rebelling against low expectations

How can I encourage a member of the opposite gender without giving them the wrong idea?


GRACIE WRITES: In the past year or two God has blessed me with a number of wonderful friends who encourage me to grow closer to Jesus, and to walk in righteousness.

In my friendships with other young ladies, it’s easy to let them know how much I appreciate their friendship and their integrity, because I can speak their love languages with little risk of my actions being misinterpreted.

It’s much harder with my guy friends because I want to be careful about what kind of message I’m sending. I don’t want to give the implication that I want a romantic relationship, because I don’t. I want to encourage them as brothers in the Lord to keep living lives of righteousness.

What are effective ways that you have encouraged a member of the opposite gender? How would you recommend someone of the opposite gender to encourage you?

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  • What’s up? It says there are 12 comments, but I don’t see any.
    I agree Gracie, it’s so much easier to be friends with girls! I don’t have any close friendships with guys, so I don’t think I can help you. But guys, for me at least, complimenting what I’m doing or saying is a lot better than complimenting how I look. It’ s so awkward for me when you say we look nice, because for me, if you say I look good, I’m wondering why you are commenting on it/why you are noticing/if you are noticing more than you should. When you say I did something well, I really appreciate it, because it’s something I have control over whereas I can’t really change how I look. Just one girl’s opinion, of course.

  • I was in the church worship team with some other teenage girls and teenage guys my age. We all became really good friends, so guys-complimenting-girls and girls-complimenting-guys was common. We all knew each other well, so we didn’t think anything of it. I would say, for a guy you don’t know well, just give him short compliments that may pertain to something that’s going on. For example, compliment him on a performance he did, or a word of wisdom he gave, something like that. If you get to know him better, and he learns that you’re not the flirtatious type, then you can give him longer and more detailed compliments without him thinking anything other than what you’re saying.

    For guys complimenting you, if they don’t know you very well, their compliments should be short and sweet as well. For me, being a guy, you can tell a lot about one by how he responds and how he talks to you. So when they do compliment you, just be looking for things like that; you may be able to learn a bit about him.

    Hope this helps.

      • Cool! I’ve done Joon-Ree Tae-Kwon-Do for five years, and I’ve recently started taking Krav Maga. What styles do you do?

        • I’ve heard of tae kwon do but not the other one. I do Shinsei Hapkido. Have you heard of it? It’s Korean. We mix in traditional karate stuff too and once in a while we learn something from another style if it’s useful. But mostly Shinsei Hapkido. ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s through an organization called Karate for Christ–it’s super awesome.

          What belt level are you?

          • I’m actually a first degree black belt. I’ve heard of Hapkido, but I’m not familiar with it. But since it is Korean like Tae-Kwon-Do, I can imagine that the two have some similarities. Does it have more throwing and takedowns like Judo, or is it more of a striking art? What belt are you and how long have you been taking?

          • We use throwing and takedowns and striking and kicking…pretty much everything. The guiding principles are evade, invade, control. I’ve heard tae kwon do is more aggressive, but our main goal is to get out of the way and escape from danger using as few techniques and causing as little damage as possible. I’ve also so heard tae kwon do has less lethal stuff in it, but we learn how to do some pretty serious stuff in case we ever need it. Interesting how there are so many different approaches in the different styles, hey? I’ve been doing it for a year and a half and I’m an organize belt with a stripe.

          • I got an email saying that there was a new comment on “How can I encourage a member of the opposite gender without giving them the wrong idea?” and then I see you talking about using takedowns, striking, kicking… Let’s just say it was interesting. Really, I laughed out loud.

          • That is hilarious!! Lol I can see why you might not expect to see that…especially since it doesn’t really have to do with encouraging the other gender. Let’s just say throwing dudes on the floor is fun but perhaps not the way to encourage them! Lol ๐Ÿ™‚

          • That is essentially what I’ve been taught too! The main things are to get away if you can, or do just enough to get away. Tae-Kwon-Do is much more family friendly; it is not all that aggressive. Krav Maga is much more hardcore and hard impact. Wow, it seems that we have a very similar group of skills we have learned. And yes, it is neat how so many different arts can interpret techniques and things. A year and half, nice! Keep at it! Martial arts can be a very rewarding investment, and you never know when you might need it!

            I read your above comments about not knowing how to become friends with guys. Common interests are one way to become friends. And I don’t know if you could tell from my comments, but I’m a dude. So, in the words of the Toy Story song, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” ๐Ÿ™‚

            Your Brother in Christ.

          • Haha yeah we’ve got a common interest at least…well 2 of them, martial arts and Jesus. And doing hard things. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wasn’t sure if you were a dude but for some reason I kind of assumed you were. As you can probably tell I am not a dude, since I’m trying to learn how to communicate with them and my name is Amanda! Lol ๐Ÿ™‚

            ~Your sister

          • Hey I just read your profile…I’m homeschooled and a musician too! ๐Ÿ™‚ and I have the same problem with not knowing many non-Christians. I just try to impact whoever I can, Christian or not, and ask God to use me. I’m also trying to be more intentional and look for opportunities to influence people for Him.

            I’m not a Texan though. But I did go to Dallas on a mission trip once.

          • Musician too? What instruments do you play?

            And I’m with you on the witnessing too. I’ve been trying to find more ways to as well.

          • I play piano (8th year), violin (5th year), and I sing (always…lol I’m not counting years on this one, but it’s my 2nd year in choir). I wish I could play guitar but haven’t had time to learn it!

            How about you?

          • Wow, it seems that you are a classically-trained player. That’s really cool. I’m all self-taught. I’ve been playing guitar and bass guitar for the last two and a half years. I play mostly contemporary Christian worship music for the kids in my church. We started one of the few worship teams for K-5th graders. Guitar can be very fun and rewarding, and since you have a background in piano, I think you would pick up the theory very easily. So if you ever get the time, go for it!

          • Yeah hopefully. It really is easier to learn other instruments after you’ve learned piano.

          • Contemporary Christian all the way. I seriously don’t listen to anything else (except Tim Hawkins lol). My favorite band is the Sidewalk Prophets, and I also love Casting Crowns, Jamie Grace, tobyMac, Josh Wilson, The Afters, Matthew West, Kutoess, Chris August, Chris Rice, Chris Tomlin (lots of Chrises hahaha), Bebo Norman, MercyMe, Hillsong…the list goes on and on. What about you?

            I feel bad having this conversation on here…it’s kind of off topic. I wonder if there’s another way we could do it so we wouldn’t be taking up space on this feed.

          • Another Contemporary Christian person! From the music I hear from the “Christian” people at work, I wondered if anyone listened to plain Christian music anymore. I recognized all those names except Bebo Norman… who does he sound most like? Have you heard Go Fish? They’re mainly a kids band but they’re a lot of fun, and a couple of their albums are for adults.

          • Yeah I’ve wondered the same thing–most people seem to listen so secular stuff now days.

            I used to listen to go fish–they are fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

            Not sure how to describe Bebo Norman. The only 2 songs I know by him are God of My Everything and Lift My Eyes, and they’re really good if you want to look them up.

          • Go fish is awesome!!! One way to deal with disturbing music that you kinda have to hear is to get inspiration from it. I work in a tire shop and I’m in a lot of different vehicles and places so I hear just about everything…. Anyway one day I heard Blake Sheltons song “boys around here” like over and over. Its pretty insulting to women and he cusses a few times… Anyway I dealt with it by drawing inspiration to do the opposite of what he was glorifying and that particuler song now inspires me to treat women in a better way and to try and live a better life. Just a thot!

          • Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ I generally just block it out by focusing really hard on my work, but as I get more used to my work that will get harder… my job doesn’t require that much thought! Man, working in a tire shop like that must be different from my job… I work in a store that is Christian-owned, so there are still (kinda) boundaries for music. Thinking about the opposite of what the song is saying is a good thought. I’ll have to remember that, especially because it’s so easy to come home thinking about what I’ve heard that day and it will mess up the rest of my evening.

