In my last post I explored the thinking behind women who would rather hang out with men than women. As the logic goes, women are too dramatic, emotional, boring, etc. For this and many other reasons, “low maintenance women” don’t want to put up with their “high maintenance” counter-parts.
As I concluded in the last post, this mindset has some troubling implications. When we paint all women in such a negative light, we’re no different than male chauvinists who do the same. We are female chauvinists. And this has theological implications. Rather than seeing women as having been made in the image of God and honoring Scriptural teachings that encourage women to fellowship with one another (Titus 2), we resort to superficial stereotypes that ultimately demean one another, and consequently dishonor God.
With all of that in mind, there is a second dynamic in play here. While a lot of women legitimately struggle to make female friends (perhaps they grew up with 4 brothers and that’s where they fit best!), we risk more than theological error here. There is a second dynamic, and it’s relational.
For some women, the excuse for avoiding female friendships can be a smokescreen for a relational dysfunction. Some women prefer male friendships because they like the attention. Plain and simple. They like thinking of themselves as “one of the guys,” the one girl that her guy friends can relate to. Unlike “those other girls,” she really gets them. It is a way for women to feel special or set apart. They’re not just like every other girl.
This is a need that exists within every woman. We all want to feel unique, and we seek to fulfill it in different ways. But rejecting female friendships should not be one of them. While male friendships are important, they also have to evolve in a way that female relationships don’t . As your male friends get married, or if you get married, you cannot be friends with them the way you were before. In fact, if your guy friends are even dating someone then you need to back off, and that can be a painful change. It can also be hurtful when your close guy friends choose to date other women, but never look your way.
These are obstacles that female friendships don’t encounter. That’s why emotional intimacy with a male friend puts you at greater risk than emotional intimacy with a woman. But more importantly, we should never tear down other women as a means for hiding our own idolatry. If you’re using male friends to fill a void in your life, don’t shift the blame.
So yes, it is perfectly fine to have male friends with whom you can fellowship as brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes it’s great to have a guy friend who can give you brotherly advice or a male perspective. But you need a support system of women as well. Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” We typically interpret this verse in the context of dating, but it’s an important filter for friendships too. Be sure you’re entrusting your heart to friends for whom your motives are clear and emotional intimacy will always be appropriate.
With all of this in mind, examine your motives and the nature of your friendships with men. Are you good friends with a man because you’re secretly hoping it will turn into something more? Are you close to a man as a means for filling some need for male attention? Or are you avoiding female friendships because of pride? Do you see yourself as somehow better or more grounded than most women? No matter your relationship status, this is an important issue for all of us.