Giving Relationship Advice

I find it curious how much guy-girl relationship advice I’ve given my friends when I’ve never had a boyfriend.

Last night one of my friends here in Boulder was dejected because a girl he had a date with earlier in the week called him a couple days later and said she isn’t ready to date. He was captivated by her from the very start and was sure she was the right one for him. I tried to encourage him to remain friends with her because it’s not him she’s rejected, it’s dating in general–for now. He isn’t sure he could be “just friends” with her because he likes her so much. I completely understand his feelings but I know it’s possible. Besides, it’s better to start a relationship with a good friendship than infatuation while dating.

It was kind of pathetic how low his spirits were after knowing this girl for only a week or two, but I’ve felt the same way before. I don’t think these are healthy feelings. Like the quote by C. S. Lewis I posted the other day, we shouldn’t let our happiness be dependent on something or someone we may lose. I’m learning to let my happiness depend on God but my friend only has what he may lose to put his happiness into.

Also, when something doesn’t work out in my life the way I’d like I can relax and know God is in control. I know he has good plans for my future so I have no reason to be depressed or scared. I also know he works through my weakness and trials. My friend thinks he’s in charge of his future so when he loses something/someone he’d like, it’s understandable he’d feel like a failure.

It’s a fine line to walk when having these conversations. I want to be kind, gentle and encouraging, but also realistic and helpful.

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6 responses to “Giving Relationship Advice

  1. Hmm…I’ve been simmering over this, Laurel. For years, friends have come to me for relationship advice when I’ve had less than adequate dating “experience.” But I think there’s a clarity to being the fly on the wall: an ability to offer sound spiritual wisdom based on His Word rather than what has “worked” or what hasn’t.

    I’m not making excuses for infatuation, but one thing to understand about good men is that they long to protect the women they care about; this can stand in conflict with the expectation to “be friends.” While the rejection may have been specifically about dating, your friend may feel that his willingness to be a guardian over her heart has suffered greater rejection.

    I do think he should consider himself blessed that the woman was willing to be upfront with him, rather than allowing him to dwell in lofty expectations. In occasions where feelings were not reciprocated between a female friend and myself, I only remained friends with those that had the maturity to guard my heart rather than “spare my feelings.” Sparing does exactly that: keeps something alive.

    (*As for my elementary understanding of literary irony and its common misuse, a greater example would be if the very piece of advice he was actively rejecting inadvertently led him into a healthy relationship. Like the cliche of a woman “finding her husband when she finally stopped looking” — this would be situational irony were it to occur.)

    • Anthony,

      Thanks for writing. I think you may be very right about my friend feeling like his offer to guard her heart was rejected more than anything. He is very protective of his friends, so that would make sense.

      Can you clarify what you mean by sparing feelings? I’m not sure I quite understood what you meant there.

      You’re probably right about ‘irony’ not quite fitting. I should just not use the silly word–I never use it correctly. Maybe I’ll change it in my post. 🙂

      • Curious is an appropriate word here, but I wouldn’t arbitrarily ditch irony from your arsenal (Alanis Morissette is more guilty of redefining it to mean “strangely coincidental” than the two of us). As with the overuse of “epic” and “literally” in the 21st century, we need good young writers to redeem the classical understanding, and you are just that. Besides, if you didn’t desire to master the English language, you wouldn’t have asked. 🙂

        • True, true. I rarely just give up on a word and I didn’t like the idea of giving up on this one but for some reason I just have a lot of trouble with it. I will try harder.

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