It's a tough time for male-female friendships. (Dreamstime)

Balancing Act: In Defense Of Opposite-Sex Friendships

OPINION
By Heidi Stevens
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Columnist Heidi Stevens makes the case for why you can and should be friends with members of the opposite sex.

Chicago Tribune

My friend Jeff does not want to impregnate me.

And thank God for that, since his wife is expecting their third child this summer.

“Let me be clear,” he told me recently. “I have two, almost three children. I don’t want to impregnate anyone.”

I called him to check, since Lutheran pastor Hans Fiene put me and my fellow females on notice earlier this week.

“You don’t have any guy friends,” Fiene wrote in The Federalist. “In fact, you can’t have any guy friends.”

“Quite simply, men can’t be at peace being just friends,” Fiene wrote. “And there’s nothing you can do to change that.

Platonic chilling won’t stop your inner (and outer) beauty from pulling a man towards romantic love. Telling him he’s like a brother to you won’t stop his brain from shouting ‘Marry that woman and impregnate her now’ when he encounters your femininity.”

Maybe Fiene didn’t mean my femininity, since I already have a husband. Maybe he didn’t mean Jeff’s brain, since Jeff already has a wife. But between his essay and Vice President Mike Pence’s no-dining-with-women rule, it’s a tricky time for opposite-sex friendships.

I’m here to defend them.

Jeff and I are friends because we work in similar industries, we live in the same neighborhood, our kids get along and we make each other laugh. I adore his wife. He likes my husband. Sometimes we meet for coffee. Sometimes we get together with our kids, with and without our spouses.

My husband, meanwhile, has a handful of female friends. He sometimes shares meals with them. With alcohol. Without me. I can’t overstate how much I prefer this setup over a husband who views all women as potential vessels to grow his babies. His female friends give him a greater understanding of half the world’s population. My male friendships do the same for me.

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