They Do Exist.

Are You “One of The Guys” or “The Girlfriend?”

Editor’s Note: Today post is by Kait Jones. She blogs at It was so good for me to read. Through high school and college, I always saw myself as one of the guys, or the girlfriend. Learning how to be the in-between, the sister, the truly-a-friend, can be difficult but so important. – Lauren

I’ve always been a girl who found a lot of comfort and value in my friendships with the opposite sex. In high school, I thrived on the drama-free friendships that I found with boys. They were always more accepting of me and had lower expectations of how I should dress or act. I felt like I could be myself-in all my nerdy, goofy glory. However, I quickly found myself becoming “one of the guys.”

At first, this didn’t bother me at all, but soon I began to realize that I wanted them to see me as more than that. They knew the real me, and I just lived for the day that one of them would realize what a catch I was and pursue me.

I had met a boy while working at a camp over the summer in New York, just before my freshman year of college. Toward the end of the month, we found out we were both attending the same school in the fall, and I was excited to get to grow in my friendship with him, especially because I hardly knew anybody at the university. We ended up spending a lot of time together over the next two years, but during the entirety of that time, I saw him as nothing more than a friend. A lot of people thought we were dating or going to date, but I always ignored them in such disgust that they could ever think such a thing.

Photo & Design by Lauren Dubinsky

However, because I was in such denial about the potential of our friendship, I told him things I never told anyone else. We spent a lot of time just the two of us. And eventually, I began to see him as more than just one of my friends. It was a gradual thing. Starting with small acts of kindness on his part, such as bringing me flowers to apologize, cooking me dinner or just taking me out to cheer me up if I was upset. In retrospect, I realize that these things may be a bit much for a friendship, but at the time, it was pretty normal for ours.

When I told my best friend, Kelly, how my feelings were changing, she was quick to try and hold me accountable in my friendship with him. There were multiple occasions where he invited me over late at night to watch a movie just the two of us (which was not abnormal) and Kelly questioned it, but I was so wrapped up in all of it that I consciously ignored her warnings.

I had never had a boyfriend, never been kissed, never even been on a date – and the idea that a boy may have actually liked me and be pursuing my heart had me completely swept away. I saw so much potential for the future and just found myself living in a world that didn’t exist. In my mind, we were as good as dating, but he had never mentioned anything about having feelings for me or wanting to date me.

Then came the day where he excitedly told me he was dating a new girl. I was absolutely crushed. That whole summer, I spent my time plotting how they would break up. I tore her down and looked for any flaw in her that would turn him away. But nothing changed. They continued dating and mine and his friendship began to fall apart. I was angry with him and held a lot of bitterness toward him. None of this was really fair to him, because I’d never shared what feelings I had for him. I avoided him and spent so much time raging against him and trash talking him to my friends.

My relationship with Jesus was not good at all. I felt so ugly and unwanted, and I found myself openly disagreeing with the truth displayed in His word. I refused to believe that I was cherished or beautiful just because one guy didn’t want to date me. Oh, the lies we believe.

That winter, I got a phone call and told me he had exciting news to share. Later that evening he came over and shared that he was proposing to his girlfriend. I lost it. For the next couple weeks I was extremely depressed and very hurt that it seemed like he neither noticed nor cared because he was so caught up in his engagement.

Months later I finally realized how unhealthy all this anger I was harboring against him was. I found myself spending more and more time with alone with Jesus and found healing and encouragement from the Bible and my community.

Eventually, I worked up the nerve to talk to him about all of the anger and hurt I felt. To be honest, it was probably the toughest conversation I’ve had to this day, but it resulted in a lot of healing in our friendship. After some time, I forgave him for everything that had happened and stopped holding the guilt over him. We are still friends now, but the greatest thing that came from this whole mess of a friendship was that I finally began to learn what a healthy friendship with a boy could look like.

I used to think I could only be friends with guys if I was ‘one of them.’ I didn’t know how to be a woman amongst men and love them in the right way. I only saw the two extremes of being “one of the guys” and being “the girlfriend.” I never really understood how to be a sister.

We are asked to be brothers and sisters in Christ in the Bible, yet it seems so hard to have those relationships with healthy boundaries surrounding them.

I learned from my experience that there is nothing wrong with being friends with a guy. There are a few men that I am friends with that are like big brothers to me. I love them a ton and am so grateful for them. But, I’ve learned how to be more aware of how I interact with them in order to keep my heart and emotions in a good place. I don’t spend time one-on-one with them unless it is in a public place during normal hours. I also am more guarded in what I share with them about what is going on in my mind, my emotions, my past or my relationship with the Lord. I don’t risk becoming too vulnerable with them in order to protect myself from falling into the same trap I did before.

So ladies, I encourage you to be friends with men! They have a totally different take on things in life and it can be valuable to hear from them and learn from them. God created men to hold different roles: husband, Father and brothers. I urge you to learn what it means to be a sister to these men so that you can encourage them and love them in a way that is pleasing to God and beneficial for both parties involved. If this means placing boundaries on your friendships, then do it! It will benefit you both in the long run.

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17 Responses

  1. Jordana

    great post!

