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When Kai asked me for another fact of life, the only one that I could think of was my theory of male/female “resonance”—that God created males and females to “resonate” with one another. In other words, as Harry said to Sally (in my favorite rom-com of all times):
Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
–Billy Crystal, “When Harry Met Sally”
Or, as I said to Kai, “It’s hard to be friends without one person falling in love with the other. If you both fall for one another, then it’s great! But usually only one of you ‘likes’ the other and it gets all messy.”
Now when I was about Kai’s age, my mother basically said the same thing and I argued with her nonstop. After all, with my many years of experience, I knew better.
And I didn’t want her sentiments to be true. I wanted to have guy and girl friends galore. But now, many years later, I have to admit that Mama was right.
Now I don’t completely agree with Mama and Harry’s sentiment. I believe men and women CAN be friends. Male friendships are important to me. One reason I’ve kept working throughout the mommy period is the desire to have male relationships other than my husband. If I stopped working I’d live in an almost completely female social world. And ladies, I love you all, but only socializing with you would be a bit boring.
Through my 21 years in ministry, I’ve enjoyed wonderful friendships with male colleagues, students and faculty. These friendships are also often partnerships, which as a student/friend once pointed out, can be the best sort of friendship there is—friendship with a larger purpose.
BUT you’ve always got to be aware of the sex part, even with guys who are 30 years younger or 30 years older than you.
Here are some tips she wasn’t that interested in hearing (because she just wanted to hear personal stories)
· Make great guy friendships! Befriending many guys teaches you tons, and breaks your heart (and theirs) a lot less than dating lots of guys.
· If your friend’s “taken,” befriend his significant other. If that’s not possible, ask about her regularly so she’s acknowledged in the relationship
· Beware of “emotional adultery.” Avoid inappropriate emotional intimacies with someone not your spouse or someone who’s “taken.” In other words, don’t get closer to someone than you are with your own significant other, or than he is with his.
· When it comes to male/female friendships, Jesus’s words are best “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves”
So here’s to Kai as she learns her own “facts of life”!
Just remember though, Mama knows best!