Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Guys as Friends. Really.
Today's post is taken from the fast.pray blog that is issued every Monday to a group of (mostly) singles who are praying and fasting for singles desiring marriage. CLICK HERE to join this prayer group who believes in the power of prayer to affect the singlehood phenomenon!
Just a reminder: we’re fasting and praying for marriages for those who want to be married, for courage for men to walk upright and into relationship, and for courage for us to be able to change where we need to change.
Last week was avoiding codependency in female friendships and this week is healthy friendships with guys. Knowing my mixed results on this front, I decided to get some more opinions with a survey. Granted, this survey has an extremely unrepresentative sample (ie: my three brothers), but here are some of the themes from our conversations.
* It's complicated. Examples of healthy platonic friendships between single guys and girls are few. One party usually ends up with hurt feelings and often the friendship is lost along the way. Don't assume that any particular friendship is free from that reality.
* Let go of your expectations. The survey sample agreed that girls tend to make assumptions and then go to extremes: either being angry/upset/surprised that he doesn't ask her out, or being angry/upset/surprised when he does ask her out. Although there is often plenty of fault to go around, it's a helpful reminder that true friendships are not agenda-driven. When we don't have an end goal, we are free to relax, trust God, and let things unfold as they will.
* Don't keep score. Often women divide and rank themselves based on who, in reality or perception, gets to hang out with the guys and who doesn't. Don't let that kind of silliness interfere with your friendships with guys or girls. Treat girl friends as sisters, not your competition. And treat guy friends as brothers, not a means to an end.
* Keep doors open for everyone in your life. Instead of focusing on befriending guys with "potential," keep your eyes open to the variety of folks God is putting in your path in this season of life. Invest in and befriend and encourage with an eye toward God's goodness and grace toward us.
Lastly, I am trying (half inspired by 1 Timothy 5:1) to build a habit of encouraging all the guys in my life, regardless of relationship status. The other half of the inspiration was, of all things, online dating profiles. I know this sounds ridiculous, but at one point I realized how encouraged I was by what some guys were writing about their hearts and lives. So I decided to start telling them that, regardless of immediate attraction level and with no expectations. After several good conversations, I decided maybe I should do the same thing in everyday life and not just with my single guy friends. The results have been uniformly positive!
So whether that's dad, brothers, friends, coworkers, friends' boyfriends/husbands, or even awkward first dates, I want to be an encouragement. Obviously that looks different in those relational contexts and I have much left to learn (probably the subject of another survey!), but I want to be a source of support, not destruction in any friendship.
As we fast tomorrow, let's make a particular point to pray for our brothers, biological or spiritual.
In His Grace,