Editor’s Note: This begins a special series we are doing specifically for college-age women. We will be sharing a variety of posts about life in college designed to help Christian women navigate the often murky (and exciting) waters of college life. Stay tuned for more!
I grew up in a culture saturated by the Friends mentality. The popular show from nearly a decade ago that followed the lives of six friends glamorized opposite sex friendships. You could fall in and out of love with each other and never lose the friendship. You could have kids with your best friend and nothing would change. You could spend your Friday night pouring your heart out to your best guy friend and no one ever really got hurt. And it made me (and many of my friends) want that.
The question I started asking myself in my early twenties, after I faced a string of heartaches and awkward endings to friendships, was why is it always so hard? Why does it feel so fulfilling at the front end, but then so awkward at the back end?
I began to wonder if it meant we were never designed to be best friends with the opposite sex outside of commitment in the first place. I began to wonder if my pull towards the opposite sex actually was revealing something more about how God created us to be as male and female.
It’s Hip to Have a (Guy) Friend
In college I thrived on these friendships. Under the guise of thinking I got along with men better, I experienced all of the perks of a relationship (companionship, being known, emotional intimacy, good conversation), but no commitment. I wanted to feel wanted and cared for by someone of the opposite sex, especially in my most lonely days as a single girl.
Especially in the college years, it feels hip to have a guy best friend you can live with platonically. And while a Christian girl might not want to live with her best guy friend, she still can enjoy the benefits of said relationship minus the living quarters. It’s cool. It’s fun. But in my experience someone always seems to get a little too into the friendship, crossing the “friend” line, and thus forcing the dreaded “define the relationship” talk. And then, the blissful friendship is over, or at the very least, extremely awkward.
Understanding Our Boundaries
We need to foster meaningful relationships among the sexes, but boundaries with the opposite sex should extend much farther than the mere physical. So often our longing for meaningful friendship with the opposite sex is stemming from a longing to be known and understood—ultimately to be married. Don’t allow a man to know you and understand you if he will not promise to do so for a lifetime—or at least try to date you to figure out if that is what God wants for the both of you.
Does this mean that single women should never have guy friends? Not at all. It just means that a single woman’s meaningful relationships should come from female friendships. These are friendships that will last and encourage you in your pursuit of marriage and godliness. These are friendships that will last long after you say “I do.” Friendships with the opposite sex can be fulfilling and purposeful, even without the promise of a relationship. But they should be forged with the future in mind. Will you feel uncomfortable with your current opposite sex friendship when your future spouse comes along? Or are you going to be willing to give up this friendship when your future spouse comes along? As Christians, how we relate to everything should look different than the world around us, even our interactions with the opposite sex.
It might seem fun and exciting to have a guy best friend who knows you intimately right now, but it could only make life difficult when the man who is to be your best friend forever comes along. We were designed to be known, loved, and intimate with one man only—your husband. And we shouldn’t settle for anything less.
You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Your contribution will go directly toward the production of more gospel-centered, church-equipping resources.