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“What Are We?”

December  15th,  2020
Erick M.
By Erick M. read
Posted in Culture

Have you ever found yourself questioning where you stand with someone? Now I don’t mean whether or not you’re on good terms with this person. I’m referring to the age old questions that have molded dating culture to what it is today.

Are we just friends? Are we more than friends? Are we “talking” now or was he or she really just texting me to get the homework assignment? 

All jokes aside, this is a phenomenon that has dramatically altered the natural progression of relationships. A lack of clarity and intentionality has left us confused and hurting. I’ve seen it affect the lives of my friends and even my own.

We may find ourselves chaining experiences together to validate something that isn’t there. Or maybe we’re giving a friend of the opposite sex boyfriend/girlfriend privileges because we aren’t sure where the relationship is going. Whatever it may be, the usual outcome is unrest and resentment.

So what can we do about it? Well, it starts with a simple question. Let’s break it down!

  1. Define the Relationship (What are we?)
  • Do you know that saying about the first step being the hardest? Well I think that can ring true here. Asking for clarity can be terrifying, but it is the first step towards freedom from questioning and anxiety in a relationship.
  • We can start by setting aside a time to clearly define where we stand. Are we just friends who have crossed a boundary? Are we interested in pursuing or being pursued by this other person? Let’s be honest with ourselves and each other.
  • If we’re still confused afterwards, it’s okay to ask for more clarification. We’ll ultimately be loving this person more by making sure we’re on the same page. Be courageous! This sets the stage for everything else.
  1. Set New Boundaries (What do we do now?)
  • Once we’ve clarified the situation, the dynamic of the relationship will change. It may be difficult, but it’ll pay off in the long run. From here, we’ll need to set new boundaries that reflect the conclusion that we came to with this other person.
  • Are we just friends? Then treat this person as we would any other friend of the opposite sex. Only share what is prudent and do so at appropriate times; not when tired or lonely. Cut back on unnecessary physical interactions; long hugs, holding hands, etc. Don’t do any favors for this person that you wouldn’t be willing to do for another friend.
  • Do we wish to pursue one another? Then take the proper steps. Implement the boundaries listed above, for the sake of starting fresh, and set up a time for an actual date. For tips on that, check out some of my other blogs!
  1. Live In Reality (What is actually happening?)
  • These situations may or may not pan out the way we hope, but it’s important to live in reality; regardless of the outcome. Our expectations and emotions can quickly get the better of us if we don’t. Focus on the objective truths of the given relationship and act accordingly.
  • If we determine that we are just friends, uphold those new boundaries; not because we hope that one day something will change, but because we are choosing to love this person properly. Remember, to love another person is to will their good for their own sake. It may be difficult at first, but it’s worth the challenge.
  • If we decide that we want to pursue one another, upholding new boundaries will help with clarity in discernment. The first date should, ideally, not be clouded by the rush of physical touch or an imprudent outpouring of emotion. A date also doesn’t signify that we are now a couple; simply that we wish to get to know each other better. By living in reality, we may even come to realize that a relationship with this person wouldn’t be good for either party.

As someone who’s made a lot of mistakes in both friendships and dating relationships, I pray that these tips can help others avoid the same pitfalls that I encountered. We don’t have to be perfect, but we do need to be courageous. Let’s stop talking around the situation or asking our friends to find answers for us. Instead, let’s take responsibility, ask the right questions, and love one another greatly!

Erick M.
Erick M.

About the Author

Erick graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2018 with a BA in Media & Cultural Studies. He was born and raised in Southern California and enjoys all forms of creative expression. Erick first encountered TCP while researching the TOB for a ministry talk. Soon after, he fell in love with the teaching of TOB and it changed his life! As his journey unfolded, he felt God calling him to mission and was soon presented an opportunity to both serve and educate himself further about one of his passions through TCP. "Knowledge of the Theology of the Body is a beautiful gift that God gave me when I needed it most. As a missionary, I hope to share this gift and the joy that it has brought me to those who may be experiencing what I went through."

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