Are friends of opposite sex toxic to relationship?

They say a stranger stabs you in the front, a friend stabs you in the back; a lover stabs you in the heart, but best friends only poke each other with straws.

Some nice words that when we ponder on them as they make us hold on to those people we consider close friends.

A strained relationship can result from undefined interactions with the opposite sex

The logic is simple; who are we going to call when our relationships fall apart? Who will be there when our partners stab us in the heart?

But what happens when these close allies are members of the opposite sex? Do we go about harbouring a guilty conscious for hanging around them? Can this cause a strain over our relationships?

Despite trying to differentiate between friendships and relationships, we often make the mistake of placing the same value to our partners to that of our friends. We clearly do not see how this can, or does negatively affect our love life.

Linda Mgwadira, a student at National College of Information and Communication Technology (Nacit) in Blantyre says it is okay to have friends of the opposite sex when one is in a relationship as there is no harm in doing so.

She says what matters is how one conducts himself/herself when they are in such circumstances.

“It all depends on your self-control. Some people have some self-regulation while some do not, which is something to worry about.

“Of course, the issue of insecurity may arise, but mere friendships are easy to spot as it is easy to spot sexual relationships,” she says.

Fred Kantande, a second-year student at College of Medicine in Blantyre, however, says it is not proper for people in relationships to have friends of the opposite sex as it leads to loss of value of the relationship at hand.

“To me, it is absolutely wrong because it makes the other partner insecure. It reduces the trust between the couple. It is also easy to fall into temptations of doing something silly because of the affection that comes from the relationship,” he said.

Shadreck Magaleta from Nchalo in Chikwawa says it is in order for one to have such friends because we all differ in the way we were raised.

“For example, a girl might have been raised in a home that was full of boys and cultivated relationships with a lot boy-friends, which can be a problem to stop even when dating,” argued Magaleta.

Chancellor College sociologist Charles Chilimampunga, says it is harmless in having friends of the opposite sex while in a relationship despite there being challenges that can come as a result of such friendships.

He says it is socially acceptable for a male or female to have friends of the opposite sex outside relationships, but emphasises that things have to remain on the friendship level and not more than that.

“It is not toxic, but one should just be able to separate between friendship and relationships. The two things need to be clearly defined,” he says.


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