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Published on January 20th, 2006 | by Alex and Brett Harris

Close Guy-Girl Friendships: Bad Idea?





Boundless Webzine‘s latest issue includes a thought-provoking article on guy-girl friendships called ‘Not Your Buddy’ by Suzanne Hadley. Brett and I found it particularly interesting, as this has been a topic we’ve been thinking about a lot in the recent weeks.

“Close friendships between single men and women may feel good,” the description reads, “but are they doing anyone a favor?”

Miss Hadley’s article focuses on the all-too-common heartbreak that occurs when young men fail to protect the hearts of their sisters in Christ by investing in a relationship with no intent of marriage. Although it is targeted to college-age singles and up, the article also includes several insights about guy-girl relationships that apply to all of us.

The following quote, in particular, stood out to us:

In her book Relationships, former college professor Dr. Pamela Reeve discusses three levels of friendships: acquaintances, companions and intimate friends. Dr. Reeve observes that men and women cannot sustain an intimate friendship without one or the other harboring romantic expectations. She recommends that men and women avoid being intimate friends outside of courtship and marriage. Companions, she says, generally spend less than two hours together a week.

Some questions for discussion:

  • What do you think of Dr. Pamela Reeve’s observations? Are they accurate?
  • How many of your friendships with the opposite sex would fall under the heading of ‘acquaintances’ and ‘companions’ and how many would fall under the heading of ‘intimate friends’?
  • Miss Hadley concludes here article by saying, “When it comes to male-female relationships, lacking intent, the buddy system is a bad idea.” Since an intent for marriage is impractical for most teens, are close friendships between guys and girls a good idea?
  • Where is your line between “okay” and “too close” when it comes to friendships with the opposite sex?

Some additional questions for discussion:

  • Is a purely platonic (no romantic feelings on either side) but intimate (close) friendship between a guy and girl practically attainable?
  • Plain English Version: Can a guy and a girl be intimate friends without romantic hopes or feelings developing on one side or the other?
  • Is a non-platonic, intimate friendship between a guy and girl appropriate prior to courtship or marriage?
    • Plain English Version: If either person is romantically attached, is a intimate friendship between a guy and a girl appropriate outside of courtship or marriage?
  • Under your conception of a platonic, intimate friendship between a guy and girl, how should that relationship change once either party gets married? What would be appropriate? What would not?
    • Plain English Version: What types of interactions between members of the opposite sex would you discontinue once you (or they) got married?

    Reminder: The article is speaking about “close” or “intimate” friendships, not all friendships in general. Read it here.












    About the Author

    are the co-founders of TheRebelution.com and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.



    • I disagree. So often the struggle with having intimate relationships with members of the opposite sex is that OTHERS expect things and pressure you. My family is waiting for my best friend and I to show up married one day. That drives me crazy.

      I had something I called “Pimpin’ Brethren” where beleiving men were not careful about their sisters and caused them to think that they were romantically inclined. That does need to be addressed, but friendships?

      I know anecdotes aren’t convincing, but my best friend and I have had such issues. He became interested in me first and it hurt him. I came around later but came to my own realization that it shouldn’t go further. Would I trade the relationship for anything? No…when I get married or he gets married though, it will change dramatically.

    • Chad

      I would have to disagree also. Although there certainly is always the risk of one taking the relationship too seriously, I don’t believe that’s sufficient cause to discourage friendships between men and women. From experience, I have found that friendships with members of the opposite sex have helped me to grow as an individual. I never would have read Jane Austen had not a friend of mine in my literature class encouraged me to do so. Having learned – to some degree – how to get along with women, I will be, if anything, more prepared for the day when I’ll find that special someone.

      Besides I would agree with what the previous speaker said. Part of the problem are social pressures. When I was in public school, boys generally were expected to have “crushes” on girls in their class. If you didn’t, well, there had to be something wrong with you. Regrettably, society cannot imagine a relationship between a guy and gal being anything other than platonic.

    • Bear in mind that the friendships we’re talking about are “close” or “intimate” friendships ó not all friendships in general.

    • JoAnna T.

