By Ayanna Black
I once had a male friend that I was close to. We worked in the same department and begin to hang out outside of work. I’d invited him to a couple functions and considered him to be like a brother. Along the way my husband (boyfriend at the time) became uncomfortable with the friendship. He felt that my friend wanted more from the friendship than intended.
I didn’t want to believe it so I continued the friendship because I was young and just didn’t see the warning signs. Shortly after my naÃ¯ve eyes were opened. My friend started to show up places uninvited and then wanted to hang out with my boyfriend. He was trying to see if my boyfriend and I communicated with each other. The straw that broke the camels back for me is when I’d gone out of town and my friend called my boyfriend and asked him if he knew about it. I was furious and totally convinced to immediately end what I thought was our friendship.
Now as a married woman with a bit more age and wisdom under my belt, I tend to choose my male friendships a little more carefully to avoid confusion. When entering into friendship with a male, I’m especially conscientious to look for warning signs that would deem it a toxic friendship. Here are few ways to go about it:
1. Make sure you let the person know that you are happily married. It’s one thing to say you’re married but the key is to let them know you are happily married and act like it.
2. If you’re going to go out make sure you include your spouse or make it a group outing with other friends. Instead of one-on-one outings always have your spouse accompany you or make it a group outing with other friends. This way the setting is not so intimate.
3. Avoid conversations that can focus on sex. This is always a conversation that will get you in trouble. I’ve rarely seen a male and female discuss sex and not at some point want to develop a physical relationship. So be attentive to this and use discretion.
4. Be mindful of excessive complimenting. I do love a compliment or two maybe even three but common sense will tell me when its flirting and not pure admiration. Sometime this could be the beginning of an inappropriate friendship.
So for me I still think its okay to have male friends but I am definitely more aware of the responsibility that comes along with it.
Is it okay to have friends of the opposite sex? If so is it okay to hang out with them without your spouse or a group of people?