    May 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm

  2. ♥ diane

    wow. you took the words right out of my heart.

    thank you for sharing your story.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm

  3. kelseanne

    Thank you for sharing this. I needed these words of encouragement. :)

    May 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm

  4. Anna

    Wonderful post, I wish I had known some of these things when I was in high school and had guy friends. I definitely shared too much of my heart.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:28 am

  5. This post makes me get goosebumps… i literally had just got done venting to a friend how I feel I'm always "one of the guys" and boom 1 day later!

    May 2, 2012 at 11:58 am

  6. It feels like I wrote this post myself; it's a carbon copy of several years of my life. The only difference is that I was in denial that I was practically in a relationship with the guy whereas he saw it for what it was – a relationship without a label. In my mind, we were just friends. Because I saw our interactions to be very 'normal' for a close friendship, things got really messy when I got into a serious relationship further down the road. What I thought were just 'close friend' boundaries really meant that I was treating both of these guys like they were boyfriends, just different labels. So so messy.
    Thankfully, I've gotten a lot better at being a sister to the wonderful men in my life even though – to some extent or another – I can be 'one of the guys'.

    Thanks so much for this post! It really hit home.

    May 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm

  7. vanessa

    I recommend this book on the topic…. Changed my world and revealed so many of the fears and guardedness we feel. Revealed the flaw that emotional intimacy and connectness had to equal romantic attraction. Goes against what you will find most prevalent in the church, but it is such a beautiful urging toward true community and love.

    May 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm

  8. Holly

    This is so, so true. One of the healthiest friendships I ever had with a guy stemmed from him telling me straight up that "this is just friendship, nothing is ever going to happen here" like the third time we'd hung out. It allowed us to spend time together and be friends with boundaries clearly in place, so that even if we did hang out one-on-one for a movie, or make dinner together, we both knew exactly what our relationship was. (granted, two years after that conversation we got married, but that's a much longer story)

    May 3, 2012 at 5:13 am

  9. Asia

    Thank you for posting this.
    This was the perfect conformation of what I have been praying about during these past several of months.
    Praising God, that He was able to use you so powerfully to speak to myself and other women. (:

    May 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm

  10. Pingback: Why being a guy would be AWESOME but I’m glad I’m a girl… | The World of Daydreams

  11. It takes a lot of maturity to be able to reflect on messy emotions the way you were able to here. Kudos to you! I, too, often find myself I ‘just friend’ relationships and have learned the importance of boundaries. Thank you for sharing so honestly on this topic!

    May 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

  12. Jeremy

    First of all, flowers and taking you out to dinner are not just "a normal part of friendship." I think the standard could be, if the guy wouldn't do it with another guy, then he shouldn't do it with a girl who is "just a friend."

    Also, if you are a girl and you make it clear that you just want to be friends, then you can expect not to be pursued. A guy who thinks that you just want to be friends is going to be very unlikely to make the first move because he doesn't want to hurt the friendship and doesn't want to experience rejection. If you change your mind, or if you really want to be pursued, then you have to say so. Verbally, not through subtle actions or hints, those are too vague. You can't just expect guys to read your mind.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:07 am

  13. Wow, you told my story. :-/ it’s hard when you get crushed like that. I’ve been learning the same thing about being friends … A sister friend with guys too. It reminds me of the Switchfoot song “Daisy”. We give our beauty away in the sense that THAT is what we’re MEANT to do, and if we keep a quiet, gentle spirit spoken of in 1peter, we won’t have to prove anything about ourselves to our brothers except that we’re God’s daughters. It’s a lovely exchange. We treat ourselves with honor because God honors our hearts and then we can honor those around us by seeing clearly who we are and being that person to everyone. That opens the door for us women to be women, and it calls men out to be men. It’s a bittersweet lesson, but the beauty from the ashes are immeasurable to the pain that it costed.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm

  14. This is literally my life at the present moment. My best guy friend and I aren't talking because I found out through a mutual friend that he is not attracted to me. A couple of months back I had admitted to him that I have had a crush on him and that I was trying to get over it. We spent so much time together over the last year and a half, talking and getting coffee and going shopping, cooking for friends, etc….and I know people thought we were dating. In a way, to me at least (not having had many male friends), it seemed like he liked me and that things were heading in the direction of a relationship. About a week ago, I realized that I was initiating all the conversations and hang outs, so I had stopped texting him to see if he would talk to me first. Then when a day passed, then two days, then a week, I was crushed. Somewhere in there he had asked our mutual friend why I wasn't speaking to him and she asked him what his intentions with me were (she is a wonderful sister in Christ, by the way, there were no ulterior motives here). He explained to her that he is not attracted to me and never will be. She told me, gently, a few days later after hanging out with them both. I was destroyed. Now, I am only three days removed from this incident, and I've run the gamut of emotions. I knew that I was making him an idol in my life and focusing too much on what he was doing and feeling that what the Lord was doing. I know that He is removing my guy friend from my life because of this so that I can focus more on my relationship with Him. It still stings a lot, but it's helpful to read posts like these that give insight and a new perspective. I do not know how to treat men like brothers. I do not know how to be a woman in a room full of men. These are things I need to search my heart about and pray for. I am working on standing in the word of Christ that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, even when I don't quite believe it all the time. Thank you so much for sharing your story, I can't tell you how much this has helped me.

    August 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm

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