Q: As a young woman of 17 I would like to know how to be "just friends" with guys, but don't know how. Any advice?
A: It wasn't to long ago when I was navigating through my teen years and into early adult hood. Actually, I still am. Throughout these years the one issue that has always been a mystery is "friendships with guys". How much time should I spend with them? How do these relationships differ from those with my girlfriends? Is is okay to hang out or talk on the phone? I've always wished for a simple set of rules. Just a little list of "do's and dont's" that I could carry with me to refer back to. These rules would guarantee a great outcome, and no longer would I have to worry about that little conscience of mine - however, I've learned that this is a wisdom issue, and that the Bible is the main source for that wisdom.
A verse I often refer to regarding this topic is 1 Timothy 5:1-2 where Paul tells Timothy that he should, “Treat…younger women like sisters, in all purity.” Now if guys are called to treat us as “sisters in all purity,” then we should in turn must act like sisters, in purity! Here within this verse is the wisdom we're looking for. Ask yourselves—do I treat my guy friends as I would my own brother? Am I behaving in absolute purity toward guys?
I also quickly learned that my friendships with guys needed to look rather different than my friendships with girls. I was discussing this topic with a trusted mentor once and they said "Grace, guys read into things just as much as girls do. When a girl shows consistent attention to one guy, it can cultivate affection in that guy’s heart." While I may have been considering my guy friends as brothers, they quite possibly could have been thinking that there was something more. I also remember having someone tell me to relate to all guys as "another woman's husband." I found this little phrase to be very helpful in relating to my guy friends.
All things aside, friendships with guys are not wrong. Actually, I would argue that friendships with godly young men during this season of life are a gift and something to be enjoyed. As one of four girls (aside from my two older brothers 16 yrs. before me) I'm very grateful for the guys that are my "brothers" during these years. If we pursue the principles of purity and brotherly love displayed for us in scripture, we can be free to enjoy godly friendships with guys as blessing from our heavenly Father.