Becca and her husband
Can a guy and a girl just be friends? Hmmm…this question brings a lot to my mind. I begin to question my initial answer of “yes” and have a dialogue inside my head. But at the end of this conversation that only I can hear, I end with my gut feeling. What is that? Well, my answer is NO. I do not think guys and girls can be “just friends.” There are a lot of things that led me to this conclusion, so let me share some of them with you.
Even though you might not know it (or rather, you choose to ignore it), usually one of the parties (the guy or the girl) really likes the other. During the so-called “friendship,” it might seem like you’re just best friends, but if everyone were completely honest, one of the people would probably admit to liking the other more than just friends.
I had a friend in my senior year of high school whom I’ll call “Joe.” Joe and I did everything together. We were best friends…so I thought. Then one of his friends informed me that while I thought we were just friends, Joe was developing feelings for me. Eventually I started to realize that might be true. After we graduated and headed for college, we realized we were more than just friends, but chose to ignore it. Therefore, we left for college with this awkward relationship, the kind that is stuck between friendship and dating. So guess what happened? We lost touch altogether. No dating and no friendship, either.
Now I have another story. I had this other friend for years during high school. I’ll call him “Brad.” Brad and I were really close. I tutored him in many subjects so he could pass school. He chose to play matchmaker with his friend and me, and got us to date. And during this time, Brad and I spent many nights hanging out, just us. We grew to love each other’s families. We grew to have a deep love for each other. We called ourselves brother and sister. We would never hold hands or kiss, but we would hug or snuggle on the couch watching movies, and were awkwardly close for “just friends.” I’m pretty sure if I had a brother, I would never want him to wrap his arm around me during a scary movie.
Brad and I stayed close after high school. We always tried to stay completely in the friend zone. Because of that, we have been able to stay in touch over the years and check in on how life is without it seeming awkward, since we never really took a dive past the friendship arena. But if I were to be really truthful with myself…I know we had times where one of us possibly desired a step forward. To be totally 100 percent authentic here, I should admit there were times when I wanted to be more than just friends, but I knew we couldn’t go there. I also think if I were to call up Brad today and travel back to those times, he just might say the same thing. Thankfully we never really explored this because now I love talking with Brad about how great his life is and how blessed we both are with awesome spouses!
That brings me to another point: my wonderful hubby. You see, I am a pretty typical girl—more emotional, a romantic dreamer, able to be “just friends” (so we girls like to think). I have spent many years mentoring girls and going with the “yes” answer to this question, but after I started discussing it with my husband, my thoughts began to change. He told me from the very beginning that it’s rare to find situations where both people are totally content being just friends. He says that often the girl might be in the friend zone, but the boy for sure is hoping something might develop. I know, I know—this might not always be the case, but often it is. When he told me this, I took it into practice when I mentored girls, and nine out of ten times, this has been accurate.
One touchstone I go to is Phil. 4:8. I love this verse for many reasons, one being that it talks about keeping your mind anchored on things. I struggle with keeping my mind focused, so verses that really tap into this concept get my attention. I love this one, especially since it says “Whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, of good report and praiseworthy…think about these things!”
Did you just read that? If we were truthful about this question (and I mean gut-wrenchingly truthful), we would know the answer. If we were pure with our intentions from the beginning, we could realize how other people might possibly feel. I know that I want to help keep others accountable for their thoughts. I want to get my brothers in Christ to heaven. Girls, if you know deep down that the guy you call your “best friend” might be developing feelings for you deeper than your friendship goggles are letting you see, be truthful with him. Help keep his thoughts anchored in truth. This totally reaffirms the old saying “Honesty is always the best policy.”
Have fun with guys! Don’t be paranoid about being friends, but also be sensitive when hanging out one-on-one. Acknowledge true feelings early on to establish a healthy friendship. Yes, this might mean an awkward conversation, but if you both are true followers of Christ and are as mature as you claim, then your friendship can rally!
God is good. He created us to be in community. Love that about our God. Soak it up!