BRAVO Reality TV star and lawyer Ms. Phaedra Parks has been catching a lot of heat lately for her behavior on Real Housewives of Atlanta this season. Her castmates think she’s an utter liar, but there is some truth to one comment she made that resonated with me on Part 2 of the reality show’s reunion.

When asked if there was a “Mr. Chocolate” she was dating, crafty and classy Phaedra replied, “There was a man who was encouraging me.” Kenya and Kandi were totally bothered by the response, rolling their eyes and sighing heavy. But in defense of Ms. Parks, I do believe that it is possible to have conversations with men who want to do nothing more than encourage you and see you win in life.

I’m a likable person which is why I have a large circle of friends –male and female — not friends with benefits, not friends trying to get benefits, genuine friends who enjoy my conversation and I their’s. I once dated a guy who wanted to sabotage every platonic friendship I had ever established with a male. He thought it was far-fetched for a man to only enjoy talking to a woman. Somehow, he thought he had authority to regulate my interaction with male friends that I knew before he even came into the picture. Needless to say, I broke up with him.

Why? For one, I know my conversations with these men were never inappropriate. These male friends were not ex-boyfriends; they were literally friends whom I had known for more than a decade. I have never seen these folks naked and they have no idea where my birthmark is either.

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Two, they knew I had a boyfriend and all pertinent details like his name, his occupation, etc. Of course, that doesn’t stop some men from pursuing, but my point here is I made sure they were aware of my partner, I didn’t feign singleness. Friends tell friends when they’re in relationships.

Third, these male friends were not AWOL army buddies who would call me all hours of the night. My male besties are three great, respectful guys. There was no need for my now-ex to play Sherlock Holmes and monitor my interaction with them.

That being said, trust is an important factor in friendships and relationships.But if a woman has a male friend who encourages her and reminds her that she is an awesome woman who deserves the best, then that’s a good thing. If Phaedra’s guy pal was encouraging her to keep her head up during the turmoil with Apollo, then what’s wrong with that? The problem is more so with the people judging these friendships and assuming something more has to be going on. Usually, men and women who don’t believe in platonic friendships with the opposite sex are people who can’t keep their clothes on around the opposite sex.

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