Every woman needs her girlfriends. But let’s face it – sometimes our girlfriends drive us crazy. Seriously, how often have you gotten into it with a gal pal over what Tina said at book club or whether or not Lisa’s ex was chatting up Kelly at the grocery store? In short, women can be dramatic. Men, on the other hand, are often easier to be around because, well, they make it easy to be around them. Men are much less complex than women and tend to be more happy-go-lucky. But traditional gender roles and stereotypes have long dictated how men and women should interact – and forming friendships across gender lines has generally been a no-no.
It’s rubbish to say that men and women can’t be “just friends.” By cultivating male friendships, women can blow down the barriers that limit human connection. Non-romantic friendships between men and women are not only possible but are common nowadays. Yes, we are actually able to be around those of the opposite sex without spontaneously jumping into bed with them. Having a male friend allows us to develop a healthy understanding of what a respectful relationship feels like. It can be a rewarding experience that enriches our lives in unique ways. Men simply offer us different things. So, the good news is that not only can men and women be friends, they should be friends – and here’s why:
Men can tell you about the men you date.
Men can provide insight into the men you date – because they’re men. Whereas our gal pals might zip it and hope for the best, or worse, encourage a hopeless case in order to not upset you, a man is going to tell you what’s what. “He’s just not that into you.” “He’s lying about why he isn’t returning your texts.” “He’s gay,” etc. Your male friend will be super honest about other men because he knows how these other men think.
You can see into the male mind.
Because he’s not trying to sleep with you, you get him as he truly is – which is comfortable enough to shoot straight on how he feels about any given situation or subject. Men and women think differently. They have distinct life experiences, communication styles, and problem-solving approaches. Reaching across the gender line can bring you fresh insights and alternative ways of thinking, helping you to be that well-rounded woman capable of embracing various ideas, opinions, and experiences.
They are excellent matchmakers.
When women befriend men, they enter social circles they may not have access to otherwise. This expansion of your network can broaden your horizons, leading to opportunities for personal and professional growth, and… okay… what I’m really trying to say is guy friends have other guy friends. If you are single and ready to mingle, this can come in very handy!
They are less competitive.
Sadly, women can be ruthless when it comes to talking about other women. Men, on the other hand, generally don’t try to compete with or undermine each other. And your guy friend isn’t going to try to undermine you. In fact, he will be your number one cheerleader – because he doesn’t consider you a rival the way some of your women “friends” might. His congratulations won’t be accompanied by an eye roll or a wink-wink at the “friend” standing next to you. It will be sincere and from his heart.
Sometimes, we just want that male energy.
If you love professional sports, and manicures are your idea of hell on earth, your male friend may be the one to call for that Superbowl party or those four rounds of golf.
They want to protect you.
If you find yourself in a precarious situation at a bar, your male friend will be your stand-in big brother. You can count on him to mosey up to your side, hold your hand, and tell Mr. Wrong to buzz off.
They’ll give an honest opinion.
Your girlfriends can be great for boosting your confidence and telling you how good you look in that dress. But they aren’t going to tell you that you need to lose a few pounds. We ladies have the habit of being nice. On the other hand, if that dress really does fit you a little too snugly, your guy friend is going to delicately tell you – even if it’s not what you want to hear. Directness can be refreshing. Because you aren’t in a romantic relationship, he has nothing to lose by telling you the truth. But don’t fret, if he tells you that you look like you’ve lost weight, feel confident he’s saying it because it’s true!
They’re good in a social pinch.
Let’s say you need a date for your cousin’s wedding, and you are woefully single. Your male bff is the perfect plus one. He’s not only ready, willing, and able to step in, but you are guaranteed to have a good time. And if you drink too much or spill food on your dress, he won’t care.
They can fix things and lift heavy stuff.
You can call them when your car breaks down, when you need help moving, and even when your toilet overflows. Yes, we are independent women. Yes, we can do it all. But sometimes we don’t want to. And other times, we just can’t. We are human. We are female. We have our limitations. Men tend to want to fix things – leaky faucets, bike locks, or your broken heart. They need to resolve it immediately, effectively, and efficiently; sometimes, this is just what you need. Added bonus: They make the best bartenders and can probably grill better than your friend Alice.
You can be yourself around him.
Aka, you don’t need to dress up for him. You can leave the make-up off; you don’t even need to shower! Further, male friends are diet-free zones. You can eat a lot in front of them and not feel weird about it. Hell, he’ll even grill up a steak for you, make you a martini to go with it, and tell you that you look cute in those fuzzy slippers.
They nurture your self-confidence.
If you think you’re fat and will be alone forever, your guy friend will tell you, “Not true,” and keep you from spinning out. He’ll offer constructive feedback, encouragement, and motivation, thus building your confidence and empowering you to go out there and kick ass.
They are problem solvers.
The different ways men and women approach problem-solving can make for some awesome arguments, but these diverse attitudes also complement each other. While women often emphasize empathy and emotional intelligence, men may focus on practicality and assertiveness. Hey folks, how about we join forces to devise innovative solutions and incorporate both approaches? Men and women working together can change the world.
They will tell you you’re beautiful!
Because sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to hear.