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Friendships between guys and girls.
One of the many basic yet so complex situations in life (yes dear reader, you will need to know advanced math for this post LOL … not really, I'm only joking).
One of the many “unavoidable” situations in life. I say unavoidable because, look around you. You see these friendships everywhere – no matter what the ages of the parties involved may be. In fact, it's normal to have a guy friend (or a dozen) when you're a little girl. But, oh dear reader, once you hit your teen years – well, you just start getting teased about it (and allow me to just say that it doesn't change when you're nearly 21). No matter what the ages are, nor what the situations may be … every girl has a guy friend and he as a girl friend.
Are these friendships wrong?
Some people will tell you that having guy friends is absolutely inappropriate. While I believe it can be, it's not necessarily always the case. You simply just have to learn how to act around them, and yes dearie, there will be trial and error, but as long as you be careful not to give yourself away, you'll be fine.
Growing up, I always had guy friends, no matter what. I wasn't forced to have one, it was a choice that I made. To be with honest with y'all …
guy friends are awesome!
There's no drama (well there is, but not the girl drama lol), they tell the best jokes, and they are friends that I can just be me around (while keeping it appropriate).
Also, a young lady needs to have at least a couple friends that she doesn't have to be a confident to, or give Biblical advice to, or lend a shoulder to cry on. While all the things listed are great qualities to have in a friendship, it's sometimes draining. In my honest opinion, appropriate friendships with young men provide a very casual friendship – no advice, no shoulder, no confidence!
Okay, please allow me to back paddle for a minute (or more).
While guy friends are awesome to have, we as young ladies also need to be careful that we don't give ourselves away. Ladies, if we are going to be friends with guys, we cannot get emotionally attached the way we do with our girl friends. We need to understand the fine line between being too friendly + being too snobbish – we need to find the middle ground.
We can't go to Joe and tell him about our ever day problems like we do with Sally. Nor should Joe do the same thing – we need to keep our friendships at a casual level or in the words of my friend Mr. Closely Casual:
"keep it closely casual"
Mr. Closely Casual and I did just that. We weren't at a low casual level, but we also tried to keep personal matters out of the friendship. Sure we would say “please pray for my family” or “pray for me, I can't get the memorization down for the upcoming quiz” or anything along those lines. But never once did we lend each other a shoulder to cry on, or offer Biblical advice (Bible quizzing advice doesn't count LOL). We kept our friendship at closely casual friendship – however, we did make some mistakes (as you are about to see in a minute).
Where do we draw the line?
Looking back at my friendship with Mr. Closely Casual, I made a few mistakes. While I regret them, I'm thankful that they weren't things that cost me anything more than a simple laugh at myself and my parents telling me “you two are too close!”. Here is a list of Do's and Don'ts that I've made up, these aren't rules for everyone to follow. These are the “rules” I am following in my new friendship with a young man.
DON'T exchange emails, numbers, etc.
No matter your “reason” for exchanging the information – don't. You will undoubtedly get emotionally attached with him, and will become blinded in where to draw the line.
Mr. Closely Casual and I started off emailing strictly about Bible quizzing, then it grew to recipes. Before we knew it, we were exchanging prayer requests.
A missionary friend and I exchanged numbers, strictly so I could send him the pictures I took while he was visiting. While I wasn't texting him after the fact (I had learned my lesson with emailing), he started texting me after he left … he even called me. This made me uncomfortable, and I asked Daddy to confront him.
It doesn't matter why you start off emailing, etc., eventually it will grow, and grow, and grow.
Save yourself now, so you won't have any regrets three years down the road.
DON'T follow their blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc.
It may seem small, but this can do just as much damage!
In the very beginning of my blogging experience, I followed two blogs written by young men (other girls followed, so I was okay to as well).
While I was reading those two blogs, I found that devil was using this to lead my astray. I began thinking “he seems to be a wonderful Godly man” or “hmmm what if he's the one?” for no reason either! I had never even met them, but I grew somewhat emotionally attached. Sure these young men were writing uplifting, God-glorifying, encouraging posts, but they were pouring their heart out.
We as young ladies don't need to know the heart of a man until God brings us the right one into our lives.
