Thursday, November 08, 2007

learning from my mistakes

i still feel a little guilty, but i have done what i need to do, and i really feel like i've learned this lesson. what exactly is it i've learned? well, when it comes to friends of the opposite sex:
• be open and honest. if you only like the guy as a friend, be sure he knows that.

• don't avoid hard or awkward conversations. i avoided talking about dating or what i was looking for in a guy around seth. i probably did this because on some level i knew he liked me as more than a friend and i enjoyed the attention and didn't want to change anything.

• make sure your actions follow your words. i know that as a christ follower, this should be a no-brainer. but in this context i really think it's extra important. if you're saying we're just friends, then act like it. don't spend all your free time with him. don't be overly flirty with him. don't do overly "coupley" things with him. not sure? then listen to the voices inside you (holy spirit, conscience) and the ones around you. with me and seth, i was definitely hearing voices and ignoring them. both the voice of the holy spirit inside me and the voices of friends who were telling me that he really liked me.

• guard your heart and his. sometimes people don't understand that they're not guarding their hearts, and you have to kind of help them out. i'm not exactly sure what that looks like, but i know i didn't do it with seth. i guess it means that if you have any inkling that your guy 'friend' might like you as more than a friend, be careful. don't take him or the friendship for granted.

i think it all boils down to really serving and loving the other person. putting him and his heart and his feelings first. the last few days i've been thinking about ways i can start practicing that with my friends and family. i've started to pray specifically that i could be less selfish.

want to add anything to the list? comment it!


BrooXL said...

hey, i wouldn't be so hard on yourself about hurting seth; from your description, you were pretty much just following his lead -- a poorly thought out one and not very assertive nor clear, but his move none the less. this is going to be kinda blunt: most of the hurt there is due more to lame and immature communication rather than poor guarding of hearts. when an attraction has grown strong but remains one-sided, there's going to be disappointment and pain no matter how it's handled. that's part of learning to place your security in Christ and take courageous risks.

_however_... it sounds like you did wimp out -- you never answered the question concretely: just what is the issue(s) with exploring a more serious relationship with seth? you took the easy way out with the "i'm just not attracted" reasoning. sounds like you're either holding back in articulating the details of why you don't want a relationship with seth because you're afraid the truth will hurt him, or you don't know yourself well enough to be able to articulate why you don't want _this_ guy that you prayed for. _or_... perhaps exploring a relationship with so many unknowns is overwhelming and it's just more comfortable to remain sans boyfriend. maybe there's another option?

often, if you tell a guy the concrete reasons why you think it would not be a good match, then a more clear understanding is made mutual and the friendship can continue with healthy boundaries and without future things being misinterpreted.

oh, btw, the idea of talking about dating and the kind of guy you're interested in an attempt to "guard your guy friends' hearts" is really just proactively shooting down any guy friends who might be thinking about pursuing you. it's _not_ helpful to, nor building them up. it would be much more beneficial to draw them out and help them reach the point where they can take a risk by _verbalizing_ their desire to pursue you -- instead of making an ambigous, possibly heat-of-the-moment induced, brain-disengaged, move on the couch. regardless of whether you like the guy or not, you're not doing him any favors by letting him be so passively wimpy. i was glad to read that seth did come back later with the courage to step up to the plate with a real, direct relationship request; that's a mighty man of God in the making!

single/certain said...

yeah, seth admitted that he should have stepped up and said something way earlier. he admitted that he was afraid of losing me if he did. i agreed he should have, but i also could have distanced myself.

as far as the relationship thing with him, you're right... i never wrote exactly what it was that was stopping me from exploring the possibility of a relationship with him.

so here it is now... first of all, i've known him since february. we've hung out a lot. the first and most obvious thing is the height. i'm 6'1", and he's 5'9". and i'm sorry, but that bothers me! even for the brief time when we were 'together,' the couple of times he hugged me, my first reaction was oh my gosh, this is weird and awkward.

in the past i have dated guys who, when i first met them, there was no spark. but, the spark showed up after hanging out with them 2 or 3 times. i've hung out with seth enough to know that there's no spark, nor will there ever be one.

on top of the awkwardness i felt when we were cuddled on the couch or when he hugged me, i just had this innate feeling of this isn't right. i've had it before, so i know now to trust it. i just knew. he's not for me. i'm not for him.

a third thing is conversation. i'm extremely verbal and articulate. while i'm not looking for someone exactly like me, i am looking for someone who can go back and forth in a conversation. there's a whole part of me that i don't think seth could ever stimulate, and that frustrates me.

also, i think i always felt more sisterly toward seth. he's three years younger than me, shorter than me, and not super developed as a leader. one of those things on it's own would be ok, but all of them together add up to me not feeling as much like a woman around him as i want to.

a final reason is that personality wise, seth reminds me of a sort-of ex-boyfriend i had a while back. he was 'the one who got away.' i've been in love with that kind of guy before, and it drove me nuts. i don't want to be there again. there's a reason that guy and i parted ways; it wouldn't work. i think i was getting the same feeling about seth. maybe i'll post more on that sometime.

so yeah, those are my reasons. there's probably more, but you get the picture.

BrooXL said...

good! now you've got some solid reasons -- along with a few areas where you might see God's grace changing your point of view over the next few years.

enjoy the adventure!

single/certain said...

god's grace changing my point of view... hehehe... i'm going to guess you're referring to my height issues?

D said...

It's is definitely a bad idea to have a faux relationship with someone that you spend alot of time with but don't have other than friendship feelings for. Many an innocent and hopeful heart has been broken that way!

I have had to tell a guy I wasn't attracted to him when I was actually repulsed by him. I liked him as a person and wanted to be friends. It was so hard to have that talk because I really tried to make myself have feelings for him.

On the other hand, Katie Holmes is taller than Tom Cruise!

Lets link to each other!