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Girl Best Friends: Friend or Foe?

by RepublicAsia

“Don’t worry about her, she’s just a friend. She’s like a sister to me.”

Maybe you’ve heard this line–or maybe someone you know has heard this line from a boyfriend before. This might sound assuring to some, but for the overthinkers, this might not be something you want to hear from your significant other. 

“Is she really just a friend?”

People have different interpretations of what exactly makes a “girl best friend” and the definition may vary depending on the person. Dating a man with a girl best friend can either be a woman’s greatest nightmare or blessing-in-disguise.

Simply put, a GBF or girl best friend is a female friend in a platonic boy-girl friendship. 

You might then wonder: if girl best friends are strictly platonic, what’s the big deal? 

Can’t men and women be JUST friends?

More often than not, the “girl best friend” is portrayed negatively–especially in online discourse. This traces back to the debate of whether or not two people from the opposite sex can be friends without any romantic or sexual inclination. 

However, being friends with the opposite gender is normal.  

Screenshot from interview

According to Filipino-American psychologist Dr. Marinette Asuncion-Uy, Psy.D. (@the.brown.pysch on Instagram), “It is healthy for everybody to have both boy and girl friends”. Different genders tend to offer different strengths and points of view, “minsan iba yung perspective ng lalaki at ng babae, so it’s good to have the perspective of both worlds,” said Dr. Nette. She continued, “Social connections are so good for your mental wellness, so long as the friendships are good quality friends.”

So…why is the GBF an issue anyway?

Some argue that men who are in a relationship and are also close to a female friend should be considered a “red flag,” while others believe it should not matter as long as there is mutual trust and respect for each other’s boundaries.

The 22-year-old, Joraiah Capili, revealed that she started off as a GBF and now has a partner who also has GBF. Capili and her male best friend have been friends for six years–an interesting bond that initially began as an ex-situationship before becoming purely platonic friends.

Capili recounts her experience as the girl best friend, “I think may one instance ata where I was caught between the two of them, pero, I didn’t know back then. Nalaman ko lang months after.” 

As a girl best friend, Capili shared that she didn’t know she was of that situation and that it felt awkward–especially since she had no ulterior motives with her male best friend. 

Photo Courtesy: Joraiah Capili

On the other side of the coin, “At the start of our relationship ng boyfriend ko, nalaman ko na yung girl best friend niya pala is actually ex niya pala dati.” Capili revealed that her boyfriend’s GBF intimidated her at the beginning of the relationship, but they eventually became friends. 

“Siyempre as a girlfriend na bago-baguhan lang, you would get those kind of worries na ‘hala pano kung pagpalitan bigla sa GBF niya lalo na mag-ex sila.”

Capili continued, “I realized that di pala mapipigilan ang pagseselos talaga in the start. I always thought that I would never be affected by those types of things. But when you experience it firsthand, knowing that another girl knows your significant other more than you, you get jealous”.

“Jealousy, like any other emotion, is part of being human,” Dr. Nette shared. 

Jealousy often stems from the need for reassurance, feelings of insecurity, past trauma, and the attachment styles people have, the Florida-based psychologist explained. “It’s so important for us to get to know ourselves before we get into a relationship kasi minsan ang nangyayari, is we tend to project whatever insecurities we have with a significant other.” 

(Note from Dr. Nette: If jealousy is extreme, there are trauma and other underlying issues that need to be addressed. Seeking the help of a therapist is very important)

Capili, who reflected on her experience as both the girlfriend and GBF, “Knowing my boundaries and limits as a friend and having been in the same position as my best friend’s girlfriend allowed me to be more emphatic to her position. It gave me more perspective on the dynamics of my relationship with my best friend”.

Everybody should have boundaries

It is important to know your place and where you stand in someone’s life.  

Capili believes it is important for her male best friend to always update his girlfriend on his whereabouts “because it’s important to reassure your partner”. Similarly, her boyfriend consistently updates her whenever he hangs out with his girl best friend. “I trust them both because they both know their boundaries and limits”.

Setting boundaries, respecting your partner’s feelings, consistency in your actions, and maintaining open and transparent communication are crucial in establishing trust in a relationship. Ultimately, it’s not about restricting friendships or succumbing to jealousy, but rather about building trust, understanding, and mutual respect within a relationship.

With reports from Ana Millicent Lim



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