“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.
We also get to fulfill our purpose of glorifying God in our friendships. In university, work, clubs, and in sports teams we can show the love of Christ in how we maintain our friendships. Here are some helpful ways in which to maintain God-glorifying (healthy) guy-girl friendships:
1. Rethink your setting
I know, I know, I probably sound like a woman from the Stone age walking around with a measuring stick trying to make sure guys and girls stand at least 50 cm apart from one another. Hear me out: choosing casual settings protects friendships. Planning to spend time in coffee shops, library halls, cafeterias, and other public places allows friendships to thrive in relaxed settings. In addition, include others in your conversations and activities. It may sound extreme, but it’s an easy way to forego “leading him/her on.”
When you allow your guy-girl friendships to thrive in open and group-oriented environments, you can grow and mature with the encouragement and wisdom of others.
2. Take your time
Give your friendships time to grow. Friendships require trust, kindness, loyalty, and care for the other’s best interest. In our fast-paced culture, we may feel tempted to offer trust prematurely, but a part of tending to our guy-girl friendships, includes using discretion with our personal experiences and memories. These events may take time to process on a personal level and are often best kept between friends of the same gender.
Elisabeth Elliot expands on why discussing deep personal/emotional matters isn’t well-suited to girl-guy friendships. Elliot encourages us to veer away from pursuing 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.
“To play the fish” means to use emotionally manipulative tactics in order to catch a fish. Elliot highlights that the downside of opening up emotionally in a guy-girl friendship is that we may just be taking advantage of their care and attention. In a sense, we may just be “playing” with our friend’s emotions in order to “catch” them.
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.
By applying these steps, we hope you experience the grace, love, and kindness in healthy friendships.
How can you apply these steps to maintain healthy guy-girl friendships?
What practical way can you live out today?