“Oh man!” was the first thought to come into my mind when I saw Caiden. A feeling of dread and a desire to run away came over me as I noticed his entrance into the room; I felt so awkward around him… What was I supposed to say if he came up to me? He was the popular college guy; I was the not-so-known, high school sophomore. I honestly liked him as a person, but I didn’t want to give him the indication that I felt anything beyond that. So I looked down at the floor as I walked past him, as he looked up with a friendly smile. “I can’t believe I just did that,” I thought to myself. I had always made it a priority to make others feel comfortable and welcome, so why this sudden shift in behavior? I’ll tell you… I was looking at Cassidy, and not Jesus.
I thought about all the reasons he shouldn’t be interested in me: I’m not like those other girls, I don’t have their hair, I don’t have their jobs (or even a job at all), I can’t drive, I won’t wear their short dresses, I prefer two-year-olds to adults, I’m “weird”, I’m homeschooled, I... My mental list went on and on.. I felt I was properly excused from talking and interacting with him.
Deep down, though, I was convicted.
Would this be my new way of treating the guys in my life? It felt so wrong. I wouldn’t have wanted the guys in my life to stare at the carpet and ignore me, the way I had just done….
“What will I do?” I asked myself. Now I had added an extremely unfriendly note to our relationship; he was my brother in Christ -- was that the way a sister should act toward a brother? Nope. Yet, each time I saw him I continued to act that way; cold and uninviting. I began to create excuses in my mind for the way I was acting; I thought, “well, he’s the guy, he should initiate all the talking. It’s not my fault if he doesn’t want to come up to me. He probably doesn’t care; there are tons of girls out there, he probably doesn’t even realize I’m around. I am SO boring, I’d probably bore him to sleep.”
Valid excuses? I think not.
To all the Christian girls reading this article, know this:
Ignoring guys is not Christ-like.
If there’s anyone that deserves to be ignored, it’s me! I don’t deserve the Lord’s attention, His grace, or His love, yet He gives each of those to me. I don’t deserve for the Lord to turn His face toward me, yet He goes beyond that; He calls me His very own. And He calls my brothers in Christ His very own, as well.
What is the second greatest commandment? “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39, NIV). That includes the guys in your life. We see in scripture that God did not intend for men and women to be oblivious to one another, He intended for us to live in unity, as it says in Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
I know, from the personal experience above, that it’s not always easy to be “just friends” with a guy; especially as a single girl. I have a tendency to be less friendly with guys, some girls have a tendency to be overly friendly with guys. Which is your tendency?
What to do when you feel less than friendly.
Fill your mind with Scripture. Here are a few to start with:
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9a
“...Be of one mind, live in peace.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with humility, gentleness and patience.. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12, 14
Keep in mind that it is not your responsibility to please men; it is your responsibility to please God. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, the way we relate to guys changes; we no longer seek to gain attention for ourselves or bring them down, but rather we begin to see them as Jesus sees them. We then want to encourage them and serve them with humility; my sinful desire to treat guys as though they are not around must go. It is time for us as young women to rise up out of the “regular pattern.” That pattern is of this world and is the opposite of what our Lord wants of us. I will answer to God for the way I have treated the men in my life and you will answer to God for the way you have treated the men in your life! Imagine how drastically different life would be if we all lived in light of that.
When you feel prone to ignoring guys, pray that God would overtake you. Ask that His attitude would flow through you and that you would be emptied of yourself; pray that you would be brim-full of Christ’s love for this person. I encourage you not to allow your emotions to have the say in your treatment of guys; our emotions often lie to us and make us feel as though we have an excuse for wrong behavior. The emotions may stay, but they must be brought into submission to Christ.
What to do when you feel a little “too friendly.”
I’d estimate that nearly every girl I know, me included, has had this struggle. What I mean by, “too friendly” is that tendency to try to draw attention from the men around you. If you’re secretly dying for a guy to just give you a second look, calling up every single guy in your Church directory, or simply watching closely for them to notice you, I would like to remind you of your immense worth in Christ. No matter how much you love a guy, or how much a guy loves you, he can’t increase your value. You are so immensely valuable simply because the Heavenly King declared you to be so.
As a daughter of the King, you have the honor of representing Him in your every action, and your King has chosen the men to be the initiators. No ifs ands or buts. Not “the guy is the initiator if he’s really outgoing and a go-getter.” It’s not about his personality; it’s about God’s perfect design for Christ-centered guy-girl relationships.
On another note, when we seek to gain attention for ourselves, we are seeking for eyes to be brought off of Christ and on to us. This is not okay. In Isaiah 42:8 (KJV) we read, “I am the Lord; that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Our Lord takes this very seriously; He is the only one worthy of admiration and glory. Yet often, as young women, we think it’s just fine to “get ourselves out there” and push towards our own goals without even asking the Lord. We need pure motives in the way we relate to guys.
Here’s a fact for you today, no one on the face of this earth can have pure motives for what they are doing until the Lord Himself has purified the motives. Even if you believe you have a great opportunity with an awesome guy, we can’t glorify Him in our relationships when we are trying to handle it on our own strength. I encourage you to lay down your feelings at the foot of the cross.
Surrender, my friend.
Jesus knows far better than you or I do. I encourage you to be just a friend to the guy; not hinting you are hoping for a romantic relationship, not singling him out, not attempting to make yourself higher up on his priority list. While you are doing that, cultivate your heavenly romance with Jesus; read His word daily and come before His throne in prayer about everything. An earthly love story is meant to be a heavenly picture of Christ’s love for the church; the very greatest commandment is “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37, NKJV).
Guy-girl, just-friend relationships can be tough, but in Christ’s strength we can learn to treat each other with perfect love. As Elisabeth Elliot said in her book Quest for Love, it might not always be possible to have “normal” friendships between single guys and single girls, but we must strive to treat one another as brother and sisters in Jesus.