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Just Friends

Our fallen view of male-female relationships.  |  Caitlin Gaines/THE CHIMES

 

We are all created as relational beings, meant to be seen, known and loved by our brothers and sisters— that was God’s intention. However, Biola’s dating culture reveals how God’s design for relationships has become skewed along the way. This proposes the question: can platonic relationship exist between members of the opposite sex?

Confusing platonic relationships

Confusion regarding platonic male-female relationships has largely stemmed from the media. In films such as “When Harry Met Sally” and television shows like “Friends,” the line between platonic and romantic relationships appears blurry. At some point in time, it seems, most male-female friendships depicted in the media develop into romance.

When asking students if males and females can be close friends, one may receive two answers. The first being, “Yes, of course! Why do we have to romanticize everything?” and the second being, “Guys and girls can be friends, but at some point, there will be a question of romantic feelings. It happens every time. It is inevitable.” At Biola, it’s almost expected that men and women who are good friends will start dating. Junior elementary education major Melissa Valle shared a difficulty in these friendships.

“It’s hard to get coffee with a guy friend without being questioned about the relationship,” Valle said.

Cristina Schmitter, my roommate and senior public relations major, frowned when asked the question.

“Here’s the problem: Guys only seem to be particularly interested in you if they know there’s romantic potential. I’m not saying all Biola men are like this, but I’ve found telling a guy I’m only interested in friendship leads to their disinterest altogether,” Schmitter said.

Cristina’s perspective suggests boys place a significantly higher value on friendship with girls whom they deem as potential dating interests. This asserts that there is no interest in being close friends unless dating is on the horizon.

destroying the idea

As men and women of God, we should protect each other from becoming too emotionally invested in those we do not plan on dating. We can do this by being open with one another from the start — expressing one’s desire for friendship only before any emotional boundaries are crossed — and speaking about the blurry lines in our relationships, instead of acting like they don’t exist. Establishing friendships without expecting those friendships to develop into something more down the road will get rid of expectations and allow us to really get to know each other instead.

We should aim to destroy the idea that a woman’s rejection of a romantic interest is a rejection of the man’s whole self and to eliminate the stigmatism that women are only worthy of being known when romantically pursued.

The relationships in our post-resurrected life will be ones where we are united and unmarried. By placing an exceedingly high value on romantic relationships rather than platonic friendships, we cheat ourselves out of fruitful, God-honoring companionship — something we were made for. Men, the ladies at Biola are intelligent, witty, brave, kind and worthy of being known, regardless if they want to date you or not. We can learn and grow from one another in deep ways without becoming romantically involved. In fact, there is something so unique in having cross-sex friendships, without any strings attached. Through these relationships, we can get a better glimpse of our God by seeing his image in the friends around us. We should aim to know, care for and seek the best out of one another as fellow heirs in the coming kingdom. That, my friends, is intrinsically beautiful.

 

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