This blog post is a continuation of the series “I’m Friends With a Guy… GASP!” You can read the introduction to this series here:
In the introduction, I introduced five questions that people might/sometimes do ask me about my friendships with guys. In this post, I’m going to discuss the first question.
Question #1: “How do you do spend time with guys and have friendships with guys without having crushes or attractions to them?”
In a nutshell, my answer is…
Oh I’m not denying that there are times when it can be hard! Between the ages of 9-15, I really struggled in this area! Which is one of the reasons that I have my character, Jarah, in “A Cry From Egypt” and “A Stand At Sinai” learning from her (and my!) mistakes. I’ve had many “crushes.” Some of them I’ve handled well. Some of them I haven’t, just like my character, Jarah. I’m happy to tell you now that I don’t have a crush on anyone and I haven’t for some time.
How did I do it?
I prayed. A lot.
I prayed before I was around guys. I prayed as soon as the thoughts came to mind. I turned my focus to Christ instead of on the guys and what they might think of me. And you know what? God has helped me to change my thoughts and to truly see these young men as brothers in Christ. They’re people I’m going to war with against the flesh and the devil, not people that I’m trying to woo and win.
I’ve also talked with some of my “little brothers” about this when they’re struggling with their emotions towards girls. Those that have prayed and turned their attention towards Christ every time that girl came to mind said that it has really helped them in their struggle to guard their hearts.
And here’s the other way I avoid this.
Whoa. There is the one word to change the course of all of the guy/girl parent/child issues today!
My parents know everything about me. Literally everything. From the time that I was young, they cultivated a very open relationship between myself and them. They know my deepest and darkest secrets, my sins, my crushes. They know it all! That means they also know who I spend my time with and why. My parents watch the people in my life, particularly the guys, and make sure that everything is ok. They know who I’m with, when I’m with them, and why.
Now at the same time, they are not control freaks. While I do live at home with them, work with them, and serve with them, they allow me to have my own friends and my own life. They want to know my friends, but they aren’t constantly on top of me – dictating my schedule or making me get approval from them every time I need to step out of the door to go to Wal-Mart. They ask me gentle questions about what I’m doing, where I’m going, who I’m seeing, and then ask me how my day was when I get back home. They genuinely care and are genuinely interested. Instead of them controlling my life, I come to them wanting to talk to them and wanting their advice. I understand that this might not be the case in every household. If you wish it was the case in your household, then pray, show them this blog post, and start a conversation! Communicate!
My parents also respect the fact that if, for example, a guy friend of mine shares a prayer request with me that’s a little more private, I won’t tell my parents what it is. But at the same time I’ll explain that “so and so is having a hard time right now and needs prayer.” When the situation is resolved and there’s not an issue of trust being broken, then I can fill them in. My parents have watched me and guided me and they now trust me and my interactions with everyone I’m around.
Opening up to your parents and talking to them about everything is the best thing that you can possibly do, besides pray.
Also, if a guy (or girl, as the case may be) seems to be rather friendly towards you, don’t immediately shut them off or pawn them off to your father or mother. Maybe he just wants to be a friend. Maybe he wants to be more. But how is he supposed to get to know you or you get to know him if you shut him down before you even have a chance to talk to each other? Again… Communicate!
I’m a very friendly person, which can sometimes be interpreted as being flirty. I never try to be flirty at all. But I know of at least one or two guys who both thought I liked them for a little while until they realized that I treated every guy exactly the same way. It wasn’t that I had singled them out. I was just really friendly! Once they realized that I wasn’t singling them out, they relaxed, and we now have a very good friendship where we both know that there’s nothing else there. That wouldn’t have been the case if they had immediately shut me out and not at least been open to being friends.
Communication with your parents, communication with your friends, and communication with your Lord are essential to this area of your life.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, coming in just a few days!