Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me. Psalm 41:9 (NKJV)
Can men and women be “just friends”? As Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps[i] explains that the real answer depends on the particular people in that relationship. But if we are totally honest with ourselves we will recognize that some men and women feel undeniable attraction and cannot just be friends. There are some, however, who have managed to maintain a healthy, platonic relationship. Dr. Phelps suggests that when deciding whether your friendship really is or can remain platonic, you should consider the following warning signs that you might be going over the “just friends” line:
- You think about your friend throughout your day.
- You have romantic thoughts and feelings about your friend.
- You have strong feelings of missing your friend when you are not together.
- You are single, but would rather spend time with your friend than go on a date. You need to ask yourself if your friendship is interfering with you nurturing a romantic relationship.
If you find that even one of these warning signs apply to you, it’s time to reconsider that friendship. Dr. Phelps suggests you ask yourself these questions:
- If you are not in another relationship, do you want to try to take the leap from friend to romantic partner?
- If you know that your friend is not open to a romantic relationship with you, is it wiser for you to maintain such a close relationship or put distance in it?
- If you are in another relationship, you have some serious decisions to make about how to proceed. Is your “platonic” relationship a threat to your romantic one? Which one do you really want to pursue?
Male-female relationships are complex. Be honest and ask yourself – can we really be “just friends”?
Father God, help me to be clear as to the relationships in my life and to maintain clear boundaries between them.