What we all want is a straight answer when it comes to questions like this. Many of us believe that there are straight answers and that’s fine! I personally believe there may be a lot more gray area to some of these issues than many of us have been taught to think! In relation to this particular question, my answer is “It depends.” I know it’s not helpful to say that, so let’s break it down:
1. It depends on your relationship status. I know different people feel differently about this, but as a married man, I’m not going to spend much time with women one-on-one. I’m not going to go to coffee alone with another woman, because I care about my wife’s feelings and our relationship. It’s my personal opinion that boundaries within a romantic relationship don’t actually restrict your freedom or prevent your fun. My decision to only be good friends with women who are friends with my wife helps our relationship immensely. It’s not because she doesn’t trust me or I don’t trust myself. It’s because I care, and I don’t want there to be room for things to be said by others. Additionally, this helps prevent jealousy, which is never fun and can make everybody involved feel awful.
2. It depends on the other person (your friend). There may be some people in your life with whom you’ve had a confusing past. I call these friendship-borderline-relationships “friendlationships.” While I think it’s important to remain open to what God may want to do in your life, and to have a diverse group of friends that includes both men and women, if you find that there’s someone in your life who keeps playing with your feelings, you don’t need to even be “just friends.” Maybe it’s time to downgrade them to “acquaintance” status. To turn this around on you, my sisters, try not to flirt with guys you’re not interested in. If you find that you’re exceptionally flirtatious (or your friends say you are) with lots of guys, and then you don’t know why your guy friends want to be more than friends, it might be time for a change!
I know I say this a lot, but I really think the answer to most of the questions we raise in these roundtable discussions is “Get closer to God.” The closer you get to the ancient wisdom in the Bible and the source of love, the closer you will be to knowing what the right thing is to do in your life!
I believe in you!