5 practical ways to walk as friends with the opposite gender

Jun 17, 2019 | Alex R

“For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

On earth, our purpose remains to glorify God. This verse in 2 Corinthians reminds us that glorifying God means allowing his presence to be known, which means we actively strive to point others to Christ. When we point others to Christ, we invite them to find their identity, security, comfort, worth, and happiness in him, not in us or in possessions.

Here are some helpful ways to maintain God-glorifying (healthy) guy-girl friendships:

1. Spend time with each other in groups

I know, I know, I probably sound like a woman from the stone age walking around with a ruler trying to make sure guys and girls stand at least 50 cm apart from one another. Hear me out: spending time in groups protects your heart, both from getting tangled up with emotions, and from unwanted feelings of “being led on”. Groups provide a relational buffer and accountability with conversations, giving space to get to know someone in a relaxed setting. Groups encourage you to focus on others, and to avoid investing into one person alone.

When you make your guy-girl friendships group-oriented, you can grow and mature with the encouragement and wisdom of others.

2. Save your heart-to-hearts for the same gender  

In other words, some things you share with your group of girlfriends/ guy friends only. Often, when we share personal or intimate details we can (often unknowingly) fuel emotional dependency. That’s not good for either person in the friendship, and often leads to deeper feelings that may not be healthy or suited for a friendship. Ask yourself: would I share this with any guy/girl friend?

Elisabeth Elliot encourages us to veer away from pursing our friend for the sake of our desires:

“Resist the temptation to trifle with other people’s feelings. It may be fun to “play the fish,” like a trout on a fly line, but it is cruel, it is dishonest, and it is dangerous.” – Elisabeth Elliot, Passion & Purity.

3. Walk the talk

So you wanna be friends? Then you’ve got to monitor your actions and back them up with your words.

I had a friend call me because she had a guy friend who happened to give her more hugs, and touch her shoulder more than he did with his other female friends. She was concerned about the message his actions sent to her and others around them.

When they had a chance to talk, she explained how his actions may read as “flirty” and guess what? He thanked her for her honesty, and reduced his physical affection. Everyone has different boundaries and limits, so as a rule of thumb feel free to ask, “Hey can I give you a hug?” This way you can respect them, and learn what their boundaries are.

If you’re in a committed dating relationship, you should keep open and honest communication between you and your partner about your friendships with guys/girls. Always seek out the counsel of a mentor. Get accountability where you can, so wisdom guides you.

4. Serve others in community

Serving others helps you maintain an others-focused mentality.

“… As a single adult, you want to feel loved by the significant people in your life. You also want to believe that others need your love. Giving and receiving love is at the centre of every single adult’s sense of well-being.” – Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages.

Look for ways to you can invest in the church (supervising the children, greeting people, ushering); host people for dinner at your home: or choose to spend time with your girl/guy friends. The intentional act of serving others should not be rooted in trying to “look good” or “meet the standard” of your guy/girl friend.

Rather we should hope that by serving others, they may experience God’s love. Maintaining an outward focus will allow you to establish strong relationships, grow in maturity, and honour God.

5. Invest in your relationship with God

“When we read Scripture and good books, participate in Christ-centered discussion, or care for the needy, we are inclining ourselves towards righteousness.” – Randy Alcorn, The Purity Principle.

The key is to be intentional in fuelling your relationship with God. This means consistently reading God’s word and praying each day, engaging in fellowship (e.g. plugging into a campus ministry or young adults ministry at your church), and learning about God. Read books that’ll help you in your walk with God.

Maintaining a strong relationship with God offers us peace, hope, and discernment that transcends our circumstances, helping us navigate our relationships.God can’t wait to help and see you grow!

By applying these steps, we hope you experience the grace, love, and kindness in healthy friendships.

Reflection Questions:

How can you apply these steps to maintain healthy guy-girl friendships?

What practical way can you live out today?

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About the Author

Alex R

Alex graduated from the University of Toronto Mississauga. She specialized in English Literature and Professional Writing and Communication.

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