'I've always struggled maintaining friendships with men. Now I finally know why.'

I am a girls-girl through and through. 

My only sibling is my younger sister, the majority of my cousins are women, I went to an all-girls school, and the employees at my company are all women (with a few good men). 

My entire career is also based on creating content for women and I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Watch: Best friends translated. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Through these life experiences, I'm privileged to have collected lifelong friendships along the way. And of course, the majority of these friendships have been with women. 

I will admit that I'm not the easiest person to be friends with. After many heartbreaks and a lot of therapy, I've come to realise that my standards for friendships are higher than most. 

Every single one of my friendships are deep connections with women who I would trust my life with. They're the type of friends I could call at 2am, unload my most unhinged thoughts to judgement-free, share my location with, and give my phone passcode to without blinking. 

But I've noticed that people have different ideas when it comes to the definition of a friend. 

When someone says they're still friends with their ex, they mean they just continue following them on Instagram and sometimes "like" their posts. 

When someone says they're friends with their male co-worker, they mean they sit next to each other and talk office goss. 


And I realised people seem genuinely weirded out that I don't have a single friend who identifies as a straight man. 

I personally have no problem with this, but I love to prove people wrong.

So I decided to set myself a challenge — make friends with a straight man. I figured it shouldn't be too hard. 

So one evening, after a few glasses of wine, I thought of a "genius" way to do it. 

I went onto my dating app and wrote in my profile bio "looking for friends." How hasn't anyone thought about this before? 

The next morning, I realised that dating apps probably weren't the best way to find friendships as most of the responses I got were along the lines of "happy to be friends... with benefits". But maybe the whole "staying friends with your ex" thing could work for me. 

I messaged two of my exes with a generic, "Hey, it's been a while, are you free for a drink."

They both said yes but definitely seemed a bit wary. 

The first guy was still single (like me) and as casual as our catchup was... it felt like a date. My brain was very confused at the end of our catchup when we didn't kiss.

The second guy had a girlfriend, so I thought I was locked in for a friendship. 

Our catchup was cool and casual but I realised I actually didn't enjoy myself. I didn't feel comfortable being my most authentic self. I lied about getting a promotion at work because I wanted to impress him, I talked about sport way more than I would've liked because that's all he wanted to talk about, I felt nauseous from trying to keep up with how fast he was finishing his meal. 

The icing on the cake was when he messaged me after saying it was great to catch up but his girlfriend didn't feel comfortable with us hanging out together. Fair. 


I remembered a time in my early 20s when I actually had somewhat decent friendships with men. They weren't anywhere close to the importance of my female friendships but they were people who I messaged now and then, hung out with and cared about. 

The reason why I had male friendships in that one year was because I was in a relationship

The pressure as a single person to maintain friendships with people of the sex that you're attracted to comes with so many external obstacles. 

People are constantly thinking things like, "they'll eventually date" or "they're probably sleeping together". I know this because I'm also one of those people who think this. 

And when they're not thinking it, they're asking it out loud. 

"Why are you hanging out with Jack all of a sudden? What do you guys have in common?" 

"You do know why his ex dumped him, don't you?" 

And my absolute favourite...

"Are you guys dating?" 

When I was in a relationship and started getting friendly with men, I never got asked questions like these. 

When you're in a relationship, it's much easier to make friends across genders because you're "safe" from these assumptions. 

So for now, I'm still on my way to finding a guy I'd actually want to be genuine mates with. 

But I'm pretty certain no one will ever come close to the friendships I have with women. 

If you want more culture opinions by Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem. 

Do you want free to air TV? Complete this survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher.