Tuesday, November 29, 2005

a noble man of intention ... continued

A while ago I wrote a post concerning Carolyn McCulley's article regarding men being intentional in their relationships with women. Since then I have come across many other women who struggle in their relationships with men. Many of them have been hurt (either by having been misled or by letting their imaginations get the best of them, resulting in disappointment). In order to safeguard against this pain, they either avoid friendships with men altogether, set up emotional walls, or become dominating (determined that if anyone was going to get hurt, it wouldn't be them).

Is he only a friend ... or does he want more? Most of the time neither has been communicated, leaving the woman floundering in guesses. Perhaps he doesn't even know what he wants! She enjoys the time that she spends with him but when they are apart she is pre-occupied with wondering "I wonder what he thinks of me?"

I discovered this Washington state trio two years ago and have been hooked ever since. Late Tuesday has found an uncanny way of getting into my head and putting my exact experiences and feelings to words and music. But then again ... maybe it's not just me.

Here's a glimpse, guys, of what goes on in the head of a woman if she finds herself in a "friendlationship." click here to listen.

Everything Means Nothing
~Late Tuesday

At the drop of a hat I would say yes to your questions
And I would think it great to be your friend
And not only that, I would love to hear your stories always
And hear your laughter from the phone line's other end

It's simply marvelous what I know of you
And of the things I've heard, I like you that much more
And more time with you makes my heart grow fonder
But there's just one small thing that I think I should know

What are you thinking of me?
I haven't figured it out - not yet - not specifically
And everything means nothing, until you put into your words
What you are thinking when you think of me

And I could sure make more guesses than the ways you make me laugh
As to your intentions with me
But all my guesses add up to a whole lot of nothing
So I'll wait for you to divulge to me

What are you thinking of me?
I haven't figured it out - not yet - not specifically
And everything means nothing, until you put into your words
What you are thinking when you think of me

I hope this is helpful for you guys in understanding how your sisters-in-Christ often become frustrated and confused in their friendship with you.

I have been blessed with many godly guy friends the past couple of years. Granted, I didn't know any guys when I was in Jr. High and High School ... but God made up for all of that by surrounding me in a circle of friends in college and beyond that have made me who I am today. I have fond memories of running away from two Art majors who should have known better than to wear WHITE socks. I recall cheering on one of my best friends at each of his softball games that I could make it to. One time, I collaborated with another guy friend to convince a gullible friend of ours (from Albania) that in the United States, picking another's nose was a loving, sacred act saved only for marriage. After college, I coordinated a spy themed scavenger hunt through historic Savannah with the aid of a fellow world-traveler. In seminary, I am blessed with two comrades who keep me laughing and inspire me unlike anyone I've ever met.

Yes, it is possible for men and women to be friends.

But ... I have also experienced the intense moments of confusion and misunderstanding, too. And no, I don't have all of the answers. I continue to struggle ... frustrated ... unwilling to express how I feel ... waiting.

Is this merely a part of life ... or is there some profound answer?


j.wo said...

Wow. Well said, Christine. I LOVE this song, BTW. Confession: I, too, have found myself in the exact situation you describe since coming here to Southern this past year.

Right now, I have the most "guy friends" that I have ever had in my entire life - and they're REAL friends, too: QUALITY gents I have no qualm about calling up to hanging out, asking them for help/advice, or even serving them as a loving sister when the privilege presents itself. It's nice being able to feel totally comfortable around my masculine peers...

There are also those that I have "noticed" in that way, yet (upon pangs of erring on the side of presumption) will continue to keep my thoughts contentedly between the Lord and myself, also waiting for them to make the first move, and initiate the DTR discourse.

Ah - the awkwardness and sanctifying power of "friendlationships." Would life be the same without it? I submit that it would not. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. Your post and this song have come to me on the exact day that I needed them. I'd rather remain anonymous on this because it's a small campus and the whole world doesn't need to know my heart ache. But thank you. You've blessed me today.

erin said...

I would also like to offer that for girls...well for myself at least, alot of times i mistake admiration for adoration. I don't believe that we have been taught how to identify and express admiration and so often times we feel that it is actually adoration instead. There are times when I have to step back to realize that I am not actually attracted to Guy "X", as I had allowed myself to belive, but instead, I admire his passion for the Lord and his goals and other things. I know how to live out adoration...but admiration is something different.

Bobby said...

