Tag Archives: friendship

Date Me If You Can

The issue of reading women probably stems from this oxymoron: we’re sickeningly sweet to the ones we couldn’t care less about and stone-cold indifferent to the attractive ones.

In my life, this little fact has handicapped me from being approachable to the right guys. I’ll see an attractive person and immediately freeze. My eyes drop to the floor and I instinctively smile at my feet. Some would say I’m just shy, but even shy people look back up at the person of interest. Unfortunately, I’ve convinced myself that such a move would scream with blaring desperation “pick me, please pick me!” So I am unable to express openness or encourage an approach. No wonder guys have such a fear of being shot down. We look like disinterested monsters too full to consume the approaching victim. But hey! There’s always the chance we’ll kill you for fun and leave the rotting corpse in our wake. So how do guys read the signs?

It is not always the guy’s responsibility to interpret mysterious signs expressed by the female gender. Take me, for instance, I’ll run the opposite direction, zigzagging along the way to throw someone off my trail. . .if I like him, that is. That doesn’t build much confidence in a poor guy trying to pursue.

So, hopefully the following will help…

Here are some of the signs of interest:

First, she glances and smiles. Then, she gives a second glance… 3 seconds pass… she smiles again. Third time, …she smiles, …okay! It is time to approach. This girl is interested.

Here is when it is not up to the poor guy to read interest: if a girl glances, makes eye contact and looks away, never to look back. It’s her loss if the guy chooses not to risk rejection by approaching her.

Flip the scene: when we don’t like someone, we smile, we’re friendly, we joke, we laugh, and we act like they are the only person in the world. We’re comfortable, if not confident. We don’t worry about rejection or looking dumb in front of these guys. They get friend-zoned almost immediately, but we love hanging out with them. Insert every girl’s claim here: we want to marry our best friend. By this, it only means we want to get as comfortable with the one we’re attracted to as we are with the friend-zoned fellow.

There is nothing wrong with being nice to guys we’re not interested in, but it is immensely confusing to befriend all the ones we don’t like while giving icy glares to the ones we do.

Here’s something we girls can do: be friendly to the guys we want to approach us. Be open and welcoming. Guys don’t need us to take their hand and lead the relationship. They need some encouragement in the right direction. They are not mind readers or flawlessly confident men who haven’t a fear in the world. They are human, trying to navigate life.

For the guys: look for the signs of interest. If you are unsure but interested, go for it. Most of the time, we are gracious in our rejection. Don’t take it personal. It was a risk taken and a new direction to move in. This one didn’t work. Maybe the next one will.

We could all learn to be clearer with our communication, actions and intentions. We are friendly creatures, by default because we want to be accepted and liked. Unfortunately, it is easier for us to abuse our power with people who make us comfortable. That goes for both genders. We gladly accept the attention of a person regardless of our own disinterest in them. It makes us feel desirable and enables us a few back-up plans in case we can’t find someone better. The dilemma in that is, when a guy sees us with our “friend,” he regards us as taken and moves on. This inevitably works its dark magic on our esteem. Now, we wonder why the only guys we attract are the ones we don’t like. The simple truth is we’re afraid of the ones we like. We don’t want to show our vulnerable hearts to them. So we try to mask it, act tougher, show interest elsewhere in order to get his attention. If we could just learn to be ourselves— comfortable, friendly, and funny— with the right company, we might have the chance at a top-choice relationship. We wouldn’t feel the need to settle every time we’re single and alone. Fear is the partner of settling. Fear of being alone, being shunned by society, being an outcast or–God forbid–different! Another reason we settle is this, “Hey! If the guy I like sees me with someone else, he’ll know I’m desirable. He will try to win me over.” I’m pretty sure it’s every girl’s fantasy to be fought over by two great guys. “May the best man win!” This is our atrocious flesh rearing its ugly insecure head like a pimple on prom night. It’s a world of confusion with so simple a solution:

We need to be nice to the one we are actually interested in. Stop playing games. If the guy doesn’t have a chance, we should be decent and respectful and cut him loose. It only brings trouble to keep a hapless crusher attached. He deserves to be happy with someone who will like him in return.


