Three Reasons Men and Women Should be Friends
by ChristianCrush Team
On the night I first saw the movie When Harry Met Sally, I felt like I was watching an alternate version of my life. You know, if I’d been born in the late 50s, was blonde, and had gone to live in New York City. I remember when Harry tells Sally that men and women can’t be friends, I turned to my friend and whispered, “Oh, my goodness, I thought I was the only one!”
My thoughts on the subject have changed a lot since then, but the subject still fascinates me as much as ever. Some people staunchly believe that men and women can always be friends no matter what. But there are also some who think friendship can’t always cross the gender gap. Many of them, like Harry’s character in the movie, have one common problem: the opposite sex has no use except for physical intimacy.
Friendships are some of the most important relationships we develop in our entire lives. Without friends, living might just be too difficult to bear. It’s important to have friends of both genders, if only to get better advice from a differing audience! Yet there are some cases where, alas, Harry will be right, that friendship is just not an option. Donna Flagg of Psychology Today has had many great men and women friends. Like an equal opportunity employer, she doesn’t choose people because of their gender. She chooses the best and leaves it at that.
Even Flagg, however, who is a great proponent of friendship, admits that sometimes it’s just not an option. Essentially, this is any time there’s an unrequited attraction, or if there is a jealous girlfriend or boyfriend involved. Distrust just might keep more people from being friends than someone loving a person who just doesn’t quite feel the same way back.
Imagine a world where men and women aren’t allowed to simply be friends. It’s likely that the Christian church never would have gotten very far off the ground. Think of it like this: in Acts, who gets together and prays about an apostle to replace Judas? Men and women. Even though Paul has several moments of saying women shouldn’t speak in church (1 Cor. 14:33-35), women had a large role in perpetuating the gospel.
Not only were women made equals with men in the early church, they were friends. They worked together toward a common goal. Google will tell you all sorts of reasons that men and women can’t be friends, but how about the reasons they should?
1- Honest, godly advice
I’m the kind of person who does a lot of research before making any decision, so being able to poll many different friends is essential to my process. In some Christian circles, it’s completely taboo to have a male friend you won’t eventually be romantically involved with, but I think that without my Christian male friends, I wouldn’t have access to such good, insightful advice from both men and women.
2. A healthier Life
If recent studies are to be believed, people are healthier in direct proportion to how many close friends they have. Fewer friends means a less healthy life. And if you automatically decide that men and women can’t be regular friends, that means you decrease your potential friend choices by about 50%.
3. It's more fun
Men are fun. Women are fun. But when you put them together, the possibilities are endless. God tells us to respect one another and treat each other like family (1 Tim. 5:1-2). When you keep yourself from being friends with a certain gender, you take yourself out of the running for some really awesome times with friends.
As long as the man and woman involved have the same views of what a platonic friendship looks like, there’s no reason they can’t be friends. So dive into those friendships, and foster healthy relationships with all people. As Galations 3:28 says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
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Do you believe that men and women can be friends? Why or why not?