“This is new to me.”
One of my friends said this when I was explaining the concept of pursuing each other as friends. Her experience and the experience of millions of others regarding the other sex is simple: when you are drawn to someone, you simply decide when and how you are going to pursue them romantically. High school, college, and young adulthood is littered with the question, “So, what’s going on between you and ____________?”
We’ve forgotten how to be friends. We look at the other sex as only a fulfillment of our desires. Even if the desire is toward a God-given gift, like marriage, this perspective still fails to revel in the beauty of the human person. When we are attracted to someone, we tend to do our best to make it a romantic attraction so that the path forward is clear: If they are single, we date, if they are not, we don’t talk much.
Spoiler alert: you should be attracted to EVERYONE. Especially your friends! Being drawn to someone should be an experience we have on a daily basis because human beings are remarkable! Appreciating the love you can receive from any encounter, especially encounters with your friends, will make for deeper human connection. We will learn more about the people around us, and learn more about ourselves.
I joined The Culture Project in July 2017, and by October of that same year I had pursued more women as just friends than in the 26 previous years combined. The organization’s foundation is built on community, and in order to build community, we must pursue others without expectation of reciprocity. The fact is, they might not have the same opinions, or goals, or beliefs, or the same interest in getting to know you. Yet we pursue them because God put them in our path, and they deserve love simply because they’re in front of you.
At The Culture Project, we strive for authentic relationships in our community because we know our messages of love will best be received from a place of authentic encounter. We preach love through the virtue of chastity, and as the catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The virtue of Chastity blossoms in friendship.” We are always striving for authentic friendships, and encourage others to do the same.
The past twelve months, I have had the privilege of encountering unique love through all the women I have befriended the past. The woman who said, “This is new to me” became a great friend who showed me love in a beautiful way! Chastity blossomed in that friendship, and after eight months it blossomed into a dating relationship. An incredible dating relationship built on friendship and chastity?
This is new to me.