Why I No Longer Talk Privately to Girls Online

With my series on “emotional” purity drawing to a close, I think it would be helpful to talk about some practical solutions to maintaining emotional purity. Part 3 of this series—a guest post by Emily Long—I think provided some good tips, but I’d like to go a little bit more in depth, and also provide a couple of my own tips.

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I find it sad that many of the arguments I’ve seen leveled against Emily’s post from a couple weeks ago are arguments that I used to make myself. Yes! The beliefs held by many of these critics were beliefs I used to hold; however, it took several difficult experiences for me to finally realize the danger of communicating privately online with the opposite gender, and not striving to be emotionally pure.
 
However, these experiences aren’t unique to me. In fact, I know a guy who has very similar experiences. I will call him Sam, and he has given me permission to use his story for this post.
 
Sam had had very little interaction with girls until he joined an online forum full of other homeschooling Christians.  The forum happened to have a girl:guy ratio of 5:1, so by default, most of his friends were female. In the past, Sam had been rather standoffish toward girls, and he regretted that. The Bible spoke of treating each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, so that’s what he would try and do on this forum.
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Because of the similarities he shared with so many on that forum, he developed some very close friendships. He became very close with a particular girl who was struggling with boyfriend problems, specifically, her boyfriend was cheating on her. Sam, feeling bad for this girl (Jane), sought to comfort her and provide advice, like any good friend would do. Like a brother helping a sister, right?  Jane told Sam how much she appreciated him and his advice, and how much like a brother he was. Sam’s father warned him that his conversations with Jane could potentially be leading her on, or could lead to her becoming emotionally attached to him. Sam didn’t think so. After all, Jane had a boyfriend, and no one could fall in love merely though conversations online…right? That’s ridiculous. Plus, Sam figured, girls had never shown much interested in him in the past. How could a girl like him? They were just friends. Just a brother and sister in Christ.
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Wrong.
 

Through the tangled soap-opera of friendships and relationships on this particular forum, Sam discovered that Jane wanted to start a relationship with him. She needed him, or so she thought. Dismayed and not wanting to lead her on even more, Sam decided to cut off private communication, and even leave the forum for a time. A vitriolic email from Jane and a lost friendship later, he became fully aware of his mistake. He would have to be clearer in the future of what his intentions were.

