friends with girls

I just got off the phone with my ex-girlfriend. I called her to tell her that on 3 separate occasions during our relationship I had other girls express interest in me romantically.

Normally that wouldn’t be too big a deal, however, I remained friends with all 3 women after their confessions and never told my girlfriend at the time. They were good people and their friendships were important to me. And, I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable all the time knowing what was happening around her.

I’ve always gotten along better with women than men. I feel more like myself around women. I have more to talk about and they understand me better.

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That’s not the case with most men. At first it’s all good and we get along fine, but as time goes by, they start treating me differently. They make little comments under their breath about something that cuts me down in an almost undetectable way. I feel the digs and the condescension and I know that our relationship has turned a negative corner.

I’ve learned that not a lot of men want to be friends with a guy that teaches yoga, dances ballet and hip-hop, loves Pitch Perfect, and isn’t gay. It doesn’t matter that I also play sports and compete in martial arts. It’s all just a little too abnormal.

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I’m a sensitive person. I go where the energy is good and flowing. Where there is tension, I’m out, I don’t have the stomach for it. It’s hard for me to force friendships with a lot of guys when I can more easily hang around a group of women. It’s comfortable and always has been that way. Even when I’m teaching kids, I always have more fun with the girls. The boys seems so strange and hyper to me, like little mutants.

This has been a problem in my romantic relationships. It makes me look “shady” and “attention starved.” But I don’t feel that way inside. I just want to be around people that are nice to me and give me the sense of fitting in.

I don’t, however, want to go around having sex with every girl that I meet. The effects of sleeping with someone are serious and they change the dynamic of a relationship forever. I’ve learned that even in platonic relationships, there’s usually a moment when 1 or both people have feelings for each other. That doesn’t mean that it’s love or fate and needs to be acted on or the world will end. It’s just our emotional nature reaching out to connect to something, and with a little discipline we can push right through these stages and experience a friendship that many people would have ruined or walked away from.

I’ve adopted a policy of being upfront with the women I meet. I want good friends. I don’t want any blurred lines. So there’s usually a conversation at the beginning of every new friendship and it goes something like this;

“Hi. You’re awesome and I love having you in my life.”

“Thanks, you too :).”

“I’m not looking for anything romantic. I don’t suspect it will go the long haul so I’d rather preserve the friendship we have now because it’s important to me.”

“Oh ok. That’s a strange thing to say but yeah, I guess I feel that way too.”

And after a week of awkward tension I get to have remarkable female friends that love and support me and vice versa.

I used to amputate all of my romantic relationships. The day I broke up with someone was the last day I ever talked to them (minus a 2 week grace period of really hot break up sex). That was it, and I never thought about them again. Even worse, I cut off all my platonic friendships with other women every time I entered into a new relationship.

Then I had an interesting conversation with a girl that said to me, “why would you just cut someone out of your life that knows you so well and was ultimately a really close friend?” And I thought to myself, goddamn that makes sense.

But it makes other people uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable. It’s hard to understand. It’s primal and territorial and in our culture it’s just not cool. But I think people are missing the boat here. Because I have maintained a couple friendships with ex’s and close girlfriends that have turned into family. It doesn’t happen overnight, in fact it’s completely unrealistic to think that people can go from lovers to friends without some serious time apart, but it’s possible. And I think if we can be honest with our partners about the importance of those relationships, and we can show them that they aren’t shady by standing firmly on the significance of those friendships, then our partners can learn to embrace them as well. Because people care about other people and want them to be happy.

I would love a few more guy friends. I think it could help with a lot of things. But at the end of the day, I’m happier around women. And if it was up to me, if I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s feelings, I would be surrounded by women all day dancing in ballet shoes or sitting on the couch talking about life, because that’s what feels right to me.

I called my ex because I wished I would have told her about these confessions as they happened. We were supposed to be close and I have always billed myself as an honest person. It’s a hard conversation that I’m just now learning to have.

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Kirk Hensler is the creator of ‘Organizing Inspiration – How to bring your brilliant ideas to the world,’ a course for entrepreneurs and creatives to identify their brand, create a work process, and implement an intuitive working schedule.

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    8 Comments

    1. Salma
      February 5, 2014

      Honestly said, i have had the same feelings except that i am a girl that is more comfortable being around guys.. though it makes you seen the wrong way .. like you’re seeking attention from the opposite gender or you’re just trying to make a show being surrounded by all the guys ( or girls in your case ) .. it just sounds so judgy.. I also don’t mind more girl friends, i’m thinking they are the ones who mind me.. i think it’s always that way just like what happened with you ..
      Thank you for sharing your story .. makes one feel supported and “not alone” . you’re “not alone” 🙂

      Reply
      • kirk hensler
        July 11, 2014

        thank you Salma 🙂

        Reply
    2. February 21, 2014

      I’m with you and Salma! I’ve been annoyed and jealous with an ex who had several girl “friends”. I NEVER understood why he needed so many close friendships when he had ME! Obviously I’m so awesome that I could provide everything he needed, at all times. So silly. Now I’m the girl with many guy “friends” and totally understand his position. Thanks for sharing these words!

      Reply
    3. March 30, 2014

      Preach it, brother. I find myself in a similar boat. I find that my male friends and I have specialized interests in common and we focus on that alone. This seems to work well for me, since my interests are so damn varied. I have music buds, writing buds, disc golf buds, and even a few yoga buds. Never cross the streams, man!

      Reply
    4. Yessica
      July 7, 2014

      From your experience how long has your ‘serious time apart’ been from your exes before trying to be friends again? And how did you know you were ready to try and be friends again?

      Reply
      • kirk hensler
        July 11, 2014

        AT LEAST 6 months but preferably a year or more. i know it’s ok to be friends again when we can both talk openly and honestly about new relationships and feel no tension. also, that we don’t speak in a way that implies ownership over each other

        Reply
    5. tracygf
      April 28, 2015

      What a great article! I feel like I realized in college that I liked hanging out with guys more than girls, after a few tough women friendships and then finding that the girls in college that I met… were kinda clicky and bitchy. NOT that all girls are, but they sure CAN be… I definitely hung out with guy friends and could be myself and relax a whole lot more, and that seemed like it continued through to my adulthood. There’s nothing wrong with it- but it sure can be misinterpreted from time to time. I like that you’re so honest with your friends that are girls and also your ex-girlfriends about the status of your relationships. I have certainly missed people that I’ve broken up with, too- the friendship that was there before the dating and during goes away because of the break-up and often that is the biggest part of the loss… and also, I have really good male friends to this day because we never dated or slept together. If we had, most certainly we wouldn’t be friends anymore. It’s a really mature thing when you can stay friends after an intimate relationship… I think a lot of time has to pass, like you said, and then a lot of time spent together as friends to reestablish what the relationship is on new terms. Thanks for the article! 🙂

      Reply
    6. APS
      February 22, 2016

      that part about why the heck some choose to ‘amputate’ relationships with anyone they were involved with romantically. I’m also trying to understand why people do this to those that they professed to have cared about so much. I really can’t comprehend it and I’ve been looking around for answers. Doesn’t it indicate that maybe they were in the relationship for the wrong reason? If your investigations turn up anything, please share!

      Reply
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