As a college aged male, I would like to get to know the girls in my fellowship more without looking like I’m hitting on them or having an ulterior motive. It seems that there is a sort of a gender segregation for christians(though at times it is needed for things like accountability). Of course, I do realize that trying to get to know my fellow sisters in Christ may lead down dangerous paths if left unchecked. Is there any way I can fellowship more closely with them without feeling awkward?
It’s true this is a tricky thing, and you might come off “ulterior motive”-ish no matter how well you traverse the scene. The foremost thing to do is pray through your motives as you frolic about because most women can sense the creeper-ness, the floating, the hunting, the hot-breath proximity, and especially the pungent aroma of desperation. You know those nasty dudes who float across the room to put an arm around a girl as if they’re hot stuff. Freaking gross. You can exude that even when you’re actively trying to be kind and courteous.
Remember: Sin makes you stupid. Wanting to get to know girls for the wrong reasons, even reasons you’re not aware of yet, can make you weird, shrill, anxious, ego-driven, and turn you into a source of temptation. So pray through that and extract the roots of any motives that you wouldn’t want your future son-in-law to have.
But to get to know any of the ladies better in the “Christian” way, do as you would do with man-friends. Simple.
– Hang out in mixed groups for regular outings, like movies, bowling, lunch, dinner, coffee, study time. You are mostly your true dynamic self when you’re with your dudes, so the ladies will get to see that (for better or worse).
– When y’all are hanging out, whether it’s church or otherwise, try to ask both the dudes and ladies about their prayer requests. One thing: do NOT end up only asking the women you’re attracted to and do NOT use the dudes as a cover to appear neutral and do NOT do this to info-dig. Again, pray through your motives carefully. Ask out of genuine sincerity, look them in the eye, and then later actually pray for them. You’ll get to know them quite deeply this way. Sometimes I just send out a mass text or email and that works too.
– I think texting, emailing, Facebook chatting, and group webcam all have their own disciplines as well, but mostly it’s the issue of the heart.
This may be a silly thing but when a female texts me, often I try to end my texts with an exclamation point (!!) to keep a slight arm’s length. I’m fine! How are you! I’m great! Since my heart is wicked, I know I tend to flirt easily if I use too many smiley faces, or God forbid the wink face. So I keep that a personal discipline.
Also, late night phone calls are no. The “all-day text conversation” is no. Super-long emails is no. Women can be very vulnerable to a guy showing so much personal attention, whether they are intrigued by it or disgusted by it, so it’s wise to draw those lines.
Some may think this is uptight or “segregationist.” Freaking whatever. Re-think in terms of your future daughter getting to know a dude. That tightens the ship. How will you feel towards the guy with your daughter who recklessly allows himself to be a temptation with no self-respect and no respect for women? It’s not so much that you can’t communicate in any of those ways, but that there’s a disciplined wisdom for it if you really are a man.
– Always be encouraging and ask questions. Notice a woman’s shoes. If they’re nice, say so. If not, notice something else (or say nothing, it’s better than lying). In any setting, ask about their day, ask how they’re feeling, ask why they did that, and be interested. I’ve found that I love learning about people, young and old and big and small and male and female and Jew and Greek and Scythian (Bible joke, bam).
I know as a dude you have some pressure to communicate wisely with women, and maybe rightly so. The overall principle is to make friends first and foremost. If it goes beyond that, it’s a whole new world there.