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The situation with Jane made him realize that he was very close to another one of his female friends, and he would have to be careful with her as well. For this story, her name is Hannah. Hannah lived close to Sam, so he knew that he would have to be extra careful. He told Hannah, explicitly, that he wanted their friendship to remain a friendship, and he had no intentions beyond a friendship. Hannah agreed, (of course, what else could she do?) and Sam thought all was well. They continued their close friendship, and continued to communicate one-on-one through private messaging. Because Sam had “gone the extra mile” and made his intentions clear, he felt even more comfortable with his friendship with Hannah, and they became even closer friends.
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However, once again Sam discovered that Hannah also had fallen for him, and had done so quite a long time in the past. This realization led him to see how many of her actions and words had been subtle attempts to try and get him to “like” her back. Indeed, many of Sam’s friends thought he liked Hannah as well. But it was not the case. Sam only wanted to be friends. He had told her that explicitly. Sam felt betrayed. Another very close friendship had been tainted and would eventually be lost.
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He soon came to realize, however, that the blame didn’t lie on Hannah, or at least not fully. He had equally played a part in how things had transpired. Sure, he had told her he wasn’t interested in an exclusive relationship, but his actions had said otherwise, and actions spoke louder than words.
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Upset with himself, and still stinging from the pain of losing two friendships, Sam resolved not to communicate with girls privately online any more. This upset several of his other female friends who weren’t willing to talk to him in a group setting. Soon, he had lost several more of what he thought were good friends.
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Occasionally, girls would private message him, and he eventually got tired of having to continually say he doesn’t talk to girls privately. Plus, he missed being able to talk about deeper, more personal topics. He began talking to a girl who was completely different from him in beliefs and lifestyle. And all they did was debate different topics. No emotional risk. Plus, this girl, Sarah, had a boyfriend. Surely there was no chance this could go south. Once again, Sam was wrong.
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He was contacted by a friend of Sarah’s and informed that Sarah had fallen for him. Sam and Sarah’s friend, Olivia, began to talk about how to handle the situation with Sarah, however, Sam and Olivia continued to talk privately long after the situation with Sarah had been resolved. They seemed to have a lot in common, and not long later, they soon realized they both liked each other. They were pursuing getting to know each other, hoping to eventually court, but discovered they were not compatible. This time, Sam’s heart was a casualty as well.   
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Reading through this account, you may be thinking what I am thinking. This is fantasy. No way could this be true. Sadly, it all really happened, and I am a witness.
People have criticized Emily’s post saying the particular girl in the story was simply immature. She shouldn’t have taken the actions and words of her friend, Joseph, to mean he was interested in her. Many criticized this girl, Krystal, saying that she should have told how she felt. While I agree that Krystal could have done better, to make her seem like an anomaly is a complete denial of reality. If you call her immature, then you’ll have to call most other girls immature. And perhaps it is the case that most girls are immature (they are young, after all). In that case, we should account for such immaturity, and seek to protect them, rather than tromp all over their emotions. Sam’s private conversations with girls led to not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different girls falling for him (well, these are the only four he learned about. There could have been more).
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Sam is also far from unique. Plenty of other guys have had similar experiences. He wasn’t trying to get girls to “like” him. He didn’t want a “relationship.” He just wanted to be friends. It was the mere fact that he gave these girls a lot of attention, caring, and emotional comfort–that is often enough for a girl to start developing romantic thoughts and feelings.
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While we guys are much more easily defrauded by what we see, for girls, it is emotions that are much more readily to defraud. This is why many will say that romance novels are like porn for girls because they play with the emotions, and create a lust for romantic feelings. Of course, these are generalizations. Of course every person is going to be different. However, exceptions to the rule do not mean there is no rule, it just means there are exceptions.
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I’m not sure why so many don’t understand this, and yet, I didn’t understand it myself for a long time. It’s a common trope in films and movies to have girls take something small a guy does and to understand it as meaning he “likes” her when the guy as no intentions whatsoever except being nice. And we have still more examples in film and literature of guys who willfully emotionally manipulate women in order to take advantage of them. But I guess today, in our genderless society, we forget that men and women—in general—are very different. True, there is a lot of room here for girls to better guard their hearts, but I think most let guys completely off the hook.
For Sam, it took several disastrous experiences for him to finally realize how men and women are different. It took a lot of pain for him to see that he couldn’t treat his female friends like they weren’t females. It took many very good friendships crashing and burning for him to see that he had badly misunderstood the Bible’s direction to treat, “older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” He had tried to treat his female friends like they were his biological sisters, and completely ignored Paul’s instruction that this should be done with “ABSOLUTE purity.”
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Absolute is a pretty strong word. Absolute means everything. Purity in everything, not just the physical, but also the spiritual, or “emotional” as some say. That means he should have sought to guard not only his own heart, but also the hearts of his female friends. Of course, he did try to do this. He tried with his sheer power of will, but will-power has very poor endurance. He continually put himself and these girls in difficult situations, just asking to have something go awry in the area of purity. He just didn’t understand this at the time.
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I don’t want others to have to experience the same things to realize this truth. That’s why I’m writing this post, and this series as a whole.
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So, what are some practical boundaries to maintaining purity? Here are three simple ones:
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Limit physical touch:
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As I described in my series on why I personally don’t hug girls outside my family, touch can be very powerful. Obviously, touch impacts people differently, but in general, if you form a habit of being physically close with someone of the opposite gender, even if it’s only hugging, you are on a path toward emotional impurity. Even if you don’t believe the touch will impact you in a negative way, you don’t know how it might impact the other person.
Some will say, “But touch is my love-language. I need  touch to feel loved.” Okay, well, first of all, love languages aren’t in the Bible. Nowhere does the Bible command us to satisfy the “love languages” of others. It does tell us to love (agape) others, which means doing what is best for them, and I don’t think it would be best for young ladies to be hugged by me.
Does this mean we completely ignore the “love language” of those who say they “need” physical touch? Not all, they can certainly receive that from family members or perhaps friends of the same gender, but it is unwise to receive it from members of the opposite gender close in age. But physical touch isn’t really love. In the same way, words of affirmation (what might be my “love language”) are not love either, and in fact, words of affirmation can potentially be very unloving, even for those who have that “love language.” Words can be empty. Touch can be empty. Real love is doing what is best for someone, even if it isn’t necessarily what you or they want.
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When you’re married, would you appreciate it if your spouse had a casual physical relationship with someone of the opposite gender? Would they appreciate you having a casual physical relationship with someone of the opposite gender? Perhaps some would have no problem with this, and it certainly is possible to hug or touch someone without one or both developing romantic notions, but it is risky. And the more you do it, the closer you’re going to become emotionally.
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Personally, I don’t want to be pressing my body against young women outside my family, and this is for their potential benefit, my future wife’s benefit, and my potential benefit. Touch is powerful, and if it’s not for you, it is for me, and many others.
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Limit private communication:
 
