I’ve been struggling with this concept for about a year now.
Growing up, I always had girl friends…but never boy friends. Perhaps it was a confidence thing. I recently stumbled across my 8th grade box of memories. For our 8th Grade graduation, the teachers went around and asked students about other students, so that each student in my class got a special certificate for being “awesome” – they included a couple of sentences about what the other students said about you. I remember being very disappointed by mine.
Some students got long paragraphs about very specific things. When it came time for the teachers to read mine, it was one sentence about me just being a “cool kid”. That was it. Now, looking back on it 14 years later, I realized that teachers were asking 14 year olds these specific questions, so I’m not at all surprised that all they could come up with was “cool.” But when I was 14, and having known all of these kids since kindergarten, it kind of hurt that that was all they could come up with. But now, I understand that was my own fault.
I didn’t really open up to people until my early to mid 20’s. I was constantly acting just based on how I thought others wanted me to act. I wasn’t at all confident in myself. But then again, no one really is in middle school or high school.
I grew up with two older sisters and my mother. I was never around boys except at school, so I never thought of boys as “friends” but more like potential “love interests”. It was stupid, really, but since I didn’t interact with them, I didn’t know how else to look at them. With all of the Rom Coms out there depicting Boy and Girl friendships, only to have the Boy and Girl end up falling in love, I blame them.
Once I moved back home and began working in the service industry again, I was constantly surrounded by men. My town is a giant sausage fest. You walk into any bar, its 70% men, 30% women. So avoiding men is just not possible. Within a few months, I was suddenly spending all of my time with a specific group of men…and only men. I hadn’t noticed it right away until I realized Mr. Loch Jess was acting weird.
Where Mr. LJ is from in England, which is Newcastle, men hang out with men, and women hang out with women. It’s not exactly a “thing” for men and women to hang out platonically, whereas in the US, it’s VERY NORMAL.
But once you hang out with one dude, it becomes a domino effect because you meet his other dude friends, and suddenly you realize you’re the only woman at the table.
Mr. LJ and I always try to stay 100% communicated. I let him know who I’m with and some dudes he’s iffy on, and others he doesn’t care. I get it. He doesn’t really know these guys and Mr. LJ and I have been separated for a year now. I understand the concern, and I do my best to reassure him, but sometimes at the end of the day, I have to point out that the problem isn’t me or what I’m doing, the problem is how he’s thinking and working himself up over nothing. For most of these guys, I might as well grow penis when in their presence because I hear some pretty heinous shit, or when a pretty girl walks by, they let me know. I help them with their woman troubles, even if I spin them around because even as a woman, I still don’t fucking know.
But to be honest, these dudes I’ve become friends with will always have a special place in my heart, even if our friendship falls apart due to distance and time. I actually have to thank them greatly. In some ways, I appreciate them more than I do my female friendships. I’ve come to learn that with boys, there doesn’t have to be so much pressure. As a friend, I never felt more myself than I have this past year with them. I felt so comfortable, so loved, so appreciated, and I’ve laughed more now than I have with other friends. I actually feel like I’ve become a better version of myself because of them. I’ve learned how to treat others better, and how to have a good time by simply drinking and playing pool.
I’m so excited to get to England to be with Mr. LJ but I’m also so incredibly sad that I’m leaving behind this group of dipshits. They have been here for me during times of stress and anxiety. They’ve listened to my problems with this visa, and they’ve watched me drunkenly cry over it. They have been the most solid and real friends I’ve ever had, and to be honest, I’ll probably never have that again.
Please share your fun stories of male female friendships and how you handle it with your significant other!