A Cup of Confidence & A Spoonful of Strategy

Strategy: “First, pillage the nest. Clip wings. Now, blunt his beak. Crack eggs. Scramble, pinch of salt. Touch of pepper. Flip the omelet. Additional seasoning required. Breakfast is served.” –Sherlock Holmes, Game of Shadows.

Smart people strategize in life. They don’t “Just Do It” unless they understand the reasons and repercussions. They weigh the options and go with the best choice.

Strategy also works in dating scenarios. And first dates are the perfect opportunity. It’s exciting, tense, nerve-racking, and exhilarating. It is fun to ask questions, discover common ground, laugh, and even find chemistry when the date goes well. So how does one have a good date? Yes, we must keep in mind that there are two people making choices that determine if the date will go well. But there are many tactics we can use in order to make the environment comfortable, have plenty of questions to ask, and determine what the next step should be, if any.

Usually, women can tell if they like someone within the first five minutes of talking to the guy. A first date can make or break a relationship. This is probably why so many people feel pressure, nerves, and anxiety in the moments leading up to, and even throughout the date. If we could find a way to alleviate some of that pressure, wouldn’t we want to at least give it a try?

7 Strategic Tips For Successful Dates:

1. Make a mental note of questions to ask throughout the night when things get dull or awkwardly quiet. What do we want to know about these guys? We must keep in mind it’s a first date so questions concerning his thoughts on kids, what he’s looking for in a wife, and are we prettier than his ex are completely out of the question-no pun intended. We scratch the surface of these incredible human beings as we spend time with and get to know them. “Where did you grow up?” “What are some of your favorite memories of that place?” “If you had a chance to go back in time to one place in your life, where would it be, what would you change?” “What do you enjoy recreationally?” “What job do you have/want?” “What is your favorite aspect of God and why is that important to you?”

The main purpose to these questions is to find some of the depth in these guys and whether their interests meld with our own. Truly, I have a hard time connecting with guys that don’t have a sense of humor, an appreciation for life, a taste of optimism in their character, and security in Christ. When these are lacking, it is as though we are walking on two paths. First and foremost, there should be a foundational connection through Christ. If that relationship isn’t established in both parties, something innately necessary is amiss. It does help to find common ground within our two distinct personalities. I’ve heard opposites attract, but even in that, there is always some common ground. The bits of opposite are meager differences that can actually complement the two people. One is strong where the other is weak.

2. It is important to pay attention to his stories. We should ask specific questions to show we are listening.  Jared was a sweet, smart gentleman. On our first date he mentioned he was pursuing a Kinesiology major. ”Why did you choose Kinesiology, Jared?” “Originally,” he smiled, “I was going to be a doctor.” “Oh! What changed your mind?” He paused thoughtfully, and then continued, “My sister was paralyzed in a car accident when she was little. I’ve been taking care of her all her life. I guess I finally realized I wanted to help more people like her. I want to be a Physical Therapist. I want to see people reach for the stars and accomplish things they never dreamed they could do again after an accident.” It was amazing for me to hear him share such a deep part of his world. It was building a connection between us. He was uncovering something beautiful about his heart and passion. This was all possible with a few of the right questions and a tuned ear to listen.

3. When answering a guy’s questions, the first date is not intended to be a tell-all right away. Guys crave challenge and mystery. Talking/telling too much can put a major damper on a potential relationship. There is mystery in a woman who discloses information at the proper time in a relationship. It goes along the same lines as being intentional about everything. We must be intentional about the details we share. If we share our entire life stories within the first few weeks of a friendship, where can it go from there? There isn’t anything more to find out because we’ve disclosed it. Especially when it comes to deeper parts of our personalities, meaningful stories, and childhood insecurities, we hold them dear for the right time. We are worth the pursuit. Let him pursue. There is a perfect time to share stories and experiences. It just may not be within the opening five minutes of a first date.  

