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YOU CAN'T BE FRIENDS WITH HER!


In episode 047 of the Naked Proverbs podcast, Rich and Nik Scott discuss whether or not it's ok to have friends of the opposite sex.



Nik:

Welcome back to the Naked Proverbs podcast where we unclothe the truth about Black love family and marriage. My name is Nik Scott, one of your hosts, and I'm here with my husband.

Rich:

What's going on? It's your boy Rich, and today we are going to talk about friendships.

Nik:

Right at the start of every episode, we always remind our listeners that we are not trained, licensed, or professional therapists or counselors. We've been married a long time and Naked Proverbs is our platform to share our advice, our stories, our opinions and our experience.

Nik:

If you haven't already, make sure that you're following the Naked Proverbs on whatever podcasting platform you listen on. And if you like what you hear, show us your love and support by giving us a five-star review on iTunes.

Rich:

As always, we want to take a moment and say thank you to all of our listeners that have chosen to tune in and spend your Sunday afternoon with us, thank you.

Rich:

If he ain't your daddy, your brother, your uncle or your cousin, then he can't be your friend.

Nik:

Are you talking to me? Or are you just setting the tone and the stage for the podcast?

Rich:

Girl I'm talking to you.

Nik:

No. I don't understand what makes you think you would have that type of authority to tell me who I can and cannot be friends with.

Rich:

The Bible say,

Nik:

The Bible says what?

Rich:

Something about listen to your husband.

Nik:

You clearly don't read your Bible because I'm pretty sure the Bible doesn't say anything about listening to your husband and if your husband is talking that type of crazy talk, then there needs to be some type of conversation around it.

Rich:

That’s in 2 Jeremiah 17:9. No, seriously. I say that jokingly because I think a lot of spouses, couples, fail to have that conversation about friendships of the opposite sex. And I don't think that it's fair to say that, you know, if you've had a friendship of the opposite sex prior to marriage, or maybe even you've, you know, some kind of way created a friendship after you were married with someone of the opposite sex, that that is just a no go all together. I think with the right rules and parameters around it, that it is something that is possible.

Nik:

I totally agree with you. I do not believe that just because you get married or jump the broom. All relations, all pre-existing relationships that were there before you got married should automatically cease. I, I just think that's unfair. I think that's unrealistic. I think that sets the stage for some pretty unhealthy conversations and interactions between a husband and a wife. But I do think that there needs to be conversation about that. Before you get married, what does that look like for your marriage?

Rich:

Because let's say that the friendship is a friendship that was from a past relationship. I would say, I would not be very comfortable with that. If that were our situation, if it was some young man or some old man, whatever, that you had had a previous relationship with, and then y'all just became, realized that you were better off friends. I don't know if I could be cool with him being your friend.

Nik:

Well, I don't know how comfortable I am with you insinuating that these are situations that would happen in our marriage, because for us, this is not something that I don't feel like, well I personally don't have friends of the opposite sex. So, I don't know if, saying for me, or is that just in general advice that you would give to the people listening. Because I do think that there are exceptions to the rule, right? I just said that, no, you shouldn't just cut off all of your friends of the opposite sex just because you jumped the broom, you should have conversations around it. But the exception to that rule is yes, I agree with you is if, if you had a previous romantic relationship with that person, then I don't think you should be friends with that person if you're married.

Rich:

And yes, this is all hypothetical, because I know that you don't have any male friends. You know, I mean, that's not a concern in our marriage. But I think that when we're discussing this, there are certain rules or regulations that I think if a couple has decided to have this conversation, or if they're considering or if they've already kind of in this situation should definitely take into account. And I think a big one is you need to make sure that there's transparency, and what that relationship looks like. If it was well, we just dated for a week, and then we decided we want to be friends and you're not saying that to your spouse, then you're already creating a lack of honesty. You're not being totally transparent. So, to me, I feel like it's important that you are transparent, just across the board. If you are choosing to have friendships of the opposite sex.

