“Is staying friends a bad idea?” she asked.
She’d been getting to know this man for a couple of months, and while he was a good man, and there were no glaring red flags, their faith wasn’t aligned. And while he respected her, and recognized she’s a good woman, he wasn’t at a spot where he was willing to dive deeper into faith and grow in that with her.
My response, while guided specifically towards this friend and her specific situation, is one that I believe in – sharing here in case you’re in the “should we remain friends?” dilemma.
Here’s what I shared with her…
“I’d say, it may not be wise if the temptation is there to “stay in touch until / in the hopes that he changes.”
If it’s anything that would need to shift when your man comes into your life, then I’d nip it in the bud right now and not let anything develop beyond that.
I haven’t really seen / experienced a 1:1 co-ed friendship where it’s completely platonic. What I’ve seen is that either lines are crossed, or one party is interested in romance with the other one, but it’s only a one-sided desire.
⛔ My general recommendation is to no longer be in contact, especially if the relationship was initiated with romantic intentions… just because usually senses are dulled by desires and red flags get pushed aside. If there’s a valid reason it’s not moving forward, then that reason remains, and “just friends” can become a big gray area.
And, it may be necessary to put boundaries up (i.e. I’m not going to be reaching out to you or remaining in conversation with you, but you’re welcome to reach out to me if things shift with your faith and we can see where we’re both at).
Then how/ if the man honors those boundaries is also very telling.”
Hoping this brings some clarity to you, and my guess is that it’s likely already echoing what you were considering, or it’s triggering you, in which case it’s echoing what you need to hear, but not what you want to hear.
I’ll add here something I didn’t respond to her with, and that is to consider why it is that you want to remain friends in the first place, if romantically you know it’s not going to work out.
Is it because you were enjoying the attention?
Is it because you finally had someone to hang out with and you’re worried about being alone again?
Is it because you were bored and this was giving you something to occupy your time?
Usually, there’s a deeper reason behind why it’s hard to give someone up, even when we know it’s not the best match. Once you address that, the temptation to stay friends will dissipate, because you’re not depending on that “friendship” to fulfill a vacant area.
Short answer? Yes.
Medium answer? I have a pastor who says “it’s not about asking whether it’s right or wrong, but asking whether it’s wise or not.” and honestly, that has made so many things evidently clear through the years! It’s easy to justify things and make them seem “right” when you really want to, but when you know something is just plain not wise, it’s foolish to try to justify it, and you’ll find your filter gets a lot crisper/clearer/cleaner when you use “wise” as the guide!
Long answer? Read the full post
*Caveat = this guidance was written for a single friend, where no co-parenting, and no abuse was involved – obviously there will be exceptions in different scenarios, so take it or leave it.