It had been awhile since my friend Lacy and I had gone out to dinner. We picked a nice sit-down restaurant and started our meal with a mouth-watering appetizer. Our conversation quickly turned to our personal lives and what had been going on the past couple of weeks. Lacy started sharing with me the struggle she was having treating a guy-friend with too much attention and was concerned about their friendship. She was having one of those "he’s just like a brother" moments. Lacy and I both admitted that a guy friend is different than a girlfriend no matter what we say.
Looking back on the guy friends I had from high school, I would say many times, "he’s just like a brother," when deep in my heart I knew that he wasn’t. Even if we didn’t technically have feelings for each other, I enjoyed having a guy friend that I could share my feelings with and receive compliments from. It was different than my friendships with girls.
The reason Lacy was concerned with her "brother-like friendship" was simple—he was not her brother. She admitted that having a guy’s shoulder to cry on soothed her in a way that a girl didn’t. She enjoyed his masculinity.
Here are five reasons I think guy/girl friendships can be tricky. I’m not saying guys and gals can’t be friends, but these are some potential danger zones to keep in mind. (For a previous post answering the question can guys and girls be just friends, click here.)
1. He is somebody else’s future husband and you are somebody else’s future wife. Ask yourself this question: Would my future husband and his future wife feel honored and cherished by our actions together?
2. We tend to turn to our guy friends for comfort and encouragement instead of to God. Whenever you are discouraged or disappointed, do you turn to God for comfort or to your guy friend?
3. A close friendship with a guy can cause a bond to grow between you and many times leave either you or the guy brokenhearted when the feelings aren’t reciprocated. Am I willing to give this friendship up to protect his feelings? Am I willing to put his needs before my own?
4. In a friendship we can often justify physical contact, claiming he is just like a brother. Do you find yourself jumping on his back, wrestling, tickling, laying your head on his shoulder, etc.?
5. Whether you like it or not, you are an example to your brothers, sisters, and friends. What kind of example are you setting for those around you? Will the younger girls around you justify their intimate friendships with guys because of your example?
Again, I am not saying friendships with guys are wrong. I have guy friends whom I enjoy hanging out with and spending time with in groups. I am cautioning against justifying intimate relationships with guys and claiming "he is just like a brother." Just keep in mind that you and your guy friends will most likely be married some day (and maybe not to each other!), and you should honor and respect those future relationships.
Are there any relationships in your life that need to be evaluated? How can you change that friendship to bring more glory and honor to God?