          • Contemporary Christian is played almost nonstop at my house as well. I like some of the bands, but I’m more into rock music with an overt Christian theme or message. I like Tobymac, a few Casting Crowns songs, a few Kutless songs, Francesca Battestelli, and Hillsong. I love anything that Hillsong makes, be it United, Live, Worship, or Young and Free (which is awesome!) I do listen to some bands like Disciple and Skillet that may be less popular, but they have an extremely good Christian message in their songs. I don’t listen to any secular music though. Most of it is just such terrible garbage that has no musical or artistic quality whatsoever. I also like instrumental stuff, be it classical music or movie scores.

            But Tim Hawkins is my all time favorite comedian! He is hilarious! I’m actually going to see him when he comes to my town soon, and I’m really looking forward to it!

            I also don’t know if there is way to go to a different feed like you are talking about. That may be a question for Brett.

          • Ok, looks like I misunderstand the terminology… doesn’t Contemporary Christian mean “Christian music that’s with the times”? Cause my taste in music is more like Martial Artist’s. Except Hillsong… my classical voice training makes me not like the singers there. I do NOT like non-Christian music – I have to listen to that garbage at work all the time, though. “That is the worst!” (From TH) Any ideas how to block that out, anyone?
            I really like Tim Hawkins stuff, too!

          • Hey I actually submitted a question about secular music to the DQ a little while back…maybe Brett will post it sometime…dunno :). But I’ve wondered the same thing – yeah, some non-Christian music is junk, especially a lot of the pop stuff, but I don’t think it’s all garbage. I mean, does just because a song doesn’t directly mention God make it wrong? I personally enjoy listening to a lot of the classic oldies, like 80s (think Guardians of the Galaxy :)) and even some newer stuff. I know that lyrics that directly dishonor or go against God’s word or create sinful thoughts or feelings should not be listened to. But what about all those other songs that seem to fall in the “gray” area? I’m just wondering about all this, I honestly do want to honor God in my music choices.

          • My mom likes to listen to 80s music, but otherwise I only listen to Christian (unless a Christian group covers a secular song!). I agree with you that not all secular music is bad. People seem to be quick to say that you shouldn’t listen to secular music, but what about TV? I don’t know anyone who only watches Christian movies and such. It’s the same kind of thing. You just have to guard what you watch and listen to (and read). You know what I mean?

          • Yeah, I totally get what you mean. Some things are just not clear cut. It goes for a lot of things…stuff not directly mentioned in the Bible, but important to have convictions about none the less. I have a hard time trying to be discerning without crossing the line into legalism.

          • Exactly! I think we have to follow what we believe to be the most Biblical thing to do, but if it’s not clearly stated in the Bible, we need to be open to other ideas and ready to admit that we might be wrong. This doesn’t mean that we change our mind any time someone disagrees with us, but just that we should be open to their perspective and be willing to seriously examine our own. I find that that kind of attitude keeps me from getting a legalistic attitude about things that simply aren’t black and white.

          • Yep, you’re right. I’m a deep thinker, so I tend to over-think everything, and when I reach a conclusion, I get pretty grounded in it. But you’re right, it’s important to keep an open mind. I also feel like it’s okay for us to have different opinions about the little things, based on what God has revealed to us. He doesn’t lead us all down the same path. I think it’s important to realize that so we don’t end up judging each other.

          • I’m pretty much the same way. In theory, what I said above is what I do, but I’m not really sure how open I am to changing my mind on certain things. And absolutely! We’re not going to be right about everything (which is hard to accept, but it’s true!), which means that we won’t always agree with each other. And as long as we’re not in disagreement over big issues (salvation, that kind of thing), that’s okay.
            Nice to meet another deep thinker. =) I don’t think a lot of teens these days would describe themselves that way.

          • That’s what’s so great about this blog! Just about all the people on here are deep thinkers. It’s very refreshing. And yeah, I’m talking only about the little issues like whether or not dancing is okay or whether or not all girls should wear long skirts. I think we SHOULD approach someone who is in error about salvation or something addressed in the Bible. I think that is part of our responsibility to other Christians. So yeah, I think we agree!

          • Yes! It can be really depressing to not have friends that I can talk to about…anything deep, really, so this has been a life line for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Absolutely! In one of Paul’s letters (I can’t remember which one), he talks about not arguing over little things that don’t really mean anything. I guess it was as big of a problem back then as it is now! ๐Ÿ™‚

          • I just looked it up :), one of the places he talks about it is in 1Cor. 8. In talking about eating food sacrificed to idols, when some thought it okay and some thought it wrong, he says “It’s true that we don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do. But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.” (vs. 8-9)

          • That’s exactly what I was thinking of! 2 Timothy 2:23-24 also comes to mind (with the help of Google!).

            23 Again I say, donโ€™t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.

          • What a challenge! It’s actually kinda humorous, because how often do we start fights, knowing all along how foolish it actually is! It’s hard, especially the “be patient with difficult people” :).

          • Haha, yes. I guess there are a lot of things in the Bible that sound really simple, but when you think about actually putting it into practice, you realize how challenging it is! I think I’m generally pretty patient, but when I do get frustrated I’m awful at hiding it (mostly because I don’t even try). So, yeah…I could really take this verse to heart.

          • Hahaha, maybe! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Kinda wish you were, I honestly don’t know many deep thinkers, or at least none who are willing to talk about deep issues. But yeah, I can get pretty stubborn about my conclusions :).

          • Too much Xbox, maybe? Or maybe too much BlimeyCow?? (but we don’t need to get into that again :)). I’m told I think too much though…so maybe I need to learn to check out every once in a while :).

          • Yeah way to much BilmeyCow ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously today’s culture promotes lots of amusement, which literally means “to not think”. No wonder that people can’t talk about deep stuff!

          • Contemporary Christian is more like mainstream Christian music. You know, the stuff you hear on KLOVE all the time. In my opinion, most of those bands sound the same and lack originality, although several, like the ones I mentioned above, stand out musically to me. For having to listen to non-Christian, I can’t feel your pain, but I imagine that it’s terrible. Try to sing other songs that you like, or plug in your headphones if you can. On the list of bands I like, I forgot to mention new, old, and really old Newsboys, and Switchfoot. I love Switchfoot!

          • Yeah tim Hawkins rocks. I’m really hoping to see him live sometime! He usually seems to come here in April–I’ve noticed he comes every year pretty consistently somehow.

            Maybe we could email or something, unless that would be weird….

          • I just jumped into your conversation a little while ago… if you want to talk between the two of you, whatever, that’s fine. But if you’re good with me joining in, I just checked with someone who has a blog to see if he’s okay with a random conversation happening on one of his old posts.

          • Did he answer you? That’s a good idea. Actually, if he’s not ok with it, some friends and I used to have a blog but now we don’t post anymore and it just sits there in cyberspace with no one looking at it. We could move our conversation there if your friend doesn’t want us on his blog.

          • I don’t know about emailing. It’s not you, it’s just I’ve never met you in person. Maybe we can stop this line and find each other again on another article. This thread is really long. But if this is the last one, I’m pleased to have met you. We have a lot in common. Maybe we could meet in person one day (it could happen!) You’re the first person I’ve had a conversation with online. Never been on social media, so your the first.

          • Yeah I understand, we don’t technically “know” each other. I like mimeforjesus’ idea, the 3 of us talking on some old post somewhere. I’m not on social media either haha but I’ve had some conversations on here with people

          • Hey Amanda.

            On my blog, there is a post dedicated entirely to “What do you want to talk about”. MimeforJesus has commented there before, so she knows what I’m talking about.

          • Hey what do you think? You and me and mimeforjesus could talk on my old blog, or on Trent’s page on his website. Sound good? That way we can keep getting to know each other without distracting people from this discussion’s purpose.

          • I don’t understand what you mean. I got an alert from you about talking on another blog, but then it seems that this is the actual post. What happened? But yes, I do like the idea of talking on an older post or something like that.

