This is going to be a short post because there is not much I can add to Allie’s wildly popular post from last week about Friending! I think we can all agree that her conclusions (“loving the person in front of you” and “I am the best version of myself when I am in God’s will.”) are spot on.
I would like to, however, add some guidance concerning friendships with the opposite sex. Namely, guidance on what you communicate to the world about yourself and how you communicate your interest in a specific man:
Friend-Only Girl: This is when you present yourself to the world as a ‘friend-only’ kind of girl rather than a divinely designed mysterious feminine creature with the potential romantic role of wife and mother in your future.
Cue-less: This is when you fail to give men the “I am interested in you too!” cues they need to feel confident in pursuing you.
If, in how you present yourself to the world, you limit yourself to the friend-only role, it can sometimes be difficult for a guy to ‘see’ you in a romantic light. You could stunt the attraction from growing into a romance and this could result in the guy viewing you in a sisterly way rather than in a romantic way.
For Gregg and me, the romance aspect of our relationship blossomed first and our friendship deepened over time. We are indeed best friends but we are clearly husband and wife in the most Sacramental way.
When a healthy man considers you romantically, he needs to imagine you as his wife and the mother of his children…. as well as his friend. It is in these romantic (and vulnerable) roles (including the marital embrace) and the shared experiences (joys, sufferings) that the deep marital friendship takes root and grows.
It is possible for a romance to grow out of a friendship. But sometimes fear can keep us from believing we are capable or worthy of it. And, it is that fear that can provoke us to project a friend-only image to the world.
What image of yourself are you projecting? Are you comfortable with yourself in a romantic role? Are you able to confidently see yourself as a wife and mother? If not, is this keeping you in friend-only mode? Are you vulnerable to Fantasy Relationships because they are safer and because you aren’t yet willing to take the risk associated with the romantic role?
If any of this is a struggle for you, take this to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to heal you of whatever is causing the discomfort and blocking this healthy feminine vision of yourself. He will know what you need.
Men need cues because they can sometimes have a fear of scaring a girl off with a strong pursuit. A guy who is in your circle of friends may be interested in you but if you are sending out friend-only signals to the world, he may refrain from pursuing a romantic relationship with you. I am not saying that you should flirt and give cues to every guy. But, if a certain guy sparks your interest and if he seems to want to get to know you better, throw him a bone! Flirt with him. Look him in the eye and smile!
Then, remain emotionally chaste by practicing the 3-date rule!
This rule has so many benefits! One benefit is that it significantly reduces the stress on both of you when attempting to move from ‘just friends’ to a ‘romance.’ If you refrain from talking about a guy (with your friends and family) until after he has taken you on 3 real dates, then you have afforded him plenty of opportunity to overcome his stress. 3 dates is plenty to define a pursuit on his part. It has, at that point, become a romance.
Make sure you have that distinction straight in your head or else you may lower your expectations to the just friends level out of fear of appearing too serious or intense. Do not be tempted to accept ‘hang out’ sessions in the hopes of a romantic relationship forming. You are friendly, you are sweet, but you have standards! It is perfectly normal and healthy to have these standards and expectations.
If, after 3 dates, your expectations scare him off, then revert back to friend-only status and stay there. Do not toggle back and forth in a Frelationship. Do not fill the role of practice girl. Refrain from ‘hanging out’ with this guy so that you can remain open and available for the one God wants to place in your life.
This post was longer than I planned but I can’t help but get all ‘Mama Bear’ about you girls!
God love and bless you!
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Excellent post Cindy! I wish I had read this post long ago it would have saved me so much time and tears.
Thank you, CrystalNikki! I am glad it helped. Praying for you, Cindy
Cindy, as always, great advice. It’s a hard line to follow – being open with a guy who might be interested (who you are interested in) without being over the top. Sometimes I think it’d be easier if it were all just laid out with a giant green arrow pointing in the right direction! Then we’d all really know!