Boys can be Friends with Girls and it Took Me too Long to Figure This Out

Wyatt Mosiman, Editor-in-Chief

If the purpose of high school is to prepare students for successful lives, then I don’t think anything I learned was more important than this. Not even calculus.

During my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I was able to make friends, but I always felt a little out of place. It wasn’t until junior year that I found a group of people that gave me a sense of belonging. This is, admittedly, somewhat ironic, since my new group of friends is comprised almost entirely of females. And it’s not because I’m a “ladies man.”

Rather, I’ve found that I prefer the company of girls because the ones that I’ve come to know are some of the kindest, most empathetic people I know, all of them creative and funny in their own way. I feel supported and comfortable in a way that I hadn’t before, and I hope that my friends feel that I’m offering the same hospitality.

Something that bothers me when I think back on my life leading up to where I am now is how I never recognized the opportunity in befriending the opposite sex or even the subtle ways it’s discouraged. “Liking” someone is something that kids are taught to be embarrassed about and hide due to teasing from peers and sometimes even adults.

In elementary school, middle school and even at the age we are now, people will often assume that if a boy and a girl are spending time together, they’re in some sort of a romantic relationship; I’ve been guilty of this, too. These sorts of practices feel natural, but only serve to deter boys and girls from becoming friends due to embarrassment.

I faced this same kind of restriction when befriending girls my whole life but never recognized it until last year, when I started trying to make my new friends and realized just how difficult it was. I was constantly worried that people—potential friends included—would assume that I was only interested in talking to them because I had a crush on one of them or that they wouldn’t want me around because I was different or whatever else my brain constructed to be concerned about.

The reality was that I thought they were really cool and the type of people I wanted to hang out with. It took months before it felt alright to be with them in school, and being invited as part of their group to something outside of school for the first time was an incredible feeling of relief and acceptance.

I certainly don’t blame my friends for the insecurities I felt, nor do I think it’s fair to blame myself. We’ve grown up in a world where these types of friendships are uncommon and looked upon with prejudice. Fortunately, the times are changing, and I’m happy to be a part of that.

If you’re in the same position I was and are hesitant to make friends based on what other people might think, hopefully my encouragement can give you a head start. Don’t dwell on what you assume others are thinking. If you want to try becoming friends with another good person, regardless of how they may be different, that’s entirely okay and entirely normal; go for it. It’s hard. I know. But it’s worth it.