Over the last few months I’ve shared very candidly about my guy best friend — our friendship struggles, a letter to his new (now old – yah! Wait did I say that outloud?) girlfriend, and even a thinly veiled post helping him understand that he is enough… just the way he is.
But what I haven’t shared with you is our story. It’s really not long and sorted or exceptional really.
We met like many other friends. As kids. We grew up together. We hung out together as teenagers. Both married and parted for a while. Only to find ourselves back together as friends again. There’s nothing unusual about our friendship really. It’s like many others… except one thing. I’m a girl and he’s a guy.
And for some reason in this world it’s a problem… or weird… or unlikely. So I decided to take some of the mystery out of this myth called “the guy best friend”. So if you’re wondering what it’s like to have a guy best friend. Well here it is — from my perspective.
Oh and btw… he’d probably tell you a whole different story.
YOU’RE HIS PERSONAL STYLIST
Yep! He has some event or a first date or a holiday dinner or I don’t know — Monday… and doesn’t know what to wear. So you mentally go through his closet in your head and tell him exactly what shirt to wear, with the specific shoes, and then advise him to go get a pair of grey pants. Grey! Then you remind him of that one jacket and tell him to wear that on top. AND THEN… he goes and buys khakis… and it doesn’t matter what you just told him… even though he would have been way cuter in the grey pants.
YOU LEARN HOW TO AGREE TO DISAGREE… A LOT!
What they say about Venus and Mars is true. If I say the puppy was cute he’ll say no it wasn’t as cute as this other puppy. This is especially true when it comes to those major gender specific topics like sports, disciplining kids, nail polish, and buying pretty much anything. If we fought it out there’d be bloodshed. We often reach a point in the conversation where we have to say… ok… agree to disagree. I have a gold medal in this Olympic sport.
YOU LAUGH AT THE STUPIDEST THINGS
Every once in a while we both start cracking up at the stupidest thing. It could be a weird word. Or that one guy from 7th grade with the gigantic ears. Or something someone said. I never really know when it’s coming or what twisted thing it will be this time but we’ll both start laughing in a random place at a random time. Does it mean that our humor is slightly off and we know each other too well. Probably! But we don’t care.
SOMETIMES YOU FEEL LIKE HIS MOM/NAGGING WIFE
This is especially true when he’s pulling really stupid stuff. You have to send him pictures of the right bottle of medicine to buy or remind him to wash his sheets before he has a “friend” over. Or you tell him stuff he doesn’t want to hear like… you probably shouldn’t fall for that girl so fast. Or maybe buying a 2 seater car isn’t a good idea for you and the kids. Or should you really be out that late before work tomorrow. And don’t forget to call me if you’re going to go hiking alone. But you do it because well you know you’re right, you want to look out for him, and you know he needs to hear it. Even if he acts like a petulant teenager in return. It all smooths out in the end when you start giggling at something stupid again.
*Side note from the best friend after reading this article… he says he’s right sometimes too. Touche.
OTHER PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND
To us it’s no big deal. We’ve been friends for years without crossing any kind of “lines”. But other people never seem to understand how that’s possible. I get all kinds of criticism when people find out that my best friend is a guy. Is he more like friends with your husband? Does your husband know how much you talk to him? Is that really a thing — can guys and girls actually be best friends without sex getting in the way? What does your mother in law think about that? Or, do you have feelings for him? I can assure you… every single thing is on the up and up. We’re just two PEOPLE who regardless of gender get along with each other. It’s really not that complicated.
My friendship doesn’t get in the way of my marriage. There is no “sex” in the way (ew btw) of our friendship. And he’s my friend before my husband’s friend. Although they have become friends as a result. It’s just an old fashioned friendship. It’s only society that says it isn’t normal.
YOU GAIN A MOTHER IN LAW
Let’s just say my actual mother in law and I have trouble getting on the same page. It’s an uphill battle. But my guy best friends mom? She’s my angel. She is everything I could ever imagine in a mother in law. And she loves me as much as I love her! I often tease my guy best friend by making him promise that I get to keep her even if he and I are no longer friends. I always know I’d have her to talk to if I needed anything. It also helps that we’re fairly similar people.
