Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Geraldine

Why I No Longer Talk Privately to Girls Online

1 post in this topic

Original article Article written by Reagan Ramm 

http://reaganramm.com/why-i-no-longer-talk-privately-to-girls-online/

With my series on “emotional” purity drawing to a close, I think it would be helpful to talk about some practical solutions to maintaining emotional purity. Part 3 of this series—a guest post by Emily Long—I think provided some good tips, but I’d like to go a little bit more in depth, and also provide a couple of my own tips.

 –

 
online%2Bwith%2Bgirls%2Btxt.jpgI find it sad that many of the arguments I’ve seen leveled against Emily’s post from a couple weeks ago are arguments that I used to make myself. Yes! The beliefs held by many of these critics were beliefs I used to hold; however, it took several difficult experiences for me to finally realize the danger of communicating privately online with the opposite gender, and not striving to be emotionally pure.
 
However, these experiences aren’t unique to me. In fact, I know a guy who has very similar experiences. I will call him Sam, and he has given me permission to use his story for this post.
 
Sam had had very little interaction with girls until he joined an online forum full of other homeschooling Christians.  The forum happened to have a girl:guy ratio of 5:1, so by default, most of his friends were female. In the past, Sam had been rather standoffish toward girls, and he regretted that. The Bible spoke of treating each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, so that’s what he would try and do on this forum.
– 
Because of the similarities he shared with so many on that forum, he developed some very close friendships. He became very close with a particular girl who was struggling with boyfriend problems, specifically, her boyfriend was cheating on her. Sam, feeling bad for this girl (Jane), sought to comfort her and provide advice, like any good friend would do. Like a brother helping a sister, right?  Jane told Sam how much she appreciated him and his advice, and how much like a brother he was. Sam’s father warned him that his conversations with Jane could potentially be leading her on, or could lead to her becoming emotionally attached to him. Sam didn’t think so. After all, Jane had a boyfriend, and no one could fall in love merely though conversations online…right? That’s ridiculous. Plus, Sam figured, girls had never shown much interested in him in the past. How could a girl like him? They were just friends. Just a brother and sister in Christ.
– 
Wrong.
 

 

Through the tangled soap-opera of friendships and relationships on this particular forum, Sam discovered that Jane wanted to start a relationship with him. She needed him, or so she thought. Dismayed and not wanting to lead her on even more, Sam decided to cut off private communication, and even leave the forum for a time. A vitriolic email from Jane and a lost friendship later, he became fully aware of his mistake. He would have to be clearer in the future of what his intentions were.

 –
The situation with Jane made him realize that he was very close to another one of his female friends, and he would have to be careful with her as well. For this story, her name is Hannah. Hannah lived close to Sam, so he knew that he would have to be extra careful. He told Hannah, explicitly, that he wanted their friendship to remain a friendship, and he had no intentions beyond a friendship. Hannah agreed, (of course, what else could she do?) and Sam thought all was well. They continued their close friendship, and continued to communicate one-on-one through private messaging. Because Sam had “gone the extra mile” and made his intentions clear, he felt even more comfortable with his friendship with Hannah, and they became even closer friends.
– 
However, once again Sam discovered that Hannah also had fallen for him, and had done so quite a long time in the past. This realization led him to see how many of her actions and words had been subtle attempts to try and get him to “like” her back. Indeed, many of Sam’s friends thought he liked Hannah as well. But it was not the case. Sam only wanted to be friends. He had told her that explicitly. Sam felt betrayed. Another very close friendship had been tainted and would eventually be lost.
– 
He soon came to realize, however, that the blame didn’t lie on Hannah, or at least not fully. He had equally played a part in how things had transpired. Sure, he had told her he wasn’t interested in an exclusive relationship, but his actions had said otherwise, and actions spoke louder than words.
 –
 
