Harry and Sally are wrong, but what about grey?

Were Harry and Sally wrong? 

If you're over the age of 26 most of you have probably seen "When Harry Met Sally", a popular 80s movie about friends becoming lovers, then back to friends, then ultimately ending up together.  The funny part about the movie is the commentators and camera "confessionals" where Harry and Sally talk about how they can, or CANT, have friends of the opposite sex because sex always gets in the way.

Well, in some subcultures, esp once married, its almost as if having opposite-sex friendships is taboo. This makes me sad.  Thankfully I have friends ok with going against the religious cultural 'norm', but then again, I have always been a rebel.  I'd like to think Jesus was a rebel too. Afterall, didn't he hang out with prostitutes? And his guy friends weren't exactly class president.  So while I may appear a bit "rebel-ish" I don't want you to mistake this for being ok with going against values and standards I live by, I just know when I click with someone whether its a guy or girl,  Im ok with establishing a friendship because of what it might add to my life!  To this day, I can say I am SO THANKFUL for the awesome guy friends I have and can actually say Harry and Sally were wrong; IT IS POSSIBLE to have guy friends that are simply that:  FRIENDS! (For guys, it's possible to have friends that are girls:)

A few years back I listed to a killer talk on how its good to have cross-sex friendships even once married. Now, of course, you're not spending all your intimate time with them and these friendships have boundaries, but there's something about friendships with the opposite sex that when healthy can add so much to your life.  I'm SO GLAD for the friendships I've been blessed with over the years.
As the speaker of this talk gave some awesome points about being friends with guys, I thought I'd share:
She says:
- I'm built up and encouraged by them,
- They challenge my walk and faith,
- Call things out I need to hear,
- Guys just live life in just a different way, & I love having their perspective and think its healthy to have friendships like these.

This might just be food for thought but a great way to start the conversation rolling...
especially this time of year when we all are aware of our current state of being due to Valentine's Day!  Perhaps some questions to consider: Am I loved?  Am I loved by Friends?  By a lover?  Do I have people in my life that I love? That I honor and respect and want to do life with?  That I consider close to allow them to challenge me and grow into a better version of myself with?  
Are my friendships and relationships healthy?  Where do I stand on all this?  

Thankfully in the world of fitness and friends, I have a ton of guys and girls I interact with a LOT that could be considered just casual friends and it's totally fine.  If we were honest,  it could be just the Christian subculture that is sensitive to the idea of guys and girls being friends with opposite sex if they are married, and so the talk I heard was totally apropos to the subject to confirm the point: Harry and Sally are wrong!  

Guys CAN be friends with girls and girls CAN be friends with guys without the issue of sex getting in the way!!  

Billy Graham as a public figure said that he wouldn't as much as enter an elevator with a female alone, in order to live and conduct his life above reproach.  He also did this so there wasn't ANY chance for a female to wrongly accuse him of something he wouldn't do.  This was smart thinking on his behalf, as it would only take a rumor or a couple of false judgments to ruin his entire career and ministry!  But he was Billy Graham and had a lot to protect.

Now, would I suggest to every guy I know that is married not to ride in an elevator with a female? Of course not! We all want to be wise as a serpent, innocent as a dove, so naturally, we need to be making good decisions about how we 'do life' with one another. So if that guy cannot handle being in a car with a female alone, I would suggest there is a lot more at stake to consider.

When I worked for previous ministries we would have the boundary and rules set in place of going places in "3s." Even for the very reason to live (and work) above reproach.  Now, I know for some of you, this sounds silly. However, it's good measure to take especially when rumor train and gossip circles start easily.  There is always a 3rd party present and this is more so when one of the persons is married (to honor their spouse).

The funny thing is I talk about this a lot with ministry friends.  When I worked at K-LOVE Radio and we hired a male for my counterpart, we didn't have 'rules' set in place but I do remember telling him "I need to meet your wife first, before we do ANY events together, so she knows I am safe and we are simply working counterparts"  Thankfully this worked out really well.

As the female, I believe we need to honor the wives of our working colleagues who perhaps aren't working with us, so they know we are safe.  As a male, I believe they should be honoring their wives through normal friendship conduct.  Thankfully, the Lord has been gracious to extend a ton of awesome friendships over years and years of ministry work, but it's because we've always had healthy friendships, I've been able to easily befriend their wives, and we all know because I am coming from a healthy place of thinking, there wouldn't be anything to worry about in conduct with my male colleagues.  Praise Jesus this was the same - I worked with awesome Godly Guys who were honoring and respectful in every way.  .  .

