Question: Can A Guy and Girl Be Friends?



Anonymous asked:

I know there is no straight up answer to this question because everyone has different boundaries and it’s a matter of permissible vs. beneficial. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past which have resulted in a lot of hurt and drama. What are some healthy guidelines for emotional boundaries in opposite gender friendships? How can I pursue a healthy, deep and ‘intimate’ friendship while guarding my heart (and the other person’s) without being legalistic? Or can guys and girls not be close friends?

 


Here’s the short, simple answer on this one:

While everyone thinks they can beat the odds and be the exception, almost no one can escape romantic feelings if they have a super-intimate relationship with the opposite gender.

The important thing here is what you choose to do with those feelings.

Now please hear me: You have a right to feel what you feel, but you’re not obligated to pursue it.

Just because you feel romantic emotions, it does NOT inevitably lead to a date and a wedding. 

I know this probably isn’t your motive, but it’s so ingrained in us today that boys and girls can only flirt to communicate and there’s all this “unrequited longing” that we emulate from sitcoms. 

I’m reminded of a very poignant Simpsons episode where Homer has feelings for another woman, so he thinks he has to have sex with her.  He actually starts sobbing in his hands and says, “We’re gonna have sex.”  I died.

Because of our overly sexualized culture, we assume that being around the opposite gender immediately means “romantic possibilities,” but it does NOT.  You and I learned that crap from bad rom coms, Hollywood saturation, and your horny group of friends. We’ve all bought into this “friendzone” garbage, but no one is entitled to a date just because they’re “nice.” 

We live in such an impulsive impatient generation, so we assume our first instinct must be the right one — as if we need to chase the rabbit every time.  I mean really, when’s the last time we actually said NO to ourselves?  Hardly ever.  If I want Taco Bell at 2am, then by golly I will have my chalupa with extra beef grease and a side of twelve burritos.

 

My friend: you know your boundaries already.  Do you know how you know?  Because you’ve been hanging out with friends since you could walk.  You learned how to navigate your own personality, the art of communication, your preferred space, whether you were an extrovert or introvert, and what kind of things you like to do. You don’t need to suddenly change all the rules for the opposite gender.  Why would you?

I’m sure you see this playing out the wrong way all the time.  We all know the guy who suddenly changes his voice and puffs out his chest when a girl walks in.  We all know the girl who gets shrill and obnoxious when a dude walks in. No one actually thinks it’s cute.

I’m not talking about the natural nervousness of being around someone we’re attracted to: I mean that many of us are subconsciously trapped by trying to impress the opposite gender, as if maybe something will happen out of thin air.  No one really thinks to the bottom of that belief.  Very few people actually question how we got to this mutant form of romance.

We all need to relax on this and realize we are much more than our sexuality.  We are human beings who share the common need for companionship and authenticity and intimacy, with both genders, and we can leave it at that without making it some drama.  Let’s be grown-ups about this.

 

Please don’t believe the lie of immature romance.  Yes, a guy and a girl can be friends, if you can just quit believing that feelings HAVE to go somewhere.  They don’t. 

On that note, if you meet an awesome person chasing after Christ and you hit it off and there are fireworks, then hey: go for it.  Dating is not some evil monster that will ruin your future marriage.  Too much of the Christian subculture on dating is outright harmful. 

Also, when you get married, you will pretty much phase out any opposite-gender friends anyway.  Spouses who don’t do this out of pride end up getting into disastrous trouble.  I know that sounds unfair and someone always thinks they can beat this, but you can’t tell your wife, “Okay honey, I’m hanging out with Amy today, k thx bye!”  Not unless you like sleeping by the front door.  And trust me: when you’re mature enough to consider marriage, then leaving behind those friends will actually feel like a good thing. 

So please set your boundaries by the ones you already have for friendship, investigate your own heart on what’s comfortable for you, and just relax around the boys and girls.  If you feel your heart racing, just thank God you’re alive and you have the privilege of those emotions.  It doesn’t mean you have to act on it: you make that choice.



— J.S.

8 thoughts on “Question: Can A Guy and Girl Be Friends?

  1. Reblogged this on One Passion One Devotion and commented:
    so like JSParks practical vision-led blog on dealing with our feelings and about having real freindships with guys and girls… its def an area to walk with wisdom and to be grown up about it. “So please set your boundaries by the ones you already have for friendship, investigate your own heart on what’s comfortable for you, and just relax around the boys and girls. If you feel your heart racing, just thank God you’re alive and you have the privilege of those emotions. It doesn’t mean you have to act on it: you make that choice.”

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  2. It is so very true. We live in a culture that thinks and moves and has it’s being in emotions or feelings. I like what Martin Luther once said about thoughts and I think it can apply to feelings: “You can’t keep a bird from flying over your head but you can keep it from building a nest there.” 🙂

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    1. Hah great quote! Also reminded of C.S. Lewis: “Don’t bother too much about your feelings. When they are humble, loving, brave, give thanks for them; when they are conceited, selfish, cowardly, ask to have them altered. In neither case are they you, but only a thing that happens to you. What matters is your intentions and your behavior.”

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  3. Very well articulated. As a married man, I have to guard myself from the potential thoughts that might cross my mind if I were to enter into a deeper relationship with another woman. We know that our thoughts are just as bad as the actions we may take. Safeguarding my thoughts = safeguarding my marriage. Besides, I’m quite content hangin’ out with my guy buddies.

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    1. That’s awesome. Many people have a problem with that last part about not having opposite-gender friends. It sounds highly “religious” or unfair. I can understand that, and obviously there are some opposite-gender friendships we can’t avoid, but I sense so much stubbornness and immaturity with this issue which always leads to problems later. Really it feels like only very young minds want to hold onto their pride here. On top of that, there’s all this “work-spouse” talk that makes me a bit sick.

      I believe a husband and wife who are dedicated to one another will end up automatically phasing out those friendships without even really trying. When it happens, no one should feel bad about it. Life has seasons, and I hope we age gracefully.

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