          • Sorry, I’m probably confusing you. If you just click on this link it will take you to a page on Trent’s blog where we can keep talking. You should see a post called “what do you want to talk about” and if you click “comments” then you’ll see the comment section. Mimeforjesus and I already found each other on there so you can jump in. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Are you getting any of my replies on Soldiers of God? I can’t see if you’re getting any of them?

  • Awesome question! This has always been a really difficult thing for me. Over the past few years, God has been putting it on my heart to work harder to make others feel welcome. My only problem in doing this with girls is to overcome my shyness, but with guys I’m always afraid it will be taken the wrong way.

    What I try to do is make sure I treat everyone the same way. For example, there’s this guy at my church who’s really quiet, and I go out of my way to try to talk to him. But I don’t think (I hope!) that he finds that weird or that I’m coming off as flirtatious because I do that with everyone.

    There was another instance where a guy who had been coming to church for maybe half a year told me that he considered me his best friend. While he has guy friends, he said that he felt like he could tell me anything, and that he thought I set a really good example among the other youth. This was really awesome for me to hear. All I did was make sure I said hello whenever I saw him, and to stop and have a conversation with him if the opportunity presented itself. For me, it didn’t seem like much, but apparently it made a big difference to him, as a friend!

    I think a lot of this just depends on attitude. I’m on the worship team at church; if a guy came up to me after service one Sunday and told me he thought I sounded good, how would I take it? I think it just depends on what his attitude toward me usually is, more than what he actually said (in most cases, anyway; there are exceptions!). Of course, if I already have a crush on him, that changes everything, haha! Nothing you can do about that. =)

    So those are just some of my jumbled thoughts. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m no expert; like I said, this is a really difficult thing for me to deal with, so I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say!

    God bless,

      • Exactly! Something can be said in an encouraging way, or it can be said in a suggestive (or worse, creepy) way. So it’s really a matter of the heart. We need to ask ourselves what our intentions are when we compliment a guy (or vice versa) or extend the hand of friendship. If our intentions are simply platonic, that will show; and other attitudes will show too.

    • Christy, thank you for your thoughts and your encouragement to treat everyone the same! That is a GREAT reminder that is too easily forgotten! Attitude plays a MAJOR role in the way things come out and how we take them.

        • I’ve been really blessed to read everyone’s feedback! It’s so encouraging to know that there are so many like minded people! BTW, I’m Hannah, sorry to randomly comment.

          • Well, new in the sense of signing up for discussion. I read Do Hard Things 3-4 years ago and and have read many of the other articles that the Rebelution has done! I never really checked out the comments, until the modesty survey and have found how helpful and inspiring they are!

          • Ok, cool! I read the book about four and a half years ago, so we became Rebelutionaries at about the same time. So… Welcome to the comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Haha! Thanks, I’m really appreciating and enjoying this. Can I ask you a few more questions to get to know you or would prefer it to be other than the comments section? Haha;)

          • How old are you? I’ve seen from your profile that you’re from the Mississippi Coast so I won’t ask where you’re from. Haha;)

          • I’m 16 as well! I’m from the Midwest. If I may as, how did you come to know the Lord?

          • Cool! Well, it’s nothing really special. My parents are really strong Christians (my dad is a pastor), so I was saved when I was five, baptized when I was eight. My testimony is more in my journey and growth since then than in my actual salvation story. What about you?

          • I was saved when I was 4, but didn’t really understand what it meant to be a committed Christian until I was 10 when my grandma was unexpectedly diagnosed with a brain tumor. The doctors told us that he might not survive and I really began to search myself as to what I believed. I didn’t fully commit my life until after church camp when I was 13. Feel free to fire questions back at me!

          • Praise God! I know a lot of kids grow up in the church but never really take their faith seriously. I’m so glad you chose to!
            Okay, so this question isn’t as deep, but what are your hobbies? ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Yes, I regret though that it took me so long to commit myself fully. Sadly there are dangers of growing up in a churcha Christian home.: My hobbies are reading (TONS), playing music on the piano or violin (whichever suits my mood), crochetknitting, sewing, among other undeveloped ones. What are yours?

          • Hi Hannah, I’m really sorry it took me so long to get back to you! I thought I had relplied already but I guess not! Those are awesome hobbies! I also love to read (a TON!). What kind of books do you like? I play the piano too! I also sing, and I’ve been trying to learn violin. I occassionally crochet and knit (and cross stitch), but mostly just because my mom likes to do those things. I also love to blog and write novels. I can’t think of anything else right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Thanks for the welcome and yes, that basically is the only way!:) Thanks for y’all’s feedback!

  • I think that you can encourage a guy in his spiritual walk without him thinking that you like him. If you were complimenting him on his looks, that would be different. But encouraging a guy to continue to walk with God, that shouldn’t lead him to believe that you like him. I don’t think I would think that a guy likes me just because he encouraged me to stay strong in my faith.

  • I’m interested in the responses to this, too. I don’t have any words of wisdom other than my sister’s (she said that it all depends on your attitude), but I have been wondering about this lately. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Oh wow, this is a tough question! There are so many variables, depending on the situation and how close you are to the guy, etc.

    I totally agree with @Kittenese:disqus – treat everyone the same way! I find that hard. If you encourage everyone, chances are the guy will realise that and not take your compliment as being something ‘out of the ordinary’ (ie flirtatious). From what you’ve got above, I’d say you do that pretty well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    How to encourage a guy….. Well, as many have said, watch your attitude, voice tone, body language, etc. They speak volumes. I know for me, even when emailing a guy to give him a compliment I have to wait a bit to let any unnecessary emotion blow over before I send it (which sometimes I forget to do, and usually end up regretting it).

    I also agree with @graysonzaragoza:disqus – if you don’t know him too well, keep it short and to the occasion. If you know him better, longer and more detailed compliments are probably/possibly OK. For example, if I’ve just met a guy, and he does something cool, I’d just say “hey, good on you for _____”, or “______ was awesome!” or something of the sort. But there’s other guys I’ve known longer, and we both know each other well enough to know that we don’t want a romantic relationship, and I can complement and encourage them quite freely. As aforementioned, I still have to watch my attitude, but I feel more free to encourage and give compliments about more personal things (like about his attitude toward something) and also be more detailed. Like with one guy, he wrote me a letter on my birthday. And I took it right. I’m not sure I can pinpoint what exactly it was, but it was probably a combination of simply knowing that he would not have wanted to come across in any way other than a brother in Christ, and the fact that it was chock-full of simple, genuine, Christ-focused encouragement. I wrote him one for his birthday with the same elements, and he took it fine as well.

    Another quick tip – in written encouragement, how you close is can be a lifesaver! In a letter/card/email, you can put things like ‘you friend, ______’ or ‘your sister in Christ, ________’ at the end. A simple, easy, subtle and yet abundantly clear way to tell a guy you want nothing more than friendship. It’s awesome. Oh, and here’s another thing – my usual signature, for example, is “Cassie xoxoxo” and I know that many other girls include kisses-and-hugs at the end of their name too, or draw a heart as the dot over the ‘i’ or something of the sort. When writing to a guy, I always, always leave the ‘xoxoxo’ off. Sometimes when writing to a guy I know well, I debate about leaving them on, but I always talk myself out of it. It’s just a simple thing that makes matters clearer and easier.

    Hope that some of this just might help! And bless you Gracie for submitting this question. I’m looking for answers too, so I’ll be watching other comments!

    • Too true about the variables… There are guidelines we can follow but nothing is or should be set in stone.

      Aw, thanks, but some days I feel like I don’t do very well. The guy I was talking about that said he considered me to be his best friend? I didn’t mention it above because I have no idea if it’s true or not, but a friend of his told me that the guy had a crush on me…but this was in the process of him (the friend) asking me out (which I turned down) and I’m not sure if I believe him….

      So, it’s complicated. And kind of weird. I didn’t mention it in my first comment because I didn’t feel like explaining all of that, but I don’t want you to falsely think that I handle these things perfectly.

