible for some fraudulent activity that someone else did to you and now you think everyone will do it? Is the opposite sex friend inappropriate? How? Figure out what your issue really is. Then ask yourself what your boundaries are in the situation. If it’s something that you can’t deal with, I’d suggest you walk away. I never suggest trying to change or control other people.

I can truly say I haven’t personally had these problems. My guys have great character, have been super loyal to me, super unapologetic about my position in their lives, and there for me whenever I need them. That’s all I ask for. Everything I do is to reciprocate the love and support they’ve always shown to me. Quite frankly, any of my guy friends could have vaginas, and nothing would change. At all.

All this to say, yes men and women can be real friends. Don’t charge us all with the poor choices of other. Ultimately, if you can’t deal with it, then don’t. You don’t have to. But don’t try to control the rest of us because you can’t.

From One T.U.F.F Chick to Another,

Michelle L.


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