Super Platonic Best Friends: Why I’m Proud That Some Of My Best Friends Are Women


The first thing I learned about girls was that they aren’t boys.

The second thing I learned about girls was that they have cooties.

The third thing I learned about girls was that because they aren’t boys and have cooties, they would always be a great mystery in my life.

When I became old enough to try talking to girls, everything I thought I knew about them I had learned either through television, teenage rom-coms, or urban legends. What I knew, I knew for certain: girls wanted guys to be funny, but not too funny, sensitive, but not too sensitive, and to always be quick with a romantic gesture when someone else had just stepped on their heart. By the time I was able to realize that women were actually real people, I was so caught up with the idea of them (not to mention more hormones than I knew what to do with) that the chances of me having a legitimate relationship—of any kind—with any woman, was impossible!

If you haven’t already guessed, my adolescent years were awkward. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why. I was funny, I was sensitive, I was understanding, and I didn’t think that running after a school bus shouting about my undying love to a girl I barely knew was in any way an inappropriate step in the courting process. What was it about girls (who at that time had turned into women) that I didn’t understand? What was I missing?

As time moved on, and puberty burned off from a boil to a gentle simmer, my answers became clear. While I had spent so much time trying to acquire girlfriends, I never put any real effort into making any girl friends. All this time I had thought that I knew a lot about women, but actually, I didn’t know anything at all!

Over time, I eased off. I stopped believing that any chance encounter with the perfect woman was, in fact, my own personal rom-com beginning to unfold. I stopped trying to decode everything a girl said. I turned off that hormonal switch that I had no control over for years. With some of these women, the craziest thing happened.

We became friends!

I’m serious! Friends! Like real, honest to goodness friends! Like, we would talk and hang out and support each other emotionally without thinking about whether one day there’d be a sexual payoff.

Nowadays, if I were to count how many important and impactful friendships I have, the number of women I put into that category is shoulder-to-shoulder with the guys. There was certainly a time when I thought that it might be weird to have so many female friends. I wondered why it was that more often than not in a moment of crisis it was one of the gals I would call up to meet for a beer instead of one of the guys. How was it that I was doing so many guy things with the girls?

That was when I realized that not only did I have so many girl friends, but that they were some of my best friends. Sure, at first it was a bit strange to deal with. There would always be slightly skeptical glances from waiters, bartenders, etc. when we said we were just friends. There was the never-ending conversation with my mother, explaining to her that just because there was a photo of me with a girl on Facebook that it didn’t mean that we were dating. Then, of course, there was the task of explaining it to my guy friends as well.

The more I realized how important these friendships were to me, the more I became curious about why these friendships were so important to me. Here are the things that I’ve learned through these friendships, and why I value them so much:

Women listen differently than men

11136045_mA friend of mine once told me that she hated confiding things in men as opposed to women because, “Men just want to solve your problem for you. Women listen to how you feel.” While I think for myself, and a lot of us men, the idea of trying to solve someone else’s problems is natural if not instinctive, it’s not always the best course of action. There’s something therapeutic about being heard about how you feel, and I don’t think I would have learned how to listen in this way from any of the guys that I know.




Practice! Practice! Practice!

No, not that sort of practice! But I would be lying if I said that every time I meet a woman romantically, I’m completely calm and sure of what I’m going to say or do. Do I practice “running game” on my friends? Of course not! But anytime I make them laugh, enjoy a joke, whatever, it provides some kind of reassurance that I have a (somewhat) good idea of how to talk to women.

Perspective

Sometimes, the worst advice to get is the advice you’d give yourself. It’s like being stuck in an echo chamber. While I certainly lean on my guy friends for advice, there are plenty of times when I am much more comfortable leaning on one of the women I know because I value that their perspective can be different from mine. This is doubly true when dealing with relationships. A woman’s perspective can be very insightful.

Now I know that for some, the idea of platonic best friends might seem odd. Why look for that camaraderie in someone in the opposite gender when it can be so easily found through more “conventional” friendships? Because, at the end of the day, it is the people in our lives who are different from us that force us to grow. Those that have a totally different perspective, but love us enough to let us be who we are.

The first thing I learned about girls was that they aren’t boys.

The second thing I learned about girls was that they have cooties.

The third thing I learned about girls was that because they aren’t boys and have cooties, they would always be a great mystery in my life.
Eventually, I learned so much more, thanks to the help of some amazing women that I’m proud to call best friends.

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