I am a 35-year-old woman and people have always commented on how close I am with one of my girlfriends (a friend who is a woman) of about seven years. I have even been asked by guys that I’ve dated if my girlfriend and I were secretly together. I don’t get it! It seems like ever since those rumors that Oprah and Gayle were together, women are automatically questioned if they have a close bond with one another. Is this questioning normal?
I Love My BFF
Dear I Love My BFF,
What a great question! I think that the questioning is normal from the standpoint that some people may not have been exposed to close same-sex, platonic relationships and therefore are baffled by you and your girlfriend’s closeness or they are just plain ignorant. Socially speaking, there is no “box” that these types of relationships can be placed into and so people fill in the ‘gaps’ with something that makes more sense to them: “They must be secretly together!”
There is nothing wrong with having a deep bond with someone of the same-sex and you should not feel insecure because people don’t understand. If you and your best friend have a clear understanding of this bond, does it really matter what others think of your friendship? Now, if your friendship was getting in the way of a relationship with a guy you were or are seeing then it would be wise to reevaluate your priorities. Keep in mind that I am not saying to make changes just because he doesn’t like your friendship or does not understand it. However, if you have plans with your man and you continually change the two of your plans because your best friend wants to hang out; that situation would naturally cause conflict. Also, your best friend should respect the man in your life just like he should respect her.
As far as Oprah and Gayle, they have known each other for a number of years and from what we can see, have supported one another to the point of calling each other ‘sisters’. What would be the difference, minus the structure of a sorority or fraternity, between having a close relationship with a line sister or brothers? Generally speaking, it seems that if a situation does not make us comfortable or if it doesn’t make sense to us we feel the necessity to find a place or name for it. I say that we can all learn to stop thinking so much! If you have a great friend and they happen to be of the same-sex, cherish and fight for that relationship. The saying is true, good friends are in fact hard to come by.
Rooting for Girls Who Stand For Each Other,