Memory verse: So Jonathan made a pledge of mutual loyalty with David because he loved him as much as he loved himself. 1 Samuel 18:3
Challenge: Think of one opposite gender platonic friend. What boundaries (spoken and unspoken) are in place to make sure the line doesn’t become blurred?
We discussed on Day 12 the Potential Cycle- those people that we have allowed the lines of friendship to become blurred and how we can resolve it. I think we should discuss how to prevent it, especially if we anticipate a relationship/courtship/ marriage-ship in the not so distant future. Platonic relationships can exist if you want them to, but you have to fight to keep those lines clear.
When or where does the line get blurred? It usually becomes a matter of- I don’t want you as long as no one else does, but when someone does-then we have a situation. I have had that friend with whom I was OK with being only a ‘friend’, just as long as there was no one else in the picture I had to share him with. It’s easy to lose perspective of how entangled you can become emotionally with “just a friend” when there is no competition, although it becomes painfully clear when that friend gains a love interest, and it’s not you.
Why is this? I believe that because we failed to set boundaries as we discussed earlier, the line was already blurred. I started dating you, but you were only hanging out with me. This happens when those talks are avoided; when you would rather ignore the signs that one or both of you are starting to feel the pull of strings, than to risk bringing it up and facing rejection or an awkward situation.
We become free to see the person as a pseudo- relationship and even fantasize about the ‘relationship’ being disguised as a friendship. Women rationalize, “I’m not his girlfriend, but no one else is either.” Men may start thinking, “This is safe; I can handle her introducing me as a friend because she doesn’t have another man in her life. I’m the one she calls when she wants to go to the movies, or needs her curtains hung, or when she needs a bug killed in the house. She depends on me and depending on me is pretty close to needing me, so it’s just a matter of time before she realizes that she loves me.” Don’t mock the situation. Many of you won’t admit it, but you have been here too.
If you are in this situation, what boundaries have been placed on your heart? Are you allowing yourself to become emotionally used in this position? Are you emotionally using the other person? Many times we don’t know how deeply we are tied to a person until that string is stretched by another individual. Your hold on the bond is determined by how you handle this situation: whether you decide to bow out, claiming your designated role as a friend, or if you try to hijack the situation by planting negative seeds about the new person of interest, staking your claim as more than a friend. This situation usually gets ugly pretty fast, and only in movies have I seen the emotionally attached friend win the guy over the new love interest. Not saying it can’t happen, just saying it’s probably a long shot. If you have been together as friends this long, and he hasn’t “found” you, it may be because you’re not what he’s looking for.
Keep the line drawn! You may have to take a step back if you realize you want more than the other person is willing or ready to give. Remember the Bible says to guard your own heart, not give it up to someone else and hope they protect it. We end up getting our feelings hurt because we lie, not only to others, but to ourselves saying we can handle it, but in reality we are doing anything but.
Have random “just friends” tests of your emotions, and anytime you feel that your feelings are changing, or the other person’s actions are more than friendly, speak up. A friend will address it, before it grows to be the elephant in the room. Only a coward would avoid this conversation with someone you call a friend. Remember a friend loves at all times, and it’s not love to know someone you only desire a friendship with is becoming more attached to you, yet you avoid it because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.. It’s better to gently rectify the situation now, than to do it by introducing them to your fiancé. If you are not willing to do this, you might want to reevaluate your own standard of being a friend.
“Flattery will get you everywhere” the saying goes, but I believe it will get your feelings hurt if you are not careful. Flattery is one of those reasons people keep holding on when you have stated that you don’t want a relationship. Yet, you are still entertaining their company, knowing that they want something you can’t or aren’t willing to give.
So where does the hurt come in? It occurs when you allow the flattery to lead yourself on. Yep, that’s said right—when you lead yourself on. A woman leads herself on when the man says he doesn’t want a relationship, but she continues to try and woo him. She begins to believe she can somehow do enough, give enough, be enough, or sadly, even sex enough to make him realize that he really wants to be with her. Then she’s hurt because he finds someone else and she finally realizes that she was just a placeholder.
A man leads himself on in the same way. Just because a guy can buy for a woman things she has never had, does not mean she will make him a permanent fixture in her life; it may just mean she will keep him around until either the well runs dry, or she finds something she wants more than his money. Hard lessons; take the advice and learn from someone else’s pain.
Guard your heart, for out of it flows the issues of life. Don’t find yourself caught up in the emotional bond of a relationship with only the commitment level of a friendship. You would do well to realize that kisses aren’t commitments and words are only as good as the action that follow them. Don’t make someone a priority that only chooses you as an option.
When a man or woman tells you that they are too busy with school, work, or life to pursue a relationship right now, it’s usually only a half truth. What they really mean is that they don’t see enough potential to make you a priority. If your “once in a lifetime” comes into your life, I doubt you will turn them down because you are in graduate school. You will have them hold the flash cards and quiz you. What am I saying? If you meet a potential that you would like to manifest into something permanent, you will do what it takes to make it happen. If the person isn’t willing to do the same, that may be your cue to move on. Don’t waste your life fighting for something that isn’t worth winning.
If a man or woman is looking over you, then they are either not for you, or it’s not your time.
INSIGHT: Keep the lines drawn and know that friends, are just friends. Keep them in perspective, because you would hate to be emotionally attached to someone that only holds the role as a friend; then you aren’t available for the person who is looking at you for the role of mate.