Monday, January 6, 2014

Do you Tell Him?

The Comment:
What do you do if you realize you like someone? Not just some sort of "oh they're cute and funny" kind of thing, but "you have been friends for a while and realize you want it to be more" type of thing? Even if the guy doesn't show anything.. Do you talk about it? Tell him? Do something? I feel like these days people say it's the boys job, but is it really?? And I for sure don't want to ruin a friendship....
Great question.
It's a situation that probably most girls have found themselves in at one point or another. Unfortunately, I don't think there's an overarching "right" answer. There are pros and cons to saying something, pros and cons to not saying something. Some would most definitely say that it's the guy's "job"... I usually say it depends.

In the past, there have been situations where I've remained silent and situations where I've also chosen to say something. I think there can be wisdom in both decisions, but you have to also be honest about your motivation for saying something.

I think, why we are prone to say it's the "guy's job" is because we like the idea of the man pursuing. Maybe we even believe that's how it should be. I suppose I'm of the train of thought that a girl could be honest about her feelings toward a guy without that being considered "pursuing". Perhaps I'm that way because I think that's how it happened with my fiancé 

I felt like he pursued me in friendship quite heavily, but I didn't know what his intentions were. At the point when I recognized how intense my feelings were for him, I knew I couldn't continue on in the same fashion if we weren't on the same page. After months of communicating daily (long-distance) and developing a friendship, my heart was engaged. I cared for him and I knew that if our friendship continued to progress in the way that it had been, that it would only cause me damage. So- I brought it up. I didn't necessarily come out and say, "I like you, wanna date?"...but I did let him know that I wasn't sure if we were on the same page and I didn't know if we could continue on the road we were on (of an intimate, deep friendship) if we weren't heading in the same direction. It was a time where I was open and honest about where my heart was in all of it, and a time where a veil came off his eyes and he felt the freedom to pursue me beyond friendship in a way he hadn't felt like he could prior to that. 

My heart in bringing it up wasn't to begin a relationship... but it was a way of self-preservation. If it wasn't going the way I felt like it was going, I needed to get out. My heart couldn't handle it. 

There have been other times when I've told guy friends about my attraction to them and nothing happened. Our friendship was awkward for a bit, but in the all ended up okay. Once I was able to tell them, even if I knew that (most likely) it wasn't reciprocated, there was some freedom I found in just being able to know that it wasn't a possibility. The friendship wasn't ruined, but I was better able to love him without this constant wondering of possible other intentions. 

And then there have been times when I have remained silent. The times when I cried a lot, was confused a lot, made irrational decisions a lot. The times when I read into everything, over-analyzed constantly, the times when I was always looking for some hope that he might like me, too. Eventually you move on. When he starts dating someone else, you realize he's not into you. Or maybe your communication just changes and you go separate ways and it's okay. Or maybe during a long bout of separation you gain some perspective and realize all the ways he's not a good fit for you (and you praise the Lord that it never happened!). Or maybe you find someone else. But, the existing in the feelings of the wanting but not having can be pretty horrendous at the time. 

So I guess I'm saying: you get to decide. 
There isn't a right or wrong. 
I wouldn't recommend asking guys out on dates or trying to manipulate all these situations to be alone with him...situations that will cause your heart to go crazy. I do recommend openness and honesty- especially at the expense of your sanity. I don't, however, recommend it if you think that being open and honest with him about where you're at will be harmful to him in any way. If your motivation for telling him is purely selfish (i.e. what can I get out of this?) then perhaps it's better to examine how that conversation may be for him. You may not know...but if you undoubtedly know that it would be detrimental for any reason, don't do it. Suck it up. 

In the end, I do believe that if a guy is interested he will eventually say something. It just may take him a long, long time...and it may take even longer if you've given him any sort of reason to believe that you'd never be interested. 

I don't regret saying something when I did. It was the right time and it was in line with where our relationship already was (full of honesty and depth and a longing for a true awareness of where the other person actually was). It was scary and vulnerable and I didn't know how our relationship would look after that, but it was what needed to happen at that time for us. I think, if you're choosing to say something, that you have to go into it without any expectation of what will result from that conversation. 

I also don't regret the other times when I've said something and nothing resulted from it...or the times when I chose to remain silent. Every friendship, every relationship is different...and in the end, you don't really know what is right. But, you trust that the Lord is going to take care of you no matter what. You can't really screw it up. He's better than that. He's full of grace and abounding in love. 

Matters of the heart are messy. That's just truth of it. It's painful, risky, unknown...and the end result is usually never what you might expect. 

So, say something...and trust the Lord with your heart, no matter how it ends up.
Or stay silent...and trust the Lord as you wait, as you remain in a friendship that can sometimes be painful. 

In the end, trust that the Lord has you. You're his. Your identity is in Him. 
Find your hope in Him and in Him alone, no matter how all the relationship stuff works out. If that's your mindset, you'll be okay no matter what. 

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