The eternal problem…part two

What I wrote yesterday effectively opened a can of worms. Actually, that’s a little harsh, it resulted in a long, deep, slightly emotional discussion with another friend who had asked the same question I did to another group of people some months ago. He had some different ideas to me, so I thought the topic was worth re-visiting, in order to present a more balanced point of view.Also, weirdly (following a quick look at Wikipedia) today marks exactly twenty years since the film went on general release. That explains why a number of people I’ve had this conversation with haven’t actually seen the film!

So…last night I had a conversation almost worthy of Harry and Sally, except ‘Harry’ actually disagreed with the theory. Appropriately, he was coming from the viewpoint of a guy with lots of female friends, and I was coming at it as a girl with a limited number of male friends (and someone who’s had their fingers burned in the past).

The argument against Harry went as follows:

  • Christians (especially) should have close friendships with the opposite sex because “if Genesis 2 means anything, surely it means that as human beings, we only fully reflect the image of God together – as two sexes – which is our purpose and that can’t just be about marriage, because otherwise every non-married person would be unable to fulfil that God-ordained purpose”.
  • Women shouldn’t assume (and nor should men for that matter) that just because someone of the opposite sex spends time with them, it ‘automatically’ means something.
  • Apparently, “most guys can spend time with someone, get to know them a bit, and not automatically assume that this means the girl wants to date them/marry them/take them to bed”. Good to know.
  • Ultimately, we’re all human and all messed up, therefore we should remember that – treading carefully and treating people well. We also should remember (and I love this) that “hormones are a bitch”. I think it probably should also be remembered that hormones can turn one particular sex into bitches…

Is it right, therefore, that many women’s conferences and good, mature, Christian friends have told me to avoid forming close friendships with men? That if I do that, I’ll only end up getting hurt in the long run? I’m increasingly thinking they’re wrong. Of course it’s right to warn someone to be careful if boundaries are becoming blurred and feelings get involved, but is banning them all together healthy?

My final conclusion to this part of the discussion was the following, which I think we should all remember:
“Men and women have met, fallen in love, fallen out of love, been friends – whatever – for as long as there have been humans. It’s never going to be perfect and we should just accept that & stop trying to set unattainable standards for the people in our lives.”
[Of course, this was preceeded by ‘ I think I’m probably on the verge of thinking that’s it’s all crap, pointless, and a waste of time worrying over’, but why be so negative?!]

But do you know what. It turned out that the most important aspect of this discussion had nothing to do with whether or not Harry was right. It was its conclusion that ultimately there are many things in this life that we have absolutely no control over – so why worry about tomorrow?

With that kind of attitude to life, who cares if Harry’s right!

Harry, Sally & Katz

One final note: After all the questions about the value of online communication lately, at least it means there’s a written record of complicated discussions, should you need reminders or direct quotes!

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