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We’ve all heard the question “can guys and girls be friends?”
(If you missed the introduction to this series, start HERE.)
Not defining what type of friendship we are talking about is what has made the “can guys and girls be friends?” question so widely debated. All the possible scenarios can make you want to gouge out your eyeballs with a fork. You will have to figure out what type of friendship your situation entails and assess accordingly.
I hope as you track with me through this series, you will see where I landed and refrain from picking up the fork.
I’m not going to be addressing the “hook up” issue in this series other than the following few thoughts. (Second Warning: If you are unclear about the term “hook up,” you may be too old to be reading this.)
Today, some people want an intimate friendship while the other person sees it as casual or close. It’s the whole “friends with benefits” scenario, which can be anything from making out to casual sex. The added confusion on any level is one person may feel the “friendship” is intimate while the other does not. Scientifically we know that this scenario is not healthy for either one of the friends’ bodies or brains. Here’s a quick read for more information: Hooked. I highly recommend the book.
A friend who had read Hooked called me to say, “If they would have explained THIS in Sunday school it probably would have made me grasp why God wanted me to value sex for the commitment of marriage!”
When we as Christ followers distrust God’s words and distort his plan for our sexuality, we not only hurt the heart of the Lord by not following His wisdom, but we are left in a state of distorted sexuality and pain. (Unless we are in denial.)
I’m not saying any of this to promote shame (that never helps anyone) rather a desire for all of us to stop and ask ourselves if we believe in the wisdom of God.
Wait, didn’t I say I just had a few thoughts on hooking up? I can get slightly distracted when…
Oh look, a bird!
Anyway, I want you to know, I’ve been there.
I’ve held onto a friendship too long, hoping it would be something more. I’ve ignored the “he likes you as more than a friend” to fulfill a need I had for male attention. I’ve been unnecessarily jealous. I’ve been necessarily jealous. And I’ve “snacked”* way too often, and on and on…
But I also feel like I’ve been blessed to call a number of quality men my friends. Close friends. Many who have greatly impacted my life. Some are married; some are single. Some are dating, and some are widowed. Each relationship has its own unique story that may or may not fit you and your friendship, but this series should help you as you try to figure it out.
I love something my father prayed recently during a staff meeting, and it is my prayer for you, too. (No, I did NOT stop mid-prayer to write it down.)
“I pray they will be people who seek wisdom instead of having us tell them what to do.”
On that note, let’s begin…
Let me begin by first defining what I mean by “friendship” in this section.
Friendship = hanging out, talking on the phone, ongoing communication and interaction.
If this is the type of “friendship” in which you are picking up his dry cleaning or French braiding her hair, then this is not a friendship.
Unsure if this is you?
Ask your friends, “Do you think it’s weird that I fold Judy’s laundry and hang out with her mom when she goes out on dates?” or, “Is there something wrong with the fact that I pay his parking tickets and tally his stats on FIFA?”
See what they say.
Aside from those extreme situations, we often are in friendships where things are just a little ambiguous. Deep down we know the other person probably doesn’t like us back, but we hold onto that little glimmer of “but that one time she said…” or “I don’t think he does that for all his “girl” friends…
I would recommend that you ask yourself the following questions. Then go to your “Naomi”. Discussing these questions with someone who can hold you accountable will be far more valuable than my telling you what I think you should do. Trust that the Lord will also give you insight.
a) Are you sure your friend’s feelings are not reciprocated?
b) Are you willing to admit how you feel to your friend if you haven’t? Are you prepared to hear his or her answer?
c) What do you think is the wisest thing to do if he or she does not feel the same way?
d) What are the costs/benefits of remaining friends? Are you being honest with yourself?
e) How will you trust God in the midst of disappointment?
f) If you step back from the friendship, how will you set healthy boundaries?
g) What will mourning the loss of a friendship look like?
h) What will moving on look like?
That’s a good start for now…
From my heart,
p.s. If you’d like a little light reading to accompany this series, click HERE for a recommendation.
*Patience! You will find out what “snacking” means soon enough.
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.