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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Hey Girls, Having Close Male Friends After You Are Married is Unwise Says Bethany Baird

bethany bairdWhen guys and girls are close friends, often someone becomes emotionally attached. One person just wants to “be friends” and the other person is left sad and brokenhearted. I’ve been there! If two people who are “just friends” develop a deep and emotionally driven friendship, one of them is bound to come out with a broken heart.

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When a guy friend has a listening ear and we’ve got a lot going on, it can be really tempting to pour out our hearts to the closest guy friend available. If guy friends are all we’ve got, the temptation to open up and share the deepest parts of our heart with someone who isn’t our boyfriend or husband is hard to resist.

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Consider this: Once you’re married [Baird is single, by the way], is it beneficial to maintain deep friendships with guys who aren’t your husband? No way! It’s not wise or healthy. That means that all of your current deep guy friendships are all short-term. If you’re investing most of your time into guy friendships, what will you have once you get married? Who will stand up next to you in your wedding? Who will be there to laugh and cry with, to love, and to challenge you during your future marriage? Guy friendships just can’t realistically be maintained like that long-term.

— Bethany Baird, Lies Young Women Believe, When Guy Friendships Are Easier Than Girl Friendships, November 27, 2017

6 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Van

    Dunno Bruce. Usually I’m in sync with you, but believe your headline is unfair in this instance. I read the whole source article, and believe her main point is that women should not have only male friends; they need female friends too. I would agree with that, and further argue it goes both ways. Getting close to an opposite gendered person who is not your spouse is playing with fire.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      I added a word to the title to address your concern. That said, I don’t think close relationships with the opposite sex are necessarily playing with fire. Such relationships, of course, can be, but what concerns me is the underlying notion that closeness between the sexes naturally leads to sex. Should gays only have male friends, and should they only be gay? The same could be said for lesbians.

      What is needed is comprehensive training on proper conduct when in the company of people you are not married to (along with a plethora of other sexual issues). If we know what the boundaries are, we shouldn’t fear having close friends of the opposite sex; and our spouses shouldn’t fear us breaking our marital vows if we do. Sadly, religion has ruined many of us, even those of us who are no longer believers. Being told over and over that women are Jezebels out to bed you and men are horn dogs with no control of their sexual urges has turned us into moral weaklings.

      Granted, if I have “feelings” for someone not my wife or I sense someone has “feelings” for me, then I, once again, need to act responsibly and stay the hell away from the fire. Maybe I am just an old man whose hormones aren’t want they used to be. Maybe not. Maybe I have learned to how to handle my sexuality, believing that honoring my marital vows is one way I say my wife respect.

      I am sure other readers will want to chime in on this subject. Sex — always a hot subject. 🙂

      • Avatar
        Van

        Well, maybe we’re both reading too much into it. She makes the assertion “It’s not wise or healthy,” but never explains why. That’s the closest she comes to brining sex into it. On the whole her article is advocating for girl-girl friendships.

        • Avatar
          Bruce Gerencser

          I follow Baird’s writing pretty closely. She’s a Fundamentalist who has definitely bought into the Evangelical sexuality myths. The best way for her and other like her to protect their virginity is to avoid getting too cozy with boys/men. How much better would it be to own your sexuality and learn how to navigate complex human relationships instead of building a huge chastity belt around your life. I’ve met several women I consider friends through this blog. I “talk” with them almost daily. I’ve never had a worry about our relationships becoming inappropriate or sexual. Why? All of us are mature (Greek for o-l-d), responsible adults who own and are responsible for our sexuality.

          My wife works closely with several men and several of my sons have female bosses/subordinates. There’s an implicit trust in our relationships. I don’t sit at home worrying about my wife having an affair. Could it happen? Sure, anything is possible.

          I spent the first fifty years of life without one female friend. I couldn’t have female friends for the very reasons Baird thinks such close relationships are a bad idea. I rather like being able to befriend people, gender be damned. ? Hanging out all the time with only people who have the same gender gives us a warped view of the world. All of us need friends of the opposite gender, along with LGBTQ friends.

          That said, I am well aware that close relationships can take inappropriate turns. Years ago, a year after I left one church, I received a letter from a dear female member (ten years older than me). She confessed that she had “feelings” for me — likely the result of transference. What did I do? I made sure Polly read the letter, along with my response. It is when people do things in secret that they risk getting in trouble.

          Hopefully, my ramble makes sense. ?

          • Avatar
            Van

            Yes, your ramble makes sense, and I think we’re back in synch. I didn’t read any of her other writing, just this one post, so don’t have the context you have. Carry on.

  2. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    So can I as a female be friends with gay guys? Oh wait, I forgot, some fundamentalists don’t believe that people are gay, they think they choose to be gay, so that’s like playing with fire too I guess because I could be so incredibly hot as to turn the gay guy back to straight.

    OK snark aside, my husband and I both have had and still do have friends of opposite genders. We trust each other and our commitment to each other, and we are open about our friendships. There aren’t secrets. When I met my husband, one of his closest friends was a girl with whom he had grown up. They both told me that they knew I was OK as I was the only girlfriend he had had who wasn’t jealous of his friendship with Kristy. I became friends with her too, but unfortunately she was killed in a car accident, and we both mourned the loss of our good friend. Kristy was just one example. Not all friendships lead to sex (I’d say that most don’t). People can be grown ups and have relationships with people outside their gender. All the rules that fundamentalists have put into place make everything seem more appealing and enticing – forbidden – than it should be. But having a good relationship with one’s partner means communicating with the partner and trusting them. If they break the trust, that’s a different story.

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Bruce Gerencser