Monday, November 18, 2013

The Awkward Conversation (The Three Fine Lines) part 2

Now that we have a new awareness of the awkwardness in guy/girl relationships, I think there are three fine lines we must draw:

The Conversation Line: Conversation sets the tone for the whole relationship. I've heard complaints from both sides: "But guys are just so shallow! All they talk about is football, guns, movies, and music." Well what do you talk about, girls? If all you talk about is the latest fashion, hair dos, dress design, and Jane Austen, guys might be thinking the same thing. We are intelligent beings, created in God's image, and a friend's intellect might just surprise you if you take the time to unlock his thoughts.

There are so many ways for us to sharpen one another through conversation. And there is a neutral  and comfortable ground besides movies.  How about politics? Now you may be like me and have a love for learning about politics, but just feel that it is too above you to voice opinions on.

An author I highly esteem taught me that even if you aren't well versed in a subject, all you need is to know how to ask good questions. Theology, war, history, geography, books. Ask questions! It shows you care about the other's opinions. Read up on current events. Read in-depths books and bring up interesting points.

One thing that really helps set the tone is to avoid negative discussions about personal stuff. Complaining about family members, unburdening on your 'sweet, attentive brothers'. It really helps to avoid emotional ickyness that can lead downhill quickly.

Things like "how's your week been?" Or "how's college/work?" etc, is a good conversation starter and can lead to interesting topics. I think it's acceptable to share struggles related to your spitirual walk. That is another area we can sharpen and pray for one another. Being involved in other's Christian life is where the relationship is greatly strengthened yet remains honorable.

And isn't this bit interesting:
"These sorts of situations can be uncomfortable to deal with, but they don’t have to get truly sticky unless we let them. We often have more power to direct this sort of situation than we realize. Young men have told us time and time again: Girls really are the ones who set the tone for the interaction. Young men tend to unconsciously defer to what the young lady seems comfortable with (e.g. if she seems to be enjoying his attentions, he’ll ramp it up; if she thought his coarse joke was funny, well, he’s got more where that came from…). Most often, they let us set the terms; they let us establish the boundaries." Visionary Daughters

"Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude." 1 Peter 3:8

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give  grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29

There should be more formality than familiarity in these relationships to remind one another that we are not chums to go through life just having fun with. We are fellow soldiers fighting for a greater kingdom and we don't have time for empty talk and foolish behavior.

Scriptures warn against being a companion of fools. The teen culture is rife with folly and so we must constantly keep ourselves in check and weigh our attitudes. Are they full of folly or wisdom? 

"A prudent man conceals knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaim foolishness." Proverbs 12:23
"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." Proverbs 13:20

The Physical Line: (1 Thessalonians 4:1-11) In light of treating one another as brothers and sisters, we should also bear respect in the physical boundary because you must remember something. That guy or girl you are talking to is someone's spouse. As are you. Would you like your future spouse to be really touchy with another person? No, because that is one of the special aspects of entering into marriage.

Physical boundaries are something you must create based on your conviction through Scripture.

I used to be the girl who stood three feet or more from a guy while talking. That was my "purity bubble." I was so stuck in the "guard your heart movement", I was afraid of doing my husband evil just by standing near a guy. But I think this shows a distrust in the other person as well as yourself, and that maybe we can be so self-conscious of talking to the opposite sex, we capitalize on the awkwardness.

I offer my hand when being introduced to a young man because I believe it shows that I respect him as a brother instead of thinking, "oh-my-gosh-an-eligible-guy-is-talking-to-me."

Are hugs acceptable? That depends on your comfort zone. I think it would be very respectful to ask if you can have a hug first.  If the person looks like you just asked if you could shoot them, hugging is probably not a good idea.

The Emotional Line: This is a biggie. This is where misconceptions breed prolifically. But I have found that the above two lines are drawn this one will fall more naturally.

This is where we can be so overly possessed with compromising purity we become awkward.

Here's a truth both parties should be aware of: girls over-think everything. Or have a highly active imagination, whatever you want to call it. I'm just saying while our brains can be going 90 to nothing and weighing every possibility of what that comment meant that Bob gave you, the guys simply mean what they say or do. It's not a game of guess-what-they-meant; there is no underlying meaning,  just plain old what they meant.

And girls wonder why the guys don't want to talk. It's their way of protecting you ladies! If you read into things, they want to stay away because that is not what they are trying to convey. Girls, we have to stop it!
"I've spent so much time thinking about all the answers to the problem, that I forget what the problem *actually* was." Claire Colburn
 Here, I'll help you understand the STOP IT concept.

I think if conversation is comfortable and honorable, we don't have to worry half as much about compromised emotions . 

As I've stepped out of my awkward shell, it's been amazing forming relationships with young men and realizing I have brothers behind me, ready to help and protect me. And if we allow God to lead us, we can benefit from what our brothers and sisters views of life are, help grow one another and ultimately build up the kingdom of Christ.

Between counsel from our parents, elders, and scripture, it is within our grasp to build comfortable relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ. It just takes prayer, intention, and a genuine love in Christ for one another. Saying it is easier than doing it. It's not easy, this I have found out. But I can assure you, it is possible.

Related articles:
Be Not Conformed
Virtual Flirtship

Other great sources:
It's Not that Complicated
What Our Father taught us about Boys
What Our Father taught us about Girls

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