      There is certainly something to be said for caution in close friendships between guys and girls. Guys can certainly be very encouraging friends to girls, and vice versa; God designed the human race so that we are enriched by each other. However, because God also created the institution of marriage, it is to be expected for guy/girl friendships to tend to become closer than originally intended; thus, guys and girls both need to guard their hearts and be careful how much time and how many things they share with one another, as well as work hard to cultivate friendships with persons of their own gender.

      I know by experience that sharing your heart (your hurts, your dreams, etc.) with someone of the opposite gender tends to create a bond that must be carefully monitored lest the ever-challenging human emotions cause it to become stronger than it should be in a “no strings attached” (i.e., a friendship, not a courtship) relationship.

    • I totally agree! There’s nothing wrong with being friends (on the acquaintance or companion level) but I think a person’s closest friends should be members of the same sex. There’s a lot girls can learn from guys, and vice versa. But we have to be very careful not to reveal too much of our hearts to the opposite sex.

    • Robin

      I agree with JoAnna that in intimate friendships guys and girls must carefully monitor their emotional attachments, but I would submit that godly and mutually-beneficial platonic relationships are possible–especially amongst Christians. From experience I have learned that honesty is key. My best friend and I frequently discuss the status of our friendship, both to ensure that we are on the same page and to reaffirm that neither of us is interested in being more than friends. We also discuss how our relationship would be affected if one of us were to marry, and what our relationship should look like now in light of that future state. There is another question that must be asked both individually and collectively: “Is this relationship furthering my own and my friend’s walk with the Lord?” When we are joined together as two believers (rather than simply as a guy and girl), we find it possible to share our lives in intimate but godly friendship. That being said, I wish to reiterate that caution in such friendships is vital, and that like physical intimacy, emotional intimacy can be a dangerous thing.

    • I am definitely on board with the idea of guarding your heart and keeping guy-girl relationships from entering the intimate level, but I very much disagree with Dr. Reeve’s definition of an intimate friend. She says that “companions” spend less than two hours together per week. Does she mean time ALONE with that person, or just time at all with that person? Because by that definition, a fair number of my female friends would be called intimate friends. As a general rule, I do not spend any alone time with any girl, so I take that to mean two hours in any setting (with other people), but maybe I am misinterpreting.

      That aside, I would say there is a line that varies in thickness according to individual situations. I think it can be dangerous to become close friends with someone of the opposite sex because of the ever-present possibility that someone’s feelings start to develop, but I believe it is possible to main a certain level of a close relationship before crossing into “intimate.” Again, that level may vary depending on individual people. I would say that there are a very few girls among my friends that I would actually consider close friends, but I am extremely careful about those friendships. The reason I know I have to be extra careful is because as well as think I might know some girl, I am aware of the fact that I would probably have no idea for quite some time if she began to develop feelings for me. If that were to happen, I would place primary responsibility on myself for maintaining my end of the “close” friendship.

      Very delicate topic, because as has been stated, there can be a lot of advantages to close guy-girl relationships, but you have to measure the possibile threat of opening up your heart and eventually being wounded. Either way, I would never consider taking one of my friendships with a girl to the same level of closeness I might have with one of my guy friends.

    • Bek

      I think that articles like this often do more harm than good, especially when they suggest that rather than romantic complications being a very real danger of guy-girl friendships, they cite them as inevitable.

      Personally, I just try to make sure that I take it all into consideration as part of my friendship with a guy. If I think that there is a chance that it is going down a not-so-good route I try to maintain being friendly, but not initiating intimacy etc. However, I have found that the awkward stage often passes and leads to a place where you both just know catagorically that you’re not interested in one another that way. I have a friend that I talk to on the phone quite regularly, we meet up for coffee when he’s back from uni etc etc. There’s also non-Christian guys I know who I’ll meet up with etc. Again, these are guys that know they don’t have a chance with me and I have zero reason to suspect that they’re interested in me.

      I think that close and even intimate friendships with members of the opposite sex can be appropriate but should be dealt with sensibly. There’s no point in rushing into such a friendship – you don’t do it with same-sex friends, so don’t do it with opposite-sex ones. Also, check your own heart regularly, especially as you start to become close – if you are starting to fall for them (you get butterflies in your stomach before you see them, can’t wait for them to call you/send you a text etc) or think you may be using them to affirm that you are attractive then hold back.