Ok, So what about GREY?

So where it gets tricky is in the friendship where you cant tell:

Is this going anywhere?  How do I make sure they know we're just friends?  
I really care about this person and I do want something more?  
Or perhaps it's more like: 
I really care about this person but I want to be SURE they know that it's just simply that!

In singleness its a little harder to naturally assume its always and only friends with people of the opposite sex, but if I may share some insights and just call them out it could save us all some time & confusion! I want to address you ladies, and then you guys. Hopefully, it's not far-fetched and is honoring to your hearts too!

Ladies... Guys...

IF you are spending time with people that seem to be super rad and super friendly,
but there hasn't EVER been a talk of anything more - 

I cannot tell you how many conversations I've had with people hoping for more.  I hear that he's sent all the right signals, he calls on his way home from snowboarding, he talks to me about his mom, or his work partner, and even texts like all the time. BUT when it comes to asking her out, they've been friends for 3months(okay 7months) but then I hear "his last girlfriend wasn't as close to him as I am"  or "he just isn't sure where he's at"  and often times I head "No we haven't talked about it, but I'm certain he's gotta be interested!"

Ladies... with the handful of guy friends I do have and the talks we've had over this conversation (above) time and time again, unless he 1) asks you for your number,  2) tells you he WANTS to pursue you,  3) Asks you out or has taken you on a date, OR 4)Tells you outright that he's interested; Pleeeeeeease let them go into the friend zone, dear one! For sake of your heart being disappointed!

For sake of letting them not become the bad guy who led you on for so long. We have some awesome guys right in our friendship circles that would be incredible to see if there were anything more, but unless a fella is brave enough to ask you out,  then please, my dear, just let them be friends and try to protect your heart from feeling more.

Do HIM the honor and pay him the respect as well! He MIGHT just be your friend, so honor him by not letting your heart go that distance of liking him more than he's communicated! I will say IF by some chance he is "acting like a boyfriend" by getting filled up with emotional convos or just straight intimate needs; then he is NOT WORTH the energy!  Let him go.

Any guy who would want to pursue you will hopefully first off respect where you're at, but then honor you as female and then TELL you they want to pursue you...  If they don't tell you, what else will they be afraid to tell you? DO you really want to be with a guy you have to convince to ask you out?

Ok, Now Guys... You like her. You think she may like you, or you don't know if she does?
Please stop responding to girls that pursue you, and step to the plate of pursuing! It is not fun for any girl to chase (the girls who like that control are lying to you) We've been created to respond.  Plus, we love the idea of being pursued... Don't beat around the bush to have her come hang for a group night again and again and again. 

I was surface level friends of one group of friends (a couple years ago with an insight into the group because I was new) and from the outside, I would hear stories from girls and see other girls pining away for these men to ask them out.  They'd get all excited that they were invited to the house party or the BBQ or a night out, and then show up to a room full of other girls hoping for the same affection of the same guys and the ratio would be 9girls to 4 guys or 5 to 2. It was sad!! And the worse part was watching it happen but not being able to interject for the lack of knowing these friends super well.

Thankfully it didn't continue to happen and the group expanded, lost a few people, and eventually, people started dating outside friends from other circles, but what was hard about being in a cultural shift where online dating is ok, Tinder is the latest and greatest way to meet someone close to you.  And, you don't know if you REALLY have chemistry until you meet based on attraction.

I've met so many guys that are going for super hot girls with zero personality or girls going for guys based on size and they end up being duds.  Guys... have the courage to risk.  Coffee or a fun workout or outside date doesn't mean commitment forever.  Plus, it'll give you a chance to get to know her in a better setting than competing with other convos and friends around.  If she likes you she will respond!! If she doesn't and she's a respectful and honorable girl, she will honor your heart in the letdown! Girls constantly show up where you are and will love the attention from the right guy, but you have to show/express your interest.  It's okay to play it safe, but honestly, unless she's already communicated JUST friends or that she isn't ready, or how glad she is to be friends, she has maaaaybe thought once or twice about what it would be like to
date you.

Sooooo, take a risk! Be smart enough to ask your friends if they think she likes you, and IF she is quick to respond to any text threads... she might have an eye for you;)

DATING in the 21st century - could it be any harder?  
Dating today is hard. (I could go on about this, but that's for another day, and this is meant to be a blog on friendship)  If you want to watch a GREAT clip about relational hope and where we can find purpose and hope, watch Joy Eggerich's description of what its like being single today (in case you forgot;) And be encouraged by the HOPE we look to.

