So guys like girls…

I’ve discovered something remarkable in the course of writing about relationships. It has sparked a lot of interest and a lot of conversations, I’ve found myself in the absurd position of offering counsel and hearing stories that range from the comic to the heart warming. I’ve heard from guys who have no idea what they should do and girls who know exactly what the guys should do.

But I’ve learnt one immutable fact, guys like girls and girls like guys.

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, that this is what I’ve learnt? Sounds like I’ve been on another planet for the past 27 years. Except we often think that we are the exception. That we are experiencing something that no one else is. So when we hear from others that they face the same challenges and feel the same, it wakes us up that something is going on.

And I have come to two conclusions. The first I’ve already mentioned, and that is that this is a big issue, it gets people thinking and talking, and considering, it evokes lively emotions and painful decisions.

The second is that we have to get talking about it. I speak only for my situation, in a church of 500-600 people, most of whom are young and single. And in that situation I’ve taken a bit of a straw poll. I’ve inquired as to people’s dating experience, who they’ve asked out, who has asked them out. And I’ve tested a little hypothesis, and I didn’t expect to get as much agreement as I did.

The hypothesis is this, speaking of the single people in my church, most of them at most times are interested in someone of the opposite sex. And usually the person they are interested in is likely to be someone who they spend time around. So take any group of people from the church and it is to be expected that there are a lot of emotions lingering in the ether. Some of these feelings will be tentative, others will be unrequited, occasionally they will be obviously reciprocated. But all the time they will affect the group.

Except that’s not how we act. We act as though we are all just friends, and we push the romantic attraction below the surface, sometimes to preserve our own frail facade, sometimes to steer clear of awkwardness, but I think most of the time because we are happy living in the now. We are happy with what we have got, and we want to make the most of it. In a crowd of singles we share a common bond, an unspoken rebellion against the cultural norm.

It’s never that intentional, most would say they are looking for a partner, it’s just they don’t say much about it. It exists as a backdrop to our community and it affects it in two parallel ways, it inhibits the formation of strong non-romantic friendships and it stifles the open pursuit of romance. So back to my little straw poll, how much dating goes on, not much. It does take place and it usually happens quietly and discreetly in a most respectful way.

But go back to my premise, if most people like someone most of the time, and the people I surveyed had asked or been asked out between zero and three times. That leaves a lot of affection that goes unspoken.

I’ve also been asked for some solutions as I’ve written, the truth is I’m all out of those.

So let me offer one other consequence if we repress our feelings too much, we are living double lives.

Harsh? Yes.

But if we like someone and continue to act around them as though we are just friends we are deceiving them and deluding ourselves.

3 thoughts on “So guys like girls…

  1. I reckon that affection can go unsaid because there is a process of weighing up the feelings of attraction: how significant are they? I’ve been attracted to someone on only one feature, i.e. looks. I felt affection for that person, and even sometimes that slight intimidation you can feel when someone you like enters the room. Some affections I regret now, because I failed to see them in an appropriate light, i.e the girl was actually not all that nice really, but somehow she got a bit further into my affections than I had probably wanted her to. It was only talking to a friend that helped me see the reality – so yeah, you’re right about talking about things more (perhaps to friends/family first is a good step!)!

    Also, some affection is positive and normal with non-interested people. For example, you can feel affectionate towards someone who is not your marriage partner and it not be wrong. In fact, I would argue it’s right to do so. I think sometimes when I was single I found it hard to interpret what my feelings meant because I was always asking a question deep down: could they be for me? Perhaps genuine affections are sometimes clouded by the question or the hunt or the noosing! Now I think it’s more simple for me because the “potential partner” question has long been answered! But I guess sometimes sin can just have it’s influence too.

    Maybe we need to set up pacts of those who are keen to marry and settle down: we’ll all help to make sure that you find a cracking partner; probing questions welcome; honest confessions welcome; open conversations discerning feelings. Why don’t we do this very easily? It seems crazy now we’re talking about it!

    Bless you!

    • Thanks Ben,
      There certainly needs to be a process of weighing up affection, but I think this can go on for too long in the search for certainty that someone might be the one. We we certainly all have misplaced and/or unreciprocated affection at some time or another, but unless we know it is misplaced (and we rarely do at the time) then saying something can be part of the process of discovery. Being open about how you feel often answers a lot of questions which otherwise would just spin round in your mind.

      And on the topic of affection in non romantic relationships, well the next post is especially for you…

      • Yeah I think you’re right about openness. So are we coming back to the conclusion that at some point we all just have to “man-up” and boldly make our wooing moves?

        I look forward to the next post then!

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