Let me set the scene.
It’s Saturday afternoon. My boyfriend has gone to watch the football and is heading off to the pub afterwards with his mates. I give my best friend a call and we head out for the afternoon. We go to the cinema and stop in a bar for a few drinks afterwards. We both catch up on some gossip, have a whinge about the minor imperfections of our partners, have a few more drinks and return to my house to settle down to a DVD box set. Curled up on the sofa we can watch the DVD in comfortable silence, occasionally teasing each other or throwing a compliment each other’s way in a mutual ego stroking exercise. The evening ends, a quick hug to say goodbye and my best friend potters off home. Later on we text each other to say what a nice day we’ve had and arrange to finish watching the DVD box set one evening next week.
Now the scenario above is probably pretty typical for two girls. But imagine if my best friend was a boy. A heterosexual boy. Doesn’t seem quite so normal now does it?
And therein lies my point. Boys and girls cannot be best friends, unless one or both of them are gay. Two girls going out for drinks and going back home together is a girly day out. A girl and boy doing the same is, well, essentially a date.
Now I’m not saying that girls and boys can’t have friends of the opposite sex, but by laws of being human the relationship is entirely different. I call my male friends my “mates” and I tend to only see them in group situations; not because I like them any less than my female friends, but because their interests and topics of conversation on a one-on-one basis tend not to be the things I’m interested in. Men think differently to women, they generally like to chat less and while they can be great company on a night out in a group I think there are very solid reasons why men tend to have a group of male friends and girls tend to have a group of girl friends. You just tend to have more in common with someone of the same sex.
I’m a modern woman and I don’t believe in the old social conventions of male roles and female roles within society, but I believe there are some very sound reasons girls and boys cannot be best friends.
Perhaps it’s the media that has perpetrated this status quo. How many films and TV programs are there where the girl and boy best friends suddenly realise that their feelings run deeper and they end up getting together at the end?
Think about it. Ross and Rachel get together at the end of Friends after years of being on and off and a series of will they or won’t they? In between being together, breaking up and finally getting together again, Rachel goes out with Joey for a bit. In the mean time Chandler and Monica get married. Dawson’s Creek, another angsty teen program made their entire plot line about Joey, Pacey and Dawson and who would get together with who. Okay, Dawson and Joey don’t eventually end up together but their relationship definitely went a little further than best friends on several occasions! Other examples like My Best Friends Wedding, Made of Honour, Valentines Day and Human Traffic see the unrequited and (usually) eventually requited love between boy and girl best friends.
Fine, so all of those examples are fictional but from my experience of real life I’ve never known a boy/girl best friendship end in a healthy way.
On a more practical note, imagine if one of a boy/girl best friendship finds a partner. What happens then? It would only be natural for the new girlfriend of the boy to be a little threatened by the girl best friend and vice versa. Hell, I get annoyed when my boyfriend spends too much time with his male friends at the pub. Imagine how I’d feel if all this time out was with another woman? Without wanting to sound like a bunny boiler I’d be pretty pissed off if my boyfriend was sacrificing his time with me to spend time with another woman.
What irks me most about the whole boy/girl best friend scenario is what it says about how they feel about each other. If you really think about it, what’s being expressed is “Yes we have chemistry, I feel comfortable enough to share my inner most thoughts with you, but I don’t fancy you enough to have sex with you”. Nice.
Every boy/girl best friendship I have ever known in real life has resulted in one expressing their love to the other and them either getting together or ruining the friendship forever. Or if one of them finds a partner while they’re still best friends then the dysfunction train sets off at full speed with Ultimatum Town being the final destination.
In my opinion, no good can come from having a best friend of the opposite sex. It will lead to heart ache, jealousy and unbearable awkwardness.
And if you’re reading this and thinking “What does she know? It’s totally different with me and my best friend.” I request you to think long and hard about why that person is your best friend. Ultimately either one of, or both of you are kidding yourselves.