This is a big one, and one many people don’t talk about. This is why I prefaced this article with the story about Sam. If private communication had only led to emotional entanglement once, or maybe twice, then he could have written it off as nothing. But it happened at least 4 times! Private communication is not a safe form of communication if you wish to remain just friends with someone of the opposite gender.
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As one blogger wrote,

“When you talk to someone one on one for a lengthy period of time it becomes a habit. You look forward to it. A trust forms between the two of you and you share personal details that shouldn’t have been shared…I have spoken with a few guys and they are confused how this happens. Girls are more prone to give into their emotions than guys are.”

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Before the days of private online communication, if a guy and girl spent a lot of time talking privately, they would have to either do it over the phone or in person. Today, if they were to do that, they would either be dating, or people would assume they were dating. Yet, for some reason, private online chatting is considered different. However, the effect is the same. So many people who talk privately with someone of the opposite gender for an extended period of time end up dating, or at least one person in the friendship forms romantic feelings for the other. Private communication makes it too easy to delve into deeply personal and emotional topics, which can easily knit two people together, even if they aren’t compatible for marriage.  
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Sure, there are a lot of times where nothing happens as well, but just because people survive plane crashes doesn’t mean we should go ahead and support the habit of crashing airplanes. If you wish to seek spiritual purity, you should limit private communication with the opposite gender.
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Do love others:
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Ironically, the best way to be pure, both physically and spiritually, is to really love others.
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If you really love your friends of the opposite gender, your brothers or sisters in Christ, then you will not put them in situations where they could potentially be harmed. This might mean denying your own desires. Specifically for guys, this means treating women like women, and not playing with their emotions by being physically or emotionally affectionate. God designed those kinds of affection from the opposite gender to only be in marriage. Perhaps it’s enjoyable to be able to have close, personal, and private communication, but it’s not healthy.
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The love we have for spouses, and the love our spouses should have for us should be a jealous love (Song of Solomon 8:6). If you could see your future spouse right now, and you saw someone of the opposite gender sitting close to them, wrapping their arm around them, emotionally engaging or comforting them, how would you feel about that? Hopefully, you wouldn’t like it, and rightfully so. Our God has a jealous love for us, even before we have come to recognize Him as our (the church’s) bridegroom. Likewise, we should jealously love our spouses, even before we’ve met them or married them.
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Even if you can be very emotionally close to a member of the opposite gender without one or both of you becoming emotionally entangled and forming a romantic attachment, that friendship can still only be temporary, and will only last until one of you gets married, for continuing such an emotionally intimate friendship with someone of the opposite gender would hardly be appropriate, and also potentially harmful to the health of the marriage.
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Most of the people we come into contact with will end up married one day to someone. Not only should we ourselves be practicing for marriage, but we should also seek to help others do the same, rather than being a stumbling block for them. We should seek to love others—do what is best for them, not necessarily what they want, or what we want.
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Loving others also means that we should be friendly, polite, and helpful to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We certainly can still be warm friends. You don’t need physical touch or private communication to have strong friendships. There have been friendships between men and women throughout the centuries which were unaided by private online communication, or any private communication of any sort.  Two of Jesus’ best friends were women (Martha and Mary) and yet we never see him alone with one or both of them. Along with their brother Lazarus, the four of them were one very strong and close friendship.
Those who claim there needs to be private one-on-one communication between guys and girls in order for them to have a real friendship have a very narrow and limited understanding of friendship. A friendship—or any relationship—built on emotions has a very shaky foundation indeed. Those who believe this is the only kind of real friendship between men and woman are really describing “eros” or rather, romantic love. But that kind of love is meant for marriage, not friends. “Friendships” of this nature are really only a disguise for “eros” even if those in the friendships don’t realize it.
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As C.S. Lewis describes,