What can make all this relationship stuff confusing is the fact that everyone has a different idea when it comes to "what am I looking for?"

For instance, when you say that you have wonderful guy friends, I would ask, rhetorically, "What if one of them pursued you?"

Girls respond differently (and guys do to). There are those, guys and girls, who have two categories: those they want to be friends with, and those they want to date. Someone of the opposite sex can become the greatest friend ever, yet they wouldn't think of dating them -- and actually, the fact that their friend is "too good a friend" can be a prime reason for not dating them.
The wife-half of one of my best couple friends told me recently, "If Joel and I would have become close friends before we fell for each other, I never would have fallen for him."

I don't understand this thinking myself, but there are many people like that. I read an article in Psychology Today one time that said one reason why some intergender friendships don't cross the line into romance is that one or both parties may like the other person well enough to be close friends, but still feel there are personality traits in the other person that would make them unacceptable as a lover.

This is foreign thinking to me. Anything that would be enough of a "black mark" to rule out me wanting to date a girl would also rule out wanting to be friends with her (by "friend" I mean real, close friendship, not a "friendly acquaintance relationship).

I know there are many people like me: we want a lover who, at the base of the relationship, can also be our best friend. But of course this invites ambiguity -- how do you know if what you feel towards a girl is friendship or something more? That's not an easy answer, because there are a lot of factors involved in deciding who you want to pursue (as there are many factors that the girl uses to decide whom she accepts).

I do agree, though, that guys should be more intentional. If they determine that they are interested in pursuing a girl, they should do so openly. If they want to keep things on a friendship level, they should say so.

Laura said...

As ever, Christine, your eloquent post has given me more to empathize with and more to think about. And amen, Erin! I'm a naturally affectionate person and I've never hesitated to express my admiration for my guy friends -- I like giving compliments. But I recently realized that my honest appreciation for the awesome character of some of my buddies could be construed as flirting! So I have to be choosy with my words, and careful of the context. Of course, it helps if both parties have already been grown-ups and had the DTR early on, rather than waiting until things got awkward or confusing for one or both parties!

A Stack said...

Hi, this is strange, but you have my maiden name and as I'm reading your blog, it seems that we have a lot in common...if you ever want to chat, let me know...my blog is http://joyful-in-hope.blogspot.com/

I'm also 24, into arts, a Christian and very interested in social justice and reform...get in touch!
Amy Hnat (Stack is my married name)

Christian said...

What's the guy/girl ratio at Southern?

The campus I'm at is about 70/30, give or take, female/male. Partially because of that (or so I have decided), they do some odd things like hug all the time.

The reason I say that in response to this most recent post about male/female relationships (can't get away from it, can ya?), is that I'm curious if Southern is headed in the same female direction. I don't honestly believe that guys are predisposed to being deep, personal friends with girls (plural, I'm not talking about a spouse). It's more of a product of our modern society than anything, in my opinion. And in these subcultures where females are becoming increasingly dominant, you'd be surprised how often I'm told to change.

I have female friends who are always telling me that guys need to talk while in the bathroom (ain't going to happen, unless he wants to be decked in the mouth), hug more, hold hands (can you believe that?), talk about their "feelings," and all sorts of other peculiar things.

What I find most intriguing is that there are myriad posts on the SBTS blog ring by males having nothing to do with relationships/beauty/friendships, but having everything to do with substantive, theological problems and concerns about the church and the modern world. Then I read the female posts, which have some of that, but more of the relationship talk and how they view the beauty of the world and whatnot. Don't get me wrong--I enjoy both sides. But while trying to "reverse the trends of feminism," how about stopping trying to get guys to understand why women get frustrated in relationships and the problems of male/female friendships? Guys, for the most part, accept that we don't understand why women think the way they do: why they'd talk in a bathroom or feel the need to give hugs to everything that moves. You'd think women could just accept that guys are equally confusing to women.

Again, though, I couch this all in that I appreciate both sides. Sometimes you have to learn to appreciate not knowing something.

ckhnat said...

is that what you think, Christian ... that I am attempting to get men to get in touch with their touchy-feely side? of course not! I think you've misunderstood my intentions. Feminism has in many ways beaten men down. Some have been raised to supress their rough, masculine characteristics in favor of docile, meek, passive ones. I am not seeking to make sonnet-spouting, flower-picking, pew-sittiing pansies! I want to ignite the passion within men to ACT. Be men ... and then maybe ... just maybe ... we women will realize how good it is to be a woman.

ha ha ... in regards to the blogs here at the seminary ... you commented that the men tend to keep to issues pertaining to current events and theology. true. Every newspaper, however, needs a Dave Barry or an Ann Landers. Keeps thing interesting. Please don't misunderstand that my writing is intended only for the seminary community ... I have been maintaining this blog prior to my enrollment here. My audience is not confined to the realm of SBTS. If you don't like the sports page ... don't read it.