4. It is so important to be comfortable in our own skin. Being shy is one thing, but deathly insecure is another. We must come to a place of acceptance. We are all different and all beautiful in unique ways. Beauty isn’t a physical appearance, but how we feel inside. The true test of confidence is when we know and embrace our uniqueness and immeasurable worth in our Father’s eyes. When we know the God in Heaven approves of us and MADE us the way we are, confidence will exude from our beaming smile and balanced posture. Oh yes, posture is a part of this. Posture is the sweet little sister of Body Language. When observing someone’s posture it says numerous things about a person.

  • Girl with slumped shoulders: I don’t feel good about myself.
  • Girl with an overextended chest and swayed back: either I have back problems or I’m trying to get you to notice my assets.
  • Girl with her head down, sneaking into the room with darting eyes: I’m terrified the mob will get me. If someone even notices me I will bolt.

Bad posture is more than just bad posture. It makes a woman less flattering and seemingly less confident than she may actually be. Sometimes we get lazy and allow our shoulders to slump. But it is valuable to make a habit of holding our shoulders back, our smiles wide, and our heads up. This is a pure and simple sign of confidence. It is also very attractive to see, whether it is in a guy or a girl, and we will always notice a person who walks tall and smiles bright. There is something appealing about those people.

Now that the first-date jitters are over, it’s time to strategically work through other obstacles.

5. Be comfortable with silence. Give these guys the chance to think of their own questions. It’s time to throw the ball back into their court. It is fun to be on first dates because we can guide the conversations by asking specific questions and getting to know if these guys are good for us or better suited for another girl. But there is also a point when silence is golden. It gives these guys a chance to weigh their moves and ask their own set of inquiries. It also shows how collected we can be–as women–to allow silent moments. Just relax, smile, and enjoy the trickles of sweat that start forming on his forehead.

6. “Intentional” and “Communication” are two words that should go hand in hand in relationships. We need relationships. We need to learn from each other. Not every friendship with someone of the opposite sex will enter intimate territory. I have a friend who set clear guidelines from the beginning of her relationship- no talk of marriage, just get to know each other for a few months. They decided when the three-month mark hit they would reevaluate and make sure the friendship was satisfactory for both. If they had stronger feelings by that time, they would pray about taking the next step in the relationship. There were no false expectations or confusion as to where the relationship was headed. If they reached that three-month mark and one did not desire the next step, it was easy enough to say so. No pressure. No obligation to move toward a commitment neither wanted to make.

7. We should tell the guy if we don’t want to be in a relationship straight off (which we shouldn’t). Take the time to get to know these guys as friends. Sometimes, we have certain guy friends in our lives for a specific season, but then in the next season the friendship may not be as close. God continually brings people into our lives to teach us something. We learn from every relationship. It could be good, positive lessons, or sad, hurtful ones. Let’s hope for and practice the former. Let’s aim for all of our relationships to be beneficial and positive from start to finish. It may not always work, because there is another human being involved, making independent decisions as well. We can’t control the outcome of a relationship. However, we can control OUR part.

Every encounter we have is a gift. Every guy we meet is valuable. We gain small treasures and simple designs in our memory bank from every relationship we have. These tips are not meant to manipulate guys into relationships or put the best foot forward in order to snag a boyfriend. There is a great way to experience relationships and a rocky way. Dates are not just fun little activities to ward off boredom. There is a purpose to each of them. Strategies such as the above help us make smart decisions and prevent us from wasting anyone’s time. I respect men far too much to play games and date them for a free meal. Everyone deserves a first date, but they also deserve the decency of truth if the relationship is not going anywhere. And women are worth more than blind affection and quick relationship statuses.