      • Um, this in kinda awkward… when I said that, I was referring to Gracie. A hundred apologies for not making that clear enough!

        However, I’m sure you are doing a great job, Christy! None of us handles things perfectly, and things get messed up and complicated sometimes. Good on you for working at it and trying to keep things clear and clean. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Stick with encouraging them with scripture. Always stay away from feelings in your conversation. Keep your distance. No touching when you talk. If he begins to change the tone, graciously have an excuse to finish the conversation or bring someone else into the conversation. Make your conversations with at least three people if possible. If texting, keep your distance with not responding quickly and keeping it brief and always scriptural. God will wake your heart when the time is right to extend beyond that type of conversation.


    In Him,

    • I agree with you on the “no touching” rule. I know girls who say that they hang off their brothers or massage them or whatever the physical contact, so it must be fine to do with other guys, but they forget – though they may be brothers in Christ they are not biological brothers. The potential to turn into something more than friendship is always there whether we like it or not. Hence why we must be careful not the send the wrong message, hanging off of someone, giving them a back massage, or other things I have seen girls do should all be a big no-no in our relationships with guys.

      I also agree with your texting safety. Emails and Facebook are also something to be wary of. Having your dad or brothers read your messages or emails before you send them can be very helpful. As a girl we often don’t see things the same way and the written word, especially over email, text, and online sites can easily be misinterpreted. As my dad has told me I write “flowery”, and to a guy it could come across as a big “I’m interested in you” sign. Remember that we also should not say anything online or in writing that we would not be willing to say in person with others standing around us, maybe even our future spouse looking over our shoulder as we talk to others? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be amazed at the depth of conversations teens can have on here (and how right you all are!). You’ve said everything that I would have said ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I have a 35 year old single daughter who has lived this her whole life. She is a beautiful woman physically, but most importantly spiritually. Her countenance sets the boundaries for any relationship. She owns a vintage and home decor store and is regularly approached by men. She immediately places boundaries by stopping conversations, as she can read their intent. My advice to you would be to stop spending too much time on the subject of boys and be busy with developing your relationship with Christ. I know that at this time of your life marriage seems to be near the front burner, but I would challenge any young adult to be about God’s work and and submit all of your thought processes and activities to him. Thinking about relationships before their time can often be destructive. A boyfriend or a husband is not the end all of life. Christ is. Keep that mentality and mistakes will not be made. I in no way want to condemn you, but your picture that is shown with your comments, while cute, could be perceived as seductive. Just food for thought.


        • Jean,

          Christ should definitely be our focus and I believe that Gracie’s question and the comments are trying to point people back to this. As a follower of Christ and Rebelutionary, my life is not about whether I get married, but rather about honoring and bringing glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Doing this through all areas of my life including my relationships with my friends, girls and guys, is just one aspect that I hope to honor Him in. Therefore I understand your concern for our time spent on Gracie’s question, but I know we are simply wanting to figure out a way that we can best honor our Savior and not lead our brothers in Christ astray unintentionally, as I am sure you have seen happen when people have not thought about how to bring glory to God in this area of friendship and it can lead to much hurt in lives. I am so glad that we have people in all stages of life on this site, as wisdom is found in a multitude of counselors. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you also for your thoughts on my picture, I never thought a picture of a Bible in front of a smiling face would be perceived as seductive. I will pray about it though. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Thank you and God bless!

          • FTR, I think your picture is cute but not seductive. Of course this is coming from another girl…

          • Thank you for your respectful comment. That is one thing I so appreciate about the followers of this blog. It is obvious that they have been raised right and that is so rare. I pray the best of everything for you.

            In Him,

          • I only just saw this or I would have responded sooner.

            Personally, I am quite surprised that anyone takes issue with your picture, @disqus_vDden8YlVi:disqus โ€” and I say that as someone who values modesty (as I’m sure you do as well).

            I would take this input as an example of how almost anything can be considered seductive by someone.

            If you were wearing a burkha in your picture, it would most likely be open to the same criticism, though @tmselden:disqus and @programguy:disqus can correct me if I’m wrong. I respect and appreciate both of them โ€” I just can’t see the problem here.

            My suggestion is that if people are concerned about a 40×40 pixel thumbnail that only shows a girl’s eyes (behind a Bible, no less) they should avoid looking at it rather than suggest she change it.

          • I missed two important things in my response, one which was totally my fault and another that I blame entirely on Disqus. ๐Ÿ˜‰

            First, I assumed that @tmselden:disqus was a man (sorry Jean!). That was my fault. If I had realized she was a woman, I probably wouldn’t have reacted in quite the same way. What I *thought* was going on was an older man telling a teenage girl that her eyes could be taken as seductive, which bothered me for several reasons.

            Second, for some reason Disqus did not display any other responses โ€” including Jean’s response to Miss M, Jess Jesse’s response, mimeforJesus’s response, etc. โ€” which made me think the situation had gone unaddressed and that @disqus_vDden8YlVi:disqus might interpret silence from other commenters as agreement with Jean’s concern.

            In conclusion: I believe Jean is right that some men might take Miss M’s photo as seductive, but that reflects poorly on the men, not on Miss M or her profile photo.

            We cannot ask women to avoid doing anything that could cause a man to stumble. There is literally no end to the list of rules that would generate โ€” and I think once we are critiquing a 40×40 pixel photo like Miss M’s we have surely taken things too far.

          • Thank you Brett for your comments, I appreciate it. I also appreciate that on The Rebelution people can express their true opinions and help others think about different things. Through prayer and talking with people I have decided to keep my picture, though I am sorry it has created such a rabbit trail on this discussion question. It was chosen because, just like Christy, I did not want people to see my whole face online and I wanted to have the Bible somehow involved and in front of me, as I hope the Lord will always take forefront in my life above myself.
            Thank you again.

          • A lot has already been said, but I just wanted to add that I love your profile picture! I’m not sure whether this was your intent, but for a long time I tried to figure out a way to have a picture of me as my profile picture without making it too obvious what I actually look like (so I settled for sunglasses, not that it makes much of a difference, lol). Does that make any sense? I love how including the Bible says something about who you are. ๐Ÿ™‚ God bless!

          • Thanks Christy! That is exactly why I chose my picture. I am glad that others think the same way about profile pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Miss M, it seems that it makes more of a strong point that you care about God’s Word. But I’m a fellow girl and I don’t think it’s seductive.

          • I want a profile picture that doesn’t have too much of me, and still shows some of who I am, so I pulled a random mime picture from the internet. The Bible is a great idea though!

          • That’s cool, though, because the mime still says something about who you are (or at least what you do). It is a good idea! I tried everything from taking pictures of half of my face or from the back of my head (all of which looked awful), until I finally just went with sunglasses.

  • I think that this is an area a lot of Christian girls struggle with (at least all the ones I know). Personally I want to be a light for Christ and save my heart and help others save their hearts completely for their future spouses. I know some who say the best answer is to just avoid friendships with guys, but is this really the way the church should be representing herself? We have Christ with us and if we can’t have a righteous relationships with those of the opposite gender I think there is something wrong.

    As others have mentioned in other comments, I believe it is mostly in the attitude we have when we interact with guys and how we control our thought-life. If we don’t have control of our hearts and minds when it comes to the guys we are hanging out with, it is going to show through at some point. Having purity in thought and heart is easier said than done, but with God we have the tools to do so. I am sure you have read the verse “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 I have found that if we apply this verse to taking our thoughts captive we will be able to succeed – Stay joyful even when you are having thoughts that you wish you weren’t having, when we begin to beat ourselves up we begin a downward cycle that is hard to get out of. Next, pray… For strength, for an unsaved family member, for your future spouse (Don’t put any names or faces in that spot), for a missionary, etc. Lastly, give thanks… Even for those thoughts, praise God for allowing you to have thoughts that force you to turn to Him and draw you closer to His presence as you seek Him in your weakness, as you give thanks turn to prayer again, rededicating yourself, your mind, your heart, your soul, and your body to God almighty. After all we are His so He can take our thoughts captive. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sorry if that was a bit of a rabbit trail, but I think (at least us girls, I don’t know about guys) can get caught up in out own thoughts and start to lose a Godly perspective when it comes to our relationships with the opposite gender. Other than keeping our thoughts and hearts under control it is important we are friendly and that our relationships are focused on pushing each other to Christ and doing something productive. Even if a guy doesn’t get the wrong idea from this – if we just hang out with him and tell him the details of our lives and our hearts while we than listen to his and we try to help each other out – I assure you that at least one one in the relationship will get attached in the wrong way and then either they will be cheating emotionally on their future spouse. Keeping friendships focused on the Lord and on doing something (an activity, mission, or project of some sort) has helped me keep my friendships with guys on neutral ground.

