Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why Guys should NOT be BEST friends with Girls . . .

I shared this teaching with students recently and have gotten LOTS of interesting feedback from girls and guys alike. I hope this helps you as a parent.

First, it's dangerous for guys and girls to be BEST friends. Girls need other girls to bounce ideas off of, get advice from and to encourage them in the way they should follow after Christ. I get that idea from Titus 2:4-5 where older women are taught to have their heart turned toward their own home, and THEN TOWARD OTHER WOMEN. Women are instructed to teach and connect with younger women. On a practical level, a young man who is BEST FRIENDS with a young woman is in dangerous territory (unless they are married to each other). The young woman's heart is won over by friendship/emotions. Also, I have seen SEVERAL marriages END because the husband became great friends with another woman at work, or the wife began to share her marriage problems with another man ("who had a listening ear"). If we don't make the distinction that guys should be BEST FRIENDS with other guys and girls should be BEST FRIENDS with other girls, we are setting up some marriages to fail.

Second, until someone gets married they should identify MOST with their own family, not other students--especially opposite sex students. A young man should act and think how his parents think until he gets married. Even if you go off to college, I want each to be thinking from their parent's perspective about how he relates to girls, what he does with his time, how much effort he puts into studying, what he posts on facebook, etc. I get this concept from Genesis, which says that the only reason that a young man LEAVES his family relationships (identity) is to "cleave to his wife" (check out Genesis 2:24). Young girls should also identify most with their family, not with some exclusive dating relationship. She should be understanding her dad, and getting advice about life from him and other family members. I know that many families don't have a dad who cares (or who follows God), and that's where things can get tricky. That's what the church is for (and those other female-female relationships I mentioned above).

Third, the pattern of Scripture puts forth examples of same sex friendships being best friends, but never of opposite sex relationships being best friends, except within marriage. Naomi had Ruth. David had Jonathan. Paul had Silas and then Barnabas. Jesus hung out with the 12 disciples--all men. He knew women, and even called them friends, but they were not His closest friends. Where there exists examples of opposite sex close friendships, they are FAMILY ORIENTED (like Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Esther and Mordecai, etc.).

Fourth, young men should treat all young Christian girls as sisters (1 Timothy 5:1-2), and none of them "differently" from the others. It's that special treatment that confuses a young girl and makes her think that something is there that may not be. This is a crucial point, for I AM NOT SAYING THAT GUYS AND GIRLS SHOULD NOT BE FRIENDS--THEY SHOULD BE FRIENDS, JUST LIKE YOU ARE FRIENDS WITH YOUR SISTER. I am saying that they should not be "share-everything" "best friends." So Christian guys should be friends with LOTS of young Christian girls and treat them all the same--as sisters. This is also how you find out what you really like in the opposite sex, and what drives you crazy--it helps you make the choice regarding who will be the ONE female BEST FRIEND, when the time is right.

Fifth (and finally for today), the reality is that each Christian man is completed by becoming BEST FRIENDS with JUST ONE CHRISTIAN girl in marriage. A Christian man will be best friends with one girl for life someday. I am best friends with my wife. I share stuff with her that I don't share with anyone else in the world (Genesis 2:18-25)--not even other men. God "brought her to me" and she completes me. You are designed to have one best friend of the opposite sex when the time is right. That's a fantastic thing!

A young Christian man is becoming ready for that relationship when he is treating all Christian girls as sisters and when he begins to have a life to share with one of those girls.

Don't offer to share your life until you have one.

For additional reading: "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" (Josh Harris) contains some of these concepts. I believe every Christian parent should be familiar with the concepts Josh advances in this book.


Canadian Girl said...

Hi there!

What a great post. I can only share my own testimony on this. I found Christ a few months ago, and it has really transformed my life. Before that time, my best and closest friends were all men. But since then, I've been inspired by the Holy Spirit to withdraw the level of my emotional involvement with my male friends and increase it with my female friends. I felt deeply within that I really should only be "tell-all best friends" with whoever God want me to marry. And until then, I really don't want or need to be best friends with men.

