So, before we get deep into this, yes, I’ve watched When Harry Met Sally before. Many times. (Did I just reveal my age? It’s 40. My mama didn’t raise me to have aging issues. All good.) Therefore, I’m aware of the theory/myth/popular assumption that men and women can’t be “just friends”.
The irony to that is personally, as a marriage coach, sometimes I find myself wondering how many married couples are real friends themselves—but I digress.
Anyway, despite the popular myth about men and women, I can actually attest to the fact that I have several strictly-friends relationships with people of the opposite sex. They’re attractive. They’re ambitious. They’re all around great dudes.
And while some have made it clear that there have been times when some more-than-friends thoughts have crossed their minds, what I like about my male friends is that they value the friendship enough to not want to risk it; just because they happen to think I’m cute in an outfit or they notice my eyes or lips in the right lighting does not mean they want to “take it there”.
I’m only saying all this to say that while yes, some female friends may give their male friends advice on their romantic relationships with a cryptic ulterior motive, there are also a lot of us who are quite genuine when it comes to offering up our perspective on their matters of the heart. So, if you’re in a relatively new relationship that you think is heading somewhere real and lasting or you’re seriously thinking about proposing to your gal, if your platonic female friend is giving you a bit of side-eye, here’s five reasons why you might want to at least hear her out.
She loves you (without being in love with you)
One thing about a woman and her way of loving is, no matter the form, it’s fierce. And so, when your female friend poses questions like “Are you sure she’s not seeing anyone else?” or “Something just doesn’t feel right with her”, I’m not saying that means you should end the relationship. I’m saying that your female friend (again, when she is just your friend), is bringing things to your attention that may or may not be red flags. However, because she cares about you, wants you to be happy and has probably seen one of your past relationships go up in flames, at least be willing to put her hesitations on your radar.
She knows you. Really (really) well
Just about all of us have heard that you should marry your best friend. The reason why is because your best friend doesn’t just know the “dating side of you”. They know the whole kit and kaboodle. The same goes with your female friend. She knows if you’re moody. She knows if your credit score is less than stellar. She knows if you cry at commercials. She knows if your pet peeve is getting cut off while you’re talking.
All of these are simply examples of what makes each person an individual, by the way. The point is this: She knows what makes you tick—and what ticks you off; that includes the things you may be hesitant to share on the onset of a relationship. As you’re trying to figure out if the person you’re dating will love you for you, the intimate details that your friend already has can help to shed some light on all of that.
She can provide the female perspective
I do a lot of relationship reading and writing. And when it comes to the reading part, I really like men, who write to women about men, from the male perspective. Why? Because it’s the male perspective. You can spare yourself a lot of (unnecessary) drama and heartache if when you have a disagreement or some issues with your girlfriend, you ask your female friend to speak from a female point of view. For instance, if you don’t get why your girlfriend doesn’t want you to give her a gift card, but an actual present for her birthday, ask your female friend. She can break it down like no other.
She can look “from the outside in”
I was recently talking to male friend of mine about his marriage. There are some things about his wife that really get on his nerves that when they were dating, I suggested probably would. One of the things I mentioned in the midst of his vent was “Dude, a part of the reason why I knew I could never live with you is because I really know you. You didn’t give the relationship with her enough time to see if her personality was a good fit.”
If you’re an extrovert, the woman you’re dating is shy and jealous and your female friend says “So, you know if she doesn’t like you hanging out with your friends now, it’s only going to get worse after marriage, right?”—take heed. Men have a gift of keeping us women focused on the here and now. At the same time, don’t underestimate the blessing that can come from our ability to see ahead.
I’ve had more than a few male friends say “Why didn’t I listen?” while reflecting on conversations they had with their female friends about their now ex-girlfriends/ex-wives.
She can save you a lot of time
A wise man once said that if kids and dogs like you, you’re pretty much home free. I’ll add to that list a female friend.
Look, you’re a grown man and you can do whatever you want to do. But you know what? There is something simply magical that happens when a female friend meets your girlfriend and they just “click”. Some of my married male friends have wives that I adore. It’s not because there aren’t challenges in the relationship from time to time (all relationships have peaks and valleys). It’s because I can see how happy they make my male friends, it’s evident that the love is real and (this is so key) they make my friends’ lives better.
A good female friend wants you to be with the kind of woman who is going to enhance your life, not change you as a person. If you trust that’s where her heart and motives are on the front end of a relationship, your female friend can save you a lot of time, effort and energy on the “wrong one”—so that you can clear up some space for the right one to come along. One that you not only deeply love (and like) but also doesn’t mind you keeping that gem of a female friend.
Photo: Flickr/Stefano Mortellaro