DON'T tell them everything
I got to the point of wanting to tell Mr. Closely Casual everything. Why? Because of giving myself away emotionally + because I shared a more “personal” prayer request (I believe it was about a family member, but don't remember really). In the moment I told him the prayer request, it felt good. He listened, and I knew he'd pray (he had been through the same thing I had).
Ladies, unless a commitment has been made, keep it to yourself.
As you can see, boundaries are wonderful – I wish I knew this four years back :P Thankfully God is giving me a second chance, and I get to apply these boundaries in my current friendship. Some people think that boundaries are only for courtship and engagement, but really they aren't. Once you have boundaries set in the friendship, your guy friend will respect them and you.
Now for the do's I've learned. These are fun to implement … so enjoy ;)
DO be kind
If he smiles + says “hi” – do the same. Don't be snobbish and think that you can't talk to a guy without sounding flirtatious, but don't be too friendly either. Just because he smiles and says “hi” doesn't mean he was inviting you to sit by him. Simply return the kindness and do the same thing he did :)
DO answer his question
If he asks “how has your week been”, answer the poor guy, but don't offer anymore information than what the question asked for. Simply answer with “it's been great” or “it could have been better” and ask the question back. If he asks “did you do anything exciting” then that's when you can give a tad more information, but exchange the kindness :)
DO make him feel special – purely
I've just recently learned this, so I don't know a whole lot yet lol. I am, however, very thankful for God's guidance in this area. Guys like to feel special – no matter what. So if y'all are talking about your favorite books and he asks you if you'd like to borrow one of his, say “yes”. Who knows, you may find a new book series you like – I know I did. If he asks you to pray that God grants him with a nephew, pray for it. The smile you get is well worth it. If he tells you a corny joke, laugh at it and encourage him (unless he admits that it was really bad LOL).
Drawing the line has always been tough for me, because I don't want to come across uninterested in certain things. Now in my current friendship I find it very easy to draw the line, but I did something completely different. The difference this time is:
I gave the friendship to God + asked Him to make it glorifying to Him.
Give your friendship to God! Once you do, boundaries are a whole lot easier to set and keep :)
Do we go out looking for them?
Some girls go out looking for friendships with young men, however I don't find that appropriate. If God wants you to be friends with a young man, He'll bring the young man along.
If you'd tell me three years ago that my friend and I would be friends, I don't think I would have believed you haha. However, God knows what each of us need in order to grow in our faith, learn different things, and make a difference in someone.
Thing is, I didn't go out looking for a friendship with this gentleman (nor any of the others) … God seriously dropped it in my lap.
So to make this section sweet, brief, and to the point …
no we don't go out looking for them. God has placed the people you have in your life for a reason. When He thinks you're ready for new people (or a new person), He will bring them along.
What about if we admire him?
Every girl admires something in a young man – especially if they've been raised properly. It's not bad to admire something in someone, unless it consumes you (then m'dear you have a crush on your hands).
The difference between admiration and have a crush is the following:
noting why you noticed him + making note of those qualities that caught your attention.
Having a crush
when you dwell on the young man 24/7 for 365 days
If you admire your guy friend, then give him to God. There is something that happens (I can't explain it) when you do this crucial step. After you've given him to God, step back from your friendship for a tad. This doesn't have to be for a long time, but just long enough for you to know if your focus is on that which is above. Keep your focus on your First Love – Jesus. Get lost in admiration for Him first.
What about physical contact?
I'm an advocate for a contact free friendship. There shouldn't be intentional contact between a young man and a young woman until there is a commitment made.
Now of course there a few things to consider that wouldn't be inappropriate:
If you and your group of friends are playing in a dark hayloft, with holes everywhere in the floor. And your guy friend needs to guide you, then obviously it's okay if he leads you be the hand.
If you two end up standing next to each other in the circle of a bunch of family friends who are holding hands during prayer … well then you do the same thing.
It's when there is no reason for the contact (other than simply attraction) that it's appropriate.
If we can find the middle ground for our friendships with guys, we will be better off :)
So remember to keep it casual/closely casual, be kind, and be the greatest friend you can be! You never know if you are making a difference in your friends life.
** Stay tuned for Courtship **
What are some Do's and Don'ts that you have come up in regards to friendships with young men?
Comment and tell me, let's start the iron sharpening ;)