Upset with himself, and still stinging from the pain of losing two friendships, Sam resolved not to communicate with girls privately online any more. This upset several of his other female friends who weren’t willing to talk to him in a group setting. Soon, he had lost several more of what he thought were good friends.
 –
Occasionally, girls would private message him, and he eventually got tired of having to continually say he doesn’t talk to girls privately. Plus, he missed being able to talk about deeper, more personal topics. He began talking to a girl who was completely different from him in beliefs and lifestyle. And all they did was debate different topics. No emotional risk. Plus, this girl, Sarah, had a boyfriend. Surely there was no chance this could go south. Once again, Sam was wrong.
 –
He was contacted by a friend of Sarah’s and informed that Sarah had fallen for him. Sam and Sarah’s friend, Olivia, began to talk about how to handle the situation with Sarah, however, Sam and Olivia continued to talk privately long after the situation with Sarah had been resolved. They seemed to have a lot in common, and not long later, they soon realized they both liked each other. They were pursuing getting to know each other, hoping to eventually court, but discovered they were not compatible. This time, Sam’s heart was a casualty as well.   
– 
chatting%2Bwith%2Bbabes.jpg
Reading through this account, you may be thinking what I am thinking. This is fantasy. No way could this be true. Sadly, it all really happened, and I am a witness.
People have criticized Emily’s post saying the particular girl in the story was simply immature. She shouldn’t have taken the actions and words of her friend, Joseph, to mean he was interested in her. Many criticized this girl, Krystal, saying that she should have told how she felt. While I agree that Krystal could have done better, to make her seem like an anomaly is a complete denial of reality. If you call her immature, then you’ll have to call most other girls immature. And perhaps it is the case that most girls are immature (they are young, after all). In that case, we should account for such immaturity, and seek to protect them, rather than tromp all over their emotions. Sam’s private conversations with girls led to not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different girls falling for him (well, these are the only four he learned about. There could have been more).
– 
Sam is also far from unique. Plenty of other guys have had similar experiences. He wasn’t trying to get girls to “like” him. He didn’t want a “relationship.” He just wanted to be friends. It was the mere fact that he gave these girls a lot of attention, caring, and emotional comfort–that is often enough for a girl to start developing romantic thoughts and feelings.
 –
While we guys are much more easily defrauded by what we see, for girls, it is emotions that are much more readily to defraud. This is why many will say that romance novels are like porn for girls because they play with the emotions, and create a lust for romantic feelings. Of course, these are generalizations. Of course every person is going to be different. However, exceptions to the rule do not mean there is no rule, it just means there are exceptions.
 –
I’m not sure why so many don’t understand this, and yet, I didn’t understand it myself for a long time. It’s a common trope in films and movies to have girls take something small a guy does and to understand it as meaning he “likes” her when the guy as no intentions whatsoever except being nice. And we have still more examples in film and literature of guys who willfully emotionally manipulate women in order to take advantage of them. But I guess today, in our genderless society, we forget that men and women—in general—are very different. True, there is a lot of room here for girls to better guard their hearts, but I think most let guys completely off the hook.
For Sam, it took several disastrous experiences for him to finally realize how men and women are different. It took a lot of pain for him to see that he couldn’t treat his female friends like they weren’t females. It took many very good friendships crashing and burning for him to see that he had badly misunderstood the Bible’s direction to treat, “older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” He had tried to treat his female friends like they were his biological sisters, and completely ignored Paul’s instruction that this should be done with “ABSOLUTE purity.”
– 
Absolute is a pretty strong word. Absolute means everything. Purity in everything, not just the physical, but also the spiritual, or “emotional” as some say. That means he should have sought to guard not only his own heart, but also the hearts of his female friends. Of course, he did try to do this. He tried with his sheer power of will, but will-power has very poor endurance. He continually put himself and these girls in difficult situations, just asking to have something go awry in the area of purity. He just didn’t understand this at the time.
– 
I don’t want others to have to experience the same things to realize this truth. That’s why I’m writing this post, and this series as a whole.
 –
So, what are some practical boundaries to maintaining purity? Here are three simple ones:
 –
Limit physical touch:
 –
As I described in my series on why I personally don’t hug girls outside my family, touch can be very powerful. Obviously, touch impacts people differently, but in general, if you form a habit of being physically close with someone of the opposite gender, even if it’s only hugging, you are on a path toward emotional impurity. Even if you don’t believe the touch will impact you in a negative way, you don’t know how it might impact the other person.
Some will say, “But touch is my love-language. I need  touch to feel loved.” Okay, well, first of all, love languages aren’t in the Bible. Nowhere does the Bible command us to satisfy the “love languages” of others. It does tell us to love (agape) others, which means doing what is best for them, and I don’t think it would be best for young ladies to be hugged by me.
Does this mean we completely ignore the “love language” of those who say they “need” physical touch? Not all, they can certainly receive that from family members or perhaps friends of the same gender, but it is unwise to receive it from members of the opposite gender close in age. But physical touch isn’t really love. In the same way, words of affirmation (what might be my “love language”) are not love either, and in fact, words of affirmation can potentially be very unloving, even for those who have that “love language.” Words can be empty. Touch can be empty. Real love is doing what is best for someone, even if it isn’t necessarily what you or they want.
– 
When you’re married, would you appreciate it if your spouse had a casual physical relationship with someone of the opposite gender? Would they appreciate you having a casual physical relationship with someone of the opposite gender? Perhaps some would have no problem with this, and it certainly is possible to hug or touch someone without one or both developing romantic notions, but it is risky. And the more you do it, the closer you’re going to become emotionally.
– 
Personally, I don’t want to be pressing my body against young women outside my family, and this is for their potential benefit, my future wife’s benefit, and my potential benefit. Touch is powerful, and if it’s not for you, it is for me, and many others.
 –
Limit private communication:
 
