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Author Topic: Can Men and Women Really Be "Just Friends?"  (Read 2315 times)
Ned_Flanders
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« on: March 25, 2015, 02:18:30 pm »

Until recently, I thought all was well with a guy (Jack) and a girl (Jill) that I know who described their relationship like "brother and sister-" at least, that was HER description of things.  She is married to someone else who is overseas in Afghanistan right now.  I worked with both of them.  But Jack was fired because Jill filed a stay away order against him.  Jack and Jill spent a lot of time together and from the look of things, the rest of us wondered if something was going on between them.  I don't know all the details, but I get the idea that what Jill thought was "brother and sister" turned into love for Jack.

In my experience, usually it goes that way.  One or the other person will end up wanting more.   Whenever I've heard of, say, a woman who's engaged to one guy and calls another guy her "best friend," I think, "then why aren't you marrying THAT guy?"  If you're really best friends, you have the kind of relationship a lot of husbands and wives wish they had.  But this leads me to wonder if GCx had the right idea about the guys-and-girls-should-remain-separate thing.  I think perhaps they were on to something; but the problem, as I see it, was that they saw both women and men through sexist stereotypes and broad-brushing people. 
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Huldah
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2015, 08:48:55 am »

Well, I wouldn't say that GC had it right, exactly. There was something twisted, controlling, and unnatural about the way GC handled male-female interactions. But I think I understand what you're getting at.

Close male-female friendships--the kind where you spend lots of time alone together, and tell each other your deep fears and hopes--certainly have the potential to become romantic. It's one reason that all my closest friendships outside of marriage are with other women. Years ago, I knew a woman who continued to insist that she and her business partner were just like brother and sister, even after he made it clear that he was in love and wanted to marry her. That friendship eventually ended with a lot of resentment on both sides.

 Whenever I've heard of, say, a woman who's engaged to one guy and calls another guy her "best friend," I think, "then why aren't you marrying THAT guy?"
At the risk of further broad-brushing, "best friend" in such cases very often means, "I like the attention, but I'm not physically attracted."
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Ned_Flanders
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2015, 01:08:26 pm »

Well, I wouldn't say that GC had it right, exactly. There was something twisted, controlling, and unnatural about the way GC handled male-female interactions.

That's pretty much what I said.  I'm not trying to defend GCx because their efforts in handling male-female relationships really wasn't worth it.  I guess if anything, trying to FORCE men and women to have separate relationships is where the problem is.  

Close male-female friendships--the kind where you spend lots of time alone together, and tell each other your deep fears and hopes--certainly have the potential to become romantic. It's one reason that all my closest friendships outside of marriage are with other women.


I think you have the right idea and that's my point- you came to this conclusion as an adult.  That's what should happen.

Years ago, I knew a woman who continued to insist that she and her business partner were just like brother and sister, even after he made it clear that he was in love and wanted to marry her. That friendship eventually ended with a lot of resentment on both sides.  At the risk of further broad-brushing, "best friend" in such cases very often means, "I like the attention, but I'm not physically attracted."

I think that's pretty much what happen in the case of Jack and Jill.  
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Huldah
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2015, 01:15:02 pm »

Sorry, I wasn't trying to accuse you of defending GC. I took one sentence--"But this leads me to wonder if GCx had the right idea about the guys-and-girls-should-remain-separate thing."--at face value when I realize now that you meant that ironically.
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Ned_Flanders
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2015, 05:30:44 pm »

Sorry, I wasn't trying to accuse you of defending GC. I took one sentence--"But this leads me to wonder if GCx had the right idea about the guys-and-girls-should-remain-separate thing."--at face value when I realize now that you meant that ironically.

I don't know that I was being ironic.   

I think a man and a woman can be friends but I've usually seen that one or the other of them will want to take it further. 

Without question, I think adults need to take relationships seriously.  I think GCx would agree with me on that but my problem was their methodology based on control and sexism. 
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arthur
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2015, 05:32:53 am »

Ned, I'm pretty sure that that there is no such thing as "Just Friends". I have many many acquaintances, but my acquaintances are not my friends. Friends are the people that will stand by me when aquaintences fall away. When I've lost a job, when I've had a death in the family, when I'm depressed, or when I'm suffering any of the human maladies that make me very difficult to be around. Friends stand by me, and sacrifice their time, their happiness, and perhaps even a bit of thier hard-won cash to try and restore me to the person I was. They are the people I choose to share my joys with, my happiness with. They are the people I choose to invite to my home, and to share my life with.

This is why I say there is no such thing as "just friends". "Just friends" is a put-down to the whole concept of friends, as if it were something minor, something throwaway. "Just friends" is an euphamism for something else, some feeling that people dont want to express. It's often attraction, but sometime it's a repulsion. "Just friends" sometimes means we want to do the OPPOSITE of friendship, pushing them away, calling them "friends" when they are really aquaintences.

Back on point...
GCM reacted in a horrible way when a man and woman wanted to be together, as if it were the church's responsibility to prevent heartache, and ruined lives. this is the core flaw of GCM, and for that point, of a lot of churches. They believe that they can prevent sin, or even just plain old human sorrow, by teaching the right knowledge, and the policing people to produce the right behaviors, when, in reality, it is their job to be there when lives are ruined, and build them up again.

