Gender and Friendship

A Rulebook of Boundaries with Male Friends While in A Relationship

You have had more guy friends than gal friends your whole life, and now you have entered a new relationship. If this scenario is true in your case, you might be experiencing some challenges in maintaining your old friendships and your new, blossoming relationship.

Having friends of the opposite gender is important as they add diversity to your experiences and provide fresh perspectives to your life. However, it is important to have boundaries with male friends while in a relationship.

Once you are in a relationship, dynamics between friends change, especially with friends of the opposite gender. However, you don’t have to change your life too much to balance your relationship and your friendships. Let us help you out with a few pointers.

Know the Boundaries with Male Friends While in A Relationship

The following table of contents will help you smoothly navigate between your relationship and your old male friendships.

1. Keep things strictly platonic

Setting clear physical and emotional boundaries will help keep the friendship strictly platonic. Hugging and pecking on the cheek is fine in most friendships; more intimate touch with male friends should be avoided. If you feel that a friend is sending you mixed signals, have an honest conversation with them and clear any air.

2. Have honest conversations

If you or your male friend think that they might be developing romantic feelings or if there is sexual tension between you both, then it is imperative to have a straightforward and honest conversation. Talk about the feelings honestly and try and find effective solutions to the same. Talk to another trusted person to figure it out if needed.

3. Involve your partner

If your relationship is new and your partner doesn’t know the dynamics between you and your friends, then involve them. Invite them when you hang out with your friends, make them part of the conversations, or just let them hang out with you. In this way, trust can be built, and there will be no scope for guessing and jealousy.

4. Be respectful of their partner

If your male friends are committed or engaged and bring their significant others to hang out with you, be mindful of them. Engage them in conversations, make them feel welcome and make them feel a part of the group. You have to reciprocate the gesture that your friends have done for you.

5. Keep your partner updated

While you don’t need to bring your partner every time you and your friends hang out, it is important to let them know your plans. Letting them know about what you’re up to on the weekend or in the evenings is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship.

6. Be cool with the female friends of your partner

You can’t be hypocritical if your partner has close female friends. Accept their friendship and spend time with them to get to know them better. Men and women being friends isn’t news of the century, and it is very natural when we meet so many people of the opposite gender at school, at work, or through friends. Platonic friendships are an important part of our life and give us a sense of belonging.

7. Avoid activities that feel date-like

Doing activities together that feel like being on a date is not a good idea and can send mixed signals to your male friend. Going on late-night outings or spending the night together can be confused as the start of something intimate. It might seem innocent to you, but it might send confusing signals to the other person.

You can spend time together doing less intimate-seeming things, such as hanging out in groups.

8. Earning the respect of male friends

When you earn the respect of your male friends by not name-calling or cursing them, you ultimately set firm boundaries with them. When you avoid discussing very intimate details with them and keep some of your life private, you avoid overstepping any boundaries of the friendship.

If you feel that a guy friend is overstepping a boundary and getting too personal, point it out to them immediately. Be firm and have a direct yet respectful conversation with them.

9. Watch out for developing feelings

Your guy friend is in a relationship, and is that making you jealous? Or are you happy for them? Evaluate your feelings and look for solutions if you feel something’s not going right.

10. Respect each other’s feelings always

Be it a guy friend or a gal friend, respecting each other is of utmost importance. Men and women may not see things in the same way, and hence, it is crucial to accept the differences in opinion and respect the other person.

11. Do not keep things secret from your romantic partner

Yes, friendships are important, but they shouldn’t be a reason to sabotage your relationship! Do not hide things or keep information away from your partner. Do not be secretive about texts and messages that you get from your friends, especially those of the opposite gender.

12. Don’t hide your dating life from your friends

Let your friends know that you are dating and are unavailable. This will help create any side issues in your friendship, and firm boundaries can be maintained between you and your friends. They will know that you are off-limits and will be able to manage their feelings towards you, if any.

13. Don’t compare your male friend and your partner

Comparing anyone to anyone else makes both parties uncomfortable. But in this case, the level of uncomfortableness will be very high, mind you! You could annoy your partner, or worse, make them feel jealous! There will be confusion abounds everywhere.

14. Don’t post intimate photos with your male friend on social media

In the era of soft launches, posting intimate photos with any person can lead to speculation and confusion. This could make both—your partner and your male friend—confused and uncomfortable. It could affect not only your friendship but also your relationship.

Parting thoughts

Now you know all about the boundaries with male friends while in a relationship. Understand, friendship is a beautiful thing, and being friends with the opposite gender might feel a little daunting at times, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t work out.

Every time of friendship requires effort and hard work, and when you set firm boundaries, you can reap the benefits of being in a good and strong friendship. Contrary to popular belief, people of the opposite gender can be “just friends” and explore a great bonding with each other.

Vishakha Naware

About Author

Vishakha Naware is a foreign language trainer, content and fiction writer and poet. Languages are not only her bread and butter, but also her passion. A former journalist by profession, she loves weaving stories and telling tales. She is also a keen observer and likes to use her observations in her writing. She is also an inquisitive traveler and a culture enthusiast who loves exploring and learning about new places and people. She loves cooking and baking, reading fiction books and binge-watching thrillers in her leisure time.

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