Thursday, January 2, 2014

Can Men & Women Be Friends?

      Can men and women be friends? Yeah sure they can…but that’s not the right question. My pastor always says that you have to ask the right questions in order to get the right answers. The real question is can men and women be just friends or should they be friends? Do you want the quick and straight to the point answer? It’s NO, nope, no can do, nunca. Want to know why, just continue reading. I will be the first person to say that you are not going to find anywhere in the bible that says men cannot befriend thy women, God forbid! What I’m going to talk about in this blog is going to be my personal opinion from my experience and what I believe God has shown me throughout my relationships, friendships, etc. So now that that is clear let’s get to it!

1.      Define friendship:  That’s going to be a determining factor in whether or not you think men and women can be just friends. People throw around the term friend so loosely these days it’s lost some of its meaning because everybody they meet is their new bestie. When I think of the word friend I don’t think of someone I say hi and bye to and keep it moving. I’m thinking of someone who I talk to on a pretty regular basis, and I mean like in depth meaningful conversations, someone that I hang out with, someone that I share things about me with, etc. Now this is very surface level general stuff I’m talking about but obviously you can go deeper than that and talk about loyalty, trust, and things of that nature but hopefully you get the idea. When I say men and women can’t be friends I’m talking about real friendships that go beyond a happy birthday post on facebook. So let’s be real for a moment; God didn’t create Eve for Adam to be his friend. He created her to be his wife, his helpmate. Does this mean that every single person is created to be a husband or wife? No, but the point is there was purpose for them yoking up. All your relationships and friendships should have purpose at the end of the day. When it comes to friendships, what purpose do you have with the opposite sex? Just something to think about; and before anyone wants to throw out the whole brother and sister in Christ line, I’m going to get to that later.

2.      Good ole attachments: Okay so what is the big deal then with women and men doing things that they would do with friends of the same sex like talking on the phone, hanging out and stuff? It’s a little/big thing called attachments. The more time you spend with a person the more attached you are going to get to them. If I’m talking to you on the phone all the time and we’re hanging out all the time you’re not my friend, we go together. Okay I’m joking…kinda not really. Of course there are going to be those people who say I can be friends with a man or a woman without catching feelings or getting attached. Can we play a quick game? Sure we can! How many of those people of the opposite sex that you were “just friends” with did you end up having feelings for them or they ended up catching feelings for you or always had feelings from the get go? Just saying….Just because you put a person in the friend zone that does not mean that they wanted to be there. Believe it or not people will settle to be your friend because it’s the closest they can get to “being with you” so they’ll settle for that instead of being nothing to you at all. Emotional attachments are real folks. This may sound bad, but just because you may not be physically attracted to a person the more you get to know them you may find yourself attracted to them because of their personality or they’re a good person to talk to. Just because you thought initially you would never be interested in them or vice versa things can change the more you get to know a person.

3.      The set up…for failure: I’m not trying to toot my own horn none whatsoever but every single guy that I’ve ever been friends with at some point liked me and I liked the attention because I needed someone to validate me for whatever reason. So I had these guy friends that I kept around because it was great to have a male perspective, I could talk to them about my boyfriend problems, and even better, I always had someone to talk to and take me out whether I was single or not. Can I lay my dirty laundry out for a minute? When I was dating in the world, I had a really bad habit of going to other men when I was upset with my little boyfriend at the time. I always had guy “best friends” to talk to about my relationship problems or for us to go out on what really weren’t dates (sarcasm) or to talk to on the phone…the games that you play and your actions while dating/courting are going to pour over into your marriage if you don’t correct that mess. I don’t know why people think that their bad habits from when they were single are just going to disappear simply because you put a ring on it. Yeah…no…not going to happen if you don’t correct it beforehand. 

For those of you who hope to pursue marriage at some point, your spouse is going to be your best friend. You do not want to open up the door for adultery to happen because you have friends of the opposite sex that you want to hang on to. I know somebody is reading this thinking now Angel that is extreme. I’ll admit I’m one of those people that tend to look at things from the end result of the worst case scenario before jumping into it but just hear me out. I always hear married couples talk about how difficult marriage is and I can only imagine. Think of this…you and your spouse have a fight and you go to your friend of the opposite sex to talk about it to get a different perspective. That friend doesn’t nag you like your wife does or he doesn’t ignore you like your husband does and before you know it, you start comparing them. You wish your spouse was more like your friend who just seems to get it, understands you, doesn’t give you problems, and doesn’t fight with you. So now when your friend is trying to comfort you the two of you end up kissing, oops. You end up having sex, oops. You end up committing adultery, you have soul ties, you have a baby with this person, your family is broken…oops, oops, oops, and oops. But I thought y’all were just friends. People think that is extreme…until it happens and it happens all the time and not just in movies.