Thanks for your insights.

Anonymous said...

blahglahbahha! This is a gratuitous anonymous comment and I'm writing to complain! You and people like you are writing things that don't interest me on your own page! Why would you do such a thing! I'm appalled! All my sentences end in exclamation marks! Roar! Now I will end with something that is insulting to you and exalts me, including a gratuitous spelling eror that makes the whole thing a lot less intimidating and also kinda funny!

Just thought it would be fun to do that before somebody else did.

ckhnat said...

ACK! you're a bothersome pest!

Anonymous said...

I want to encourage the ladies to form very strong relationships with their girlfriends and let the men persue you. I have been married just over 6 months, and I too spent a lot of time thinking about the same things you are. And I know now that the time could have been spent in a much better way. If you want these guys to change, you have to demand it - you cannot be available at every call, if you are with your girlfriends having a great time, they will have to persue you to spend time with you. Eventually they will tire of hanging out with the boys and step up as men and ask you out respectfully....if they don't, follow their lead because they are probably not interested. I did this with my husband. By the time we were married, we had dated for over three years (this was way too long in my opinion, but I enabled it). I was helping him around his house, keeping him company in the evening, being his date for business parties, and he was happy. When I stopped being as available to him (i.e. I did not go out of my way to see him, did not initiate calls, sometimes had other things to do on the weekends instead of the normal just hanging out with him) he stepped up to the plate. Men by nature like to set goals and attain them. Don't be too easy of a goal, or you will be overlooked. I know this kind of seems like a game, but it is just how the Lord created us.

Laura said...

Yes! Another anonymous, this one working hard to say something beneficial and edifying!

Tmproff said...

Relationships are so funny. 2 people are interested in each other, but desperatly try to hide it.

I'm not sure of your outlook on guy/girl etiquette, but most people think the guy should ask the girl out ( I wish more women asked guys out!) I'll go out on a limb and say that most single guys are looking at every single girl in their sphere of friends / acquaintences and asking the question "would she say yes?"

As a guy, I'm always trying to look for the "clues" that women say they are communicating.

Want a piece of advice? Women, do you want a sure fire way to hint to a guy that you are interested without embarassing yourself? TOUCH HIM! We are physical...we respond to physical things. It can be very simple...a touch on the arm, heck, slug him on the shoulder....trust me, he'll remember it and greatly increase your chances to be asked out.

Tmproff said...

*few more thoughts* I read Captivating a few weeks ago and really got a lot out of it. Masculinity is revealed through Beauty, and Beauty is revealed through Masculiity.

The common misnomer is that Beauty can create Masculinity and vise-versa.....Only Beauty creates beauty....you get the pattern.

Flirting is a great example of Beauty/Masculinity revealing the opposite.....

ckhnat said...

should i say anything?!! I don't know ... maybe i should let anonymous lay it all out, since he seems to know me so well. oh but it's tempting ...

ha ha ... those who know me really well will understand why the above comments from "Tmproff" ... well, affect me ... i laugh and shudder all at once ...

Elise said...

From Anonymous - my name is Elise, sorry I have never left a blog comment.

ckhnat said...

oh dear ... no no ... my little jibe wasn't directed at you ... i LOVED your comment ... thank you, Elise.

but my blog has been plagued recently by a re-occuring "Anonymous" who likes to point out my various weaknesses.

ckhnat said...

that's the Anonymous I was refering to.

Tmproff said...

I might not know you like Mr. Anonymous does, but from reading your blog, I really like what you have to say :)

Tmproff said...