Nik:

Along those same lines, I feel like if you do have friends of the opposite sex, your spouse needs to know about them. It shouldn't be a secret; it shouldn't be a surprise. And I understand that you may have met your spouse after you've graduated from college. So, you may have some friendships that came from college or that you've maintained from college or you may even have friends that you took a bath with when y'all were babies, and y'all grew up together and, and your spouse doesn't know about that. My question to you would be, why would you be uncomfortable to, if you're just friends? Why is it so uncomfortable? Or why wouldn't you let your spouse know about it? Because if it's something that you know your spouse is, spouse is not going to be comfortable with, then you probably shouldn't be maintaining those relationships.

Rich:

And I think that's a great point because I think It would be just totally disrespectful for some woman to come knock on our door that you've never met, you've never heard about you don't know nothing about. And she's like, well, I'm Rich's friend from back in the third grade or whatever. And I think that that would be just disrespectful to my spouse. And that is my priority relationship. Once I choose to get married, there is no friendship that's more important than the friendship that I have with my wife. There is no relationship that is more important than the relationship that I have with my spouse.

Nik:

And that's the way it should be for you, too. If you committed to get married, you spent the money you took the time, you got all these people together, if you had a traditional wedding to witness the ceremony, and the union of you two becoming one, at some point, your marriage has to take precedence if you want it to work. Now, if you don't want your marriage to work, and I don't really have a, you're probably not even listening.

Rich:

Good point. I mean, I just you know, even going back to what you just said, like you've had this wedding you've had, you know, this formal event, if someone's really your friend and they're not there, and you had invites, then I go back to what you said in the beginning, are you hiding them? I mean, come on. How do you say you my friend and you weren't in my wedding?

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Rich:

I think another piece is boundaries, you have to have some very clear boundaries, because my opinion is that a man and a woman have natural urges and feelings that can happen. So, if you don't have some very clear boundaries, even with someone that is a quote unquote, friend, boundaries can be crossed. So, you have to make sure that it's very clear if you're going to have friends of the opposite sex, what those boundaries look like.

Nik:

I believe that men and women who are not married, can have a strictly platonic relationship. I do believe that. I believe that men and women can have a working relationship in a work environment, and they can have a non-sexual, non-romantic relationship with each other. And there can be zero attraction toward like, I believe that that's possible. I don't believe that every time a man and a woman are friends, it automatically means that one or the other is interested in pursuing something more. But I go back to

Nik:

A) have you had a conversation about what your marriage will look like with friends of the opposite sex? And if you haven't, and that's something that is transpiring because maybe in the past, there wasn't even a consideration. And I said a few minutes ago, well, you know, I don't even have any male friends. I don't even know why you're talking to me. But let's say five years from now, there is a male, you know, somebody who wants to be my friend, we need to have that conversation, we need, exactly what we're telling you, I need to be transparent. I need to be honest; it would be very hurtful and, well, what's the opposite of love? Right? I'll let y'all answer that. Because that would be the feeling and, and the way that I would be treating my spouse if I continued relationship with a man that he didn't know about.

Rich:

When you have real friendships, like when I think of my boys. I got three guys that are like brothers to me. We talk about everything. We talk about the good, the bad, the ugly, we cry on each other's shoulders, we comfort each other. We're there for each other in every way possible, emotionally that you, you know, I can think of. And so, if I were to have a female friend and I was doing those same types of things, I feel like there would be some boundaries that were crossed. Because if I need female companionship in that way, then I need to be going to my wife. I shouldn't be telling some woman whether she's my bestest buddy since third grade or not about my marital issues, or about concerns in the bedroom or something like that of that sort. Because I feel like those are boundaries that are being crossed, that can lead to infidelity. They can lead to trust being broken, and they can lead to damages and chinks in your armor of your marriage.

Nik:

But if it's your friend, friendships are built on intimate conversations. And just because you have an intimate relationship with someone of the opposite sex doesn't mean you have a romantic relationship with someone. Like how can a friendship grow if there's no intimacy. Because I think what you're talking about is Is intimacy. Like connecting? Like, how can you have a friendship with someone that you're not connecting with. And I think that's where it gets dangerous.