“Those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a Friend. The rest of us know that though we can have erotic love and friendship for the same person yet in some ways nothing is less like a Friendship than a love-affair. Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; Friends hardly ever about their Friendship. Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; Friends side by side absorbed in some common interest. Above all, Eros (while it lasts) is necessarily between two only. But two, far from being the necessary number for Friendship, is not even the best. And the reason for that is important.” – The Four Loves

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What Lewis describes is exactly what we see between guys and girls when they have prolonged private communication. The friendship revolves around the two of them, and their feelings. They are absorbed in each other. They call it friendship. They call it being a “brother” or being a “sister” but they are deceived.
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A friend of mine (who is in fact female) put it this way,

“Emotional purity IS an opponent to deep, platonic relationships and rightly so. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t believe that young men and women can’t be good friends! My sisters and I have some very good friendships with young men in families who are friends of our family, that have been kept in a family context, and not one on one. I just don’t think it’s right or very possible.”

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Very good friendships with the opposite gender are possible, but only within the family context—or a group of close friends. In this context, a healthy friendship can form because the friendship is not about two individuals, but rather their common interests which they share with a small group. A one-on-one platonic friendship between a young man and a young woman is doomed to only be temporary.
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C.S. Lewis agrees, stating,

“Above all, Eros (while it lasts) is necessarily between two only. But two, far from being the necessary number for Friendship, is not even the best…When the two people who thus discover that they are on the same secret road are of different sexes, the friendship which arises between them will very easily pass – may pass in the first half-hour – into erotic love. Indeed unless they are physically repulsive to each other or unless one or both already loves elsewhere, it is almost certain to do so sooner or later.” – The Four Loves

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In other words, if you want to maintain a friendship with someone of the opposite gender, that friendship should take place in a context with other friends, rather than being just the two of you, as that can easily lead to what Lewis calls “eros” or “romantic love.” Two is not the ideal number for a friendship.
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I know a lot of people aren’t going to like what I suggest in this post, and yet, I feel it must be said because I have experienced and witnessed too many friendships between “brothers and sisters” fall apart. Can you ignore my advice and still be okay? Sure, probably. There are always exceptions. But logic and my experiences tell me that more often than not, you are going to run into trouble if you don’t seek to limit physical contact, limit private conversations, and seek to do what is best for others.
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In our androgynous society, we want to be able to say that men and women are exactly the same, and that men and women should be treated the same. While there are exceptions, in general, men and women are different (although, they are certainly becoming less and less different thanks to the social agenda). We want to ignore reality, and that has consequences as surely as ignoring gravity will have consequences when you step off a cliff. Yes we should treat each other as brothers and sisters, but also with the respect of being men and women, and with absolute purity. I think if more people understood this, we would have better, and longer-lasting, friendships.
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For those of you who read this article to understand rather than disagree, and who truly seek purity and live a life honoring to God and your future spouse, I hope you will consider what I have said, and know that I don’t mean to judge, but to help. Don’t be destroyed for a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) as I and many others have been.
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“Emotional purity is important and for those who decide to take that path, I congratulate you on making the hard choice. Stand strong and never give up.”

