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Is it Wise to be "Friends" with other Men?

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After my post Time to Nip that Relationship ASAP – I heard from a reader on my site www.peacefulsinglegirl.wordpress.com – and I am really excited to share her comments.   I think her message is IMPORTANT for Christian single women AND for Christian married women, too!  She is talking about being a single woman and how dangerous it is to be friends with unbelieving men.  But I want the married women to view this post from the perspective of whether it is God-honoring and wise for us to be friends with other men at all outside of our marriage.

I will share some of my thoughts at the end:

FROM A READER:
 
Might I add… because you know its wrong to date an unbeliever – you maintain you will remain just friends. Be Careful ! You may very well sincerely treat him as just a friend and keep your boundaries. But that is no guarantee of protection from attraction: if he is masculine and you have admiration for him and are sociable with him attraction can build over time.  Sometimes we think we are hiding our butterflies well by all the while insisting you want nothing more than friendship but he is not blind.   He can see you admire him and he’ll milk it for all its worth. All my guy friends have known whether I had a little crush on them: my face can’t hide it and I tend to smile a lot. I discovered personally if I open up to a male friend by talking a lot about every day life in general with frequency and over time I start to like them! : o
 
HOW WE GET HOOKED
 
Just a steady stream of frequent casual conversation makes me begin to bond with them and once I start confiding in them then exactly what you quoted happens:” he wants to “counsel” you or “guide” you in your life.”  So true: everything from how you should think, what you should do, career decisions, trying to bring up doubt about how you were raised, questioning your beliefs… spot on!!  Another area of caution: he may initially agree to be just friends; all the while hoping to become closer and win you over …. or later on over time he can be attracted to you as more than a friend. Familiarity breeds liking and boldness in men.
 
MY MOTIVES WERE PURE – HIS WEREN’T
 
I was chipper, bubbly and VERY conservative and restrained with this one guy who knew I am a Christian and date only Christians. I kept the friendship very pure and I knew he liked me……. Fast forward months after – I was gob-smacked when said guy tried to cop a feel of my breast while we were chatting on campus, then had the gall to try and kiss me as I hugged him (as I do all my friends make and female) to say goodbye!! I was livid!
 
Of course knowing that he doesn’t respect me and wanted ultimately to bed me –  our friendship died a natural death.  
 
HIS TACTICS
 
That former acquaintance said things like:
“If you don’t want me,  why don’t you leave me alone?”
 
When he asked to date me and I said no he got so angry….
“What, do you scorn me do you think I’m not good enough for you?”
 
This is even after I explained being why being unequally yoked is sin and that Christians are only able to stand because of grace and faith in the Lord Jesus
 
TRYING TO “WITNESS” TO A GUY CAN LEAD TO TEMPTATION FOR US
 
Him: – “What do you want from me”
Me: – “uh…… uhmmm I am just saying ‘hi.’ Did I do something wrong?”
Him – “what are you trying to do?  Save my soul?” >:(
 
Of course I responded ” I cannot save your soul, and I won’t try to, your relationship with God is a deeply personal matter. I can only show and tell you my experience and hope and wish and pray that you come into a saving knowledge of Christ.” We can be the best of friends as long as there is absolute purity.
 
I will never make the mistake of pressuring him or any guy to come to church in order to date me or try to play Holy Spirit Jr. What happens if there’s a breakup or by some twist of fate i were to grow lukewarm? Does he lose his faith? I want him to come to God for the right reasons. Even though at then end – he harshly rejected my friendship in a harsh, degrading manner I still pray about him and think of him hoping he’ll find his way back to Christ and that God will bless him and give him a wife, kids, a ministry a hope and a future.
 
NEW INSIGHTS
 
I sought God desperately about him.  I didn’t want to leave any room for error. I kept my Mom and youth leader as accountability partners. I prayed often and when I found myself getting infatuated, I said, “God if you don’t want him in my life, move him out.” He lived on nearby and sure enough months later he literally moved away to another city! I wondered how God would have worked it out. Well as it unravelled God prompted me ahead of time with dreams showing me his true character and any time I knew I was gonna bump into him I prayed and God covered me and prepared me.I really, reaaallly wanted to be his friend,- a hey can you do me a favour, sure buddy what is it kind of friend. It reminded me of David who was trying so desperately to be friends with Saul meanwhile Saul wanted to annihilate him.“See I am being nice to you/ kind to you… why do you resent my friendship? Why do you seek to insult me and bring me pain?” (insert pout)
God had to create a diversion a the rock of escape and moved Saul away so David could escape unharmed, Yes sometimes we are so blind and naive to people’s true intentions but God is merciful to us!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I believed when I was first married that having male friends was totally fine. I thought I was safe because they knew I was married. And I thought I was above infidelity. Now that I am 39 years old and have a lot more experience under my belt and understand the deceitfulness of the human heart and the utter sinful wretchedness of every human being much more clearly – including my own – I know that I was extremely naieve and unwise in my beliefs.

