“Can males and females can effectively be best friends?”
Guys need to have their best friends be guys and girls need girls.
I say this from a very personal level based on my past experiences. When I first came to A&M, I became great friends with Jenny (not real name). Now Jenny and I clearly and specifically decided that we were going to be “just friends” and nothing more no matter what and that we would never have a romantic relationship of any type. With that being said, we became such good friends that we ended up hanging out daily, sometimes for hours. It was great fun and we became really close and were able to learn a lot from each other. We didn’t cross any boundaries, didn’t develop feelings for each other, and nothing was blatantly askew.
After a semester of this, I began to realize that while we really were “just friends,” the time we spent together was strongly cutting into the time we spent with friends of our same sex. Now this in itself doesn’t sound like a terrible thing until you fully realize the implications of what exclusively opposite sex relationships can do you in the big picture.
When I came to A&M, one of my biggest prayers was to find other men of God who I could connect with so that we could encourage, push, love, teach, and hold each other accountable. These relationships aren’t easy to initiate and maintain and require trust, courage, and hard work…but they are essential for the healthy spiritual growth of an individual seeking Christ.
The main reason I stand by the belief that guys and girls really shouldn’t pursue a best friend non-romantic relationship is the lifetime implications of looking toward the future. Statistically, 19 out of 20 people (or more) will get married in their lifetime, so looking at how our cross gender relationships will affect our future marriages is very important. So picture yourself married with two kids. When things start to get rough (every marriage has rough times) who do you turn to? It would be somewhat adulterous for a woman struggling in her marriage to run to one of her best guy friends and dump all of her feeling and marital struggles in his lap. It would be healthy for her to reach out to other women of God, some who might have gone through similar struggles for support, advice and prayer. Other women can speak her language and can relate and understand how to handle situations far better than the men. For this reason, it is so important to have a same sex friend base of people who throughout your life you can turn to for advice, encouragement and accountability (and reciprocate that to friends when they are in need). This model of women teaching women and men building relationships with other men works well and is displayed prominently throughout the Bible.
Take David, a man after God’s own heart. How in the world did a man so passionate about God end up sleeping with another man’s wife and then murdering her husband?
The real question is when did he turn from God?
He fell when he lacked male to male accountability. His mighty men and closest friends were off fighting in a war that he should have been at as well.
If David, one of the greatest men in history, hit rock bottom because of a lack of accountability and male relationships, then who are we to disregard the importance of it throughout own lives?
We need to work hard and develop same sex relationships because without them we will die spiritually and can run our lives into the ground.
That being said, it is great to have great sisters and brothers in Christ who can model what it looks like to be Godly men and women as well as help each other out and enjoy friendship with each other. At A&M, I loved being the “house dad” for a house full of girls that were good friends of mine. It
was a good for both of us when I could come over and unclog spaghetti from their sink and take care of the squirrel which had lived in their beds and drank from their toilet over Thanksgiving.
Furthermore, I would make an exception to situations where people are placed in a situation where one on one contact is necessary or initiated. For example my friend went on a mission trip in North Africa where she was paired up with a guy for safety reasons. They had plenty of good conversations and got to know each other well. Being a leader of ARTISTS with sisters in Christ required a few one on one coffee conversations to strengthen communication and work through challenges we were facing. These were hugely necessary and vital to the health of the organization.
Don’t be paranoid and lean too far to one extreme or the other. Enjoy the people God has placed in your life…that makes Him happy. This is a careful balancing act of getting to know each other and keeping unhealthy habits in check, so pursue relationships with purpose, being keenly aware of how your actions now affect your future.