Interested but not Desperate

Dear Ginger,

So I have a guy friend that I really like. I want to make myself available and convey my interest in him, but I also want to allow him to pursue me and not portray myself as desperate. I find it hard to create a balance, sometimes even more so when we’re already friends. I don’t know how often it’s appropriate for me to call him or initiate seeing him? T

GIRL! Been there. Done that. Bought the T-shirt and then had to take it back because it was the wrong size.

Awesome, I love that you’ve noticed some great characteristics in one of your guy friends. If he really is one of your friends he is already aware that you are “available.” In my mind, not dating someone = available. I remember telling a girl friend that I had “guy problems” with one of my guy friends. I liked him but he wasn’t doing anything about it. She asked me some tough questions.

Girl friend: “Are you dating him?”

Me: “Nope.”

Girl friend: “Has he expressed interest in dating you?”

Me: “Not really.”

Girl Friend: “Is he socially capable and mature?”

Me: “Yes.”

Girl Friend: “Is he coming onto you but not making dating intentions clear?”

Me: “NO!”

Girl Friend: “Then what’s the problem? It doesn’t sound like he has the problem.”

“Guard your heart” is a popular phrase thrown around in Christian dating circles and books. It’s from the book of Proverbs and has a ton of wisdom packed in one very short sentence. It’s a great truth to remember in dating situations. I should protect my heart because it’s valuable. But I often wish Solomon had something to say about the OTHER side of dating… like: “How do I put myself out there?”

After my heart was broken a few times I began to take guarding to the extreme.    I decided enough was enough.  I was not going to do any more grieving… and I took it too far.  I became a giant ice block.  When asked about my opinions or feelings I would change the topic, shy away from sharing, and refrain from making eye contact with the opposite sex. 

I’m the first to admit that I don’t want my heart to run out ahead of me, but at the same time… I can’t close myself off in relationships. Sometimes you have to “put yourself out there.” I have a go-to friend when it comes to relationships.  She’s given me countless words of wisdom over the years and her most frequent comment actually comes from her dad. She was always quick to remind me that if I want to win big, I have to be willing to risk big.

This may come as a shock to you (cough, cough), but men are not mind readers.  I know, this would have been good to know from the beginning, wouldn’t it?  I have sent hundreds of hints toward prospective guys only to find myself saying, “Why isn’t he doing anything?!”  Sometimes they need more than a hint.

-Be specific. Only show ONE guy partiality at a time.

-Be intentional. Ask him about his life and interests; convey that you want to get to know him! Remember the things he tells you.

-Be engaging. Rather than playing it super cool or hard-to-get, try SMILING when you see him!

I very much applaud your desire to have your friend pursue you. And I’m not suggesting that you need to ask him out. I still believe that the relationship needs to start with the guy. But while I admitedly don’t have all the answers, I do think it comes down to a balance of protecting what God has given us while being willing to risk rejection. 

Last minute thoughts:

  1. Don’t act weird around your friend. Just be normal and be you.
  2. Don’t manipulate situations to end up alone with him. If it happens, it happens.
  3. Surround yourself with dreamers and realists. You’re right, it’s fun to rejoice in all of the little happy moments when you like someone. “HE TEXT MESSAGED ME AGAIN!” But guarding your heart is an active decision. Make sure you have friends that are willing to keep you grounded! (And beware of telling the ENTIRE world. Choose a few solid women you trust.)
  4. Spend time with him in all sorts of settings. Get a group together to serve, to play games, and get to know each other. Let him know you are glad when he shows up!
  5. I think you have the freedom to call or text if you want to – you are friends, right? But you also have to know the motives in your heart. If your day is made or destroyed by how quickly he texts back, then I think you are treading on dangerous ground. Anything that has that much power over our emotions could be an indicator of an idol in our lives.
  6. Trust and believe that God has things under control and that your life doesn’t surprise Him! He knows your worries before you express them. Find freedom in placing the desires of your heart with the One who created your heart.
  7. If you find yourself obsessing, pull out Psalm 63 and note David’s love that kept him awake and dreaming at night. How often do we express such devotion to our Heavenly Father?

Relationships are amazing gifts, but with two broken individuals they can quickly become complicated. Continue to filter your emotions through the truth of God’s Word. Be real with yourself and with your trusted advisors. Be open and honest in prayer. Keep this situation in perspective and realize if this truly is to be part of your story, the Master Storyteller knows exactly how to make the characters come together.

Thanks for asking, T! Praying for your heart and your adventure.

Following and Listening,