      If you avoid close friendships with members of the opposite sex you will miss out on a lot. I’m not going to say that you can’t become the right person for your future husband/wife or that you’ll completely miss that *special someone* but guy-girl friendships can be really edifying and challenging (just as same-sex friendships can). After all, gender is only part of our identity – if your friendship is truly based on shared interests you won’t think of them as “a guy” or “a girl”, you’ll just think of them as a unique individual who you count amongst your friends.

    • I tend to frown on intimate relationships between opposite genders when marriage isn’t intended or at least possible. I mean, really, what’s the point of getting so close and then saying, “forget it.” Just my thoughts. However, as I’m finding, you have to get to know someone before you can marry them! So balance, discretion and constant evaluation are what I suggest.

    • Bek

      Sorry, I know I’ve already left a long comment, but I thought I better clarify something. Although I’ve spoken about friendships with guys where we’ll meet up one-on-one with each other this is largely due to a change in circumstance. My friendship group has fallen apart recently as per regular socialisation due to most of the group leaving the city for university etc. These friendships generally started within a group or extended-group context and grew in that environment and now one-on-one interaction (phone calls, meeting up etc) is (I believe) appropriate for maintaining the frienship. If I was still seeing these people regularly for example, at school, I think that such interaction would probably confuse the friendship and therefore be inappropriate.

    • Celestianpower

      Disclaimer: I am male. As to your meaning of “close” and “intimate”, I (in my mind at least) have 5 really properly close friends, 3 of which are female. I see no over/under tones instilledby this and I see no reason to think that they do either. I would say that it is certainly not inevitable for us to become girlfriend and boyfriend.

    • We know a young man in our homeschool group who has lately pursued what I call a shallow, waste-of-time relationship with differant girls. I was very surprised to find that he wanted to keep “dating” another girl though his parents hold conservative views on courtship and dating, and as he obviously has no intent to marry any time soon, the relationship, though it may be fun or a learning experience, is not necessary. I believe that one can have such fun with a girl, and yet keep within a safe distance from her heart. Is it necessary to be able to say that she’s your girlfriend and have time alone to be able to really enjoy a friendship with her?

      I personally have never really gotten to know any boys outside of the family, and while I would appreciate the ability to comfortably speak to them anytime, I do not regret not closely knowing other guys and I do not think it is necessary that I do. I have a hard enough time with my brothers! And the idea that anyone who is not thinking of marriage would pursue a relationship that gives a girl every indication that he “loves” her… is completely beyond me!

      Here is what I would like to ask the young man in our area; where is this relationship headed?

    • Announcement: Everyone please take note of the new series of questions added to the post. Try to answer the specific questions ó and try to get past the first one.

    • J

      Is a purely platonic (no romantic feelings on either side) but intimate (close) friendship between a guy and girl practically attainable?

      Iím heavily skeptical that two people could maintain a close friendship and still keep it platonic on both sides. Face it: Intimacy is one of the prime ways people demonstrate romantic interest. Consequently, two people who maintain an intimate friendship and yet claim they are not romantically involved are sending extremely mixed messages. After all, intimacy provides all the stimulus for romance while removing any protection against it.

      Two people in an intimate friendship might say they arenít romantically involved, but even if the two friends discuss the status of their relationship regularly, how can either one ever know whether the other is actually dealing with romantic feelings or not? They canít. One person might easily claim no romantic interest when they are in fact struggling (consciously or not) with such feelings.

      The question becomes, then, even if it were possible to maintain an intimate yet platonic friendship between two members of the opposite sex, is it wise to do so? I doubt it.

      Where is your line between “okay” and “too close” when it comes to friendships with the opposite sex?

      When a friendship becomes one-on-one, thatís when it crosses the line for me. In other words, when a friendship begins to involve more than occasional private correspondence or more than occasional one-on-one interaction, itís moved beyond the stage of ďjust friends.Ē

    • JoAnna T.

      To reply to this question: “Under your conception of a platonic, intimate friendship between a guy and girl, how should that relationship change once either party gets married? What would be appropriate? What would not?”