Just like this reader discovered, I, too,  figured out in time that just because my motives are pure at the outset of a “platonic friendship” with a guy, that doesn’t mean my motives will stay pure.  I am vulnerable to developing feelings for men who are off limits to me – we all are.  And I don’t really know what the guy’s motives are – but even if his motives are pure in the beginning, he may develop an attraction to me – and that is a big problem!

Is it possible for men and women to have platonic friendships that don’t eventually turn into attraction or romantic/sexual feelings?  Maybe.

If your definition of “friendship” is just to smile and say, “Hi!” and only talk with him when your husband is around and you are not talking with him a lot, or you are friends on Facebook but only comment occasionally in public and never have private conversations – that might be ok – but still use great caution!  To me, this would be more of being a friendly acquaintance – not a friend you spend one-on-one time with or confide in.

In my mind – the risk of a moderate/deep friendship with a man is MUCH too great of a risk to take for married women.

I have seen in my own life, in my friends’ lives and many women I have heard from WAY too many times when the attraction eventually became an issue – even if it wasn’t at first.  And once you have those feelings of being “in love” – your heart and feelings will happily deceive and mislead you and you will be willing to rationalize all kinds of reasons why it’s ok to talk with/spend time with/get cozy with this other man. It is a very slippery slope to adultery.  God’s Word tells us to FLEE from sexual immorality.

CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS WITH OTHER MEN ARE NOT WORTH IT IN MY BOOK!

Satan wants to take us down.  And he would be VERY happy to do this by bringing a handsome, funny, magnetic, charming, sympathetic, understanding, attractive – maybe even godly – man into our lives who will tempt and convince us to water down our faith and convictions and make compromise after compromise that will erode the foundation of our faith, the foundation of our marriage and the Lordship of Jesus in our lives.

As a married Christian woman, my personal convictions are:

– Do not become good friends with men.  (no private conversations, emails, texts, dates, time alone together, flirting, etc.)

– Be CAREFUL when witnessing to men.  If a guy acts interested in hearing you talk about coming to know Christ, try to only speak with him in public, and, ideally, introduce him to a godly man who can lead him to Christ.  There are plenty of guys who will follow along and act interested in Jesus as long as it means they have a chance at YOU.  BE CAREFUL!!  GUARD YOUR HEART!  Could God use you to lead a man to Christ?  YES!  Does it need to be in private at his house?  NO!!!!!

– Put the will of Jesus WAY, WAY ahead of your own will and desires.  Die to your own desires and your flesh and take up your cross and follow Jesus daily with the greatest passion and purpose and intensity.

– Dress, act and speak modestly.  Draw attention to your Lord, not to your body or your sexuality.

– If you have couple friends with your husband – concentrate your attention on the other wife, not the other husband

– Concentrate on developing strong friendships with godly girls/women who respect their own husbands and respect your husband and God’s design for marriage

– I would strongly recommend finding a godly older woman as a mentor and/or an accountability partner

– Avoid having many conversations with other men – especially spiritual/emotional conversations or listening to their marriage problems

– Avoid giving a lot of respect and admiration to other men!!!  That is DANGEROUS GROUND!

– It is probably wise to avoid hugging or touching other men at all in most cases.

– Stay in God’s Word daily.  Pray frequently throughout the day.  Mediate on God’s Word.  Praise Him in your heart all day long.

– Immediately repent of ANY sin or ungodly thoughts or motives – and, if possible, tell your accountability partner and  your husband if you are having tempting thoughts.  Keeping these things secret is what allows the illicit feelings to grow – bringing it into the light and open usually helps to kill the ungodly desires, and also makes it much harder to give in to the temptations when you know you are accountable for them.

– Focus on your own husband and your relationship with Christ.  How can you bless your husband and honor God in your marriage? How can you make your husband’s life better?  How can you flirt with him?  How can you minister to him?  How can you make him your greatest human priority in the world?

 

ARE MY CONVICTIONS THE WORD OF GOD?

Nope.

You will have to pray and hammer out your own convictions between you, God and your husband.

My convictions have come about due to experiences I have had or witnessed with others.  And they are subject to further scrutiny and change if God or my husband or my accountability prayer partner wives see something lacking or something dangerous in my life.

