QUESTION: Dear Pastor, there’s this one good friend of mine. We have been friends since 2016, he is supportive and caring to an extent that he recently paid my hospital bills. It is absurd that he loves and is attracted to me but I only love him as a friend. What can I do because I don’t want to lose him as a friend? Renee
hank you my daughter for the question. Human relationships are very complicated and not always in black and white. What you are struggling with is what is known as maintaining people in the friend zone. What I can say is that it is likely to be too late for you to keep him as a friend.
This is not to say that you cannot keep him as one, but chances of him staying in your life as a friend are minimal. However, the good news is, there is a chance for you to retain a friend in him.
Before we look at those chances, let me first address not only you, but also the men represented by him in this case.
What is a friend zone?
Let’s say you met someone at Church or anywhere you both routinely appear, and this person was your type.
You liked everything physical and social about them. From the start for you, it is an intimate, romantic and a sexual interest. However, on the outset, it is not what you present to the other party but rather you package these expectations in a wrapping known as friendship.
As the friendship continues, you present the original intentions and boom, the other party turns you down and you find yourself in an unreciprocated romantic and sexual interest.
You are at that moment friend zoned. A friend zone situation is when two friends do not agree on the quality of feelings towards each other and secondly on the goal of the existing friendship.
While one individual thinks this friend-‘ship’ is sailing them to a romantic and sexual island, the other knows it is a friendship going nowhere beyond friends can go.
Opposite sex friendships
How successful are opposite sex friendships? How we respond to this question depends largely on our individual experience, but the general answer is that the success of this relationship does not depend on natural factors.
I am not saying that opposite sex friendships don’t work but rather the success of such relationships depend on particular reasons. The risks of affecting your emotional world and other relationships are high.
It is challenging to maintain an opposite sex friendship without some sort of attraction involved.
Men have two goals when initiating OSFs (Opposite Sex Friendships); a short term one, to have easily accessible potential sexual partners, and a long term one, to have an available potential long term partner.
So, my daughter, it is unfortunate that your friend has put you in a position where you have to choose between your friendship and him.
Unfortunately, the fact is that all along, you were alone in the friendship. To him, it was an intimate arrangement and all his kind gestures were but irrigating a romantic relationship but not friendship. This is why we need to learn a thing or two about the story of Ruth and Boaz.
The Bible tells a story of a young lady (Ruth) who became friends with her mother-in-law (Noami). When they showed love and kindness to each other, there was nothing to suspect.
However, Ruth made another friend and that was Boaz. Boaz gave her a preferential treatment at the field (Ruth 2:2-23) and Naomi was quick to warn Ruth to ensure that Boaz is put in his rightful place as early as possible.
If you are getting what you feel is special treatment from a man, instead of going out on a limb and assuming he likes you, only to find out later that he has no romantic interests towards you, it is important to ask him to clarify his intentions from the start.
Boaz and Ruth started at the right note and it is the Christian thing for all of us to do at the start of every opposite sex friendship, especially between those in the same age bracket and those who are a type to each other.
Make your intentions clear at the start. If you did not make your intention clear from the start, the mature and respectful thing to do now is to be open and tell him how you feel about him and make sure he understands that you are not willing to change that.
Take no offence from his romantic feelings for you, neither should they take offence if you are not reciprocating those feelings.Answered by Pr Isaiah White Send your questions to: email@example.com WhatsApp +256775822833.