In the land of the ‘savvy’ society, body language is a woman’s greatest weapon. She uses it to toy with men. She reels them in like fish on a hook, but isn’t able to detect whether the fish is a tender, exquisite Salmon or a bottom-feeding carp.

Before reeling in the next stranger with seductive body language and risqué clothing, let’s imagine how it would feel if some girl was behaving in that manner in front of our men or even our brothers. We should protect all of these guys as if they were someone else’s future husband. Not saying that to deter anyone from ever dating again, but we should take into account the guy has a heart as well, and it can be just as easily broken as ours. We should always behave respectfully, and expect the same treatment. These dates are opportunities to showcase God’s beauty and His guidelines for first dates. Dating can be fun, exciting, and healthy with the proper mindset and a holy purpose. We bring Jesus into every first date, every relationship, and every friendly encounter. We glorify Him with our attitudes, body language, posture, and conversations. Dating truly is one of the greatest opportunities in life.


The Pretense of Perfection

There is a deep, innate desire in each of us for relationship. We want someone to share in our adventure. But so often, we dive into relationships with only pretense and fantasy as our basis. Not quite the foundation for a solid commitment, now is it? As the façade peels away, a dark, lurking creature stems forth. We see the real colors of our beloved. “Wait! He never used to blow up with such anger!” or, “She used to let me go out with the guys but now she’s suctioned to my shoulder and won’t let me out of her sight!” Was trust ever a part of the relationship? Before we step foot into a serious relationship, we should be able to trust, not only the other person, but God to lead the relationship. If He is not leading a relationship, it is not the right one.

I went shopping for shampoo one day. I liked the looks of a pretty gold bottle. The shampoo smelled really good, too. Score! The next day before work, I used my new shampoo. While blow-drying my hair, I noticed it felt a little greasy. I rationalized that it just needed to air dry a little more. I thought nothing of it and went on with my day. A few hours later, I looked like I had been without a shower for weeks. My hair was shining. It felt like someone poured olive oil all over my head. By the time I arrived at home, I was angry at my new shampoo. It was the nightmare of all shampoos and seemed to cause anything but a clean feeling. I reached for it, ready to throw it into the closest trash bin, when I scanned the label… finally. There it was, “X-treme Silk for African-American hair.” No wonder it turned my fine blonde hair into a mane of dripping oil. It was meant for gorgeous thick, coarse hair.

This whole concept works the same way in relationships. We see a good-looking guy and automatically picture a perfect personality and compatible fit in our world. Sometimes we jump head-first in a relationship. Later, we realize his personality just doesn’t mesh with ours and his interests complement ours like mayonnaise and jelly. I think I just threw up in my mouth.

However, that knowledge sure doesn’t make it easy when it comes to attraction. Every time I see a good-looking, possibly interesting guy, the wheels inevitably start to turn in my head, “Wonder what he’s like? Does he have a good personality, depth, humility?”

Case in point, a gorgeous guy works at a coffee shop I frequently visit. We’ve hardly spoken, but he sure is handsome. So here I am, with fluttering butterflies and shaky hands as I sip my grande, half-pump, triple-shot Caramel Macchiato. There’s a mystery that draws me in and a desire to dream up his potential personality. This is the moment so many are tempted to jump in with both feet, but I am patient and cautious. What if he’s psychotic? What if he likes to suck on his own toes while watching TV, sing out his order in the food court, or gallop through the grocery store? It would not be fair to him if I just gave the relationship a test-run all in the name of attraction. Dating shouldn’t be for the sake of physical attraction alone. A foundational friendship should be built first. I have walked into attraction with an eager attitude and friendly smile only to find an overboard suitor smothering me with serious promises and crazy plans involving white picket fences and tire swings for “our” children… we haven’t even held hands yet! We must hold a bit of that emotion back in the beginning. However we start a relationship, it will only build from there. When I start relationships at the ‘best friend’ level, I’m suffocated by their affection and need to be together all the time. Things need to start off slowly and at an acquaintance level first. It’s easier to grow into a friendship than to back out of a relationship.