My prayer is that this might give you something to think about and a place to start.  I pray that God might protect you and that He might show you how to guard your heart and marriage to prevent much heartbreak in your future by building a healthy hedge of protection around your heart, soul and  marriage today.

 

22 thoughts on “Is it Wise to be "Friends" with other Men?

  1. April… wow God has given you such a gift in your ability to really”speak” & reach others with your words… Thank you for your willingness to allow God to speak through you! What a blessing you are… thankful to have you as a friend! -Nikki

  2. Great article. What is the saying “…hold him at arms length”? I think that’s a good way to treat men who are not your husband/husband to be.

    It’s healthy for women to maintain those boundaries and above all respectful to your husband, and a good man will understand and respect that distance.

  3. hi, I’m a 19 yr old girl, still in college. This is something I have been struggling so badly with lately, being single and around a ton of unbelieving men, and has stunted my growth in God. I’m not sure how my Google search for help led me to this blog, but I am so thankful for it, and know it has been used by God to help me. Thank you!!

  4. I know from firsthand experience how easily one can become ensnared in the trap of believing the “just friends” line. My first marriage ended because I had an affair. It isn’t public knowledge at all, but my parents know, my husband knows, and my closest friends know.

    I would wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote. Absolutely everything. My problem was that my office was small, only a handful of people, and I ended up working with this man alone often. But I loved the job; it was my dream job. I was a Christian then too, but I was not close to Christ. I thought I was, but I was so deceived in so many ways.

    Now I am remarried to a WONDERFUL, incredible, godly man, whom I trust with everything in me. But I never, ever thought I was capable of something so heinous and knowing that even I was susceptible to it, makes it much more difficult for me to trust that anyone else can flee from it.

    My husband is friends with the women in his office, and there is one in particular that I do like very much, but I feel that much of their conversations can be very inappropriate, when they discuss her dating life and other personal things. They discussed those things before we met, and my husband and I have had conversations about how it isn’t appropriate now that he’s married. He has expressed agreement and understanding (especially when I point out that if the situation were reversed and I had conversations with a male co-worker about his dating life, he wouldn’t be okay with it), but I’ve noticed when talking with other people, if they mention things they’ve talked about with her, my husband makes comments indicating that he’s talked to her about those same things, and I know that conversations I feel are inappropriate are still taking place.

    I don’t bring it up with my husband. He makes his own decisions about what topics are appropriate. I try to trust his judgment to steer clear of anything inappropriate (he is a very wise man!). But I personally know how EASY the temptation can start and it just bothers me that she continues to discuss personal things with him and he continues to let her. Maybe I’m still being too controlling and I shouldn’t allow my past experiences and failures to dictate my emotions about what my husband does. But that nagging feeling makes me want to cry every time I hear about another conversation.

    1. M,

      I had an infatuation with a man 18 years ago in our marriage. I thought I was so spiritual and godly and above an affair. I was wrong. We are all plenty capable of falling if we are far enough from God and not protecting our hearts and in the right circumstances.

      I can totally understand why you have concerns.

      I trust my husband as well, he doesn’t have the same convictions I do. I am ok with that. I trust God to work in his heart and for God to give me wisdom to handle whatever might come. And I seek to bless Greg and be a safe, welcoming place for him to enjoy.

      It can be very tempting to try to control our men about this kind of this. But of course, if we try to control them, we can often push them farther away from us and closer to temptation.

      Praying for God’s wisdom for you both and for His glory in your a marriage!!

  5. Hi April! I love this post, but I have a question- what are your thoughts on being friends with my husband’s brother??

    1. Tosh,

      It is great to meet you!

      How close are you to his brother? How does your husband feel about the friendship?

      What are you doing to protect your heart and marriage?

      Much love!
      April

      1. He’s really insecure about me being friends with him. His brother is an identical twin. We became friends about a year about a year ago when he came down to visit us in California from Oregon. We’ve kept in touch ever since, but now that we will be moving to the same town in Oregon as his twin- I’m unsure of how to act.

        1. Toshposh,
          What does your husband say he would like for you to do? What boundaries does he ask you to have?

          I am am identical twin! That brings up a lot more complicating factors than just a regular brother relationship, too.

  6. I’ve come to realize that I’m attracted to my pastor. He’s young, handsome and just awesome. Compared to him, my husband surely loses the battle. I know I should not compare, but my heart deceives me. I often fantasize what if my husband would die and I could remarry, and what intimacy with that handsome man (my pastor-if we would marry) would be like.