Today's challenge: there will always be someone hotter, cuter, or potentially 'better' to the wondering eye. There's someone else's profile that caught your attention that could be an option if you could just be at the same party sometime soon and have the right timing of meeting.  There's the mysticism of that Instagram friend that happens to have 8,973 followers but "YOU have a connection"  But as some very WISE counsel has breathed into my life and spoken words that will clearly stick with me forever; there is only one YOU and people will love you for YOU!!  Social media has a destructive way of luring us into the "what if.." world.  Don't let yourself get caught in that trap of always wondering.

Be encouraged:  Your unique personality with your looks and behavior is only YOU.... If they don't love you for you and their eye continues to wonder... let them go!

Remember you are worthy of LOVE and worthy of the attention of 1.. you don't need a platoon or harem to fall for you; you just need one;)

Okay... BACK to friends...   

What I love about having the friends that I do is that they're amazing and solid!  They live lives of courage and bravery every day as they face battles I can't even imagine.  Broken homes, hard family situations, financial troubles, and rough relationships past.  BUT they've done the work, and are DOING the work it takes to become better versions of themselves and be HEALTHY!!!

This year, this Valentine's Day,  what if singles chose to not even focus on being single?  
There's a lot of couples that won't be celebrating because they forgot, or simply don't care! 

Shouldn't Valentine's Day REALLY be about loving the people we get to do LIFE with??

Recognize the amazing friends you have (even the opposite sex ones;) For those of you who may only have one or two friends - cherish them!It'sts totally ok to only have a few close friends. And also, if you don't click with everyone that's totally fine (you probably won't click with everyone, and if you do, are you being honest to yourself?)

In LIFE, in your friendships be YOU, be genuine, honor one another, love each other well.  Focus on doing life WITH people you trust! 

We all have our moments in life where we're down, and we NEED a team of people around us to surround us and help carry our mats - through breakups, through layoffs, through heartbreak or financial struggles, or diagnoses for the worst! (Plus, this is when we get to fight FOR our friends and do life alongside of them) 

*However I will note: IF the friendships you have don't grow you and challenge you, its time to reevaluate them.  IF they do not ADD to your life and move you towards the positive but suck the life out of you, then perhaps they are just a friend for a season that needs to be over soon.  IF there is a person in your life that has a direct influence to you making bad choices and decisions, (and it hasn't been this way just a week two, but like a couple years, 7 or even 15years) it is time to reevaluate. Perhaps confront and ask them to commit to getting help or healthy, or consider moving on?   

If you are married and haven't told your wife or husband how much you adore them - don't just tell them, show them!!!  Heck - you get to enjoy the intimacy of romance and being fully known!! ;)

One thing for my married friends:  If you are married and you have single friends but don't know how to encourage them this Valentine's day and are thinking "Gosh, someone must eventually go for them" to yourself but are telling anyone single you know "dont worry someones out there!" or "I can't believe you're still single!"  Please STOP!  There is not something wrong with those of us that are still single because we're waiting for God's best or because the past just didnt workout. (We have enough conversations with God about his plans for the future and are believing he has a sweet plan for the future and part of that is resting in his timing:)

BUT, one thing you CAN do as a married friend of a single friend; I would encourage you to Pray!  Pray for your friends that are still single that desire to have a spouse someday!!  Pray for your friends that are married that have a rocky or horrible relationship to be restored and become whole again!  Pray for one another and then just do LIFE with each other!

When we honor one another as a brother or sister before objectifying or placing a label on who that person must be as single or married, guy or girl, same sex or not... When our friendships become about being FILLED with life and loving one another truly with honor and respect, for how we were created, and in good faith because we have a connection and its FUN - THAT'S what I believe is living life.  

The last thing I'll say to those of you who bore with me long enough to read this far. . . If I call you friend and you've been in my life for any longer than a week, I am SO BLESSED, perhaps even by you!  To have the guy friends I do in (of whom I can call brother even) and know its totally appropriate FRIENDSHIP, thank you for being my brother and friend! Thank you for doing life with me. Of the girlfriends I get to walk alongside of and do life with too; I'm so honored you would call me friend and close enough to call in a moments notice for prayer, for a fun last minute impromptu girls night, for a getaway or adventure trip, or to just cry on the phone! I am so blessed to have the people in my life that I do. Amazing girlfriends from College, a few friends along the journey post, and even the friends you randomly met and it feels like you've known one another for years (even if its only been months) so to YOU, I say THANK YOU friends for doing life with me... thanks for making a girl feel so cherished and loved this Valentines season....

till next time....

~enjoy the journey,


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