I like hanging out with the boys. They offer a different dimension to friendship.
In some ways, guys and their perspective keep me grounded. I appreciate their practicality and the way they’re honest to a fault. They’re considerably less sensitive to the occasional offhand remark and they tend to take things at face value.
The different dynamics that men and women bring to the table of friendship can be very rewarding. But where do we toe the line between being friends and being more than friends?
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
The ambiguity of male-female friendships occurs when the lines of “just friends” are blurred. Is it okay if we’re texting each other constantly throughout the day, every day? Can I ask a guy out to dinner? Is it wrong if I’m always sending a girl home? How close is too close?
All these questions can get overwhelming. But the real question you should be asking yourself is this: Am I only this way with a certain someone or am I like this with everyone?
If you answered yes to the former, be a judge of your own motivations. If you’re ready to pursue something committed and exclusive with that person, tell them. And if you answered yes to the latter, make it clear so others won’t be left to wonder.
Disappointment and frustration is a result of the disparity between expectation and reality. That’s why we have boundaries – they help us know when things are getting too close for comfort.
We owe it not only to ourselves, but also to the other person to be honest about what we want.
Mixed signals stem from the lack of communication we must first have with ourselves. We lack clarity when defining what exactly we want out of a friendship with another person.
When intentions are not communicated clearly, hearts inevitably end up broken – or at the very least, someone’s pride gets wounded.
We owe it not only to ourselves, but to the other person to be honest about what we want. But truth be told, sometimes we meet someone and all we want is to “see where the friendship goes”.
This mindset can potentially be dangerous as it sets an unspoken expectation on an unknowing party. People are not mind-readers. While we don’t want to spoil the excitement of things, we still need to be responsible with what we say – and what we don’t say.
So put your intentions to the test. Asking someone of the opposite gender out to dinner is perfectly okay when you know why you’re doing it. If you’ve decided that your intentions are platonic, then it’s irrational to get mad at them if they decide to date other people.
Don’t leave room for doubt. So if you’re not in a committed relationship now, think of your future spouse and act in a way that would honour them – especially with whoever you’re spending with now.
“DATE” ISN’T A BAD FOUR-LETTER WORD
Let’s be honest. Modern dating is scary. Not only do we have our own expectations to manage, we can’t escape the opinions of the people around us.
We don’t want big mouths and prying eyes to make the person we’re trying to get to know uncomfortable, so we end up throwing phrases like “we’re just talking” around too easily. But to be honest, there’s nothing shady about getting to know someone until you start being secretive about it.
We think that out of every date we go on, something positive or a step forward must happen. But even if there are no fireworks, that in itself is an answer and is not necessarily a bad thing. We need to start accepting that either outcomes are okay.
It’s become a lost art to ask someone out on a date without coming across as cryptic or creepy.
We need to be less afraid of going on dates. Dates are supposed to be fun! Not only do you get to know more about the brave soul who asked you out, it’s also a chance for you to discover new things about yourself. Don’t overthink it, but go into it with your eyes open.
It’s become a lost art to ask someone out on a date without coming across as cryptic or creepy. Take a cue from the men and women in your life who are in successful relationships. Ask them how they went about their pursuit for their partners.
At the end of the day, we can all afford to be more gracious with each other’s hearts. For every date we must decline, let’s do it with gentleness. And with every declaration of our affections, do it tactfully and consider how the other person would receive it.
The foundation of any successful relationship is a healthy friendship. Pursue that first. If you sense a friendship growing into something more, don’t be afraid to define the relationship (DTR). Neither of you needs to be left guessing and wondering “what are we”.
Labels, we love to hate them. But sometimes, they’re the best thing to save ourselves from the heartbreak of unmet expectations and unwanted attention.