    Any specific advice? And pray for me please. Girls, it is REALLY very easy to feel attracted to someone else…

    1. Searching Soul,

      It is VERY, VERY easy to fantasize about a young, handsome pastor who seems so very spiritual and seems like such a strong leader and seems very Christlike. Godliness is attractive! Keep in mind, you are comparing this pastor’s public persona to your husband’s private persona – which isn’t really fair. But also, keep in mind that every man has weaknesses and sinful tendencies.

      It is EASY to have these kinds of fantasies. One thing that can be helpful is to immediately nip those kinds of thoughts and focus on God, Scripture, praise songs, or a list of things you admire about your husband. Another thing that can be helpful, in my view, is to think through the consequences of infatuation and an affair with that particular man and imagine your own marriage crumbling and him losing his ministry and maybe his family, if he has one. I think that focusing on possible consequences of sin – rather than the fantasy of imagined intimacy that is not based in reality – can be humbling and grounding. But, even with thinking about consequences, I vote not to focus on that very long, but to quickly move to taking any thoughts of romance and attraction to this pastor captive for Christ and taking these feelings before God, admitting that these feelings are destructive and could cause incredible damage in your life, your marriage, and your walk with God. And then focus on total submission to Christ and on becoming the wife God desires you to be for the husband you are now. Seek to be the greatest blessing you can to THIS man.

      Here is a post that may be helpful that was written by a young pastor.

  7. Hello April and everyone. This is a very tough topic for me, really. I’m so easy to fall in love with men other than my husband…

    Several monthes ago a received a friend request on Facebook. I haven’t met him in real life but we have one common friend. So I added him. By the way he added my husband as well. Then the man, lets call him Tom started to ask me some very sweet and non-personal questions about the country I live in (he’s from USA while I live in Europe) and about my church. I loved to answer his messages and to share about my life.

    Then the thought’s struck me: I’m attracted to him. I became attracted to such extent that I was daydreaming that if my husband would die we could develop our relationships to the deeper level and get married. More than that – I even imagined having intimacy with him as my new husband… What a shame…

    Then I deleted my Facebook account but gave him my email adress. And guess what I’ve done afterwards?

    I began answering his (now) letters. And I opened my heart and told him about my feelings. He was very sweet and apologized for becoming an obstacle between me and my husband. He said he hadn’t intended this. He’s really a very spiritual person and a very great man.

    But we’ve decided NOT to quit on our friendship. Like it’s possible to keep it pure. Well, even Christ himself was a close friend to many women even to a former adulterous beauty… So it should be possible?

    I need your viewpoints on my situation, people. Yours, April and of godly mature men. I’m feeling that maybe I should STOP corresponding with him altogether, but… There are a lot of BUTs. I love communicating with him and cannot imagine my life without it…

    1. God’sImperfectButLovedJewel,

      I know that I couldn’t handle a close relationship like that with a man. In fact, I copy my husband on all emails to men and if I am having tempting thoughts like that – which I have experienced, too – I tell Greg about it and try to limit my contact as much as possible with the man.

      Jesus had godly friendships. But there was not a romantic element – and there was no private meeting or texting or emailing. Big difference, I think!

      I know myself well enough to know that I need to guard my heart and my marriage much more than I need to protect friendships with another man.

      If you do not think you could give up communicating, that is a pretty big flag that this relationship is not healthy for your marriage or your walk with Christ.

      How is your relationship with Christ going?

      Much love to you!

      1. Well, I’m pretty real with God now… This helps a lot. But I know also that He is not only the accepting God. He hates sin…

        You know what, after I wrote to you he stopped writing me emails. I’m not sure what’s the reason. Maybe, just mabe, God’s convinced him this friendship is not holy. Maybe he’ll write me later.

        But now I’m determined NOT to answer him. No private messages, emails, conversations with men other than my husband… That’s so very difficult and kind of unattainable for me… But I realise that’s a wise standard…

        Please, keep me in your prayers… I’m not capable of doing this without God’s support on every step…

        1. God’sImperfectButLovedJewel,

          I’m glad he hasn’t been emailing you. That is a blessing!

          If it is that difficult to let go of a man, it is definitely a man that needs to go. Have you talked with your husband about this at all? Does he know you have been emailing this guy?

          I would love to encourage you to invest the emotional and spiritual energy that you were investing in this friend into Christ and into your husband. You can’t do this in your power, but God can give you the strength to walk in purity and holiness and to make no provision for the flesh.

          Much love to you!

          1. The man contacted me again. But I’ve chosen not to answer…

            “I would love to encourage you to invest the emotional and spiritual energy that you were investing in this friend into Christ and into your husband.” – what a great piece of advice, April! Thank you so much.

            I hope God will help me to stick with my decision which is not easy for me)))

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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