Rich:

Right. And that's why I'm saying, I'm not saying that you can't have an intimate relationship with someone of the opposite sex, but that if there are boundaries that are crossed, then it can become an issue. So, you have to have very good boundaries that are set from the get-go once you are married. Because maybe before it was, hey, I'm asleep over and lay in the bed with you and you're going to comfort me, and that was okay, because you weren't married. But I'll be damned if I find out that my wife has been laying in the bed with, I don't care if he fully clothed or not, that is a boundary that should not be crossed. Because if you need somebody to hold you, if you need that type of friendship, then it should be coming from your spouse, I think.

Nik:

Well, I guess the simple solution would be neither one of you have friends of the opposite sex, period. I mean, it's because it can get so murky and so gray to me. Like you're saying there needs to be boundaries. But in my mind, I'm like, if this is my friend, you know, you described the relationship that you have with your male friends, people can have those same types of relationships with friends of the opposite sex. So, where are the boundaries? It's like, okay, I don't talk to you about this, but I can talk to you about that. But then are we really true? Are you my BFF if I have to withhold this part of my whole life from you?

Rich:

I look at it like anybody can become vulnerable. Anybody can have a moment of weakness. And maybe both of you are going through relationship issues. And you both are so used to when you were both single, being there for each other. And not in any type of romantic or, you know, sexual way but just being there emotionally for each other. And so, when you decide to still do that, and you're both in a vulnerable place, you can't tell me where that's going to end up because you do not know. And I think that that's what I'm saying is that there may be some things that were okay before you were married in your friendship that are no longer okay because now you've decided to be married. And there are some things that are just off limits, because it can open you up to...because I'll tell you about the most, I feel like you know, we were friends before we were anything else. So, it's possible that that friendship could become something more than what it should be. And it might just be, oops, we shouldn't have done that. But still, that is going to damage your marriage.

Nik:

Because now you got to keep a secret. Now you got to lie. Now you got to hide. And I just want to be clear that I don't disagree with you. I'm just playing out these different scenarios and another scenario that I want to play out in conversation right now is we're talking about friends of the opposite sex. So, we're talking about heteronormative relationships. So, what about friends of the same sex who might be exploring other forms of sexuality, bisexuality or homosexuality? And that's my friend. But we know that she's also interested in the same sex.

Rich:

I think it's the same, same boundaries. Because I think that when you start talking about the sexual aspect, you know, when you earlier said, you know, a friend that there is no way like, we ain't even there. There's no way it's gonna ever be there, I'm not physically attracted to him or her, whatever the situation is, I'm not saying that there's not risk because there's always risk, but the risk is very reduced compared to a situation where you're like, well, he is attractive or she is you know, I do find her attractive. I feel like that just adds a extra piece to the puzzle that makes it harder to have that relationship. Because, like I said, anybody can have a moment of weakness. And that doesn't have to be I mean, because I think it's easy to say what we're talking about friends, right? Well, if you're gonna have a moment of weakness, you might have a moment of weakness at work. You could have a moment of weakness driving through the McDonald's drive thru. I don't know.

Nik:

The drive thru? If you weak in the drive thru. Wait, what's going on in the drive thru?

Rich:

I'm just saying. I mean, if your relationship is not as strong and built on, you know, the strongest foundation that anything can happen, right? But to me, it's like when you choose to have a friendship with the opposite sex, you are choosing to go to the edge of the cliff and not quite jump, possibly. And it makes it just a little bit more dangerous. All it takes is a good stiff wind, and now you're pushed over the cliff, right? All it takes is you stumbling, oops, and now you're over the cliff. Whereas if you were five steps back, maybe that wouldn't have happened. That's all I'm saying.

Rich:

So again, I'm not against it. But I do think that there are a lot of things that need to be discussed. Because I know even for us, if you don't like someone, you're like, you know what, I'm not feeling her, I can tell my spirit that she's, you know, after you or thinking about it, or so you know, something, I'm not going to continue to that friendship, because, again, you are my priority in this relationship.

Nik:

So again, the best way to avoid all of this is just to not have friends of the opposite sex.