It’s not like buying a skateboard or a new dress, or even a new car. Relationships are more equivalent to buying a house. We have to consider everything: the electric bills, water bills, trash bills, monthly grocery bills and this goes on for years, if not decades. It’s actually hard to even put it into those terms. The difference is relationships involve another person. It’s not just a choice we make for ourselves. God created all of us equal. He loves that other person just as much as He loves us and He wants the best for both people involved.

I may have an aspiration for companionship, but I refuse to fall prey to the weakness of lust and desperation! I can and will wait for that perfect fit! Something wild, dangerous, daring, and free! Someone made up of all the right ingredients. A little of this guy’s character, a little of that one’s humor, his leadership skills, and the right dash of that other guy’s rugged good looks! I’ve had some amazing friendships and some zealous crushes, but all the while, something in my heart always protests, “Wait!” Something deep within me senses, “There is something inexplicably more satisfying further down the road. I must wait for it!” The beauty of this journey is that I am learning right now, as a single woman, what Christ is supposed to mean to me. I must fall in love with Him first and foremost! I’m not ready for the chunk of muscular tissue and characteristically delicious ingredients that construct my Knight. I have not hit the spot in my path where another path forks into it. I’m still free-sailing with Jesus. And I’m excited! No one has crossed this ground before; it’s my trail. Christ knows what kind of journey will spark the passion inside of me. I want to discover treasures and fight battles as a single woman who does not pine away or wistfully peer beyond the horizon for a Prince and White Stallion. I want adventure, to see the unknown, conquer the intellectual world of education, breathe air only found at the highest peaks, sail through uncharted waters, cross jungle floors too dangerous for guides and tours! I want to LIVE! The potential He has created in me from the beginning of time is exponentially more marvelous than I could ever imagine! My desire is to strive with determination and tenacity. I want to persevere through thick and thin. I want to learn true commitment. I must learn this before I ever dare reach for that *human relationship* that is to mirror a commitment between Christ and his bride.


Relationships: Confusion Defused

I was sitting in a coffee shop enjoying the humor of my best guy friend. We were about to get on separate planes and lose each other’s delightful company for the next several months. Our laughter started to dissipate. Suddenly, I felt the temperature of our conversation change. He cleared his throat. I started to get nervous, having seen this scenario play out in previous friendships. I started to chew my wooden coffee stirrer into miniscule pieces. Subconsciously, I must have been chewing this stick into the shape of a weapon, ready to stab him for taking our quality friendship there. As he carried on, my mind was racing. Where was he going with his tirade of madness? I felt like I was in Spanish class and only catching every fifth word that was spoken. He mentioned something of appreciation for my friendship, personality, and relationship with God. I knew I needed to be patient and give him time to finish his thoughts. I also needed to gather my own before blurting out my defense which was coming to my mind in clumps at this point. I began to pray as he summed up his rabbit-hole, ‘round-the-bush escapade. He didn’t quite hit the mark he was going for by the time he finished. Truth be told, I had feelings for him that may have been deeper than friendship as well. I was terrified of messing up something so sublime by coughing up a crush-confession. Throughout the rant, I wondered if it was an ideal time to share. I sensed God say, “Now is not the time. Just wait.” When God and I have these conversations, I gain such a renewed boldness and patience in any situation. I chose to stay quiet. Apparently, he realized things weren’t clear to him either. He shrugged it off and said we would talk when he could think clearly. I teased him about his delivery and how we hadn’t established anything through that conversation, but deep down I was sighing with relief that he didn’t know how to address the relationship and I knew I wasn’t ready to face the music. As we parted ways, the greatest of friends, I felt very bonded to this man. I enjoyed his friendship immensely, but I knew something was changing for us. A few weeks after, I received the ill-fated email of affection and interest. By this point, I was more certain the answer was a negative for a deeper relationship. I sent a loving, but straight-forward response. We were just meant to be friends. Our lives began to drift apart. It was at this point I wondered, how close am I allowed to get in a friendship with guys? It seems to always end badly for one or the other party. Even if it is just a friendship, someone lets their guard down and opens up to emotions that go beyond friendship. I won’t put a black & white on this rule, but deeply personal friendships should probably be reserved for the same gender and one day, the spouse God brings into our lives. Profound friendships with guys, though fulfilling and appealing, can be dangerous. If not for us, then the guy-friend involved. One of the concepts of real love is when we allow the slow sacrifice of selfless love take precedence over the quick fix of emotional release or intimacy-building, opposite-gender friendships. Building close bonds can be unhealthy and distracting.

