Okay, so you know how I’ve been talking about high-school romance and friendship over the past couple weeks? Well, recently I’ve been thinking a lot about high school romance within those healthy friendships that we form. I mean, boys will be attracted to girls, and vice versa, whether their relationship is romantic or not.
I wanted to share in particular my thoughts about how friendship can be tricky with a person you love, especially if you’re head over heels for someone.
Before I get started, first recall everything I talked about in my two previous posts “Satisfying the Urge for Teen Romance” and “Why being ‘Just Friends’ is Stupid”. To summarize, I stated that dating in high school isn’t always smart. Yes, we have intense desires and emotions, but when it comes to actually loving the person that we claim to love…well, love might require that we do NOT date that person. Then I went on to say in another post that friendship is an awesome alternative to dating in high school. In fact, it’s such an awesome alternative that I thought people should stop reducing its value. Being “just friends” is stupid. Because the “just” shouldn’t even be there. Be friends.
However, there is still the issue of being friends with a person that you love. Just because you’ve decided to be friends—and close friends—, the desire to date is definitely still there. So what do you do? How are you supposed to respond?
Let me try to break some things down for you, based off of personal knowledge and personal experience.
If you’re going to be friends, you need to keep things in perspective. Namely, keep everything in “friend”-perspective.
What does that mean? I mean that, even if you’re deciding not to be romantic with each other (like telling each other “I love you”, or holding hands, or even flirting, etc.), it’s still EXTREMELY easy to view that person as a boyfriend/girlfriend. Maybe your relationship is under control because you’re friends, but sometimes we have the tendency to expect certain things from each other that we would also expect if we were dating. For instance, a lot more goes into a dating relationship than just romantic/physical stuff.
Take for example that when two people date, they tend to make their relationship exclusive. They treat each other as #1. Or consider how when people date, they want to be at the center of each other’s time? They think that they deserve each other’s time and attention over everyone else.
Now, what happens when you apply this to your FRIENDSHIP with the person that you like?
Uh, bad things.
This kind of relationship can gain a sense of obsessiveness. We elevate our relationship to the level of a romantic/dating relationship under the name of friendship. We tell each other that we won’t be romantic, but then we expect things from each other that places a sense of exclusivity or obsessiveness on our friendship. It makes friendship confining. It can even make it selfish.
And that’s not love.
Love is freeing. Love gives. Love is all about “the other”. Do I need to quote Corinthians for you? Okay!
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, 5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, 6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
So keep everything in perspective. Realize and be content with where you are in your relationship. You can still feel a desire to love someone in a deeper, more physical way. That’s a good thing. It can even be holy, especially if you allow God to purify your desires. In fact, it’s even okay for you to allow your desires to drive you to love that person. That’s how God designed it.
There’s nothing wrong with being friends with a member of the opposite sex and still being a man and a woman for each other. Guys, you can still be friends with a girl and hold doors open for her; girls, you can still be friends with a guy and let/even expect him to pay for you when you go to a restaurant or see a movie. There’s nothing wrong with men being men for women, and women being women for men. Romance doesn’t need to come into the picture (even though it probably will). I hope all of that makes sense.
Okay, I’ve given you a mentality: keep everything in perspective. But if I can give you some more practical advice…
So let’s say you feel this desire to form an obsessive friendship with someone. Or let’s say you tend to view this person that you like as more than a friend, even though friendship is where you are in your relationship…and where you should be at your current stage of life.
What if you’re making your life all about this ONE person? What if you’ve made them the center of your life? Your thoughts revolve around them, around the next time you see them, about what you will say when you see them? Maybe your thoughts can be centered on love: you really care about them. But what if…for your current stage in life, for the current state of your relationship with this person, you’re just being a little obsessive?
What do you do?
My advice: use your relationship with this person to raise all of your relationships.
Raise your other relationships how?
Well, if you tend to be centered on just one person, branch out. Don’t allow yourself to slip into exclusivity. Make your life about even more people. Reach out and try to develop a deeper relationship with all of your friends; don’t focus on just this one relationship. And strive for balance.
For example: let’s say you’ve made a habit of texting your friend (whom you actually really like) before every important event or competition in his/her life. Every time he or she has a game, or a concert, or something, you text him/her “Good luck!” You do it to show that you care…and you actually do.
Well, start doing that for all of your other friends.
It can be that simple. I’m not saying be obnoxiously obsessive. But just try to be more involved, more balanced with all of your friendships.
Do you see what I mean when I say that your desire for a deeper relationship with this one person can be used to deepen your relationships with your other friends too?
Flee from unnecessary exclusivity in friendship. If you always tend to hug the person you like whenever you greet him/her, hug your other friends too. If you’d hold the door open for this girl that you like, why not hold it open for your other friends-that-are-girls?
I understand this might seem complicated…maybe not even convincing. I guess I’m just asking you to trust me. Make it about everyone. Make it about love. Don’t be obsessive. If you’re like me, and you’re in high school, chances are your life isn’t meant to be completely dedicated to one person right now…
…but, of course, if you really want to dedicate yourself to one Person, He’s always waiting 😉
If you have any questions, or if you’d like me to write about something in particular that relates to the topic of dating/friendship/other, please let me know!
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