We Can Be Friends, But Here’s Five Things About That
The other day, I read a pretty good piece over at Clutch Magazine by my friend Jamilah Lemieux. The article, entitled, “A Case For The Homeboy” is exactly as the title implies, a case for platonic friendships with people of the opposite sex. What I appreciated most about Jamilah’s piece is the way she moved past the rather stale debate as to whether or not men and women can just be friends.
Like her, I think the only people still struggling with being platonic friends with the opposite sex are the same people whose voices are still cracking. So how about we just agree mature men and women can definitely be friends, but these friendships are not a monolith and thus, each friendship is unique.
Take me for instance. I most definitely can be friends with females, but it’s not easy. Here are five things every female should know about being friends with Jozen.
JUST BECAUSE I HAVEN’T MADE A MOVE, DOESN’T MEAN I WON’T
Here’s the thing about my female friends: I’m attracted to most of them. Men don’t ask for friendship, they settle into it. Most of my female friendships stem from my failed efforts to make them more than friends, so the attraction never ceases it just gets suppressed. Unless my good friend is in a relationship, pregnant, or engaged, I never really get to the point where I see her as a sister. Somewhere in the back of my mind I’m definitely thinking of her in a non-sister way.
IT’S BEST IF SHE DOESN’T CONFIDE IN ME HER BEDROOM ISSUES
I don’t think it’s insulting for a woman to think I would make a move on her. I think it’s insulting for a woman to think I won’t. So when a woman starts talking to me about her problems in the bedroom with the opposite sex, I only know one form of counsel, and it’s a hands-on approach. If she is not down for this method, then she needs to go to her other friends and see what they prescribe. Never forget, I’m the straight male friend.
SHE CAN’T GET MAD WHEN I CANCEL OUR PLANS AT THE LAST MINUTE OR FLAKE ON HER; BASICALLY TREAT ME LIKE HER MAN
I’m a friend, not a boyfriend, so if we’re going somewhere to kick it, we’re going dutch at all times. Of course I’m a gentlemen — you’re my friend, you should know that — but when it comes to paying for her movie ticket, please. Those are dating privileges.
Also, if we did have plans, and I cancel them at the last minute, there’s no reason to treat me like the guy who canceled a date. We weren’t going out on a date, we were just going to hang out, like I do with my boys. You know what happens when I cancel plans on my boys? They don’t trip. As a matter of fact, whenever I see them after the canceled plans have passed, they rip me for not being there because they will act like I missed the time of my life. One of my boys asked me to help him move out, and originally I said I would. Then he gave me the call time and I said I wouldn’t. Him and I are friends to this day, closer than ever. Sure, every now and then he’ll bring it up and say, “You were a jerk for that.” But then we go right back to playing Madden or drinking beers. If I had pulled the same thing on a female friend, I doubt we would be friends at all. Speaking of moving…
SHE’S HELPING ME MOVE TOO
She thinks just because she’s a girl, she gets excluded from assisting me with certain things like hard labor. Wrong. If she’s a really good female friend of mine who has been a shoulder to cry on, she can also be a shoulder to put a box of my things on. Any woman who is a friend of mine can expect a phone call from me if I need my apartment painted or some help lifting some furniture. And I would call my boy but remember what I did to him? Yeah, he’s doing the same thing.
IF WE EVER DO DECIDE TO DATE, SHE CAN’T HOLD AGAINST ME THE THINGS I DID TO OTHER WOMEN WHILE WE WERE FRIENDS
This one is a bit tricky. Maybe we were friends for a while and now things have felt a little heavier than before. We start looking at each other differently and are thinking about making our friendship into something more. If we go there, I don’t expect my friend to forget about all the trifling things I did to other women I dated, but I also don’t expect to be held hostage against them. One would hope if a female friend of mine did start to look at me as something more it would be because she saw good in me despite my past mistakes.