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My Brothers

Can men and women be friends? Just friends?

The question that can never be answered because there are too many varying opinions. I’m not planning to debate it here. I only know what I believe based on my own experiences and I believe that they can. I suppose I can’t say I have always felt that way. I wasn’t really sure because until I became unmarried, I didn’t really have (straight) men friends other than mutual couple friends with my husband or men that were friends with him also. He on the other hand, had a multitude of women friends, many I had never met and I sometimes found it difficult to be accepting of this. Not because I didn’t think he was just friends with most of them.

It wasn’t until I was single and on my own and living in a new community and making friends that I met a few guys that have become some of my closest friends. Between two husbands, I was married most of my adult life. Almost all of my good guy friends are also single, though one of my dearest friends is married and his wife is my dear friend too, but he is like the brother I’ve never had. I do actually have a real brother, and though I love him because he is my brother, we have never been very close. I have always felt a little jipped with respect to the relationship that I have with my brother, but this guy fills that void and then some.



I would have to say this guy is probably my closest male friend. He and his wife have been with me through some very dark days. They are my family. As the texts show, he is also my ICE contact (in case of emergency). Not only because my closest relative (my son) never answers his phone, but because he is close by and would know what to do and who to contact.

I feel like I hit the lottery with the friendships that I have and though my closest friendships are with women, I’m finding I appreciate the friendships I have with men in different ways. They are a little more rough and tumble and they don’t mince words. They also know what to say at the right time and in some ways the punch is a little more powerful coming from a guy.

One evening over the holidays I was walking downtown with one of my buddies when I ran into a guy I had dated early on after my marriage ended. I had fallen hard, but he didn’t, so when I saw him it stirred up a lot of old feelings. We exchanged a few friendly words and then I ran to catch up with my friend. He asked me who that was and I told him. I must have looked a little off balance because he asked me if I was okay. I said yes, though I don’t think he was thoroughly convinced because he said, ‘Well, here’s something. You look really fucking hot tonight!” That worked.

Another guy friend recently said something that made me laugh and love him at the same time. I was having a bit of a poor me, what is wrong with me, why can’t I meet someone…blahblahblah moment and while a girlfriend might provide sweet words, TLC and a bit of man-bashing, the guy friend has less patience and just delivers that one line that makes you feel better, “My god, have you met you?!”

Not too long ago I was having wine with one of my good (girl) friends and we were talking about our “brothers” because we share many of the same ones. After we talked in favor about them she made a good point, “But we have enough brothers! We don’t need anymore brothers!’

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Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

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