This is a big one, and one many people don’t talk about. This is why I prefaced this article with the story about Sam. If private communication had only led to emotional entanglement once, or maybe twice, then he could have written it off as nothing. But it happened at least 4 times! Private communication is not a safe form of communication if you wish to remain just friends with someone of the opposite gender.
 –
As one blogger wrote,

“When you talk to someone one on one for a lengthy period of time it becomes a habit. You look forward to it. A trust forms between the two of you and you share personal details that shouldn’t have been shared…I have spoken with a few guys and they are confused how this happens. Girls are more prone to give into their emotions than guys are.”

– 
Before the days of private online communication, if a guy and girl spent a lot of time talking privately, they would have to either do it over the phone or in person. Today, if they were to do that, they would either be dating, or people would assume they were dating. Yet, for some reason, private online chatting is considered different. However, the effect is the same. So many people who talk privately with someone of the opposite gender for an extended period of time end up dating, or at least one person in the friendship forms romantic feelings for the other. Private communication makes it too easy to delve into deeply personal and emotional topics, which can easily knit two people together, even if they aren’t compatible for marriage.  
– 
Sure, there are a lot of times where nothing happens as well, but just because people survive plane crashes doesn’t mean we should go ahead and support the habit of crashing airplanes. If you wish to seek spiritual purity, you should limit private communication with the opposite gender.
– 
Do love others:
– 
Ironically, the best way to be pure, both physically and spiritually, is to really love others.
 –
If you really love your friends of the opposite gender, your brothers or sisters in Christ, then you will not put them in situations where they could potentially be harmed. This might mean denying your own desires. Specifically for guys, this means treating women like women, and not playing with their emotions by being physically or emotionally affectionate. God designed those kinds of affection from the opposite gender to only be in marriage. Perhaps it’s enjoyable to be able to have close, personal, and private communication, but it’s not healthy.
– 
The love we have for spouses, and the love our spouses should have for us should be a jealous love (Song of Solomon 8:6). If you could see your future spouse right now, and you saw someone of the opposite gender sitting close to them, wrapping their arm around them, emotionally engaging or comforting them, how would you feel about that? Hopefully, you wouldn’t like it, and rightfully so. Our God has a jealous love for us, even before we have come to recognize Him as our (the church’s) bridegroom. Likewise, we should jealously love our spouses, even before we’ve met them or married them.
– 
Even if you can be very emotionally close to a member of the opposite gender without one or both of you becoming emotionally entangled and forming a romantic attachment, that friendship can still only be temporary, and will only last until one of you gets married, for continuing such an emotionally intimate friendship with someone of the opposite gender would hardly be appropriate, and also potentially harmful to the health of the marriage.
– 
Most of the people we come into contact with will end up married one day to someone. Not only should we ourselves be practicing for marriage, but we should also seek to help others do the same, rather than being a stumbling block for them. We should seek to love others—do what is best for them, not necessarily what they want, or what we want.
– 
Loving others also means that we should be friendly, polite, and helpful to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We certainly can still be warm friends. You don’t need physical touch or private communication to have strong friendships. There have been friendships between men and women throughout the centuries which were unaided by private online communication, or any private communication of any sort.  Two of Jesus’ best friends were women (Martha and Mary) and yet we never see him alone with one or both of them. Along with their brother Lazarus, the four of them were one very strong and close friendship.
Those who claim there needs to be private one-on-one communication between guys and girls in order for them to have a real friendship have a very narrow and limited understanding of friendship. A friendship—or any relationship—built on emotions has a very shaky foundation indeed. Those who believe this is the only kind of real friendship between men and woman are really describing “eros” or rather, romantic love. But that kind of love is meant for marriage, not friends. “Friendships” of this nature are really only a disguise for “eros” even if those in the friendships don’t realize it.
– 
As C.S. Lewis describes,

