Gone are the days when male-female friendships cause headlines and raised eyebrows. Opposite gender friendship boundaries have become all the more important because this kind of relationship has become more common in society! And while we personally are big fans of guy-girl friendships, there have been a lot of cases when they have brought about complication or confusion for one or both parties.
In this blog post, we will share some tips on how to establish opposite gender friendship boundaries. Setting boundaries for platonic friendships (even more particularly for Christian guy-girl friendships!) is important to make sure that we keep them healthy, purposeful and thriving!
Why Should We Establish Opposite Gender Friendship Boundaries
Why do we even establish opposite sex friendship boundaries in the first place? Well, the truth is that there is a VERY big likelihood that without setting healthy limits, there could be a danger of “catching feelings” for one or both parties. If both are single & available and both grow to have mutual affection, then that’s not a problem at all. However, if the romantic feelings are one-sided, or worse, if one or both parties are already committed to someone else, then that can get complicated.
Setting opposite gender friendship boundaries allows both people involved in the Christian guy-girl friendship to continue growing in their platonic friendship, yet at the same time not endangering their relationships with others and with themselves. Some ladies, for example, wonder why guys don’t pursue them, when in fact, they are very much attached to certain guy friends that other men get fended off and assume that they’re already taken! Some guys, on the other hand, avoid setting opposite sex friendship boundaries because they get “girlfriend perks” (e.g. a constant companion, a shoulder to cry on) without the need for commitment!
How to Establish Opposite Gender Friendship Boundaries
1. Talk About Having Limits!
Most opposite gender friendship boundaries get breached because they have not been set clearly in the first place! Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re the exception rather than the rule. Don’t assume that you can be 100% certain that there will be no confusion in your Christian guy-girl friendship. (Some tend to do that due to spiritual complacency.)
Take the proactive route and decide that you will not fall into that trap! Admit to yourselves and to each other that you are but HUMAN, and that without taking caution, there is a possibility of risking your feelings and your friendship! Agree that you need to have opposite sex friendship boundaries.
2. Moderate Your 3 T’s — Talk, Time and Touch
These three areas — talk, time, and touch — are usually the most surefire way to breach opposite sex friendship boundaries. Make sure that you moderate how much of each you spend in your friendship — even if it’s a CHRISTIAN guy-girl friendship. It’s crucial to consider each area because people have varying love languages. You may not be aware that excessive showering of talk, time or touch can already be planting seeds of emotions with the other person.
Do you talk almost all the time? The first thing that you need to monitor and moderate is the QUANTITY of talk that you two have. To have boundaries in your platonic friendship, make sure that not every waking hour of the day is spent talking to each other.
If your answer is no, then you may want to evaluate that Christian guy-girl friendship and learn to set limits. Find other friends, preferably those from the same gender (just so you can have a healthy mix of friendships), who you can also talk to.
You should of course not just monitor the QUANTITY but also the QUALITY of your ‘talk’. While it’s good to find someone with whom you can share your heart and soul with, it’s unhealthy to get severely emotionally attached, especially if one party is already committed to someone else. If you are the one committed with someone else, STOP having frequent deep conversations with your platonic friend. You should be sharing your innermost feelings and thoughts with the one you are in a relationship with.
If you are the friend without a committed relationship, or if you both are single but still want to set opposite gender friendship boundaries, set limits with what you will share and what you will listen to. There is such a thing as EMOTIONAL INTIMACY, and we of course want to reserve that for our life-long partner.
Ahhh, the perks and perils of quality time! This is an important area to consider to make sure you have opposite gender friendship boundaries. It is, after all, so tempting to want to spend so much time with someone we get along with — even if it’s just a platonic friend!
To set opposite sex friendship boundaries, set a limit on your shared experiences. Make sure that you don’t excessively spend so much time together, to the point that your bonding time with family, other friends, and your romantic partner take a hit. Better yet, involve other people when you’re hanging out or heading somewhere.
You’ve also got to be careful with physical contact, if you want to set opposite gender friendship boundaries. While it may seem “normal” for you to hug each other, tackle each other, and hold hands, you never know what “buzz” your excessive physical interaction may be causing. Especially if you are good friends and have great chemistry, set limits to how much “touch” you will allow in your platonic friendship. This is especially important for Christian guy-girl friendships because we want to honor God with our body.
Our recommendation would be to limit this to healthy touches like high-fives, side hugs, and pats on the back. Too much touch can be VERY dangerous after all, especially for male-female friendship.
3. Involve Others in Your Friendship
One of the biggest enemies of having healthy opposite gender friendship boundaries is staying in “the bubble”. While you could be really close friends, protect each other by involving other people in your friendship. Make other people aware of where you’re going, and maybe invite them to some of your activities. It doesn’t have to always be just the two of you.
In fact, if one of you is in a committed relationship with someone else (or both of you are), it may be good to invite that romantic partner to some of your activities and conversations to make sure that there is no “secrecy”.
4. Be Honest About How You Feel
Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. If you’re starting to feel giddy about your male-female friendship, then there might be some breaching of the opposite gender friendship boundaries you have set. Be honest about it, find what you need to stop doing, and stop doing it! Don’t go playing with fire further!
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