Click here for the final installment in this series! How To Stay Emotionally Pure In Courtship

Part 1: What Are Your Thoughts?

Part 2: What Is Emotional Purity? 
Part 3: The Struggle for Emotional Purity
Part 4: Is Emotional Purity Harmful?
Part 5: Is Emotional Purity Biblical?
Part 6: Is Purity Finite?

22 Comments

  1. Thank you for being willing to write the hard truth that some may not be willing to hear. I know that, for me, I purpose to communicate with guys through my parents' email if necessary, and only when necessary. (i.e. a friend and I were coordinating an event together). It is so easy to fall into the trap of one-on-one conversations, and as an introvert I get overwhelmed in big groups, so I desire that kind of interaction even more. However, I have found that it is far more healthy to have conversations with three or four close brothers and and sisters in Christ. This way, not only is emotional protection provided for, but you also have more opinions and ideas that can join in on the discussion.
    Your article made me think about and reevaluate my behavior as well, which is something we all need to be doing. Thanks again!
    – Romans 1:8

  2. Right, on the rare occasions I have to communicate with a girl personally, I do so through an email which my parents have access too as well. Like you, I'm an introvert as well, and I much prefer communicating one-on-one with friends, but it's not healthy. Like you said, it's better to have such conversations in small group of close friends, rather than one-on-one. It really is better to have more than two in a friendship.

    Thank you for the comment and your support!

  3. Amen! I am definitely going to share this with friends and family. It all boils down to loving God and others. Great post – really made me think, as all your posts do.

    Hebrews 12:1-2

    ~Sarah
    cutecombinations.blogspot.com

  4. Unfortunately, I can do nothing other than agree with you, Reagan. And yes, I am speaking from personal experience. I praise God for my dad who challenged me recently in the area of social networking and chat especially. In the past couple of weeks I have finally taken the step you did and completely cut off my participation in chats. I know myself too well to risk not only my heart, but the heart of a young lady over a “friendship” (put in quotation marks because I no longer believe that “chat” friendship can by nature be anything more than frivolous and superficial). I regret that I did not realize what I was setting myself up for by having private communications with the opposite gender sooner, and I am deeply sorry if I have hurt one or more of my fellow sisters in Christ. But from now on, by God's grace, I am taking intentional steps to truly love others as Christ would–with all purity!

    That is why I have really appreciated this series! I can tell you, it has come at a crucial time in my life. I thank you for your candidness, but yet your humbleness in not 'judging” but truly wanting to help your brothers and sisters in Christ.

    I don't get the argument that your opponents have that goes something like “This stuff happens! Heart break, break ups, unreciprocated love–it's all part of life!

    I would agree. Heart breaks happen. It is a part of life. But to then ignore the safeguards you have shared to help in this area is like saying, “Car crashes happen. All the time, in fact. That's why I have turned my air bag off and won't be wearing my seatbelt.”

    So thank you for standing for the truth! You are making an impact, despite what all your negative commenters would have you believe. Keep up the good work in Christ. :0)

  5. Married people need to heed this also. I feel very uncomfortable when I receive inbox messages from male friends on Facebook and I need to start responding that I do not have private chats with male friends. It can be a dangerous to a marriage.

  6. Thank you, Reagan. While I don't necessarily agree with you 100% on this, especially the way you reached your conclusions, I do agree with much of what you said in your conclusions.

  7. Thanks for posting this. I recently discovered your blog and find it refreshing and encouraging. It brings me hope for future generations 🙂

  8. Thank you very much! And thank you for commenting and sharing!

  9. Wow, it's good to hear agreement every now and again! Haha! It's just too bad we have to come to this conclusion after experiencing negative outcomes. Hopefully more people will come to realize this truth before anything bad has to happen to them.

    But, even though you have run into some negative experiences as I have, at least you have learned from them and are taking steps so that they won't be repeated. That takes a lot of courage and humility. Most aren't willing to take those steps.