    Another great thing to do is to sincerely and gently make references to your guy friends as brothers in the Lord or mentioning in conversation with them that they are like a brother to you (only if it is true of course). Bringing this up has helped keep my friendships neutral, at one point I was fearful somehow one of my guy friends was getting the wrong idea. Through asking him a question (it was about a Bible verse’s meaning and I was wondering if guys thought of it differently than girls, as I don’t have brothers) and then letting him know how nice it is to have someone like a brother to ask, the problem was solved. The wrong idea was neutralized and I have not had a problem since, he is still a great friend but nothing more. I was able to clear up the misunderstanding and move on with no hurt feelings, from that I learned to make mention of the guys in my life being like brothers more often and that has seemed to keep wrong ideas away. Yay!

    As someone else mentioned the book “Its Not That Complicated” by the Botkin sisters is well worth the read.

    • Very well said! It is important not to go to the extreme of avoiding any relationships with guys, but I think that very few people realize the dangers of committing yourself emotionally to someone, even if there’s nothing “romantic” going on. And I love the idea of referring to guy friends as brothers in the Lord!

    • Miss M. I have no words good enough to praise this comment. I so totally agree, especially with all the stuff about thoughts!!! And fantastic idea about referring to the guy as a brother. ๐Ÿ˜€ Wonderful, wonderful.

    • Miss M, thank you for your insight and I agree that the book, “It’s Not That Complicated” by the Botkins girls is a very good read! Thank you for your thoughts, it was very helpful! I’ve even found it helpful that when I find myself heading towards wrong thoughts to just immediately pray for the guy, his future wife, and family.

  • Great question Gracie! I’ve thought about the answer to this one too. A lot of girls have given their two-cents, but guys don’t be afraid to comment too! We need to hear your side of the situation.

      • As a girl, I’ve gotten to know the guys I’m friends with because I was in the same area as them. The best guy friend I have I know only because I was on my mime team with him, and then we both were on the leadership team together. Don’t know if this helps at all, but thought I’d give my two cents.

        • Thanks for your thoughts. That’s basically the only time I talk to guys too, like on here with Sam and Trent and Brett and whoever else. I’m trying to not be afraid to talk to guys but at the same time not worry about it too much and not be pushing to talk to a guy since he could take that as something it isn’t meant to be.

          The hardest thing really is to talk to someone you’re attracted to!

          • I wish we could just somehow stop being attracted to someone… but I guess when we’re old enough to be getting married we’ll appreciate attraction.

          • Haha yeah I have wished the same thing. At least we know it can come in handy later in life. For now we just have to make sure we aren’t lusting or getting obsessed with guys.

            It’s just so hard not to drop hints or anything…hahaha

          • So true! Attraction can make it hard. We can’t really fight it (although we CAN make sure it doesn’t go past that!), and it’s annoying sometimes. Like with what I said about waiting to email a guy to let emotion blow over – that’s especially relevant with a guy I’m attracted to!

          • It is so hard to talk to someone you like! When I had a crush on a certain guy, I never knew if/when I should talk to him because he looked bored and everyone was ignoring him! I didn’t want people to see that I liked him, but I also wanted to be friendly…

          • Join the club ๐Ÿ™‚ All of my friends think differently. I love finding all of you guys on here!

      • The only girls I know that have come up and talked with me out of the blue were either hitting on me or were youth leaders or older. That’s what I’ve come to expect: girls keep their distance unless there’s an event or task that we both do, and then we get to know each other there, without much thought of a relationship or anything like that. Now if a girl is bold enough to come right up to talk to me, I treat her with the same kindness and charisma that I treat my other friends, to make her deal welcome and hopefully open the door for me to be a good influence on her.

        In events or tasks like I mentioned, I find it is the easiest situation to get to know members of the other gender.

        Hope this helps!
        – Trent

        • I have noticed the girls in my youth group don’t really talk to the dudes, so I’ve wondered if the guys would think it weird if I talked to them. I have conversations with guys here and there when we happen to be in a situation where that wkd naturally happen, like on a mission trip or something, but we don’t make effort toward each other outside of that. Sounds like it’s about the same with you, so maybe that’s normal. It just seems like it’d be good to learn how to interact with guys and be friends with them if I’m going to get married someday–obviously it’s best to be friends first before getting romantically involved.

          Thanks for your thoughts!

        • Does it seem too forward for a young woman to strike up a conversation with a young man or introduce herself to him?

          • Thanks for the feedback Trent! I really appreciate it! It’s hard to know for me to know what the opposite gender thinks. Thanks for your other comments and for responding to me and letting me jump into the comments. BTW, I’m Hannah and thanks again.

          • Not really. But I’m like the least sensitive guy in my youth group (of 200) and one of the most easygoing. So I find it no big deal. Whatever people are most comfortable calling me. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Ok haha…I sometimes find myself calling people that, either my youth pastor or you or other people on here, and I always wonder if it sounds weird to them since that’s what guys tend to call each other sometimes. It’s probably not that big a deal though.

    • Good question… and I can’t really tell you how. Like everyone else is saying, consistency is important. I mean, there’s this one guy at the store where I work who jokes around with everyone in a way that could be taken as flirting, and I know that he doesn’t mean it to be flirty mostly because he does it with everyone, and also because I know he respects my brother enough that he wouldn’t make a pass at me.
      One thing more is keeping friendships fairly low-key. The guy I know best (other than my brothers) I don’t talk about really deep subjects with. I know this isn’t for everybody, but it’s the best way I can keep from getting emotionally attached.
      If you’ve got more questions or if I’m not making sense, let me know.

      • Good thought @mimeforjesus:disqus, I think that if you do get into deep conversations, try to make it in a small group filled with people that you trust, not just one person. Not sure if that makes sense or not.

        • Right, I like deep conversations, just with a group or with girls, like you’re saying. My youth group-type thing that I go to often splits the girls and the guys up for Bible study, but when we are together we have a blast! There are a lot of differing opinions in our group, especially when you mix the girls and the guys! I really want to go through Ephesians with the mixed group – lots of good discussions in there ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I have no idea how to answer your question, beyond what’s already been said, but I do have one for you, if that’s okay! What are some things that girls do that seem normal but could be perceived as flirting? I’ve never tried to flirt, but I’m always afraid that I come off that way.

      • @mimeforjesus:disqus@Kittenese:disqus

        Things that could come across as being flirtatious are (I apologize if they seem obvious, just trying to cover everything):

        Phrases like “Nice muscles…”, “Wow, you’re hot.”, “You trying to be S*y?”, “I love you….(pause) as a brother in Christ (this seems like the girl is toying with the guy’s heart)”, etc.

        And then commenting about “closeness” like, “I never thought you and I would end up being so close”

        How modest the girl’s clothes are.

        If a girl “points”, any of her private areas in the guy’s direction, or draws attention to those parts (opening the legs wide is a big one) and things like that.

        And then if a girl tries to get a guy alone. That automatically throws up a red flag for most guys.

        I hope this helps!
        God bless,
        – Trent Blake

        • Thanks! I don’t mind you saying obvious things at all. I really appreciate you sharing your opinion! One more question that just popped into my head. ๐Ÿ™‚ I notice that I sometimes unconsciously play with my hair when I talk to people. I don’t do it often, but I’ve heard that it can be taken as a sign of flirting. Is that true? I’m not really sure how it would be, unless the rest of a girl’s body language was adding to whatever message she was trying to send.

