Good afternoon dear reader,

The topic of the day is guy-girl friendships or if you like, cross gender relationships/friendships. Today’s blog is restricted and dedicated to pure and platonic relationships between members of the opposite sex and NOT romantic relationships. This is a broad topic which cannot be exhausted in one blog therefore before we begin, watch out for other posts on this hot topic.

FRIENDSHIP

Friendship is part of daily life and we all have or keep a circle of friends however big or small it is. Depending on personality, extroverts tend to have many friends as compared to introverts but this is not always the case. There happens to be the group of people who are ambiverts like me. Yeah, such a word exists. This refers to the group of people who are in between introverts and extroverts or rather, they exhibit characteristics of both introverts and extroverts. Interesting, right??? Anyway, today I am not sharing about personalities, let’s leave that to the psychologists in the house.

True friendship is a beautiful experience whether it is between people of the same gender or opposite sex. However, today I would like to talk about friendship between members of the opposite sex hence the topic cross gender friendships. For those like me who have made a decision not to pursue a romantic relationship until they are ready for marriage (I hope am not alone) it doesn’t mean that we should not interact with the opposite sex but rather it means we have to be “just friends” with members of the opposite sex. I have come to realize that this being “just friends” with members of the opposite sex is easier said than done (who’s with me?). This is because in some cases it is a struggle to keep most relationships with the opposite sex out of the “romantic zone”.

THE SAD NEWS

We live in a time when there is a lot of distortion as to what a pure friendship between a guy and a girl consists of, if at all it is even possible. Friendship has become so distorted that it is now hard to genuinely ask a lady out for a cup of coffee without raising some eyebrows. With the rise of the “team mafisi sacco” it is hard for the ladies to believe genuine friendship from a guy exists without an angle to it or a hidden agenda (I apologize for this on their behalf) and it is a shame we can even laugh about it. As Christians we should not be associated with anything to do with such wickedness. This distortion can also be seen with the report of cases of “sponsors” in our universities where young women are moving out with older married men in order to enjoy money benefits in exchange of sexual favors.

THE TRUTH

Nowhere in the Bible is a friendship between a guy and a girl seen or maybe I haven’t been reading my Bible well. The closest to this we see is the example of the deep and genuine friendship between David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-3). Does that mean that guys and girls were not meant to be friends? I don’t think so. In the beginning God created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2). Adam was created first then God created Eve to be a helper and companion since Adam was not finding companionship from the lions (and other wild animals included). Eve was created to help Adam overcome loneliness. Adam and Eve represent the first marriage on earth but I am sure they must have been friends even in their marriage. To add on that, I believe that a good marriage starts in pure and true friendship but that’s a topic for another day probably when I am married so I can share from a personal point of view.

friendship day wallpapers

NURTURING GUY- GIRL FRIENDSHIPS

I happened to take part in a discussion last semester that was aimed at re-discovering and upholding the place of pure cross gender friendships especially in the lives of young single believers. I must admit that before the discussion I was a bit skeptical on the outcome for I thought it was going to be dull but it turned to be quite refreshing and insightful. I was able to learn a lot that I am going to share in a short while. These are some of the questions we discussed:

  • What is the beauty of guy-girl friendships?
  • Is it possible to have a platonic relationship with the opposite sex?
  • What are the challenges that come along with friendships with the opposite sex?
  • What are the guardrails when it comes to friendships with the opposite sex?
  • Can a guy have a best friend who is a girl and vice versa?

 

I am now going to go through each of the above questions.

  1. What is the beauty of guy-girl friendships?

I believe that there is a lot of beauty in genuine friendship between a dude and a chick. Guy- girl friendships can be pure, inspiring, and educational. The greatest benefit is not only support and genuine love but also personally in my interaction with female friends I have gained insight into their perspective on life, learning valuable things I would have missed in my narrow-minded, male outlook. It helps us to learn how to interact with the opposite gender and prepares us for marriage. Cross gender friendships help you to learn more about the opposite gender and how to get along with the one you’ll marry (or get married to).

  1. Is it possible to have a platonic relationship with the opposite sex?

The answer to this is a simple yes but it can only happen by respecting the limitations of cross gender friendships and relating to others within the framework given by God’s word. We can catch a glimpse of this framework in 1 TIMOTHY 5:2: “Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute PURITY.” (Emphasis my own).