    And thank you very much for the support. I'm glad this series has been beneficial.

    Yes, it's very sad that many have just accepted all the pain and loss of relationships between guys and girls as inevitable. I don't think it has to be that way. I think we can have great, long-lasting friendships. Sure, we are human, and we make mistakes, but I don't think–because of that fact–that we should make it easier to make mistakes. Instead, we should make it harder to make mistakes and be harmed. I really like your analogy with car crashes. Great point!

    Thanks again for the encouraging comment!

  10. Good point. I know some married women who have just had to adopt the policy that they won't have any male friends on Facebook. Not a bad idea I think.

  11. Huh, how fascinating! I'm curious, what is it you disagree with in my reasoning? And what reasons do you have for reaching similar conclusions to what I have?

  12. Thanks for commenting and reading! I really appreciate the support, and I'm glad I can be an encouragement!

  13. Very interesting post.

    As I was reading this I was feeling like I couldn't identify, to the point where I perhaps disagreed. However, through your skillfully crafted words, I was able to see that disconnect comes from the fact that I grew up in a time when there wasn't Facebook, messaging, texts, or cell phones. I'm not THAT old… just technology has developed fast!

    Anyway, once I put it in the context of face-to-face interactions, I completely “got-it”. What a revelation and good for you for taking a stand.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

  14. “Two is not the ideal number for a friendship.” That is a very good point! Thanks for this article. Even though these (excellent) concepts are not new to me, you painted friendships between guys and girls in a far more serious light than I have ever heard them described before. I have resolved to be extra careful when conversing with guys to try and keep it in a casual group setting. They are my brothers in Christ, and I want to respect their feelings. (and guard my own heart.)

  15. One-on-one conversations between a guy and a girl can be both very addictive and dangerous. I early on decided not to give guys my phone number, or email address, and now that I am older I can see and appreciate the wisdom in that decision. (I've heard a lot of sob stories, plus I've personally discovered an inkling of how easy it is to share too much personal information, even in just one conversation. I can imagine the consequences of being able to converse through the convenience of email with a guy.) It's much harder when talking face to face however, to keep it impersonal, and in a group setting. I like to think of guys as my brothers, which is actually worse because it makes me too relaxed and off my guard. (Probably an issue with many girls like me.)

  16. I feel like this is your best post in this series, even if it is probably the longest. I felt like the story at the beginning was extremely helpful in ramming the point home, mainly because it was a TRUE story, as opposed to Krystal's hypothetical story.

    As for my opinion, you've almost persuaded me. Private conversation with the opposite sex is clearly dangerous, as Sam's story and my own personal experience proves. However, I don't think that it need be an absolute no-no.

    Completely cutting off private communication with the opposite sex will certainly protect from potential danger, but I think that there are other more practical ways to lower the potential for such danger while still having one-on-one communication with the opposite sex. Here are some of the steps I take to avoid hurting girls through one-on-one conversations… in a second comment, since it's too long for one. ;P

  17. 1: I always ask if they're allowed to talk to guys online. Several girls have tried starting email conversations with me, and when I pop them this question, it stops them in their tracks. Personally, I don't email girls almost at all, and even if I did, I make sure that my parents have access to my email account.

    2: If the girl *is* allowed to talk with guys online, then I try to get to know them a little more to see if there are any specific reasons why they shouldn't be talking to me. Girls that have daddy issues, boyfriend issues, or general emotional turmoil in their life are more likely to latch onto you. If that is the case with the girl, then I try to break of private contact as politely as possible. Just use discernment.

    3: Establish incompatibility.
    It sounds goofy, but it's very helpful. Like Lewis said: “When the two people who thus discover that they are on the same secret road…” Make sure you're not on the same road. There are a few girls I know who I would consider to be “on the same secret road” as me: in other words, marriage-compatible. So I AVOID private conversation with them, because I know where it will lead. But when you're Reformed Baptist, let's just say that there are very few girls on the same road as you. At least, that has been my experience. Simply mention Predestination, and most girls will take you off their list of potentials. 😉
    Anyway, I make sure that all the girls I talk to privately are not on the “same road” as me. For example: one of them is a Mormon. Another girl actually talked with me about it, and we decided that we are TOO similar for marriage– in other words, we would kill each other instead of balancing each other out. I don't know how that conversation happened, but it was a helpful one. In any case, it's very important to make sure that you both know that you could never be more than friends.

