Now for day 2 of Relationship Week. For those of you returning, thank you. Thus far this week is turning out to be a success. For those of you just arriving, take a look at what has been said so far and add your voice.
Let me preface what follows by tendering the definition of friendship I will be using. I took the liberty of borrowing this definition from @girly1121 who is a new blogger at Latte Then Thoughts Blog:
When I think of a Friend, I think of someone that is there for me no matter what, someone I can share my thoughts, feelings, ups and downs and they are not going to judge me.
I once had a Friend like that. We were good friends for quite a while. Sometimes I really miss her friendship.
She was a young, single black female. I was a young, married black male. Perhaps when I think about it, it couldn’t have lasted anyway.
We worked the nightshift together. And I guess it was only natural that we should have become friends. We were raised in the same geographical area, and had many shared experiences. Plus, I welcomed the familiar accent; it soothed me and reminded me of home. And we had the same quirky sense of humor.
So, eight to twelve hours a day, five days a week, we spent the night talking and laughing together and plotting how we were going to get out of a job we both abhorred and move on to bigger and better things.
I found it humorous when our co-workers began referring to her as “my work wife.” But I grew wary when our co-workers began whispering of an affair between the two of us. I wanted to do nothing to disrespect my wife and family.
But nevertheless, our friendship escalated. We began to have phone conversations during the day, sometimes several times a day. And my wife and I visited her home several times for dinner or a party, and she visited ours several times for the same reasons.
The turning point in our friendship came one weekend when my wife and children were out of town for some family function, a wedding or funeral or something. I really don’t remember. But on a Saturday night when we were off, she called me seemingly upset. She asked that I come right away but wouldn’t give me a reason.
I didn’t feel right about the whole thing. I had never been to her home except in the company of my wife. And on the drive over, the advice of the minister who had counseled me and my wife before we got married kept playing in the back of my head. He had advised me that the very best way to keep from cheating was not to allow myself to get into any situation in which I had to say no.
And then I thought of my frat brother who always seemed to be in trouble with his wife for cheating. A young, single woman who he was “friends” with called him over to help her move some furniture, and they managed to move some furniture all right.
So about halfway there, I turned around and went back home.
From then on, our friendship went downhill. We became downright nasty toward one another. More and more, we spent the night arguing and insulting one another until we just stopped speaking at all, and she finally just went to the day shift.
From this experience, I can only believe that it is practically impossible for heterosexual men and women to be just friends given the definition tendered above, especially when one party is married and the other is not. There is always a certain sexual tension present that if not resolved can only turn affection into resentment.
Perhaps if we had both been single and the relationship been allowed to run its natural course, perhaps if we had an outlet for that tension that had built up between us, I can only imagine where the relationship might have gone.
Since then we located one another through a mutual friend via Facebook. We have exchanged cordial greetings and messages, and she even sent me a birthday card. But I know nothing of her life now, and as far as I know, she knows nothing of mine.
Also, since then I have had many female friends. In fact, I have many more female friends than male friends. But besides those childhood friendships that I maintain from afar, most of what I am referring to as friends are only really acquaintances that I hear from or see from time to time. We have a short conversation, catch up on what has transpired since we last saw one another, and then move on with our lives.
Am I too bound by my own experience to believe that heterosexual men and women can be best friends? Can heterosexual men and women be just friends, and what would that friendship look like, consist of? Do you have a close friend of the opposite sex? What has sustained your friendship?