Guy/girl friendships – what a complicated topic of confusion that can be! Some people will tell you that it isn’t possible to just be friends with a guy, and that if you attempt to, you are opening yourself up for temptation. Others will tell you that of course guys and girls can be just friends and that no real boundaries are needed. I would say that God’s Word reveals a truth that is somewhere in the middle. Here are 5 principles to remember:
God Created Men and Women to be Partners in Life, Work, and Ministry
In Genesis 1:26-28, we read of God’s design for His creation of men and women: “’Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.’”
God designed men and women, guys and girls, to work alongside each other as partners in the work of the Kingdom. This means that it is certainly good and appropriate for guys and girls to do life together as friends. This is as it should be! Viewing each other as partners in God’s mission takes the potential “weirdness” out of being friends with a guy. Then you won’t view guys as just potential marriage material, but as co-heirs together in the gospel.
Men and Women are More Alike than They are Different – You Actually can Relate to Each Other!
Jen Wilkin taught on the above passage from Genesis 1 and pointed out that men and women were created with far more similarities than they were differences. Certainly there are differences between men and women. They aren’t interchangeable, after all! However, they were equally created in the image of God and both tasked with the roles of ruling, subduing, taking dominion, being fruitful, and multiplying. This is important because this realization makes it far easier to then strike up friendships with guys. When you believe the false “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” mantra, you will inadvertently believe guys and girls to be so different that you will find it hard to relate to guys in friendship; and that isn’t what God intended.
Male/Female Friendships serve the Same Purpose as Female/Female Friendships Do – Your Mutual Sanctification
God’s design for friendship, whether between women or men and women, is the same: “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). First Corinthians 12 says each believer has been given a unique gift from God intended to be used for the good of fellow believers. That is how guy-girl friendships are to operate, just like any other friendships!
Men and Women are Brothers and Sisters in Christ (and Should Act Like It!)
We as believers have been adopted into the family of God, which means we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Principles of brotherly affection and friendliness can and should apply to our interactions with guys. Treat them as you would a brother (well, maybe a bit better than some of us treat our brothers).
Wisdom and Boundaries are Needed
There is, naturally, one aspect of friendships with guys that do make them different than our friendships with girls, and it is this: there are certain boundaries which must be considered and should be appropriately exercised. Guys and girls were designed by God to be attracted to each other, and a platonic relationship can quickly blossom into something more. While that is fine and friendship can be the best foundation for a dating relationship and then marriage, you will need to keep in mind your purity standards and the wellbeing of yourself and your friend. First Thessalonians 4:3-6a says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter.”
The full truth about guy-girl friendship is this: it’s great, it’s possible, it’s God-designed, and, just as with any other area of life, wisdom and discretion are required!