Is It Okay To Be Best Friends With Someone of the Opposite Sex?
If this generation has its Bogs and Mae (Paano Na Kaya, 2010) and Palits and Marian (Close to You, 2006), well my generation had our cute bff's Budjoy and Ned from Marvin & Jolina’s 1998 movie called “Labs Kita, Okay Lang?” (I know, throwback!). All are fictional stories of childhood best friends secretly falling in love with each other but were both reluctant to deal with and admit their feelings so as to preserve the friendship.
Ang daming madaling maka-relate sa mga ganitong movie themes since male-female best friend relationships have become not only possible, but quite common today. And I’d like to share my two cents worth on it.
So, is it okay to be best friends with someone of the opposite sex?
When I give talks about relationships I usually get this question, and my answer would always be that while I do not see cross-gender best friend relationships as morally wrong, I definitely do not encourage and advocate them. Here are some reasons why:
⚫ Our teenage and early twenty years are to be wisely used in investing in healthy same-sex friendships. While it’s true that of the most important social transitions in adolescence is the formation of other-sex peer relationships for social and emotional adjustment, this does not necessarily mean that opposite-sex best friend relationships (OSBFR) will be highly beneficial. For instance, one study found out that teens who engaged in OSBFR's had higher antisocial behaviors compared to others, especially for girls. May tendency kasi na ma-isolate na kayo kung mag-bestfriend kayo since others would normally treat you subtly as a couple. Sayang naman yung opportunity to develop many other healthy friendships with the same gender.
⚫ We need same-sex friendships to grow. I have heard many girls say, “ate, boyish lang talaga ako, kaya close ako sa boys” and while that could be partially true, I think that’s a really lazy defense. The fact is that when a girl is in the presence of his male friends (kahit pa totally unromantic at walang malisya), she is treated differently and is given unusual attention --- kahit pa one-of-the-boys siya (hello, ask the guys!). Prinsesa siya doon eh. Kasi babae. But when a girl is in the presence of her girlfriends, psychology tells us that there is this instinctive competition when girls get together (not exactly the awayan sort of competition), in that friendships with the opposite sex would mean the necessity of intentionally exerting extra effort and character stretch --- and that’s where growth happens! 🙂
⚫ I’ve always believed that the “best friend” label should be reserved for your future spouse. Gentlemen, when you get married someday, would you appreciate if your wife has a male best friend? Inversely, ladies, when you get married someday, would you like the idea of your husband having a female best friend? 🙂 Go ahead, answer these questions yourself. (itong point lang na ito, solved na 'ko, actually).
⚫ Best friend relationships are too intimate by nature. To be engaged in a “best friend relationship” puts on the expectation and commitment to spend quality time with each other, to be available in times of need, to have in-depth conversations and revelations about oneself, and intense care for each other. Bottom line is, best friend relationships entail too much emotional investment and intimacy and can easily lead to romantic feelings. If you say, “hindi naman kami ganyan ka-intimate ng best friend ko kaya okay lang siguro sa case namin”, then why be best friends? I think a young man who is best friends with a young woman is in dangerous territory (unless they are married to each other) since a young woman's heart is easily won over by friendship and emotions. Her heart is vulnerable.
Does this mean that single women should never have guy friends? Not at all. I have the blessing of having great guy friends around. But this just means that a single woman’s meaningful relationships should come from female friendships. These are friendships that will last and encourage you in your pursuit of godliness, purity, and marriage. These are friendships that will last long after you say “I do.” <3
You need to know what’s seriously at stake here-- her heart. But I hear many of you say, “dude, we’re just friends!”. So you really think a woman in her right mind would make such investments of her time and emotions so that one day she can be an emcee on your wedding? Give me a break.
Madaling i-deny ang responsibility for your girl best friend’s decision to keep yearning for you and thinking that there is more to the friendship when you have never clearly and plainly said (in words, in a language/dialect you both understand, in front of her, with her full name) that you were interested. But that’d be really lame, immature, and very unmanly. Bro, if you’re really interested and ready for a relationship, then pursue her (with an intention of marriage). Clearly define the relationship for what it is. Guys, newsflash: chances are, your girl best friend thinks (or hopes) that something might be going on between you two. Sa tingin niya a great guy like you would not spend time with her, share his deepest feelings, and slightly flirt with her kung wala namang chance of a relationship. Pero at the same time, naguguluhan din siya --- emotionally, intimate ka sa kanya, pero physically, para mo lang siyang nakababatang kapatid. She would want confrontation but would most probably hold it back para maiwasang magmukhang assuming, so she’ll just be glad to take what you give. And while she’s confused, you’re enjoying a benefit that any man would appreciate: the feeling of being liked by a woman.
Pero kung hindi ka pa ready to pursue her or anyone — after all this time — then kindly and respectfully apologize to her if you’ve done anything to give the impression of romance in the friendship, and if you’ve asked her emotional investment and intimacy when you clearly cannot match it with a relational commitment.
When the superficial friendship ends, it will definitely be painful and heartbreaking (parang isang breakup). But you will then clearly see the line that you’ve have crossed. And well, hopefully, magsisimula ka na to really treat women as sisters — physically and emotionally.
Ito naman ang third option: ‘wag mong pansinin ang advise na ito, and ituloy mong idate halfway ang kaibigan mo. But before you do that, let me make one more plea. Song of Solomon often-quoted verse says, "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases" (Song of Solomon 8:4). This verse is usually used to counsel single women not to prematurely commit themselves romantically, but I want to use it to counsel and admonish you.
Please understand na wala nang ibang makakapag-"stir up or awaken love" in a woman's heart like emotional intimacy and spending time together. And it's the little things that open her heart that draws her heart moment by moment.
Please spare her from being, borrowing Budjoy's words, "so stupid to make the biggest mistake of falling in love with my best friend." 😉
And although I know it feels good to receive this kind of attention, please recognize this: It's more than her attention you're getting — it's her heart, her love. And, brother, kung ang handa mo lang na ibigay sa kanya is the privilege of being your favorite girl buddy, I'm sorry, but you don't deserve it, and believe me, she deserves better.
Guest Post by Jezreel Faith Manugue. Jez is a Psychology major, who serves as the youth pastor of Jesus Revival Church. She is a joyful young woman who loves God, and who is passionate about making disciples and creating impact to her generation. Check out Jez's blog Purpose. Passion. Purity.