Close Guy-Girl Friendships: Bad Idea? (UPDATED)
Boundless Webzine's latest issue includes a thought-provoking article on guy-girl friendships called 'Not Your Buddy' by Suzanne Hadley. Brett and I found it particularly interesting, as this has been a topic we've been thinking about a lot in the recent weeks.
Miss Hadley's article focuses on the all-too-common heartbreak that occurs when young men fail to protect the hearts of their sisters in Christ by investing in a relationship with no intent of marriage. Although it is targeted to college-age singles and up, the article also includes several insights about guy-girl relationships that apply to all of us."Close friendships between single men and women may feel good," the description reads, "but are they doing anyone a favor?"
The following quote, in particular, stood out to us:
In her book Relationships, former college professor Dr. Pamela Reeve discusses three levels of friendships: acquaintances, companions and intimate friends. Dr. Reeve observes that men and women cannot sustain an intimate friendship without one or the other harboring romantic expectations. She recommends that men and women avoid being intimate friends outside of courtship and marriage. Companions, she says, generally spend less than two hours together a week.Some questions for discussion:
- What do you think of Dr. Pamela Reeve's observations? Are they accurate?
- How many of your friendships with the opposite sex would fall under the heading of 'acquaintances' and 'companions' and how many would fall under the heading of 'intimate friends'?
- Miss Hadley concludes here article by saying, "When it comes to male-female relationships, lacking intent, the buddy system is a bad idea." Since an intent for marriage is impractical for most teens, are close friendships between guys and girls a good idea?
- Where is your line between "okay" and "too close" when it comes to friendships with the opposite sex?
- Is a purely platonic (no romantic feelings on either side) but intimate (close) friendship between a guy and girl practically attainable?
- Plain English Version: Can a guy and a girl be intimate friends without romantic hopes or feelings developing on one side or the other?
- Is a non-platonic, intimate friendship between a guy and girl appropriate prior to courtship or marriage?
- Plain English Version: If either person is romantically attached, is a intimate friendship between a guy and a girl appropriate outside of courtship or marriage?
- Under your conception of a platonic, intimate friendship between a guy and girl, how should that relationship change once either party gets married? What would be appropriate? What would not?
- Plain English Version: What types of interactions between members of the opposite sex would you discontinue once you (or they) got married?
Reminder: The article is speaking about "close" or "intimate" friendships, not all friendships in general. Read it here.