  1. What are the challenges that come along with friendships with the opposite sex?
  • Emotional entanglement: having been there, I believe the greatest challenge to friendships with the opposite gender is emotional entanglement which happens when two people of the opposite sex are “more than friends” and they are not making it clear. kindly follow the link to learn more about this (it is worth it).
  • Misconception from peers: this is also a great challenge to pure friendships. A case study is whereby person x and y are both members of a fellowship. Person x happens to be a boy while person y is a girl. Person y is going through a hard time and person x is genuinely concerned. Person x decides to ask person y out for coffee to help her out. A few days later, another member of the fellowship asks person x if he is dating person y!!!! This happens many times when people mistake honest intentions. This can be a real setback to pure friendships. It can be really irritating especially where honest intentions are involved.
  • Attractions: we cannot overlook the issue of feelings and emotions when it comes to cross gender friendships. Sometimes feelings do develop and this is only natural because God created us as sexual beings. However, we should not follow our heart when it comes to this as the heart is most deceitful above all things. (Jeremiah 17:9). I will not share much about this as I intend to do this in my next post.
  • Hidden motives: we cannot escape the fact that there are people who approach cross gender friendships with hidden motives in their hearts and we can only trust and pray that the Holy Spirit may reveal these kinds of people. This goes against the framework given by God’s word as we are supposed to treat our friends with absolute purity. (1 TIMOTHY 5:2).
  1. What are the guardrails when it comes to friendships with the opposite sex?
  • Time spent: we need to be very careful how much time we spend with friends of the opposite sex especially during the times when you are just the two of you alone and especially when indoors. Remember that like magnets, men and women are designed to attract each other.
  • Don’t share emotional stuff: This is where most times we go wrong. Do not share about experiences or situations in your life that leave you vulnerable emotionally to the other person. I cannot overemphasize the importance of this point. Reserve deep and emotional stuff to your mentors, P.E (Personal Encourager), pastor, friends of the same sex. Sharing deep and emotional stuff that we sometimes consider secret or very personal opens doors for emotions and feelings to start developing inevitably leading to emotional entanglement to creep in.
  • Give priority to same sex friendships: pursue deeper and more intimate relationships with friends of the same sex as compared to members of the opposite sex. This is where accountability comes in. If you develop strong friendships with members of the same sex you will develop accountability partners who can help you if at all you struggle with a friendship with a member of the opposite sex. Sometimes we justify ourselves by saying that a friend of the opposite gender will understand us more but this is never true.
  • Body language: this is a delicate subject but at the same time it’s good to be honest. We need to watch our body language so that we don’t send mixed signals when interacting with the opposite gender. This may include long stares, too much eye-contact, winking, and too much body contact (there are people who are just touchy by nature). When it becomes to body language, it is easy to intend one thing but to mean another just by our actions and behavior around the opposite sex.
  • Being deliberate: there is great need to be deliberate when it comes to our intentions with the opposite sex. For example, to develop pure and platonic friendships with no strings attached we need to avoid all forms of flirtatiousness. We need to avoid any form of suggestive talk. There are some dudes who pride themselves  in their prowess in flirting and using suggestive language which is such a shame. I apologize on their behalf. The danger of flirting is that even if you are doing it for fun (but there really is no fun in flirting) you may start a fire in your heart (or theirs) that you can’t put out.
  • Be inclusive and not exclusive: this simply means that you should avoid singling a friend out from among others. Include others instead of isolating yourself with just one person. We can avoid this by going out of our way to involve friends, family and even strangers in our lives. To avoid singling someone out you can interact with groups together with other mutual friends.
  • Understand the difference between friendship and intimacy: it is easier to see the elusive line between friendship and “more than friendship” when we understand the difference between friendship and intimacy. Friendship is about something other than the two people; intimacy is about each other. In a true friendship, something outside the two friends brings them together. Your friendship should be about other issues and not about YOU Don’t get me wrong. It does not mean that you shouldn’t know about the other person but simply that should not be the prevailing objective in your friendship. It comes as a by-product.
  • Defining the relationship (DTR): this is very key especially when you feel as if you are not comfortable and a feeling of “more than friendship” is starting to creep in. It is advisable to do this as soon as you develop such a feeling however small it is. We have been given the Holy Spirit which prompts us whenever things are not right. Do not ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).
  • Receiving and giving gifts for occasions: giving gifts is not bad especially when it comes to birthdays and other occasions but it is usually associated with making someone feel special which can be dangerous in friendship. You should not go out of your way to please a friend.

 

  1. Can a guy have a best friend who is a girl and vice versa?

The answer to this is a definite and resounding NO. This can only be if the friend will become your life partner in which case you are relating toward marriage.

 

BROTHERLY LOVE

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

-ROMANS 12:10

The key to friendship is a common goal or object on which both companions focus. It can be an athletic pursuit, a hobby, faith, or music, but it’s something outside them. As soon as the two people involved focus on the relationship, it has moved beyond friendship.

In the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Joshua Harris writes that: Being just friends with members of the opposite sex doesn’t happen by accident. We have to fight for and guard our friendships. Like magnets, men and women are designed to attract each other. I totally agree with what he writes. Having a pure and true friendship with a member of the opposite sex requires being alert and always watchful and walking within the boundaries highlighted above among others I may not have mentioned. In doing this, let us also not forget to make same gender friendships a priority.

I believe that I may not have covered all that pertains to friendship and therefore all questions are highly welcome. Also, contributions and suggestions on some of the other challenges that face cross gender friendships as well as measures to be put in place to ensure the same are highly welcome. Let’s help each other out to navigate this area of our lives that is so important. You can ask a question or give a suggestion in the comments section below or e-mail me and I will be able to try and answer any questions in a follow-up post. In closing I would like to leave you, dear reader, with a quote:

“We picture lovers face to face, but friends side by side; their eyes look ahead.”

-C.S LEWIS.