EDITOR'S NOTE:  Each He Said-She Said column features a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view.  If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please click here to submit (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION:  I meet a lot of women in particular who are fixated it seems on having "just friends" relationships. What's that all about? Is there reluctance on the part of Christians to embrace any notions of romance? I don't get it. Maybe we've all been burned too often by others. I see a world of relational ills—here-not-here behavior, failure to honor others by returning phone calls/e-mails, saying one thing and doing another, and the list goes on.  I am close to giving up on male/female relationships.  Am I alone in this?  I wonder.

HE SAID:  First of all, you are not alone with your sense that many people want to be "just friends," with your desire of giving up on relationships or with your experiences of impolite behavior.  Many singles, Christian or not, often entertain these thoughts or have received these responses in their social interaction.

In your case (and for many of us, male or female), there could be a number of reasons why others have responded in this way.

  • They have been hurt and are overcoming a difficult relationship.
  • They want to concentrate on their career, ministry or developing friendships.
  • They don't feel they are in a place emotionally to get involved with you.
  • They are afraid (possibly of being rejected later).
  • They are waiting for the right person.
  • They don't feel a romantic attraction.
  • They aren't interested.

Many of us have been on both sides of this exchange and have had additional motives for not wanting to get involved with someone at the time. 

Right or wrong, let's "just be friends" has become the universal "softer" approach of opting out of a relationship without disclosing the "real" reason for not wanting to get involved.

Rejection is difficult no matter what side of the conversation you are on and none of us necessarily want to hear (or state) the latter responses; however, whatever the basis a person doesn't respond to your romantic advances, don't take it personal. 

I have found it is better to discover early where the friendship is leading rather than carry on a long-term relationship to find out later the other person was thinking you were "just friends." 

For many relationships ending in this way, the bottom line is one person didn't see the other as their "life partner."  And that's okay.  Maybe it's just me, but I don't think you should have to "convince someone" into going out with you.

If we are truly seeking God's best for our life, why aren't we doing the same for ourselves and helping others to do so as well? 

As many of us grow older, we can't help but find ourselves "backed up" against the age clock or challenged by what "everyone else" is doing; however, it should not dictate or cause us to take an action other than what God wants us to do and created us for.

Sometimes I find myself, and see others, (almost) settling for somebody (or something) other than God's bestThis doesn't mean anything negative against the other person or thing.  It means I didn't have the patience to wait for God's timing in this matter.

Oftentimes we see happy successful couples who we would have never put together ourselves, yet they are perfect for one another.  At other times we see failed marriages and can't understand how it could have happened between two wonderful people.

There is nothing wrong with developing friendships before entering into a dating or romantic relationship.  You can do a great deal of learning about and courting a woman prior to a first "date."

We have all met someone of the opposite sex who may not have immediately "intrigued" us romantically or been someone who fit "our idea" of who we are looking for, but over time and getting to know the person we have grown to find depth, heart and connection.

Don't allow anyone or anything to dictate the type of person you pursue.  We may miss a person who God chose for us because they didn't "look like" what we had envisioned or didn't "come from" where we had expected.

Instead of viewing "friendships" with the opposite sex as a runner-up award, treasure the friendship and seek ways to honor her and God through the relationship.