      If the relationship is truly a pure brother-and-sister-in-Christ relationship, then though there will be adjustments, the BASE of the friendship does not change because of marriage of one or both of the participants(as opposed to the radical change in a more romantically inclined relationship). But there will be some changes in particulars. Of course the spouse(s) are now included in the friendship. True Christian love that should be present in all our relationships with our brothers and sisters in the faith is pure and blameless, so extra caution must be taken that not even the appearance of evil is given. Meeting alone consistently, long private conversations, or any hidden or secretive communication should definitely be avoided. Such things give a bad cast to the friendship, and can cause distrust and suspicion in a marriage.

      I am not intending to discourage the keeping-up of godly friendships between a man and a woman after one or both gets married. God wants all the members of the Church, both men and women, to be united in the one purpose of serving Him. Serving and glorifying God should be the main purpose and tenor of a friendship.

    • For your question “Is a non-platonic, intimate friendship between a guy and a girl appropriate prior to courtship or marriage?” I would have to answer no. In Song of Solomon we are warned not to stir up love before the time. If a piece of your heart is given away before marriage, you have lost something (I am working under the assumption that you marry someone else). My mom has warned about this from personal experience. Also, for us girls, Mrs. C. J. Mahaney’s advice is to look at all eligible men as other women’s husbands unless they have shown interest in you (beyond any brother/sister friendships).

      Oh and here’s a curveball (I love looking at things in strange lights). The Bible says David and Jonathan had a love for one another greater than that of a woman (sorry for the paraphrase). And it was not homosexual. So how does that fit in with intimate relationships between opposite sexes? Seems to me that the most intimate are with those of your own sex.
      That’s all.

    • David L

      The second and third updated questions are very helpful for clarifying the issues, so I will focus my comments in response to them.

      I am married, and I make a point not to have any female friend of the kind this article characterizes as “intimate,” or for that matter, any female friend of the kind that the article characterizes as a “companion.” Either would be inappropriate, because companionship, like intimacy, is part of the purpose of marriage. A married man should not share intimate or companionate friendship with any woman other than his wife.

      The same, believe it or not, is true of those yet to marry. Before marriage, young adults (i.e. those 12 years or older, according to the biblical pattern) should devote themselves to preparation for marriage. For the young men, that means preparing to be providers, protectors, priests, progenitors, and patriarchs of the home. For the young women, that means preparing to be helpmeets to their husbands and keepers of the home, as commanded in Titus 2, that the word of God not be blasphemed among the heathen.

      Young men prepare for their future responsibilities as husbands by study and practice, primarily under their fathers’ instruction and following his hopefully godly example. Young women also prepare for the future responsibilities by study and practice, primarily under their mothers’ instruction and following her hopefully godly example.

      Part of this practice for marriage for young men and women alike is to avoid being companions with, or intimate toward, members of the opposite sex other than the one God has called you to marry. And even when the person God has prepared for you to marry is identified (by you and your parents), you must still wait for some aspects of companionship and intimacy until marriage.

      If you must be restricted in your companionship and intimacy with the person to whom you are betrothed, then how much more must you restrict such companionship or intimacy with other members of the opposite sex?

      I realize this teaching is unpopular, but the older I get the more I realize how important it is. Certainly what I say here has been the norm for all of human history; it is only in the past two generations or so that any significant proportion of Christians has thought otherwise. And I am unaware of any biblical examples contrary to the weight of church history.

      This should make us all very hesistant to take a different path — no matter what we think our personal experiences may teach us.

    • David L

      I think one reason there is confusion in this area (and in so many others) is the invention of new categories that are less accurate than the old. This professor, for example, claims there are three kinds of friends: acquaintances, companions, and intimates.

      I think the old way — which recognized only two categories: acquaintances and friends — is better. Friends are companions and, at times, intimates. Acquaintances are neither. Real friendship is, by real definition, always more than mere acquaintance.

      Thus another way to ask the question is: Should young adults have companions/sometimes intimates of the opposite sex? I think the biblical answer is: No.

    • A fellow soldier

      I’m going to take a tidbit that one of the previous commenters dropped and run with it. Kirk said for girls to “look at all eligable men as other women’s husbands,” but I think we can go farther with that. Think with me for a minute.

      God already knows who your spouse should be, therefore in His eyes you’re already married. That means that every Christian around you is, in God’s eyes, already married. Think about that. And if they’re not married, then they are meant to be single. What if that person you were just having a tete a tete with is your best friend’s spouse?