I have felt great about this, but my best male friend got really, really angry when I tried to explain to him that I wanted to re-frame our relationship in a more Christian way. I tried to tell him that I wanted to be his friend and share my faith with him, but that I didn't want to have such a deep level of emotional intimacy with anyone other than whoever was my future spouse. I told him that this is what I learned from the Spirit and that I thought we would be a better "type" of friends this way. He got very angry and essentially terminated the friendship entirely. I feel sad about it, but I'm still certain that I am changing myself to be more like what God Will's for me to be.

It was helpful for me to read your post. It's very much in line with how the spirit has been working in my own life.

Thanks :)

Justin said...

There's nothing wrong with being best friends with someone of the opposite sex. Yes, the men are to treat the women in the church as sisters, but what then is wrong with being best friends with your sister? Being that close to someone of the opposite sex doesn't imply anything benevolent nor does it require that friends that close should only be a married couple.

I have only ever had two best friends in my life. One is a guy I went to school with back in 6th grade and the other is a friend I met when I started college a few years ago. She and I have a lot in common and have been a great benefit to each other having been through a lot of the same difficult times and circumstances in life. That is something I have never been able to share with any other person I know. Should I deny her and our close friendship (and dare I say, our best friendship? 0.o) because we're not the same sex? That would be ludicrous!

I have and she has truly benefited from sharing personal problems to help ''bear one another's burdens.'' Is that not Biblical? If she were to come to me and say, ''I have a serious problem that's really been bothering me with something that happened years ago and need someone to talk to,'' am I to say, ''Well, I'm sorry but I'm not sure your the one God wants me to marry so I can't discuss such things with you?''

I think not! Clearly this opinion about best friends between the sexes has been taken and run with.

Jon said...

Hey Justin,

Since I don't have an email address for you I'll simply reply here. No, you shouldn't avoid her or act like you are not friends any longer. I'm saying that she would benefit a lot more from advice from an older woman, or even a godly Christian woman her own age, then from you. You would benefit a ton more from advice from a godly man (older or your own age)then from her.

Guys and girls can and should still be friends, of course.

Here's the real telling situation. Say she gets married and after a year or so develops some marital problems. She comes to you (her best friend) with those problems. How will you handle that situation?

It just gets really sticky and difficult really fast.

So I'd say, don't blow her off--just spend time purposefully developing relationships with mature Christian guys--both your age and older. You and this whole world will be better for it.

Thanks, Justin!

Stephanie said...

I agree with Justin. I have three best friends: two of which are guys, (but one's my cousin, so he doesn't really count). I know that i can't share anything and everything with any of them, but i also know that my friend John is one of my best friends, and I'm not sure what i'd do without him. "young girls", especially ones without real older brothers, often need the input of guys. I'm not saying i tell them everything, I'm saying, for example, if a girl has guy problems, thinking, i think he likes me, but i'm not sure, it's not like another girl would know. we have absolutely no understanding of guys. she would have to ask another guy, who is a good friend of hers.that sort of thing is what brothers are for. and until you're married, we're all brothers and sisters in Christ. sometimes I have a problem that i can't talk about to another girl. sometimes you need to talk to someone of the opposite sex. and I, for one, have a hard time confiding in people, so when there is a person I feel I can confide in, I thank God every day for them. I have only 3 of those people, and i'm not sure what I'd do without them. as it is, I hardly ever see them, and I know it would hurt and confuse my guy friends if i became more withdrawn and didn't talk to them as much. but I understand where you're coming from, Jon.

Love in Christ, Stephanie

Jon said...

Hi Stephanie,

YES! The fact that you KNOW that you can't share "anything and everything" with them" is an indication of wisdom and biblically informed conscience.

We live in a world that doesn't want to recognize that guys and girls should NOT share "anything and everything."

Thanks, Stephanie!

melanie rose said...

hi there. i stumbled across this on google. and this was exactly what i needed to find!! thank you so much!
God Bless,

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I am dating (seriously) a man who has very close female friends. He is now scheduling meetings with them behind my back, why, I'm thinking because
He realizes that it's not Godly to spend alone time discussing personal things with other women. In your opinion, is this a good reason to end the relationship?
I have asked him to invite these friends to my home but instead he met them without telling me.