          • I do it when I feel like the conversation is awkward or if I’m nervous, but both awkwardness and nervousness on my part seem to happen more when I’m around a guy I have a crush on. I’m really shy too, so it might be me trying to be a little flirtatious without it being very noticible.

          • That’s true! I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but I do think I do it when I feel awkward or nervous. I guess it gives my hand something to do so I feel less uncomfortable.

          • Me too, I can tell when I’m getting uncomfortable in a conversation because I’ll start playing with my hair.

  • It is interesting that this came up now. I became friends with a guy but the more I talked to him, the more I realized that he was quite interested in me. So I had to tell him to back off. He was fun but anything I did seemed to encourage him. It confused me a lot because I have many other guy friends that I can joke around with and have fun with but they know I am not flirting with them. I just treat them as a friend. And we pray for each other and have deep discussions but we treat each other more like family. So I’m really not sure how to answer but I am really curious as to what others think.

    • I feel the exact same way. I’m just curious to see what others say. I’ve never felt like I’ve flirted with anyone and I’ve had other women confirm this, but I had three guys tell me they were interested in me recently. Makes me a little nervous to say or do anything around guys.

      • I don’t flirt, at all, and I’ve had guys be interested in me… even when we hadn’t really met, only seen each other across the room. The way I see it is, I can’t keep guys from being interested, I can only keep from giving them undue encouragement.

      • A few years ago, most of the guys in my class told me that they were interested in me (I go to a small school). It was so awkward and I really distanced myself from them. I wasn’t until this past year that I’ve allowed my friendships with them to grow. I also shared with my class at the beginning of the school year that my goal for the year was to build up friendships, not relationships. To become a family. I don’t want high school to be a memory of broken hearts and tears. And the guys have really respected that. I think just being honest really helps. Don’t make them guess and guess about them, be honest.

      • My struggle with the flirting is knowing whether or not I’m doing it! I’m a homeschooler who’s never been around people who flirt, so I have absolutely NO idea whether or not I’m being inappropriate. Has anyone got any tips for me, like things not to do and all that? XD Thanks!

  • My experience might be a little different than most… I grew up pretty comfortable around guys. I have only male siblings. And on top of that… only male cousins live near me. All my female cousins live states away. So besides my mom and a few aunts, I’ve grown up mostly around guys and I’ve witnessed first hand how they think, act, and feel. I have both female and male friends. And am equally comfortable around both. My first tip on how to act around guys is 1. BE TRUTHFUL (If you are close friends with a guy, it’s okay. Don’t make it awkward by constantly wondering if he’s falling for you. If you do notice any “extra attention” directed at you, just ask him what his intentions are. Check your friendship. If you can’t confront your own friend then maybe you’re not as close as you thought.) 2. BE GENUINE (We as women tend to over-think our actions when around male company. Believe me, guys notice awkward behavior. Be yourself! Be who GOD created you to be. Sometimes they just want to talk to someone with a different bent on life. They sometimes need a soundboard to bounce an idea off of. Sometimes they are just plain curious about us and the way we think. If a guy asks you a simple question, give a simple, honest answer. For the most part guys mean exactly what they say. Don’t read into their comments, gestures, looks, etc. They don’t have a special code or cryptic lauguage like we do… lol And if you have a question about the way they act or feel, just ask them. Guys tend to be more straight forward than we are. So stop speculating! Don’t fear their answer! It’s better to know the real them than the one we’ve imagined. When a guy knows you are being genuine with him, he will return the favor.) 3. BE WISE (In any relationships with guys you must use wisdom. We as women have a particular role to play in all men’s lives. Men are the heads and women are the helpers. We were made to respect, support, encourage, and nuture our male companions. This is our role whether we are married or not. It’s what we do best! In a friendship with a guy the best way to do this is to keep God at the center of the friendship. Pray for and with each other. Read and study the Bible together. Share goals and dreams. Keep conversations pure, but REAL. If a guy friend is feeling down don’t confuse him by coming up behind him and wrapping your arms around him and whispering behind his ear that you’re there for him. He might get the wrong idea no matter how sincere and innocent you may feel in your actions. Instead encourage him by reminding him what the Word says about his situation. Sometimes the best thing to offer at times like these is not your arms but simply your ear. Hear what’s on his mind and if he asks your oppinion, give godly advice.

    • Wow. You’ve done some research. Good job. As a dude, I’ll say you hit the issue right on the head. Again, good job!

      • Thanks! Glad to know that as a guy you agree with my post. It pays to really listen to the men in one’s life… what I shared above I owe mostly to my dad, brothers, guy cousins and guy friends.

        • I agree with you. Most of the things that I have come to learn about girls is through my mom, sister, girl friends, and girl cousins.

          • It’s amazing how GOD designed the family unit. Our relationships within our families springboard us into future relationships in this world… so cool! Just more proof that HE knows what HE’s doing!

          • You’re absolutely correct! No matter how often society will say otherwise, there is no better family system than the one God has created.

          • Yeah, I’ve got seven siblings so I can’t relate. Do you have cousins around where you are?

          • Wow! My best friend has six siblings so I can sort of get an idea of what that’s like. No, most of my relatives on my dad’s side live at least five hours away. My relatives on my mom’s side live halfway around the world, so…yeah, it’s just us, haha. The last time I saw my dad’s family (not counting my grandma, she’s just an hour away) was three years ago, and I saw my mom’s five years ago. What about you?

          • I’ve seen part of my dad’s family probably 10 years ago, I’ve seen my moms family in the last two years or so. Although I’ve seen my dad’s parents more recently, they love in the same area as my moms family. Whaddya say we movd this over to Christopher’s blog like we did with Blimey Cow?

          • Awww… I feel for you… Then again, even if you did have siblings, you would still have some woes… just a different kind! The only comfort I can give you is… I’LL BE YOUR SISTER! We kinda already are if we’re both Christians. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • That’s so sweet of you! Sisters in Christ!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I know I’m missing out on some things because I don’t have siblings, but I have an incredibly close relationship with my parents. I guess it’s not really better or worse; it’s just different, you know?

    • Rite on! That’s awesome. I like how u said us guys don’t usually have a special code that’s domething I kinda wish a few of my friends know…

      • Yep… you “guys” have it easy! Believe it or not some girls use a special code on other girls (sisters, girl-cousins, girlfriends). It can be so frustrating sometimes for us girls… let alone for you guys! Lol

    • Elizabeth Marie, thank you for your post! It was so helpful to be able to read about things from more of a guy’s view. Thank you for doing the research and writing it straight forward and honestly!

        • Thank you for accepting my comments randomly popping up on your post. BTW, I’m Hannah and just want to say thanks again!:)

        • It’s so helpful to hear the views of fellow believers! Thanks for replying to me! BTW, I’m Hannah and thanks again!

  • I have a similar situation. Our high school student council holds fundraisers where for 50 cents you can send a piece of candy and a note to a friend in their first hour class. I have a few guy friends that I would like to send these to as encouraging and friendly notes, but I’m afraid that they’ll take it the wrong way as many people send these notes to crushes/boyfriends/girlfriends. I can totally relate!

  • For the guys (@trent_blake:disqus and others) who were asking about how to encourage girls without seeming like more than friends: I had a few thoughts, and I hope they help ๐Ÿ™‚

    First of all, I think you have the harder job. We as girls tend to read into things a LOT, and are usually more emotional than guys, both of which makes simple encouragement harder. Don’t stop, though!!! I can think of a few guys who have encouraged me a lot by just a simple comment, and without seeming “interested.” I think this is one of the prime benefits of the body of Christ – we can build each other up as brothers and sisters in Christ. I just love that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    More practically, BE GENUINE. Don’t say something you don’t really mean. Girls can tell how serious you are about what you said. It makes a big difference in the way your words are taken, not to mention the fact that it is SO refreshing and motivating to hear a compliment (e.g. on a musical talent or strong characteristic, like thoughtful, helpful, bold, persevearant, etc.) that was meant from the heart, not just a passing, half-hearted comment.

