Years ago, I made one of the worst mistakes of my life. I had a good friend who had a boyfriend, and when they broke up, he and I got together.
We had had nothing going on when they were together, but after they broke up, he would come talk to me and pour his heart out, and I would listen. After a while, he and I started going out, and it ruined my friendship with my friend.
Duh. I didn’t know “the code.”
My mother died when I was quite young, and so there are discussions she and I never had. Had she lived, I am sure that she would have laid “the code” out for me… and I am sure that one of the first things she would have taught me is “thou shalt not date thy friend’s former boyfriend, husband, or love interest.”
I didn’t know.
Thing is, this guy – the one I lost a friend over – was not even CLOSE to being someone I would have picked on my own. I cannot understand what I was thinking – or not thinking. I suppose loneliness might have played a part, but I understand that loneliness is no excuse for breaking “the code.”
As a pastor, and a single pastor at that, I have learned to apply the “girl code” in my work. If I need to talk to a male member of my congregation, I am careful to make sure that when I call, I first talk to the wife or girlfriend, ask how she is doing, tell her why I need to talk to her husband, and then ask if I might speak to him.
It not only is polite and professional to do it that way, it honors “the code.”
Recently, a friend of mine became furious at another friend of mine, because, it seemed, “friend A” was interested in the same guy as was “friend B.” It seems that “friend A” had begun conversations with the guy first, and then “friend B” began talking to him, too. He, of course, talked with and flirted with both, but the aftermath of this little scenario was that now, “friend A” and “friend B” are not talking.
I know …someone will say that unless he has a ring on his finger, its open season, but doesn’t friendship mean something? To me, there is nothing quite as special as a good female friend; good girlfriends are true gifts. It seems to me that way too many of us women lose friends because we violate “the code.”
All this makes me think of pieces of wisdom my mother shared with me while she was alive. One was that if a guy grew up in a home where he saw his father beat his mother, he’ll probably beat you. Another was that you could tell the relationship a guy had with his mother by the way he treats you. And yet another was, “if he played around on your girlfriend, he will play around on you.”
I listened to her, and have to say, her words of wisdom have saved me many a time.
Had she lived long enough to have had the conversation with me about “the code,” I’m sure she would have put it in language I would never have forgotten, and would not have lost my friend over this…guy. I don’t know where the guy is today, or what he’s doing. My former friend, I must say, is married, has children, and is doing wonderfully well professionally.
I don’t know if any of my female readers are in a situation where you are attracted to a guy that a friend of yours either wants to be in a relationship with or has had a relationship with, but stop before you move. Friends are rubies, precious gems, not easily replaced. Better that you sigh and set your sights elsewhere than to damage or kill a friendship that may never come again.
Thou shalt not destroy a friendship over a guy. A good friend is more than “just a friend.” She’s often a sister, the sister, perhaps, that you never had. A sister-friend tends to “be there” when a guy just cannot relate or understand. Sister-friends are the ones you can call at midnight and pour your heart out to, and they are just there. They tell you, in love, when you’re wrong, they support and celebrate you when you are right. They push for your success, and they carry your burdens when you are “there,” so you absolutely know you are not alone.
They are too precious to lose.
From experience…a candid observation.