BTW, a good friend of mine is a developing Christian Feminist...I'd be curious what your opinion on her is:


N said...

i hope tmproff is not a prof.

overall though this is the most interesting blog thread i've seen in a while.

and to tmproff, be careful to take time in thought, wise counsel, scripture, and more thought after/while reading a book like Captivating/wild at heart/etc. - before engaging in a relationship/pursual or suggesting these types of ideas to the gullible males in your sphere.

i don't even want to get into replying to your well intentioned but innacurate points (i had the same reaction here as the Queen)...it's really tempting though but it'll probably just erupt into arguments.

i do have to close with this though... WOMEN - please do NOT touch men. whatever your spiritual position may be... if you are trying to find a real man and a good relationship... starting out with physical touch to get the guys attention is just going to cloud things at the beginning (in at least his mind) and you could end up in a serious relationship driven mostly by physical connection. a month after you are married...it's boring as heck.

and yes, we DO notice every time you brush our elbow. no, seriously.

N said...

What do ya'll think of this song/topic?

My Nice-Friend Face, by Late Tuesday:

You were the one who wanted this from the start
You offered me your ring before I offered my heart
You have yourself convinced that I am what you need
Who knew you'd have us figured out
before you talked to me?

I tried not to lead you on, but my best just shines
When I put my nice friend face on
It's a mess, you think too much of me I guess
Now I'm the one who has to lay it out
And let you down easy

May I remind you that I never said one darn thing
That I thought would get this into your head
But it's there now, you are smitten hands down
And i'm the best to blame
Because i'm just nice from the get go

I tried not to lead you on
But you misread me
And I mistakenly smiled for too long
It's a mess you think too much of me I guess
Now I'm the one who has to lay it out
I'm the one who has to bring it up
I'm the one who has to clear it up
And let you down easy



So I pose this followup question... are really good/close friendships EVER possible between a male & female?

I have a lot of experience & wise counsel from older men that would say a solid NO to that question. Believe me, I didn't want to believe it either.

Christine mentions a bunch of "guy friends" she had in college but I wonder how close those friendships were. It sounds like she probably kept them at a safe distance from her heart/mind and had solid girl-friends to talk about deep matters with.

I could add a bunch of disclaimers here like "depending on if they are within a similar age, both single, one is single, etc." but I honestly don't think that matters much. The key word though is "close" friendship. I think friendships are possible, but not close ones (ie. deep, exclusive, co-dependent, etc.)

Maybe some of you have read a good book/article about boundaries for GOOD healthy friendships between single males & females? I know "Boundaries in Dating" is a pretty good one I've read recently that actually has some interesting points about this topic and others.


ckhnat said...

"My Nice Friend-Face"

I had never met anyone else who even knew about Late Tuesday until I came here. It was at the beginning of the semester and i had made a new friend who was giving a small concert at a nearby coffee house.

Nikki, the girl and her guitar ...

After the concert, I went up to say goodbye ... but also to tell her about Late Tuesday. C and B were with me at the time (my two musketeers) and when C heard me mention Late Tuesday he was startled.

"Did I tell you about Late Tuesday?"

"What do you mean? No ... wait a moment ... you know who Late Tuesday is?!!"

How odd when you find someone who appreciates some obscure little Indie band ... especially when that person is one of your dearest friends.

Since then some of the songs have become an inside joke with us. For instance, the song you just mentioned, N ... I was over at C and B's apartment with a friend of ours from back in Savannah. C played this song for our friend and said, "This song is about Christine."

Yes, N. This song seems to describe me very well.

Linguistica said...

Interesting thread you've got going here! Definitely a buzz topic for all twenty-somethings. One thing I'm bursting to bring up, I don't think it's been mentioned yet, is that girls sometimes need to give guys a break! How many times do we talk amongst ourselves and label some poor innocent guy a jerk just because he's friendly yet simply not interested? Just because we're interested in them doesn't mean that they are obligated to pursue us, or even to initiate a DTR. Girls can be so manipulative and use our feelings to push obligations or guilt onto others. Even if they like us back, they may not like us enough to truly pursue. If that's the case, then forget it, wait for the one that will. Personally, I'm thankful that the guys I've had crushes on over the years have never pursued me because now I see they weren't the right one for me. I believe in a God who is able to bring that right one to me and enable him to pursue without manipulation on my part.

G. F. McDowell said...

[reposting my comment from prior post on this topic from November]

When a man takes his rightful risk in being intentional, rejection is something of which he is all too aware, and it is the woman's right to reject him. What is completely unfair is when a woman rejects the noble man with a noble plan, but tries to find a third way whereby she may still enjoy the benefits of his friendship. It is a relationally heinous act to demand friendship on the heels of rejecting a man's pursuit. The sword cuts both ways, and there are consequences of intentionality for women, too.

mike said...

I love Christine here too