More Than Friends?

As part of yesterday’s discussion of celebrity friendships, I mentioned that when famous BFFs are uberclose, people sometimes think they’re gay.

In response, a reader commented that because she hangs out a lot with her best friend, people joke all the time about them being “together.”

Apparently this kind of speculation isn’t limited to celebrities at all. Any two women who spend a good amount of time in each other’s company might automatically be deemed more-than-friends.

What is with that?

Strong female friendships are about providing support systems and cheering squads, and if you’re really lucky you might find your other half. The person who understands you in a way that other women don’t and other men can’t.

But what part of that says “We’re having naked pillow fights and snuggling into bed together every night”? Because you know that’s what some guys are thinking… or praying for.

The speculation about the “nature” of specific female friendships is likely due to a lack of understanding. To start, men just don’t get it. They may have close friends, but the level of intimacy is different. Men are happy enough just hanging out, while women provide each other with so much talk time that they’re basically in therapy.

As for the ladies who assume any strong female friendships must be lesbian relationships, well that’s likely a case of misunderstanding too. Plenty of women have never had that one best friend who does it all, so it can be hard to fully understand the lets-do-everything-togetherness of some BFFships.

Wait, I just had a thought. Could it be that women have a specific amount of true friend-love to give, and that affection can either be entirely directed at one person (a la Lucy and Ethel), resulting in a super-tight friendship, or at a small group of people (the ladies of Sex and the City or The Babysitter’s Club), forging a number of close relationships, or to a much larger group in smaller amounts, leaving someone with a ton of pals but few truly intimate friendships? I don’t know. But it does seem that I’ve heard from plenty of people who fall neatly into those categories.

I can see this happening even in my own life. As I make more and more local friends with this search, it becomes harder to keep up with all my old friends across the country. There is only so much time and energy to give.

Ok, I got sidetracked. The question of the day is, why do people think extremely close female friendships must actually be lesbian relationships? Is it simply lack of understanding? Or do people who haven’t had a similar friendship need to believe there’s a reason why they’ve never been there? Or do people just like labels, and BFF doesn’t seem strong enough?

{And ok, fine, does my friendship distribution theory hold water?}


Filed under The Search

10 responses to “More Than Friends?

  1. Suzannah

    I absolutely think the friend distribution theory has validity….those are the most common patterns of female friendships…the only part you skipped, I think are women who feel they have no friendships…..recently I have found myself in discussions about friendships, and have been completely startled at the number of women who claim to have NO friendships….
    But in regards to the lesbian hater vibes, people get…..hmmm?????….I think you are right, people try to make sense of something they don’t understand….it confuses me because I have always had a BBF, but group friendships have always alluded me……
    Regarding Oprah, I feel she takes Gayle into public with her frequently because it has proven financially beneficial to Gayle, made her a celebrity& brought her many opportunities…

    • Lorrie Paige

      Like me, I have found many of my Pen Sisters (my snail-mail/Internet “family” group) have no friendships, but they, as a given in their eyes, consider family their friends. Some don’t understand why anyone would go through the time/trouble seeking close friends/Bffs when your family are your friends.

      Yes, there are many of us out here that have no friends–in the truest meaning of the word…For me, I have never had a problem doing things on my own, having fun by myself, and could consider myself my own best friend, so maybe that has something to do with it for me being without friends, having my independent spirit out there in the universe.

  2. JP

    I think it’s probably more men that speculate the lesbian relationship between two best friends because they can’t believe two people can be that close without the intimacy factor. Yet I think most women need more of an emotional fulfillment and have a handle on the intimacy thing (literally!) so they gravitate towards the emotional relationship. I would think any woman with very close friends would get it.

  3. This is such a strange phenomenon, and one of which I’ve become aware only recently. Now that my best friend and I have moved in together for the next six months, I battle constant ribbing from (male) friends about our relationship. I can honestly say I love her, but I don’t understand the speculation (joking or not) about what that love actually “means.” She’s my best friend! We have a blast together! Is that really so unusual?

    I can’t wait to see how others weigh in on this topic.

  4. LizC

    At least for a lot of men I think it’s equal parts wishful thinking and lack of understanding. I don’t know of any men of my acquaintance who have that one friend that they call whenever or spend time with for no reason. They’re not calling up their male bff to go shopping or to go see a movie. Maybe that’s just the men I know, though.

    From my perspective I actually find that kind of sad. What do men do with their friends? I know a friend’s husband has what he calls “man night” but all that entails is he and a few friends meeting once a week at someone’s house to play video games which doesn’t even have to include conversation.

    • Lorrie Paige

      Statistics show men tend to get together with their male friends mainly for sporting events–going to or watching on TV.

      Coming in second, I would say “going out and getting a few beers”.


    Maybe This Whole Whose Gay Thang Have Gotten Outta Control. I just Heared That Mariah Carey Was Ask Was She bi-Sexual. She Said No, yet She Have Friends Who Are. Personally I Don’t Understand What The Fuss is All About, Excuse Me But Reading History Books Haven’t Homosexuals Been On This Earth Since The Beginning Of Times. I Don’t Believe That U Should Speak On Both Ends Of Ones Mouth, U Shouldn’t Tell ppls To Be True To Themselves ‘N When They Are It Becomes A Problem. Oprah Did Not Deserve That judgemental Uncall for Question That Was put to Her. I Expected Better Than That From A Woman Mrs. B. Walters Who prides Herself On Great Interviews With Great Peoples. She Would Not Have Disrespected The Pope, Prince Charles, Or Queen Elizabeth. I Hope For Mrs. Walters She Plans To Retire On Top ‘N Not Bottom Of The Pole!!!

  6. Suzannah

    Just had to add….. I wish we could return to a time, where there seemed to be a better understanding that private life & all that entails is personal….Not open to public opinion…..I guess ,just having the courtesy to treat others the way you would like to be treated, let their private lives be their own.

  7. Husband

    Wait, not all female friends are lesbians with each other? jk jk jk

  8. Layla

    I’m a bit late to the conversation (it’s fun to catch up on old episodes of a blog or TV show.)

    I’ve always been a bit distant from people because I worried I might accidentally look like I was flirting… until one day I realized that (a) it doesn’t matter what people think, and (b) every single openly gay, lesbian, or bi person I know is friendly…so maybe if that happens I should take it as a compliment.

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