YOU KNOW HIM BETTER THAN HE KNOWS HIMSELF
I’ll say it. It’s a known fact that men aren’t professionals when it comes to understanding and acknowledging their feelings. Feelings are like a different language. And intent is a whole different beast. But women… we know why we feel a certain way, why it’s happening, who caused it, and what we’re going to do about it. So what happens when you spend years in a best friendship with a guy? You get to know his triggers, what works for him emotionally and what doesn’t, and the why behind it. Even more than he’ll ever be able to recognize for himself. And then you call him out on it. Because he needs to hear the tough stuff. Especially if he knows it’s coming from a loving place.
YOU GET PROTECTIVE OF HIS HEART
The longer you’re friends with him the more protective you become of his heart. This mostly happens because you’re the one he talks to about all of his feelings and you understand what his heart can handle and what it can’t. So you feel like a gate keeper… standing there fending off the chic who’s X still lives with her, or the crazy girl who wants to move in together after 3 dates, or the one who only wants to hang out when she feels like it. You don’t want to have to see him hurting… and you certainly aren’t going to just let him go out and get hurt on purpose. Not without at least trying to protect him a little.
and so as a result….
DATING SITUATIONS ARE HARD
This is especially true if your guy best friend and you can’t see eye to eye on things. I literally have not experienced a worst thing in my life than the separation that happens when your guy best friend gets into a new serious relationship. It’s not that you want the guy for yourself (ew… again). Or that you’re jealous of his time. Or even that you don’t like the new girl. You could be her biggest fan and things could still be incredibly difficult for you both. Guys… frankly you’re just bad at this… so bad that you need some pointers on how to handle this situation.
You’re probably here because you want some insight on why your guy best friend started ignoring you once the new girlfriend was in the picture. Or why the phone that used to blow up with every single detail of his day is now suddenly quiet. It’s the worst feeling ever. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it! No matter how much you try… you cannot make him WANT to talk to you now.
Girl best friends do it too though… meet a new guy and disappear. But there’s this acceptable trend called “girl time” that brings them back around to you on occasion. That’s not the case when your best friend is a guy. The weight of all of the world’s views on male/female friendship begins to weigh down on your guy best friend and well… pretty much everything you knew to be normal of your friendship crumbles away. Because exactly how does he tell his new girlfriend that you are equally as important to him and that he loves you as a friend. It never computes the way it should. Because stereotypical friendship doesn’t look like this. You are put in the worst situation and frankly it’s an incredibly murky thing to navigate.
It’s a horrific experience I don’t wish on my worst enemy. And honestly… I don’t think I’ve perfected how to do this well yet either.
YOU BECOME FAMILY
I’ve read a lot of guy best friend articles that say :he was like my brother:! But I don’t know…. maybe I’m not that close with my real life brothers or something… but my guy best friend is way more to me than a brother. We used to call him husband squared. Or husband 2. Because he and his children were just considered a part of our family. And like family, you make a promise to support each other no matter what. To be there when you’re needed. Not because you have to be but because you’re family and you want to be. Because family isn’t always about blood… it’s about who shows up when you need them. It’s about who stays when you push them away. It’s about who can handle you on your worst days and rejoice with you on your greatest.
So maybe I’ll never have a best friend that I get pedicures with, or chat about how cute that guy’s butt is, or scrapbook together. But I will always have another man in my corner. Another place where I feel safe and protected. Someone who I can share my heart with. Someone who helps me understand how to love my husband in a deeper way. Someone who needs me as much as I need them.
I may always have to justify my friendship to others. And I may even go through heartbreak again when there’s a new girl in the picture. That is still left to be seen.
But just because it doesn’t look like your kind of normal doesn’t mean that it isn’t mine. So here’s to all the girls with guy best friends out there. Let’s make this a normal thing already! #guybffandidc #myunicornlife
** OOH… Bonus Points. I have one more.
YOU GET TO NAME HIS LOVE INTERESTS – AND HIS VEHICLES
There was Fever Girl (she was hot and cold), Gougar Mom, Lawyer Chic, Still with her X Girl, Doctor’s Office, and many more… I can’t remember them now. Oh and I’ve been naming his vehicles since 1998. Smokey, Rhonda, and so much other ridiculousness I can’t even share. Coming up with these names is always a highlight… and usually ends up with the laughing problem as stated above! LOL.
Ah guy best friend’s! Gotta love them!