      Once you get this philosophy into your programming, your entire approach to the opposite sex will have changed. It will be as if you are already married (because in Heaven’s eyes, you are), and so you will avoid overly close contact with the opposite sex.

      Just what is “overly close”? Well, in my circles, the young men and women do not e-mail or call each other, and private conversations are rare and short. Contact, while it may be friendly, is kept open and public to avoid even the chance of either side becoming romantically attached, or of appearing so to unbelievers. (Avoid the appearence of evil.)

      Once one party or the other has become romantically attached, the relationship should be put on ice immediately to avoid further damage to either heart.

    • Lana

      This has sort of been said already, but I think it’s important, so I’ll say it again.
      In any relationship with a member of the opposite sex, I think to myself, if my future husband were watching, listening, or reading, would he have any reason to think that I was being unfaithful to him? Would it be rational for him to view the person as a competitor for my affections after we’re married (in other words, would my husband have a reason to believe I would have even an emotional affair)? Am I sharing anything that should only be shared with my future husband?

      I agree with what ‘a fellow soldier’ just said. Consider yourself as a married person when you are with members of the opposite sex.

      And if you don’t think you’ll ever marry, still be sure to act as though your friend will. Don’t be guilty of stealing love that belongs to your friend’s wife (or husband, as the case may be) ‘Let no man defraud his brother’ (sorry, can’t remember the verse exactly, but it goes something like that)

      I actually do e-mail boys, (actually just one) but my mom reads my e-mails, and I keep my future husband and my friend’s future wife in mind.

    • I did not like the fact that Reeve’s article immediately established a base of criticism of men alone. Every significant (ad persuasive) story she provided gave an example of men who acted like idiots – pardon the term – and took advantage of a girl’s friendship and vulnerability. These are true and truly occur.

      I for one hold high standards in what is apropos in guy/girl friendships. I do avoid intimacy, or have in the past – I am married now, and find it quite easy to avoid now!

      But…

      I have recognized in the past however that the perspective to hold is that girls are first:

      1. daughters of God
      2. our sisters
      and maaaaaybe
      3. a potential mate.

      Depends on the circumstances. The problems begin when – as a previous blogger mentioned – there is dishonesty or lack of clarity of intentions.

      I would like to go off on a rant about how many girls tried to be “friends” to me because they thought I was so sweet. There was one girl I agressively courted for a year. I spent time with her family, I emailed her every day (300 emails), we loved to talk and write back and forth. The discussions became increasingly personal. And what was her take? I later discovered she thought i was too sweet, and she didn’t want to hurt me by being open with her disinterest in a romantic future. BAH!

      I’m ready to go out on a limb…
      Because women are better at feeling emotion, more intuitive than men and are designed to develop relationships that go deeper than men attempt, I believe the confusion actually falls on guys more than girls. I have seen more guys get annoyed and even angered by a girl that acts like she’s interested just to jump out with “I don’t think I want to date anyone just yet”. Worse yet, I know of three instances (including to myself) in which the girl soon thereafter found the man of her dreams and got married.

      This isn’t about who does it more, who gets the shaft more commonly. I’m attempting merely to balance the reactionary column Reeve wrote with some objective perspective.

      I may sound like I’m whining. I don’t intend to sound this way; I hold women in high regard, but I am discouraged at the mindset that young men take advantage of young girls and lead them on, and that girls are nearly unanimously victimized by the false intentions of the local hottie. It’s a generational problem, not a gender-sourced problem.

      Respect your friends, be open about your intentions (not too open, or you may sound paranoid), and avoid spending excessive amounts of time alone with the opposite sex.

      I have several friends that are lifelong AND opposite sex. They mean a great deal to me. One even started with that initial tension, and has now grown into a mutual respect for each other. But to go beyond healthy debate and discourse and rather try to impose a formula on relationships between young men and women, I urge everyone to just grow up and be adults about your friendships, be honest to them and yourself and

    • i misspoke earlier. I referred to the author unwittingly as “Reeve”. The author’s name was correctly “Suzanne Hadley”

    • Peter

      //What do you think of Dr. Pamela Reeve’s observations? Are they accurate?//

      I agree that there is danger, but disagree that there is no place for close platonic relationships.

