Unbeknownst to Me…

Since we are discussing friendships, I am going to turn from the blessing of female friends to the delicate matter of having male ones.  We have already talked about the extent a friendship should go with a man, where and how to spend time with one and all the other logistics of such situations.  But now I turn to the possible consequences within these relationships.  While they are wonderful to have, it takes great care and attention to keep them above reproach — while also compassionate to the hearts involved.

Most of the time it seems that girls are the ones with the easy emotions.  Too often, girls run about with “Instant Relationship: Just Add Conversation” written on their foreheads.  I think one of the greatest issues with the courtship/waiting lifestyle is that is breeds girls that go into life with their hearts on their sleeves, willingly offering it to any Christian guy that looks cross-eyed at them.  I was one of those girls for a time: holding my heart in the palm of my hand, marketing it to whichever young man might have interest in it. 

I didn’t date, of course, but you don’t have to date to give your heart away.  This is where some families say that their daughters shouldn’t have young men as friends at all — because it is a threat to their emotional purity.  This, however, is an extreme defense mechanism that will prove more damaging than protective.  Rather than growing in emotional strength, the girl will continue to market her heart — just silently.  She will stifle her emotions and, in more than a few cases, will rebel against her commitment altogether. 

The key is not to remove men from the picture, because that is not only unrealistic but also stunting to the girl’s personal growth.  If a girl cannot control her emotions in an open friendship, how is that the man’s fault?  Too many girls, I having been one of them, analyze the syntax of each sentence a particular friend may have uttered in search of a hint toward ‘something more’.  Usually, there isn’t any.  But it’s easy to fabricate one.  A young woman needs to have a security and confidence of emotion that allows her to have friends without assuming they are more than that.  The problem is not with having male friends.  The problem is with how you view them — as friends, or as prospective ‘future husbands’.

These things often happen completely ‘unbeknownst’ to the other party in the friendship — namely, the man.  The truth is, it is often difficult to maintain a neutral friendship with a young man.  One of my guy friends told me once, “I don’t see why we have to be moving toward a relationship or falling apart — I think we should be able stay at a neutral stage… not moving forward, not going back.”  This is a hard balance to keep.  I could ‘between the lines’ every conversation I have with him. He wouldn’t know anything about it — he would just know his end of things, and his end is ‘just friends’.  If I did this, he would end up being completely confused that I read so much into something he meant to be taken at face value.  That is the danger of an active imagination!

The girls aren’t the only ones with emotions, however.  Guys have emotions as well.  I would say women put a little more ‘effort’ into their emotions than men, but all the same, a girl can hurt a man’s heart more than she would have ever thought… all ‘unbeknownst’ to her.  I would say the more quiet and sensitive the man, the more apt he is to form an attachment to a girl who is oblivious to his affections (any male readers may verify or refute this as they please; I am obviously speaking from experience as a female!).

From what I have learned, men don’t ‘name the children’ and dream fantastic dreams about the wedding when their emotions are being caught up.  Rather, it is more of a fascination brought about by the girl’s actions.  This is why flirtation is so dangerous.  Leading a man to believe that you ‘like’ him, when truly you don’t (or aren’t serious about it) is deceitful and false.  Fundamentally, flirtation is a form of lying.  As girls then, in our friendships with young men it is of utmost importance that we treat them the same way we would treat our own brothers (perhaps a little nicer!), without ‘special attention’ to any.

Back to Bill, the young man in my college class:  he, unbeknownst to me, decided that I was interested in him simply because I talked to him once or twice.  Out of that assumption, he inferred that every time our eyes met across the room all the angels in heaven broke into a chorus.  I was sitting at MY desk wondering why he had that ridiculous expression on his face.  I did nothing to encourage his fascination, but he formed an attachment anyway. If I was my normal outgoing self, he’d probably be picking out a ring! 

As young women we need to not only guard our own minds and emotions toward the opposite sex, but also be careful in our interactions with young men, knowing that they have hearts as well.  And for any male readers:  perhaps this gives you some insight into how girls think!  Also, be careful for your emotions as well.  Don’t let yourself be led on by a girl’s insincere actions to gain attention — especially if you are still in high school. 

 Let what was once ‘unbeknownst’ now be known!

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3 Responses

  1. Another good post! I like it! =)

    Autie

  2. Amazing! No I’m serious! This is exactly what I’m struggling with now! From both ends! There’s this guy in my youth group who, because I was friendly to him a youth event, now thinks I like him! And on the other hand, I have a guy friend I like and right now I’m struggling not to read into anything he says or does. It’s really, really, REALLY hard!
    ~Great Post!!!
    Caroline

  3. I struggle with that as well. That is how I mistook that my friend liked me and was after him for two years until he confessed to me that he was secretly gay.

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