Can I be honest? I was supposed to write this a long time ago…like I could have written this a year ago… and I didn’t. Partially because I believe there was more that God was trying to show me and also because I didn’t want to share this story…the story of how I came across Heather Lindsey and the pinky promise movement. Someone on twitter retweeted a blog of hers called Can Guys & Girls Be Just Friends? and this just so happened to be the same day that I had planned on having a “heart to heart” with my guy friend…who was getting married…about how I didn’t want us to stop being friends just because he was going to have a wife now…who wasn’t me. I kept telling myself that I didn’t want to lose our friendship because he was a great friend and a great guy and I loved him and we could still be friends even though he was getting married. *Insert violins and dramatic sad song* The truth was at some point he liked me and at some point I liked him just never at the same time. His soon to be wife had never met me although we were "friends", him and I talked on the phone, went out to eat together, and everything. The reality was I didn’t want him to get married and I wanted him to always want to be with me (I had some issues lol) but I wasn’t going to break up a soon to be marriage so I tried to keep the friend card. The truth is ugly ain’t it? The harsh reality is that I set myself up for failure and the potential of being a side chick. Sidenote: don't interfere with people's relationships whether they're married, courting, dating, or whatever just don't do it.

4. The Brother/Sister in Christ: It would be so lovely to say that as the body of Christ we see each other as literally relatives in Christ and there is no attraction because it would be as if I like my sibling…Come on Christians let’s be honest. You can be saved, sanctified, filled with the Holy Ghost and find your brother or sister in Christ attractive even when you know that person is not your Adam or your Eve. (As I was writing this it made me think of this funny clip) It is easy to be attracted to the Christ you see in a person even though you have no intentions of pursuing that person. So many people don’t want to admit that but you deal with things by acknowledging it but that’s a different blog so I digress. Anywho I say all that to say this is why it is important to establish boundaries! Even with your group of saved friends you still need to have boundaries when it comes to the opposite sex. I have a great church family that I love but I don’t consider any of the guys I go to church with my friends. They are my brothers in Christ and we don’t go out on 1:1 lunches, dinners, or anything else. We don’t talk on the phone for long periods if at all really and if we’re doing things it’s typically focused around church and in a group setting. As brothers and sisters in Christ we’re there to push each other to Christ and encourage one another in our walk and I’m definitely not saying that men and women can’t do that, however, there still needs to be boundaries created.  Don’t kid yourself and think that the devil will not try to tempt you with one of your brothers or sisters in Christ. I’m not having any 1:1 bible studies, prayer time, or anything else on an individual basis with any of my brothers in Christ. Nothing personal against any of them at all but you have to create boundaries and be wise enough to not put yourself in situations that the devil can use as an opportunity to tempt you. 

As I stated earlier, this is my personal opinion that I came too based off of experience and what God has shown me throughout my walk. I’ve read different perspectives on this topic but I had to come to this conclusion for myself as far as what works for me. For me personally, creating these boundaries with men is a means of making sure that the relationships and friendships I create with people are honoring God and that when I eventually get married my husband will not have any questions regarding the men in my life. The reality is this, men and women do have the option to be friends but here's another reality to consider: 1 Corinthians 10:23, You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is good for you. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is beneficial (NLT).

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  1. I enjoyed this post. I have a couple of question though. If someone has already crossed that boundary in their friendship with someone of the opposite sex, what are the best ways to back out, especially in the case where the woman is the first to catch feelings? The second question is, what is your take on crushes on someone who is not necessarily your friend?

    1. For me personally I cut off communication. I've learned that the more you talk to a person to more you're going to to get use to talking to them and so you'll be checking your phone for messages from them and then if they don't message or call you you're feeling some type of way about it. I've also prayed and asked God to take the feelings of looking at that person in that way out of my heart because I knew they weren't God's best for me even in the cases of guys that were brothers in Christ.

  2. Nevermind the second question, you answered it in "The Interested Single" video