As more are outed for sexual misconduct, let’s not overlook the men who have done things right. We all know a man that’s had a positive impact in our lives in one way or another. With that said, meaningful connections are not limited to romantic relationships. The select good men in the world stand out in our lives whether they are our lovers, friends or family.
For me, these are my guy friends. I’ve been fortunate to cultivate deep rooted friendships in my lifetime all for the right reasons. Most times, they become part of my urban, long term family among my gal pals.
I have a certain level of trust, connection and respect with them. We’ve been through some good times and some tough. We’ve laughed, cried, fought, and rolled our eyes at each other. They have served as great sounding boards, advisors, protectors and great supporters as I them. We’re all gunning for each other to get ahead whether it’s in relationships, work or self-improvement. No one is jealous or catty. It’s about having a good time and laughing at each other among the ridiculousness we find ourselves in.
They have their shortcomings too, but the overall positive return exceeds it all.
Few realize, guy friendships provide great male exposure, closeness and time without the complicated emotional or physical strings.
You get to see and understand the day-to-day mechanics of how men operate while not getting too detached from reality and vice versa.
The man-bashing stays at bay. Second opinions are available. Repeat travel with them is the best time ever. It’s a great learning mechanism that feeds into dating especially for someone like me who didn’t grow up surrounded by brothers. Having this balance in your friendships is a great advantage.
It’s a unique type of friendship that is easy to start, but hard for the genders to keep. Why? Many things get in the way if you don’t know how to navigate through them.
Here is a short list of my Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to guy friends. Stick to these core rules and you’ll find your network slowly getting rich with new male friendships that will last a very long time.
- Don’t sleep with them, kiss them or bury your butt in their crotch. Don’t do it unless you’re truly attracted. If it is attraction, address it. If not, are you seeking validation because he’s a decently attractive man? If so, get over yourself. You can’t have them all. Plus, behavior like that will rear its ugly head when people wonder if you can be trusted with ANY guy. You’re one of the guys and the guys don’t do that.
- Do set healthy platonic boundaries. This is the same physical rules you would apply with your male family members. You don’t think of them that way nor entertain long detailed conversations about your sex. Keep it clean.
- Don’t compete with his date for your guy friend’s attention or time. You are not the star of this show. She is the priority as any other he dates. Assume his availability will be limited just like anyone else dating someone. Respect that and give them the space when someone is in the picture.
- Do support his new girlfriend(s). She may be bat-shit crazy or awesome, but that’s for him to decide. Gain her trust. Be buddies with her. If she doesn’t want anything to do with you, then he’ll figure it out. You keep trucking along and keep that mouth closed until he breaks up with her. Otherwise, you may just have a new gal pal!
- Don’t be secretive about your dating life. Most people do this when they think there is a chance. You don’t need to announce every new guy in the picture, but it’s understood you’re getting yours too. When we’re out, my guy friends know when I’m getting my flirt on or I’m out on a date somewhere else.
- Do make it known that this is a friendship. He’s your buddy and it’s no secret. Talk openly about your dating life. Welcome advice as you could offer that to them. This is a great way to reinforce your position. I also had plenty of girlfriends ask about my guy friends. Have at it ladies, I say. I’m not interested, had no relations and I am certainly not getting in between that if it doesn’t work out, and if it does, great! Our family just grew!
- Don’t allow anyone to be disrespectful or rude to you. Guys can get a little crude with their jokes. It can get a little uncomfortable. While it’s great they see you as one of the guys, they still need to know what you’re willing to tolerate and not. As much as I like our back and forth, I still have feelings. I do ask them to ease up sometimes. Pull them aside. Remind them if/when necessary. They will understand if they are your friends and so will you because you realize no one is perfect, including yourself.
- Do be down to give some shit and take some. I go to my girlfriends for sensitive topics, I go to my guy friends for silly banter and escape. Be ready to have a laugh at yourself. You won’t always the be perfect pretty princess around them. They are light-hearted and silly. There will be some dick jokes and some close-to-burn banter. It’s not to say we don’t have deep conversations about life and love. I do reach out to them when I need some good old advice from their perspective. I truly respect their opinion.
My guy friends hold a very special place in my heart because we’ve maintained healthy boundaries and productive yet fun relationships. Be smart how you manage these. They can go a long way.
Comment about your guy friendships. Let’s appreciate the good guys out there.