It's actually a very appropriate topic as we approach Easter. Easter is about redemption, and the hope that it brings every person who is willing to embrace faith: that a ruined life can be redeemed, given purpose, loved, in spite of and in oppositition to the revulsion that other people feel about us, and indeed to the revulsion we feel about ourselves!

"For God so loved the world..."

So, yes, people get themselves into trouble. It's been happening since adam. Put a man and a woman close together, and feelings result, and that is by design! Often they can still be friends, and put aside their inclinations. Sometimes they cant. Sometimes it results in heartache. We try to lift our friends, try to counsel them, and sometimes they will listen. Often they will not.

In either case, our responsibility as a church isn't to prevent it heartache, but to heal it. Not to prevent sin, but to forgive the broken sinner. Not to perfect man, but to praise God when a man repents. Not to save men, but to lead them to the savior.

Ned, God Bess you for your help when you stood by me a few years ago, in this forum. I and my family feel hope again in a healthy church that loves people, and we are healing, slowly.

« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 06:09:03 am by arthur » Logged
Ned_Flanders
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2015, 09:56:12 am »

Ned, I'm pretty sure that that there is no such thing as "Just Friends". I have many many acquaintances, but my acquaintances are not my friends. Friends are the people that will stand by me when aquaintences fall away. When I've lost a job, when I've had a death in the family, when I'm depressed, or when I'm suffering any of the human maladies that make me very difficult to be around. Friends stand by me, and sacrifice their time, their happiness, and perhaps even a bit of thier hard-won cash to try and restore me to the person I was. They are the people I choose to share my joys with, my happiness with. They are the people I choose to invite to my home, and to share my life with.

This is why I say there is no such thing as "just friends". "Just friends" is a put-down to the whole concept of friends, as if it were something minor, something throwaway. "Just friends" is an euphamism for something else, some feeling that people dont want to express. It's often attraction, but sometime it's a repulsion. "Just friends" sometimes means we want to do the OPPOSITE of friendship, pushing them away, calling them "friends" when they are really aquaintences.

Back on point...
GCM reacted in a horrible way when a man and woman wanted to be together, as if it were the church's responsibility to prevent heartache, and ruined lives. this is the core flaw of GCM, and for that point, of a lot of churches. They believe that they can prevent sin, or even just plain old human sorrow, by teaching the right knowledge, and the policing people to produce the right behaviors, when, in reality, it is their job to be there when lives are ruined, and build them up again.

It's actually a very appropriate topic as we approach Easter. Easter is about redemption, and the hope that it brings every person who is willing to embrace faith: that a ruined life can be redeemed, given purpose, loved, in spite of and in oppositition to the revulsion that other people feel about us, and indeed to the revulsion we feel about ourselves!

"For God so loved the world..."

So, yes, people get themselves into trouble. It's been happening since adam. Put a man and a woman close together, and feelings result, and that is by design! Often they can still be friends, and put aside their inclinations. Sometimes they cant. Sometimes it results in heartache. We try to lift our friends, try to counsel them, and sometimes they will listen. Often they will not.

In either case, our responsibility as a church isn't to prevent it heartache, but to heal it. Not to prevent sin, but to forgive the broken sinner. Not to perfect man, but to praise God when a man repents. Not to save men, but to lead them to the savior.

Ned, God Bess you for your help when you stood by me a few years ago, in this forum. I and my family feel hope again in a healthy church that loves people, and we are healing, slowly.



Arthur,
God bless you, Happy Easter and thank you so much for your wonderful message.  Thanks for remembering me. 

When people say, "I'm just a..." or "You're just a..." I think we have big problems with the limitations "just" puts on things- especially when we are taught a message to "Be all you can be" or "I believe I can fly."  In my experience, when a girl said to me, "let's just be friends," often it really wasn't friends at all; at least by your definition of friendship.  But it was definitely the girl's way of letting me know she wasn't interested and her words were simply something to say to let me down easy.  Looking back.... If I had never spoken to many of those "just friends" again, I don't think they would have had many complaints. 

In my life, I have perhaps one or two real friends other than my wife that I can confide in and be myself with.  That's enough for me.  I know a lot of people who are my aquaintinces and are friendly with me.  And I have over 250+ Facebook friends, many of which I don't even know personally and would not recognize them on the street.  "A friend" is a very subjective thing in our culture. 

I'm so glad to hear you are on the journey to healing from past abuse.  I left GCx over 20 years ago and the LORD has healed me from hurtful things that happened to me there.  I think about those things from time to time but I've been able to process them and I now understand my own role in why those things happened.  I know God loves me no matter how much I mess up.  I no longer feel those people who hurt me owe me anything.  Today, I feel sorry for them more than anything else. 

I'm OK with visiting this board every now and then but I've moved on from what happened at GCx.  My self-esteem and confidence have grown and so has my relationship with the LORD.  I belong to a fantastic Church now where I can be myself and my wife and children love it.  I hope the same for you in your journey of recovery. 
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