    4: Keep conversation limited to certain topics.
    Marriage, how many kids you want to have, and other family-starting topics are good to avoid. Above all, try to keep the focus of conversation OFF of each other and ONTO your common interests. C.S. Lewis touched on this in one of your quotes, and Josh Harris goes into it in his book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (I actually read the chapter multiple times to make sure I got it right). Friends stand side-by-side, looking towards a common interest. “More-than-friends” stand face-to-face, looking at each other. Watch what you talk about, and if it's centered too much on each other, then cutting of private contact is a good idea. Now I think there are exceptions to this… I almost always ask how my friends (guys and girls alike) are doing, and what's going on in their lives. It's just because I care about them, as any good friend would.

    5: If you can, get more people in on your conversations.
    Pretty much the only time I talk to girls in private (besides on the phone) is on GooglePlus hangouts. The great thing about Google hangouts is that you can add other people. So if other friends are online who share the same interests as you and girl X, you can add them to the hangout so it's not just the two of you. Like Lewis said, 2 is not the best number for a friendship, and it's actually a lot more fun when you have 3-4 (or more) people in a hangout.

    Above all, use discernment. It may sound tedious and time-consuming, but it's actually not all that difficult to treat each person differently based on their character, instead of treating everyone like they're the same.

    To sum up, I don't think it's *bad* to avoid ALL one-on-one contact with the opposite sex. I think it's a good rule, and there are some people who would do well to follow it. I just don't think it's necessary in all cases, for all people. I know I can keep a handle on my emotions, and I only talk to girls who I know can do the same. As always, use discernment.

  18. When I was a kid my dad used to say that girls and boys can't be friends, I was so sure he was wrong. As an adult I know that those friendships are delicate, easily destroyed and nearly all subject to falling into Eros as you said!

  19. Sam might not be unique, but his situation was–because there are PLENTY of examples of close guy-girl friendships that had no such consequences. Just because something bad can happen doesn't mean it works that way for everyone, and if it works that way for you, there's a way to fix it without throwing it away. People just can't seem wrap their minds around the simple fact that there are ways to prevent things like this from happening besides refusing to be friends with girls. Don't stop using cars, but drive them carefully. Don't stop your friendship, but avoid intimacy. And if you do fall in love with the person, keep your mouth shut about it.

    It's… not that complicated! 🙂

  20. I've actually found Sam's case to be the rule, rather than the exception. I have seen barely any healthy examples of close guy/girl friendships.

    You say to avoid intimacy, but having frequent private and personal conversations IS intimate! Which is what the post is trying to point out. You shouldn't be frequently communicating privately with someone of the opposite gender because that fosters intimacy. Even if nothing develops, it is still not very appropriate.

    Also, you don't have to stop your friendship. You can be friends without private communication. 🙂

  21. IF GOD DIDN'T WANT US TO DO IT, HE WOULD HAVE SAID SO.

    (Forgive me if the all-caps looks angry. I just did it because I can't put enough emphasis on that statement.)

  22. God tells us to be wise, to love others, and to treat one another with all purity. God doesn't tell us to drive far over the speed limit either, but based on other passages, we can be pretty sure that it is generally not a good idea to speed.

    God doesn't want to micromanage our lives. He wants us to become like His son, and therefore, the decisions we make would be the same He would make were He us. Jesus did not interact privately one-on-one with women, having intimate conversations.

    Certainly, I don't think we need to be strict to the point of absurdity, but in my experience, in the experience of others, from what I have read in the Bible, it is generally not a good idea to have extended private conversations with members of the opposite gender.

    I'm not saying it's a sin, I'm saying it's unwise.

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