      //How many of your friendships with the opposite sex would fall under the heading of ‘acquaintances’ and ‘companions’ and how many would fall under the heading of ‘intimate friends’?//

      Mostly aquaintances and companions, but a few “intimate friends”.

      //Miss Hadley concludes here article by saying, “When it comes to male-female relationships, lacking intent, the buddy system is a bad idea.” Since an intent for marriage is impractical for most teens, are close friendships between guys and girls a good idea?//

      Yes, a close relationship is always beneficial if it remains platonic.

      //Where is your line between “okay” and “too close” when it comes to friendships with the opposite sex?//

      In my mind, it’s whatever I would consider OK for a same-sex friendship, although with a little more concern for appearances.

      //Is a purely platonic (no romantic feelings on either side) but intimate (close) friendship between a guy and girl practically attainable?//

      Probably not “purely platonic”, as most people I know have a sin-nature. However, I think it is very possible to have a relationship that is for all practical purposes platonic.

      //Is a non-platonic, intimate friendship between a guy and girl appropriate prior to courtship or marriage?//

      No.

      //Under your conception of a platonic, intimate friendship between a guy and girl, how should that relationship change once either party gets married? What would be appropriate? What would not?//

      Well, things would definately change, but I think it would still be possible. Personally, I don’t see a problem with my mom and dad (for example)having friends of the opposite sex. It’s our romance-obsessed culture that has made it so socially taboo.

      Let me finally add that I have close friendships with guys as well as girls, and I am not worried about those becoming a romantic homosexual relationship. I don’t see why female friends should be any different.

    • Dallas Lammiman

      Intamit and close friends are simler nut not the same

      The Intamit levle is difrent for every one I might call a 2 hour a week friend an acquaintance were some one elce might call the same a verry close friend

      Being to Intamit in guy girl relation ship I don’t think should hapen out side of cortship

      Being a close friend could

      I personaly think that if you have to change a relationship just becaws you get maried (becaws your cmitmant changes, not becaws of other isues, moving away, kids, time, etc.) Than you are probebly doing somthing that should be reserved for marige, think about it.

      JJust some food for thought

    • Dallas Lammiman

      What I was trying to say is basicly sumed up 4 posts above

    • Juli

      I have to respectfully disagree with David L. I appreciate the wisdom of a married man and believe that he truly wants the best for singles, but his statements about the old acquaintances/friends classifications being better doesn’t make sense to me. He defines any relationship that included companionship or intimacy as a friendship, and says that unmarried people should not have them with the opposite sex. I just don’t see how that matches up with the biblical definitions of the opposite sex being treated as brothers/sisters. Brothers and sisters are not acquaintances! We hang out with them and share time doing things together which interest us (companionship) and sharing our feelings and thoughts about things (intimacy). I have two very close guy friends with whom my relationships are completely platonic. One has a girlfriend. They are not as close as my girlfriends in the sense that there are some things I wouldn’t share with them simply to be wise, but they are definately more than acquaintances. They are very dear brothers in Christ and I have grown much in my spiritual walk thanks to their encouragment and provocation. They are also very real examples of what biblical manhood looks like. I feel about them as I do about my own blood brother, and the feeling is mutual (sister, in my case). I honestly feel that our relationships are a very good example of Paul’s descriptions. Companionship is a wonderful blessing from the Lord and He gives it to us in many forms during our lives. I would suggest that with wisdom and plenty of accountabilty, especially from parents, guy/girl friendships (in the close sense) can be biblical and can bring honor and glory to God.

    • Sarah

      Hmmm…
      a lot of good thoughts here. I think that if we, regarding our individual relationships, are
      constantly and earnestly seeking to honor God with all of our hearts (“Search me, O God, and know my heart…see if there is any offensive way in me” -Psalm 139:23a,24a), we will
      know whether or not we are acting appropriately.
      God will honor our efforts to please Him in our relationships; He will speak to us through
      the Holy Spirit and His word, if we are truly listening and desiring to do what is right.
      The counsil of caring parents and godly mentors is also very important; we should not
      readily dismiss their input because although they cannot replace God as our ultimate source
      of guidance, He often uses them in our lives to help us stay on the right path.

