Have I grabbed your attention with this flashy title?
Good. I do hope you took note of the strategic space between “boy” and “friends” because surprise surprise, I’m super single, and I always have been.
No, this blog post is not me bragging or bashing my past relationships (come on guys, I’m not T-swift here), but rather all the boys in my life that I realize now have made my life very different from the typical Disney channel plastic storyline.
I find a lot of plot lines use “boy friends” simply as comic relief or their ulterior motive is to have the boy fall in love with the girl. For me, that’s never been the case.
It’s interesting to me now because I’m very different from how I was as a small child, yet things have hardly changed at all. As a kid, I was always a weird mix between a tomboy and a girly-girl. I hated wearing dresses, skirts, frilly socks, headbands, etc. but I loved wearing glitter, every shade of pink imaginable, flowers and all that. To some extent, these things carried with me into puberty and my teen years.
I remember when I was in grade 2, I had just moved to a new town, and had left my friends behind in my old city. Up until that point, I hadn’t really talked to anyone except the girl who I met on my first day of kindergarten at the bus stop, and one other girl in our class.
I felt really alienated from most of the girls in my new class. This was no one’s fault really, it was just one of things that happened in life. A lot of them had known each other since pre-k in this small town, and most of them were white. I really just didn’t have anything in common with them.
Instead, I found myself gravitated toward a group of 3 Asian boys. Maybe it was because they were Asian, or maybe it was because they were boys, but I just felt like I belonged there so much more.
I found that boys cared less about what you wore, were more willing to take risks, or rough themselves up. We would chase each other all recess long, pretending we were superheroes or Pokémon, which resulted in lots of scraped knees and bloody noses, but those was probably some of the greatest times of my childhood.
At that point, it didn’t really concern anybody that I didn’t have any girl friends. It was really cute that I was friends with a bunch of Asian boys, and look! How cute! This little girl’s not afraid to scruff up her knees! (There are so many strange sexist undertones in these ideas, but that’s a whole different topic).
It wasn’t until I was older than I started to run into problems.
By grade 4, I had a nice group of friends. There were 6 of us, and we lived in this perfect harmony of playing pretend and running after each other. And of course, it was me, and 5 boys. But of course, 10 year olds can only run into one problem in their pre-pubescent lives…
Crushes and cooties.
The trouble first started when one of the boys in our group of friends developed the most innocent, tiny crush on me. It was nothing crazy. He just enjoyed talking to me, and was really friendly. At one point I remember playing Pokémon, and one of my other friends supposedly “wounded” me. This boy with a little crush on me, swooped down, gathered me in his arms and gave me the biggest hug.
“It’s okay Carole, I’ll heal you!”
The game fell into a standstill, and the rest of the boys froze. How inconceivable! A boy?? Hugging a girl?? Crazy!
The rest of them stared for a painful moment or so before one asked, “What are you doing?”
Of course, I was quickly let go of. “Nothing!” was the embarrassed response. I’d never seen somebody turn so red before.
I vaguely remember the first time a pair in our class got “together”. They would bat their eyelashes at each other, pass notes written in blindingly pink highlighter, and hold hands at recess. This lasted for about 1 full school day, but the damage was done. Everyone was thinking about “boy/girl” pairs, and all of a sudden, being “just friends” was no longer an option.
My friends, every single one of them, were afraid people would think we were “dating” if they were seen with me. No one wanted to deal with the “embarrassment” and teasing that came with being a couple. Instead of running around together, they were running away from me. I found myself frustrated and lonely. I had no friends anymore. My boy friends had banded together and refused to talk to me. I still didn’t understand the girls in my class (and besides, I didn’t know any of them well enough for us to be friends, they still all moved about in those cliques they formed in kindergarten).
By this point, I wished I had made some girl friends, or stayed in my hometown, because I was so lonely. This lasted up until grade 5, until one new girl moved into town and befriended me. I decided from that moment on, I was swearing off boy friends for good. They were unreliable, mean, and I couldn’t trust them. After all, who becomes friends with someone, stays for years, and then decides to just move on because they suddenly became aware their friend was a girl?
I was so over it.
It didn’t help either that boys I had thought were my friends started to bully me. I see now that it was all because everyone in middle school is extremely immature and insecure, but at the time, I remember feeling extremely betrayed. They would call me names, steal my things, and all around made my life miserable.
I eventually made a lot of girl friends, and it was fun for a while… But things turned sour really fast. All they really wanted to do was gossip, cause drama with each other, cry to me about their feelings, and feel the need to not include me or invite me to social gatherings. (This is also another story for another time).
By this point I was really losing my mind. Girls weren’t good friends, boys weren’t good friends… Who was I supposed to be friends with?!
I’m really thankful that myself, and the others around me, were able to grow the heck up. I ditched my toxic friends. They weren’t really doing anything for me, and it was quite easy since they all kind of left me, no strings attached.
Though there was a lot of struggle, I eventually found a place where I truly felt like I fit somewhere. And it just so happened to be yet again, surprise surprise, in a group of boys. But of course, we’re all way more mature than kids in middle school (we’re still immature as hell, but at least we’re better.)
I wouldn’t trade these friends for anything. They’ve always been with me when I needed them. They’ve always genuinely cared for me; have always supported me in everything I do.
Are there hard times? Of course.
I constantly struggle to feel like I really fit into the puzzle. After all, there are some things they’ll never be fully understand about girls because they aren’t girls, just like I will never understand some things about them because I’m not a boy. I can’t stay over at their sleepovers, I can’t be over at their houses alone.
But would I wish for a core group of girl friends over boy friends?
In all my life experience, I’ve found that it doesn’t really matter whether your friends are boys or girls. All that really matters is who makes you feel like someone important and who is willing to stand by you, even when you feel like you’ll always be alone.
Friendships don’t rely on anything except respect, integrity, trust, and faith. If you don’t have those things, it doesn’t matter if your friends are boys or girls.
I guess, in some long winded way, I’m trying to say, I love where I am right now. I love the support system of friends I have in place. If someone tries to tell you you can’t be friends with boys when you’re a girl, or vice versa, I’m here to tell you they are wrong.
The deepest friendships can be found in the most unsuspecting people. Don’t judge the quality of a friendship based on gender, or even race, religion, or any other factor like that. Judge a person for them. Don’t be the one that denies a friendship the potential to come to fruition. There’s so much you could be missing.