Hands Off: Keeping a Physical Distance
- Thursday, May 24, 2012
A similar situation happened to me years ago with a much older man. While his “boundary crossin’” with me was not physical, his verbal advances did indeed make me uncomfortable. And I told him so. “Please stop talking to me in this way, and then we can be friends. But if you will not do so, then we have no friendship.”
And you know what? That was all it took. He changed what he said to me and how he said it, and we were able to maintain a friendship!
Now I don’t know if there will be a similar outcome in your situation, but I do know that if this man had self-control then he would not touch you or invade your personal space in ways that are making you uncomfortable. And since he still is crossing the boundaries you have established, then clearly he does not have self-control . . . no matter what he says or makes light of (actions always speak louder than words). Which means you can only control yourself, so you must remove yourself from this situation until your friend can get help and resolve his issues.
Have you confided in anyone about this situation? Is this type of behavior happening in group settings where other brothers and sisters in Christ can observe it? Have you sought counsel from a pastor or another elder or spiritual mentor in your church? Someone who is in authority over you and this brother (if you are both in the same church or small group or Bible study) needs to know of the situation and help monitor it, so that you are not alone and have support (Galatians 6:2).
Furthermore, I would recommend not being anywhere alone with this person. Make sure you are always surrounded by witnesses. Find a buddy to stay beside you whenever you are around this brother. They say that there’s strength in numbers, and I believe that that is true. Perhaps by having someone else in your midst who is helping to act as a barrier between you and this brother, then he will start getting the message a little more clearly: his behavior toward you is unacceptable, is making you uncomfortable and it needs to stop.
May God help you to remain firm, yet loving, as you deal with your brother in Christ (Ephesians 4:25).
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is … Laura MacCorkle, Senior Editor at Crosswalk.com. She loves God, her family and her friends. Singleness has taught her patience, deepened her walk with the Lord and afforded her countless (who's counting anyway?) opportunities to whip up an amazing three-course meal for one.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately (we think they sound eerily similar sometimes, too!).
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