    Also, if you sense that a certain girl has a crush on you or something of the sort, and you have no serious intentions/are not of marriageable age yet, try not to compliment her too much. ๐Ÿ™‚ Experience speaking here….even a little encouraging comment can be taken way overboard. LOL Don’t necessarily ignore her, though, either. (boy, this is a hard subject…what did I get myself into??)

    Lastly, but perhaps the most important, PRAY. I’m not sure if this was mentioned yet, but it’s super necessary. Pray for wisdom to know what to say, how to act, and for help with having the right attitude. Pray for the girls you know, and (especially) pray for your future wife. I don’t think any of us has any idea of how powerful prayer can be. From what I’ve noticed, spending time in prayer changes you as much as it does the people you’re praying for!

    So guys, thanks for striving to be encouraging in a pure manner. It’s hard work, but we girls appreciate knowing that there ARE guys with a heart for God out there.

  • This is something that I’ve thought a lot about lately as I’ve become close friends with a guy in the past year. It’s especially difficult because his love language is obviously physical touch and he is more comfortable with touching then I am. Okay. That is starting to sound a bit sketchy… But he’s one of my best-friends and I have come to really appreciate the fact that he doesn’t think it’s weird to hug me when I’m upset and not let go until I feel better. I’ve “adopted” him as my older brother because I never had one and always wanted one. I don’t know if he initially wanted a little sister but now he considers me to be that.
    I agree with what other people have said about being honest and up front with your intentions. If you honestly only want friendship from guys then keep everything on a friendly level. If it’s something you wouldn’t say to a brother then don’t say it to other guys. I think that’s why my friendship with my brotherfriend has worked. Neither of us want anything more then friendship and made that clear to the other from the beginning.

  • I know someone in my church who is a guy and around my age, but he is always super shy, doesn’t go to Youth Group, doesn’t really socialize with anyone else from church. I REALLY would like to reach out to him some way, because the other guys are all basically ignoring him since he doesn’t go to their school, and he always seems so lonely. The problem is I am VERY shy around guys I’m not all that familiar with. It seems like every time I smile or do some random act of kindness to a guy, or he tries to do the same for me, everyone else is just like “Ohhhh I think he likes you!” And I’m not flirting or anything of that sort! Any ideas from y’all of what I could do that people wouldn’t think of as flirting, but yet being able to get to know him more? I’ve been praying, and it seems that like every time I see him I lose my courage to go up to him and ask him to come to Youth Group or something. Any ideas?

    • One thing I’ve found out is that people will think whatever they want, whatever you do. I mean, sometimes what people think matters, but other times it doesn’t really matter what other people think. I’m part of a group where for a while all the girls decided that they didn’t like this one specific guy, Matt, and I wanted to defend Matt while they were talking behind his back about anything that annoyed them about him, but I held back because I didn’t want them to think I liked him, especially if it got back to him that they thought I liked him because that would make us really awkward around each other. But now I realize that I should have gone on what I wanted to do at first, and let people think what they wanted. Now, I know this isn’t your situation, but this is what I’ve been in.
      But I’m with you about the guys not talking to the new guy – my church is very cliquish, and all the new people just sit around feeling lonely. So often, guys have come into my church and I wanted to go talk to them, but I didn’t want anyone to think I liked these guys… so I let them be, and they left.
      But, now you’ve got me thinking, and maybe you could like get a couple of friends together and go talk to him – that would look less like you liked him maybe. Do you have brothers who could go talk to him? Even if they’re older or a couple of years younger, they’re guys who could make him feel welcome. I’ll be praying!

  • It definetly is a challenging topic. I think a key principle is don’t over think it. If you are just saying, “I really appreciate…” And specify what you appreciate. Don’t make it overly complicated, and be to the point. That way there is no grey area for confusion. That’s just my opinion. Hope it helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This is a great question. I agree with a lot of different points that have been made here. There’s not a lot that I can add, but I can speak from the perspective of a guy who has experience in this area.

    It’s definitely difficult for a guy to cultivate a meaningful friendship with a girl without either the girl or other people getting the wrong idea. And I’m sure it’s the same for girls. I know a girl who’s a very kind, very well-meaning (I hope) person, but she doesn’t quite understand the importance of this topic. To be quite frank, she drives me crazy. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m encouraging a relationship or am even interested in pursuing such things at this point in my life. My friends (guys) who know me well are all fully aware that I am largely against high-schoolers spending time worrying about romantic relationships. I believe that we are in a season of life that should be spent using our youth and our singleness to glorify God. But people that don’t know me well could easily get the wrong idea about me as a person when this girl constantly hangs around me, touches me when she talks to me, hugs me when she leaves, etc. I want to be nice to her, but half the time I have to just ignore her completely lest she see my friendliness as an encouragement to continue being so “close.”

    So what advice would I have for people, guys and girls, in this area? I can really only offer what I know from experience. See, I know another girl who is perhaps the friendliest, happiest person I know. She’s encouraging, welcoming, and always smiling. She and I are on the worship team together, and I would definitely consider her a real friend. But never has she in any way seemed to be suggesting something beyond a godly friendship to any of us guys. I really respect and admire her for that, and feel like I can call her a friend without it being weird. And let me tell you, it is rare for a guy to be able to consider a girl a friend– to have her email, be in contact with her, crack jokes, and generally treat her as a true sister in Christ– without it seeming weird for either one of them or their other friends. Yet this girl is a friend to many guys and girls, and it never seems weird. I can only ask myself, how does she do it? And I believe that ultimately, it comes down to one important thing:


    I know, it sounds weird to say love when talking about avoiding wrong messages between guys and girls. But when I say love, I don’t mean “mushy” love. I mean the kind of love that I have for everyone who I count as a real friend; the kind of love Christ has for us. A love that says “I value you, care about you, and want to show this to you.” This girl shows this kind of love to everyone, guy or girl, and thus has a reputation for being an amazingly friendly person who nevertheless has a reputation being completely disinterested in relationship stuff.

    Now it’s important now to simply “disguise” ‘mushy’ love by saying, “Oh, I just love [him or her] as a [sister or brother]” but not really meaning it. It’s not really about what you say; it’s about your heart. If you truly love people and want to build them up, then that will be reflected in how you act. So I think it all starts with the heart. Luke 6:45 says that “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of,” and I think that by having a pure heart that seeks only to build others up, you can prevent sending the wrong message.

    Be aware that sometimes, regardless of what you do, some people want to get the wrong message, and will put their own spin on what you say and do. That can hurt, but it’s not your fault. All you can do is show a consistent love to everybody in your life and seek to encourage others. If other people choose to twist your actions to what they want to believe, then that’s their mistake.

    I hope this helps. In Christ,
    Benjamin V.

  • That is a tough one. I’m afraid I don’t know the answer, but it’s definitely something I regularly encounter

  • Whenever I’ve done it, it was important to pray about it a lot beforehand (depending on the situation). Of course, if the person is more than a few years older or younger than you, it’s not a problem at all.

    • I would say that a few years separation isn’t really enough… I’ve had genuine interest in a real relationship from a guy three or four years older than me, and I would say that I could easily misinterpret a guy that much older than me. But yes, prayer is very important!

  • This is certainly a topic that holds significance for me, as it is closely linked to events in my personal life these last two years. In the past I’d always been so scared of giving people the wrong idea that I barely said a word to any guy at all. When I finally realised that it was unhealthy and grew brave enough to do anything about it, I’d found that I’d kind of dug myself into a hole. What I mean is that because I had the reputation of being super reserved, any attempt I made to change that was even more likely to be taken the wrong way than if I was just meeting a new bunch of people. I eventually reached a point where I knew that I would just have to push through that, do my best to ignore what people might think, and hope that by being consistently friendly with everyone, I would soon right any wrong ideas I might be giving. As far as I know, it has worked. I am now able to be far more relaxed and ‘normal’ around guys than before – and I don’t think I’ve broken anyone’s heart in the process. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve written an article along similar lines on my blog, actually:

  • Thank you for writing this. recently a girl in my band said that she likes my music a lot and would like to read more of it so I immediately thought she had a crush on me but this shows that she may not and that I should treat her the same way as the other band members. Thanks!

