Not only is My Best Friend’s Wedding one of my favorite movies of all time, it also gave me some very useful insight into opposite-sex friendships, insight that to this day I continue to use in my own platonic relationships with guys.
In one scene, Julia Roberts explains to Dermot Mulroney, “Kimmy says if you love someone you say it, you say it right then, out loud. Otherwise the moment just…passes you by.” Okay, so love may be too strong of a word for the type of relationships I’m talking about here, but you get the gist of it. In the movie, Roberts waits too long to tell her male bff that she has romantic feelings for him, which ultimately almost ruins their friendship.
While many may argue that My Best Friend’s Wedding proves why men and women can’t be just friends, I’d have to firmly disagree. Actually, it does quite the opposite it taught me that it’s very possible to have male friends, as long as you overcome a few inevitable barriers. Case in point: dealing with any potential emotional or romantic feelings early on, something Roberts didn’t do.
It may seem like a lot of work to do just to be friends with someone, but seeing as how my male friends are some of the best friends I have, it’s well worth it. So, before you become bff with a guy, here are a few things to consider…
Let’s talk about sex baby
Sexual tension is probably the single, biggest barrier to any opposite-sex friendship. It’s usually the case that one party has sexual feelings that he/she stifles for fear of ruining the friendship. But the truth is that the sooner you get it out in the open, the sooner you can move on. No one likes getting rejected, but once you hear that the other person doesn’t feel the same way, then you can let go of expectations and focus on being good friends. If he/she doesn’t want to be friends after that, then they probably weren’t your real friend to begin with.
Don’t act differently than you would in your other friendships
If this is a “real” friendship and you’ve already gotten the sex/feelings talk out of the way, then you need to treat it the same way you do your same-sex friendships. Obviously the types of things you do for fun with your girlfriends will differ from how you spend your time with your guy friends, but no matter what, you need to be yourself. If you find yourself behaving differently in front of the guys (i.e., taking an extra hour to get ready before hanging out with them or not acting a certain way for fear of not “looking cool”), then you need to reevaluate why. There’s a serious chance you subconsciously don’t see them as “just friends.”
Don’t let other people define your relationship
The fact of the matter is we still live in a society that hasn’t full accepted opposite-sex friendships as the norm. When a guy and girl are good friends, people will constantly try to read more into the relationship than necessary. They want a reason besides, “I like spending time with him.” Why? Because it makes them uneasy it goes against what society has always defined as “normal” friendships. But if you enjoy spending time with someone, boy or girl, then you need to create your own definition.