Reader’s Question: “How do I treat my brothers in Christ as brothers? Being pretty with a friendly and excited personality can look deceptive and flirtatious, but I am in search of how to appear pure at heart from the start, and then loving at the same time.”
Flirt or friend? It can be hard, especially when you are single to not send mixed signals to someone of the opposite sex. I can remember many times throughout my singlehood that I had no interest in a guy at all, but because I was nice to them, gave them a hug and laughed at their jokes, they totally thought I was interested. I would always end up feeling bad and it then became very awkward to hang around those people. I have also found it easy to accidentally flirt even now being married. I think sometimes since I am married and very much in love with my husband, that I am no longer aware of what my actions or words might suggest. So how as Christian women can we treat our brothers in Christ in an appropriate manner, showing them love but it not being mistaken as flirting?
To do this well it takes a lot of work and self-awareness. There are some no-brainers that can help, and then there are some harder things to get down as well.
No-Brainer #1- Physical contact is not necessary to show brotherly affection.
As a girl, I love to give hugs. I used to give everyone, guys and girls alike, big hugs when I first saw them and to say goodbye. It wasn’t until I was married and my husband pointed out that that wasn’t an appropriate form of physical contact with the opposite sex. I was baffled! Why in the world would a frontal hug from me to a guy send inappropriate signals? Well once again my husband enlightened me on the weird hormonal world of boys and how a frontal hug was just a way for a guy to get close to my girls. Ewwwwwww!!!! Never thought of it like that before, but I guess it’s true. So now I give side hugs, and only when necessary. Also, my husband and I pray for a lot of people on a weekly basis. We try and stick to the rule that when we are praying for a girl I put my hands on her and he puts his hands on mine (vice versa for a boy). These cautions might seem extreme, but it shows a boundary that we have put in place to protect us from appearing inappropriate. Also, it lets that other person know that we are acting in a pure of heart mindset.
No-Brainer #2- Don’t be alone with the opposite sex.
This is not only a good rule to keep you pure during single-hood, and a good rule to have in place during your marriage, but it’s also a good rule to use with guys you are only friends with. I have seen over and over again a girl and guy sitting outside, or wherever, for hours talking about whatever, usually the girl is giving the guy advice. The girl only sees the guy as a friend, but the guy begins to think: “this girl must like me, she is spending a lot of alone time with me, she is interested in my life, oh and did I mention we were alone!” Seriously ladies! You only ever need to be alone with a guy if he is your dad, brother or husband. Other than that, you are setting yourself up for a situation you either don’t need to be in for purity sake or for wrong impression sake.
Not-So-No-Brainer- We need to keep a close watch on our intentions.
I know we don’t always mean to, but let’s be honest ladies, it feels good when a guy pays us attention. So we can quite easily flirt back, even though we have no intention of liking the guy, just because we enjoy how it feels to be flirted with. This issue is first dealt within our hearts. Earlier this week I wrote about being pure in heart. If you did not read that then take the time to read it next. If you did, then you know that being pure in heart has to do with aligning ourselves to Christ. Being Christ-focused helps a lot with the desire to be desired because we find ourselves fulfilled in Him and not the sweet words of some boy.
So if you have been accused of being a flirt, or if you just want to make sure you’re not sending the wrong signals, then take these couple of rules and apply them to your friendships with the opposite sex.
Hope you all have a great weekend!
Coming up on Monday: Building a Strong Prayer Life