  • Congrats on reaching out – even if it did go wrong. But… If she was attracted to you, I don’t think your welcome really made a difference, she would have liked you anyway.
    And you sound exactly like my brother about the other guys. They’re out there, I’d say I know four guys who are like that. Yeah, it’s a sad number.

    • As a girl, I agree with mimeforJesus, it is literally possible for girls to develop crushes on guys they’ve never spoken more than 10 words to their lives. I think its better to be friendly and risk the possibility of misunderstanding than to say nothing at all. I personally am really blessed when Christian guys are friendly. It can get discouraging when Christian guys are either being totally inappropriate or nowhere to be found. Thanks yall for wanting to change that!

      • Oh, the depths of truth in that statement. This is one of those situations where literally actually means literally. Ten words. Why?? ๐Ÿ˜› lol.
        The rest of what you said was really good too, btw! Sorry, that first sentence just kind if blew me away. This is probably the millionth time I’ve said this over the past few days, but I’m glad it’s not just me. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • I know right it is sooo easy to slip into that. It just made me think of how Paul reminded Timothy to watch his life (and doctrine) closely. I really have to watch myself carefully cause it happens so easily. I wonder if it gets easier to guard your thoughts once you’re an older person or married??

          • That’s a good example! I don’t know about when we get a lot older, but I don’t think it will be easier when we’re married. People have affairs because being married doesn’t mean the temptation is gone, you know?

    • Having been the new person in church more times than I can remember, I think I would just appreciate it if a random guy came up and was welcoming me to his church. But that’s just my two cents and I don’t get a crush on every guy I see like some girls. If you have sisters they’d be great either to go with you or just to walk up and start talking by themselves.

  • Totally agree with you, man. In today’s world girls will always like you if you just show basic manners to them. Something is wrong with that and us guys need to change it!

    • @programguy:disqus and Steelers Fan, I applaud both of you for being willing to step up and reach out to girls even if you get the wrong response! Keep it up!! I know a lot of girls DO automatically crush on you if you show them any act of kindness. (Can I say it’s the same for some guys I know? SO frustrating :)) But a lot of girls out there will simply be surprised and appreciative. You’re right, it shouldn’t be uncommon! The same goes for girls being kind to guys. So please keep it up!

  • If I was at a new church and a guy welcomed me, I wouldn’t think he was hitting on me (unless, that is, he was! Lol). It would mean a lot to me.
    It is really sad. I’ve kind of been in that situation too, where a guy said he liked me partly based on my love for God. But I guess that all we can do is do what we know to be right and godly, and hope that others follow our example.
    And it didn’t sound like bragging. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • So I’ve chewed on this question for a while…and I’ve been thinking, maybe we sometimes make it a bigger deal that it actually is? I mean, people are gonna think what they wanna think, but does it really matter? If you feel God leading you to encourage someone, guy or girl, just do it…regardless of what anyone might say. I think as long as we’re consistent in our actions and treat everyone we meet with kindness, friendliness, and respect, then our motives are pure and we have no need to worry. Unfortunately, yes, sometimes people choose to interpret your friendliness in the wrong way. I’m speaking to myself as much as anyone else. I know it’s so, SO frustrating when people spread rumors about you “liking” someone just because you said hi!! But maybe we need to be the first to change this mindset. If our minds are truly fixated only on God and His guidance and His approval, then everyone else’s opinions kinda fade into the background.

    I’ve also been examining myself in this area too. How do I respond when a guy is friendly to me? Do I automatically assume the worst? Am I quick to judge and spread rumors? Maybe we just all need to cut each other some slack – and see people for what they are…a friendly guy (or girl) just being friendly.

    • That’s a good point! I think there are some great ideas in this discussion, and we should try to implement some of them, but yeah–we do what we can and it’s up to other people how they want to take it. Great perspective!

      • Yep, there’s been some great suggestions! And like a lot of other people said, I think it eventually just comes down to the attitude of the heart.

  • Two verses which I’ve personally found tremendously helpful on this topic are 1 Timothy 5:1-2, which say in part: “Treat … younger men as brothers … and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” I wrote a paper about it, but I don’t know if it would meet The Rebelution’s high standards for a submitted article. I later wrote a couple more papers about it, in response to friends’ questions.

  • I have a boy in my class who is really nice, he is a good friend and I don’t want people to think that i am flirting! I get mad at people when they say that i am flirting. I know it isn’t right to get so mad and I need help in this. I am not hearing what God is saying to me in this!

    • I got that one myself, a friend introduced me to this guy and we hit it off pretty well. Then the friend who introduced us got mad at me and said I was flirting… I dunno what to do either. This guy is back at college now so this situation’s over, but next time…?

  • I realize i’m a bit late here, but this info has been so helpful! this is good, practical stuff that i needed to hear. God wants us to encourage each other and build each other up. If we can’t do that selflessly and in a God honoring way, we aren’t helping anyone. (Thanks to the guys especially who commented on this DQ. Your opinions are valued!!!)

  • why can’t we all be one gender? nah, im just kidding. that is a hard question, and I really don’t have an answer but I do have another question. how far is too far to go in a relationship with the alien gender? (no offence to guys, girls are aliens to ya’ll!) I mean, heck, I know that I wouldn’t want to kiss a guy, but what is too far? is it wrong for two people who are in a relationship to hold hands, not always be with their families when they are together? id love to hear ya’lls thoughts…

    • I would say it needs to be decided by the individuals. I mean, I’m not gonna let a guy hold my hand until we’re engaged (at least), but God’s not gonna be mad at me if I do. And I think that when I get into a relationship, the two of us aren’t always going to be with our families, and we’ll go out places just the two of us. But I wouldn’t probably be at one of our houses by ourselves if only to avoid the appearance of wrongdoing. That’s just my two cents! Anyone else?

        • Haha, I’m in the same boat. But I’ve had some siblings to watch through this process, and decide what I liked and what I didn’t. I also got to see how their relationships turned out ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™ (the emoticons are how they turned out)

  • I believe that’s nothing wrong in a friendship between a boy and a girl. Being a friend is a good way to get in touch to try encouraging somebody. It’s easier to go deeper in the discussions when the person sees that can trust on you. But I know it leads, many times, to misinterpretation. That’s why, if the other gives any indication of a romantic relationship when that’s not your intention, I think you should frankly talk to the person. Sounds hard, but people should do it more. Of course, don’t be rude, just sincere.
    Oh, and Sam S. wrote about being kind because of God’s love. I totally agree and believe we should practice it more. It could become normal and people might stop thinking any good action has second intentions. We should love our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should love all the people. And this love shouldn’t be misunderstood, but reflect God’s love.

  • I think overall you need to make it clear to them especially if it is a friend. Since you do not want to accidentally mislead them. The best way I can think of is to tell them that you are encouraging only. There is nothing wrong with having opposite gender as a friend. I think another way is to treat your friends especially your opposite gender friends as brothers or sisters in Christ. This will help you to also stay in the right mindset of encouraging your opposite genders. Because if you think of it as a family type thing, you would most likely never give the wrong idea to your siblings. You would encourage them and help them out when they need you.

    • Well, now it is 19 kids andcounting…Jubilee didn’t make it. ๐Ÿ™ But yeah that is the show! Have you seen it before?

  • I think that the goal should always be to share Jesus’ heart. I think it’s sad that we even have to worry about this… But I think it depends on the person. Some of my guy friends know me well enough that encouragement like that wouldn’t bother them. Also, it helps to be encouraging them using Bible verses, not “you’re so spiritual/close to God/wise/whatever”.

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