Friendship is one of those topics that you and I will probably never exhaust. We can pick anyone of our closest people, acknowledging their faults and proclaiming their virtues, and proceed to gush about how swell they are. In coming up with a name for this blog, we could have probably gone with “Friendship and stuff” and we would have been pretty accurate.
As I write this I have been in touch with a few friends more than normal. Anne, whom I don’t get to talk to nearly enough, and I just had a great two hour catch up session. My friend Ryan is back from overseas for a three week holiday and we’ll be getting drinks on my birthday. And Austin and I have been swapping podcast ideas. These people are special to me for many reasons, hell some are like family.
But looking at my friendships, I’ve tended to have a lot of female friendships. Not that I find it odd, but in the world of gender politics and traditional Montana, it might have seemed odd. Some of these friendships did fall prey to the terrible tropes of the unrequited love story from B RomComs: me liking a girl, or her liking me. But most moved past this, because yes that is possible. And the ones that still had lingering feelings or hang ups are gone now.
But in the course of my career as the “go to guy friend” and all the shopping trips, coffee outings, and movies I would have been slightly embarrassed to see alone, I’ve learned the beauty of the platonic male and female friendship.
The beautiful part of having friends of the opposite gender is the same as having friends of different faiths, philosophies, and cultural heritages: diversity of thoughts and experiences. I’ve had a different life than all of my friends, but with my female friends there is a yin and yang to the whole relationship. Their voices and mine are complementary, rather than conflicting. I have views and emotions that I feel strongly about and they have theirs. Where we overlap, we rally and cheer, and where we differ we learn.
By removing romance (or the idea of it) from a friendship, a whole new world opens up, and not in a flying carpet kind of way. I’ve gotten to know you, Maia, Alyssa, Anne, and others as people not the potential mate that society or patriarchal bullshit would have me meet you. And in that persistence of knowing, and letting others know you, I find the richness of life.
My friendships are all important. And there are ways my male friends and I relate and know each other that you and I never will. However, I’m so very glad to live in a time when my friendship with you and other women isn’t odd or subject to the wink and grin that can often come after the statement “just friends.”
Finding friends everywhere I look,