This begs the question; in the world of singlehood, how are those intimate friendships unhealthy? Even though we do not give our bodies to our guy friends, we still exchange pieces of our hearts with them. As deep friendships drift apart, I feel remorse for losing something so dear to me. I have a permanent reminder filed away in my brain for a rainy, lonely, dark moment when I am potentially at a weak spot in my faith. The reminder can twist the truth and tempt me to think I’m not good at relationships. I break hearts or get too close. “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts” (1 John 5:21). If anything pulls my attention away from God, why would I want to nurture it? I cannot leave any of the doors or windows of my heart open for Satan to sneak in and cause mayhem.

God writes our love stories. We can listen intently as He reads each chapter to us, or we can rush ahead, rip the book from His hands and try to decipher the coded script. This will only bring chaos and unnecessary pain. When I understand this about God, nothing takes too long. I gain a deep sense of peace that allows my heart to be comforted even when I feel I am being misunderstood by the world. There’s a deep sense that God will defend my honor, He will bring all things to light. When I walk in this peace, I am more sensible about relationships and conversations. I know that I need to be still at times and speak up at others. I know I need to comfort and encourage one minute, and possibly confront and admonish the next. We do all things in love when we walk in this peace, a sweet surrender of our lives to God.


Emotional Vomit

It was apparent from the intent look on his face, he was serious. And he was really sharing his deepest love for me after just two weeks of interaction. “I can’t help it. It’s what YOU do to me,” he stated. I was blindsided with his awkward emotional vomit spilling down my front. I didn’t know how to react. How in the world did I get myself into a situation where another hapless fellow was sharing his physical attraction to my outer shell as though it were the next top love story of the 21st century? We were friends, I assumed! How did such a healthy friendship spiral downward so quickly?

We do not need to share our hearts with the object of our affection the moment we begin to feel the emotional uprising. Song of Songs states clearly, “Do not awaken love before the time is right.” This phrase is used over and over again throughout the book. Sharing one’s heart abruptly strains a friendship. It destroys, not builds upon a solid foundation. It seems as though we-as a generation-do not focus enough on discernment and self-control as desirable attributes to possess. People are so quick to blurt out their infatuation for fear of losing the chance or missing out on some of the fun and excitement of romantic relationships. But something happens when this confession is not received well. Once we have spewed those emotions forth-at the wrong time-there’s no back-tracking to the friendship zone. Like a maze, it is nearly impossible to find our way back. Why would we sacrifice a quality friendship because our gag-reflex is hyper-sensitive due to emotional gorging? Consequences ensue even after forgiveness. We will always face the repercussions from previous mistakes. With those specific friendships, we may never gain that closeness again. But now is the time to turn a new leaf. There are too many broken relationships in this world. Something needs to change. I do not believe we will ever regret waiting for the “right time” in relationships. It is a serious topic: two lives are at stake for a dramatic change. After interaction and closeness with one another, a bond is created and when the two are separated, that bond is severed and hearts are broken. Relationships are not meant to be pursued in “trial by error” form. It is not worth injuring another person’s identity, heart, and self-esteem level. We need to grasp this without needing to “practice” our way through life, leaving broken hearts, or pieces of our own heart strewn through life along the way.


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