Nik:

And I do think it gets a little more complicated when we're talking about same sex relationships, right. We're clearly, I'm not attracted to women. You're not attracted to men, but we can be friends with someone who is attracted to us. And I think those same conversations should be had in the marriage because the same situation can happen You can't predict the future. So, for me, it's always best to just not even engage in any type of situation that might potentially put your marriage and your relationship in danger. So, it doesn't matter if it is a lesbian woman or a man, to me,

Rich:

Right.

Nik:

It's the same thing. It is the same. It the communication needs to be happening if I want to have a relationship with her, or if I want to have relationship with him, and there definitely needs to be some parameters, some discussion around what that would look like. Because it is not my role as your wife to dictate who your friends are and who they aren't. However, it is, I would say your responsibility as my husband if there is someone that you're engaged in a friendship with that makes me uncomfortable, and now I'm not going to say for whatever reason, because you know, anybody could come up with any ol stupid ass thing to be like, you don't need to be friends with that person. But if it's you know, like, something ain't right with her, or something ain't right with him...your responsibility as my husband is to respect me and our marriage and our love for each other enough, and vice versa. Like it's just not you, it goes both ways, that that stuff is going to be canceled.

Rich:

There are pitfalls in marriage, there are pitfalls and relationships. And to me, if you are not aware of those pitfalls, then you're going to find yourself falling in one of these traps, unknowingly. And it may not even have been the plan from the get-go. You know, maybe it is that your wife is saying, hey, you know, I don't really feel comfortable with that woman that you met at work and y'all have so much in common and y'all laughing and giggling on the phone or whatever. Like to me, that friend doesn't have the right to call after a certain time because that begins to impede on our relationship. You know, and that's where I feel like it's such a slippery slope because it could be like, well, maybe that female friend of yours is going through a breakup and or they're having car trouble or whatever, right? Well, where does the line?

Nik:

That's right.

Rich:

Where's the line? Like? Why are you calling me first. You don't have a boyfriend, a dad a brother, some other male figure in your life that you can call

Nik:

Anybody. Triple A.

Rich:

Because I know now that would be an issue if some woman was calling my phone and I can tell you now if a woman's calling my phone, she is related to me,

Nik:

Not necessarily.

Rich:

Business.

Nik:

I was gonna say.

Rich:

Business but I mean if it ain't business and it's not even like I've ever got a business call and I'm not, I haven't spoken to you about who's on the phone or whatever.

Nik:

Right.

Rich:

Because for me, I don't want to create issue in my marriage based off of something that is pointless. Like why? So, for me, I'm very big on avoid it and you don't have to worry about it. Rather than let's, let's see how far this can go and see if we can almost get like

Nik:

We can navigate through the murky waters. Whatever might happen in a moment of vulnerability or drunkenness, or I'm high or whatever

Rich:

Right.

Nik:

Excuses people come up with. The bottom line again to me is, if you can't have a friendship, a thriving friendship or relationship with someone without it being that super intimate, that super connection, that super, I need to call her because I just got fired, or I just got laid off. And I need to talk to my best friend. That to me, like, I don't know.

Rich:

Because I look at that

Nik:

Just avoid it altogether. Like just don't put your, don't set your marriage up for failure. We're here to help you set your marriage up for success. And that is not wisdom.

Rich:

Because I look at that example you gave. And it's like if your first reaction is not to call your spouse then I would say you've got some things you want to figure out there first. Like I should never think, have a high or a low in my life and think, oh my god, I need to call some, some other woman. Whether she's my friend, my mother, like, I don't care who she is, if my first thought is not, oh my God, let me call my wife to celebrate, or to comfort me or to hear what I have to say. Then I feel like you've already got some concerns. And you probably don't need to bring additional issues into your marriage, which could be that woman or that male that's of the opposite sex.

Nik:

Thanks, so much for tuning in to this week's episode of the Naked Proverbs podcast. We truly want you to have a happy marriage. We want you to thrive in your marriages and indulge in your spouses on a regular basis. Don't forget to follow the Naked Proverbs on whatever podcasting platform you listen on. And we will talk to y'all in the next one.

Rich:

Peace.


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