The series title for the month is “Putting Love in Its Place.”
So here’s an honest question. As women, where should we put love in our friendships with guys?
To give you some perspective on where I am coming from, growing up I didn’t really have a lot of guy friends. Usually just a couple close female friends, then my brothers would bring their friends around who became more like additional brothers. It’s a slightly different scene to navigate now that I’ve gotten older.
Being in my 20s, I’ve had more of a mixed friend group and have been trying to navigate these sometimes murky waters. At times more successfully than others.
There are so many different perspectives on this, so I just want to share what I’ve been learning from and how I’ve been challenged lately.
Why You Gotta Be So Rude?
For me, my main fear in hanging out with guys in any situation would be leading them on to believe that I was interested in more than just a friendship. Especially if they have already shown interest in me and I am unsure of my own feelings, or only want to be friends.
In a recent conversation with a friend, I realized there are others out there with similar struggles and we even reacted in similar ways. I find that when I talk to guys I can be at a loss for words, afraid of giving them the wrong impression, and even avoid being caught in a conversation with them. To narrow it down, my friend and I both found ourselves becoming increasingly awkward and rude.
As hard as it is to admit, it’s got me singing …
Why you gotta be so rude?
Don’t you know he’s human too?
Why you gotta be so rude?
Can’t you just hangout with him anyway?
These are obviously not the original lyrics, but it brings us back to our question. As women, where should we put love in friendships with guys? Girls can struggle on opposite ends of the spectrum. Some, like me, will have a natural tendency to act rude, while on the other side you can find overly flirtatious behaviors with little to no boundaries on how to act around guys.
Both responses are unloving toward our brothers in Christ and are out of character for how a woman should act.
As women, it’s in our very nature to be loving. I like how Emerson Eggerich (Love and Respect) has put it when referring to Ephesians 5:33 ESV, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” He talks about how God isn’t into redundancy. He doesn’t need to tell the woman to love her husband because it’s her natural response, same with the man to respect his wife. However, both spouses do need reminders to love and respect the other.
Re·spect | [ri-spekt] | noun (dictionary.com)
- esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person
- to show or be held in respect
Love and respect ties into our relationships as singles as well. Being respectful of our guy friends is one of the ways we can show them the kind of love their friendship deserves.
Respect means valuing them as a real person with real feelings. Respect means acknowledging their sense of dignity. Respect means having an honest conversation with them because they are worth it.
Communication Is Key
My dad is always reminding me to COMMUNICATE. I even went to school to get a degree in communication, partially from the constant reminder of how important it is.
This could be as simple as apologizing for how awkward things have been. Explain how you want to respect them as your friend and not lead them on to believe you are looking for more than just a friendship.
I know it’s hard, but it’s the loving thing to do.
It’s more loving to break down your walls and create a foundation for a better friendship. It’s more loving to be honest about your feelings than to give someone the cold shoulder. As one guy put it… it’s more loving to substitute your oft-practiced friendzone coup-de-grace for an honorable upfront conversation. Bottomline: it’s more loving to be respectful than to be rude.
When released from the tension of an undefined relationships and awkward encounters, you are free to be your loving self with no expectations or misunderstandings.
Here are some great verses that demonstrate this:
Psalm 133:1 ESV
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.
Philippians 2:4 ESV
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Romans 12:10 ESV
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
So as your fellow sister in Christ who has a hard time letting her guard down, let me encourage you once again to act with gumption. Be courageous! Let us love and encourage our brothers in Christ, without tying ourselves down with miscommunication.
Hebrews 10:24 ESV
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
I definitely needed this reminder and hope to be more honest and loving toward my fellow brothers in Christ moving forward. Hope you have enjoyed this series and have found encouragement hearing from all of our leaders.