“Those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a Friend. The rest of us know that though we can have erotic love and friendship for the same person yet in some ways nothing is less like a Friendship than a love-affair. Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; Friends hardly ever about their Friendship. Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; Friends side by side absorbed in some common interest. Above all, Eros (while it lasts) is necessarily between two only. But two, far from being the necessary number for Friendship, is not even the best. And the reason for that is important.” – The Four Loves

 
 –
What Lewis describes is exactly what we see between guys and girls when they have prolonged private communication. The friendship revolves around the two of them, and their feelings. They are absorbed in each other. They call it friendship. They call it being a “brother” or being a “sister” but they are deceived.
– 
A friend of mine (who is in fact female) put it this way,

“Emotional purity IS an opponent to deep, platonic relationships and rightly so. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t believe that young men and women can’t be good friends! My sisters and I have some very good friendships with young men in families who are friends of our family, that have been kept in a family context, and not one on one. I just don’t think it’s right or very possible.”

 – 
Very good friendships with the opposite gender are possible, but only within the family context—or a group of close friends. In this context, a healthy friendship can form because the friendship is not about two individuals, but rather their common interests which they share with a small group. A one-on-one platonic friendship between a young man and a young woman is doomed to only be temporary.
 –
C.S. Lewis agrees, stating,

“Above all, Eros (while it lasts) is necessarily between two only. But two, far from being the necessary number for Friendship, is not even the best…When the two people who thus discover that they are on the same secret road are of different sexes, the friendship which arises between them will very easily pass – may pass in the first half-hour – into erotic love. Indeed unless they are physically repulsive to each other or unless one or both already loves elsewhere, it is almost certain to do so sooner or later.” – The Four Loves

 
 –
In other words, if you want to maintain a friendship with someone of the opposite gender, that friendship should take place in a context with other friends, rather than being just the two of you, as that can easily lead to what Lewis calls “eros” or “romantic love.” Two is not the ideal number for a friendship.
 –
I know a lot of people aren’t going to like what I suggest in this post, and yet, I feel it must be said because I have experienced and witnessed too many friendships between “brothers and sisters” fall apart. Can you ignore my advice and still be okay? Sure, probably. There are always exceptions. But logic and my experiences tell me that more often than not, you are going to run into trouble if you don’t seek to limit physical contact, limit private conversations, and seek to do what is best for others.
– 
In our androgynous society, we want to be able to say that men and women are exactly the same, and that men and women should be treated the same. While there are exceptions, in general, men and women are different (although, they are certainly becoming less and less different thanks to the social agenda). We want to ignore reality, and that has consequences as surely as ignoring gravity will have consequences when you step off a cliff. Yes we should treat each other as brothers and sisters, but also with the respect of being men and women, and with absolute purity. I think if more people understood this, we would have better, and longer-lasting, friendships.
 –
For those of you who read this article to understand rather than disagree, and who truly seek purity and live a life honoring to God and your future spouse, I hope you will consider what I have said, and know that I don’t mean to judge, but to help. Don’t be destroyed for a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) as I and many others have been.
– 

“Emotional purity is important and for those who decide to take that path, I congratulate you on making the hard choice. Stand strong and never give up.”

Click here for the final installment in this series! How To Stay Emotionally Pure In Courtship

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0