Girl to Girl Talk: Is It Wrong to Say No or Have Boundaries?
Written by Christi Given | May 16, 2016
Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
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This week, a PI Girl wanted advice on how to “friend zone” a guy who has a crush on her, but in a kind and gentle way.
Speaking of drawing boundary lines in relationships, we all need to learn about how to handle boundaries in general and how to gently say “no, thank you.” Saying no and drawing a line of personal space is NOT easy at times. If you are a people person and love being the social butterfly, then this is a hard thing to do. The thing about saying no that I learned is that it’s exercising self-control when we say no.
The Bible talks about boundaries, land and territory, and God has entrusted us each with different lots in life. Know what is yours and what is not, and what you should tend to and what you don’t need to tend to.
Cursed is he who moves his neighbor’s boundary mark. And all the people shall say, “Amen.” (Deuteronomy 27:17)
There is a great book and resource that I highly recommend for you called Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. This book is a Christian book and is filled with ample knowledge and wisdom on the art of saying no. The book also addresses setting boundary lines in life regarding romantic relationships, work, ministry, friendships, family and more. There is another book for just dating called Boundaries in Dating by the same authors. I have read the first, but have heard that the dating with boundaries book is worth the read.
Here is an excerpt from the Boundaries book by Cloud and Townsend:
“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options. Boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out. Setting boundaries inevitably involves taking responsibility for your choices. You are the one who makes them. You are the one who must live with their consequences. And you are the one who may be keeping yourself from making the choices you could be happy with. We must own our own thoughts and clarify distorted thinking.”
One line in the book that stands out to me is about how when we say “no,” it’s not a non-Christian thing or being mean to decline on something. In fact, if someone gets upset, they are violating you by not respecting your time, energy and what God has entrusted you with. Also, if you are not interested in someone, then they can be an acquaintance and you can be kind from afar, but you are not liable to befriend them, especially if they make you feel uncomfortable. If you do not have mutual feelings for someone romantically, they need to respect that and leave you and your space alone. We want to love our neighbor and not be harsh, but we need to use wisdom to not open unwanted doors (Matthew 25:4, Matthew 10:16).
The key thing to having balance and wisdom in life is to seek God through prayer and His Word. Of course in life we want to be friendly, polite and kind, and don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, but we are not called to do everything, to be best friends with everyone or to do every single ministry. It is impossible to be involved with everything and everyone, and you must obey GOD’s voice, not man’s. If we don’t take care of ourselves and rest like God commands us to, and if we just give to others without refueling, we will eventually run on empty and will be fried. We need to maintain a healthy balance of taking care of our walk with God, priorities, jobs, family and friends, and we can give to others when we are able to and not out of obligation.
Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. (Jeremiah 7:23)
Listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, read the Word and ask for wisdom (James 4), and really seek wise counsel concerning serious matters.
I really hope and pray this helps you and that you can discern how to deal with the guy who wants to be more than friends. I pray you can kindly say you just want to be friends or acquaintances without it being awkward or hurting his feelings.
Jesus loves you and knows what you are going through and doesn’t want you to carry these burdens, especially from other people. Focus on Jesus and His call for your life, and everything will fall into place. No, life is not easy and we have to make tough decisions, but just like the authors remind us in Boundaries, by what you say yes to, you are also saying no to something else.
Another note in the book by Cloud and Townsend is that you need to be careful of those who may manipulate you or guilt-trip you into doing what they are responsible for. You need to know what your lane is and what God calls you to, and run in that direction. God knows how to deal with each of His children individually.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (1 Corinthians 3:17)
Pray this with me if you need help with setting boundaries in life:
Lord Jesus, please help me discern what to do, where to go, who to hang out with, and what to invest my time, talent and treasure in. Lord, I ask you to guide me to where I should walk, and close the doors where I may not be responsible and/or not called to, and may I glorify you in Jesus’ mighty name, amen!
Find Christi on social media @ChristiGiven.