by Kimberly MacCarron
This topic rocks my socks for so many reasons since I firmly believe that boys and girls can be the best of friends. I’ve loved the different points of views already shared on this blog. Everyone has life experiences that color their perceptions, their memories and their future relationships. My experiences with boys always seemed positive when it came to being friends.
Girlfriends are great for reading between the lines and trying to figure out what somebody is really saying. Or not saying. The dramas are magnified and the feelings intensified. Boys-who-are-friends want to help solve the problem and see things at face value. Both are good, needed.
When I was in high school, I had many friends of both sexes, and they were all valuable and special to me. Two of my best friends were Billy Samuels and John Tomlanovich. I’ve known them since seventh grade when we all started attending a new Christian school, and our friendship grew throughout those years.
My step-dad was an alcoholic who quit drinking when I was five, but somehow—for whatever reason—he began drinking again while I was in high school. I mention this because a bunch of my friends would often go up to our campground near Seven Springs to hang out for a fun-filled weekend of swimming and hanging around the fire ring in the evenings. There were many times my step-father would get drunk, stumble around and start telling these friends all about his crappy childhood in great detail.
I was mortified. All the time. As only a teenage girl can be.
My nervous girlfriends and I would escape and find other things to do, but these two friends-who-were-boys stayed and listened to the drunken ramblings. Did they stay because they were interested? No. They stayed because they cared about me. And to pull my step-dad back many times before he fell into the campfire.
A dozen years or so later, Billy and John arrived for my wedding with their own families. Billy was the minister who married my husband and me. After a beautiful service and during the reception, I noticed that my step-dad started drinking even after I begged him not to. It was the only stressful part of that special day. But, apparently I had worried for naught since he remained quiet and didn’t make any scenes.
Or so I thought.
At the end of the evening, my husband and I said goodnight to most of our two hundred guests. It was at this point that I heard some slurred loud comments coming from the front where people were parked. Billy and John were with my step-dad, keeping him somewhat hidden from the guests.
It wasn’t until later when I realized that they had been gone from the reception for quite a while. And it made me love them the same as I did in high school. For handling a situation I was completely unaware of. For allowing me to enjoy my wedding without knowing that they were taking care of my drunken step-dad…one last time. They sat with him for hours, listening to the same stories they’d heard more than a thousand times during our high school years so that he wouldn’t talk to the other wedding guests.
That’s why I love boys-who-are-friends. My girlfriends were great for helping me fix my hair and giggling with me while pinning my torn wedding gown from jumping in a moonbounce (that’s another story), but it was the boys who solved the behind-the-scenes problem. Again.
I’m not sure I ever thanked them sufficiently for allowing me those blissful hours of being unaware of such an embarrassing situation on my wedding day.
I’m not regularly in touch with either of them anymore, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I called them today, they would be there for me in any way I needed. And I hope they know I would do the same. I thank them for all the years they kindly listened to my grandfather talk about his old football days. For driving me around when they had cars and I didn’t. For Billy buying me those cream-filled oatmeal sandwiches at lunch just about every day. For John taking me to see Heart in concert. I think of them often, and although our lives have gone in different directions, they remain such a significant part of my life that I just wanted to say thanks. Wherever they are.
So, when people ask if boys can be friends, I say yes. They can be the best!
My girlfriends have had their own special places in my life, but these two friends from years ago will forever have a hold on my heart for all they’ve been to me. I’ve never made better friends again. My memories remain strong, and that hasn’t changed... even through the years. Or across the miles separating us. And certainly not by the idea that boys and girls can never be “just friends.”