    • PhoebeJoy

      I write as a girl who, due to being at home most of the time, and who has close girl-friends, has never had a ‘companion’ type of friend in a boy. I thought that the articles were right on, however. From my observation, it IS possible to have good friendships btw boys and girls, but those frienships which are most successful are limited in contact: The pair does not act like ‘best buddies’. In my opinion two hours a week is enough to have a good friendship, without it being emotionally distracting. (And as pointed out by one of the commenters, those two hours not being spent entirely alone.)

      An example: My cousin Anna was attracted to a young man for nine years. She knew him from working with him as church camp staff. Ryan never had a clue that Anna liked him, since she was very careful not to show them, but he was careful to let her and others know that he could only conceive of her as a friend. They had contact throughout the changes in their lives, like separations caused by college and work, but it wasn’t extended. Some long phone calls, perhaps once a month, and a visit here and there. Anna’s emotions changed at one point; she told God that she was willing to let go of her hopes for Ryan. For a couple years, she was able to think of him without romantic emotions. Later, those emotions came back. Through the whole relationship, however, she knew where she stood: his friend, but nothing more. That changed last summer, when he started contacting her much more frequently…. Now they’re engaged!

      Anna told me that she was careful throughout their friendship not to ‘read into’ his actions anything that she could pin romantic hopes on. Yes, she was attracted to him, but their relationship was always healthy. I believe that this example is a good one. I would love to have guy-friends, and I pray that we will both have the wisdom to send the right signals by our actions.

    • i think it’s not a bad idea after all. the thing is, we should always be cautios because most of the time, this friendship thing falls to love… But i don’t see anything wrong with that either because it seems to me that the best relationships — the ones that last are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. you know, one day, you look at the person and you see something more than you did the day before. like a switch has been flicked somewhere and the person who was just a friend is..suddenly the only person you could ever imagine yourself with. haven’t they said that friendship is the best foundation of love? because then, you’ll be able to know the person better before finally making it to the altar…just musing..
      anyway, i have this friend who happens to be a guy. our friendship is something i really treasure and i don’t want to ruin that but people around us keep on telling how nice it would be if we’d end up together. it was silly but deep sdown inside me, he’s the only person i want to grow old with. i want to tell him how much he means to me but something is holding me back… i don’t know, i guess, i’m afraid to lose our friendship…so this sort of relationship is a bit complicated, too, because one way or the other, there’s a fat chance that one of you will fall in love…and believe me because i’m speaking by experience…

    • Anne

      I am a married woman and have close friendships with a few guys who were my friends before I was married. I talk to them on the phone, go out to lunch or dinner with them, go to movies with them, and even go visit them in other states and stay at their house. It is simply a friendship, nothing more. Sometimes my husband goes with me, sometimes not. He has no problem with me being friends with them.
      I would also have no problem with him having female friends, but he is not one to make friends easily, so my friends are his friends.
      Due to my husband’s job, he will not be able to take a vacation this summer. Several of my guy friends and one of my female friends, are planning a summer beach trip together. I am the only married woman in the group.
      We do not see anything wrong with having friendships; actually my husband is adament that I not exclude my friends now that I am married.

    • Filip

      //Is a purely platonic (no romantic feelings on either side) but intimate (close) friendship between a guy and girl practically attainable?//

      No. It may be possible in the short term but not the long term. Most affairs start out as a platonic friendship.

    • Britt

      I feel that friendships with people of the opposite sex are great things. You do have to be carefull when having those close friendships that it doesn’t turn into something you don’t want. I have found that if you look at your friends of the opposite sex as a brother or sister, it is harder for your feelings for them to develope into something more. However, their feelings are their feelings, you cannot control how they change. But if your feelings do change, why push them away? I have seen that some of the best marraiges are based on them being best friends first. So overall, I don’t see friendships with the other sex as a bad idea, just something you must be careful with.

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    • Sadie

      Alex, Brett, this article is very interesting. Throughout my life I have only had one intimate friend, and it is very possible to have an intimate friend without having any romantic expectations. One of my best friends growing up was another boy only months older than I am. We did everything together, spent hours and hours and hours together over the week. Just this year our families went on an entire week’s vacation together and enjoyed ourselves immensely, while being able to abstain from any romantic expectations, lustful thoughts, or anything else found in that category. I would like to encourage all my fellow rebelutionaries and other Christian teens out there that it can be very possible and edifying to have a very close relationship with a member of the opposite gender.

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