Dr. Jim tries to help you solve the “just want to be friends” dating situation.
» Dear Jim: When they say, ‘let’s just be friends’, is it time to move on?
Ahhhhh dating dynamics. What does she/he mean when they say “let’s just be friends“? It is always open to interpretation, but this one phrase likely comes up more than any other. Should the statement be taken at face value, or is there a hidden meaning? It really does depend upon many variables. Allow me to share some of them with you.
If you’ve been trying to build a relationship…
If you have been trying to build a relationship for a period of time and one of you makes this statement; again several things could be taking place:
1. They are not finding the match that they desire and do not wish to proceed building a relationship. They MAY want to continue building a friendship OR they may be sending ‘code’ that it is over and prepare you for their moving on. How do you know? You either ask them their meaning OR wait for the reality to unfold. If they continue to contact YOU, then they likely wish to build a Christian Friendship. If they do not make contact, then I suggest that you honor them and move on.
2. The relationship may have triggered some issues in them that they need to process through. It could be fear of many things, or they have found that they are just not ready to get into another relationship. Honor their feelings and provide safety for them with the proper space.
3. They may have been trying to send you signals that they were not interested but YOU were reading that a relationship was building. Perhaps you have been moving too fast and placing pressure on the other person. Step back and test your motivations for what you are doing. If you are not able to see them, I urge you to seek a good Christian counsellor to assist you. I have found personally and in the lives of others that we learn MORE when things are NOT working than when they are. Use this time to build the positive things in you that make healthy relationships.
God may be telling you…
God may be at work telling you that this is not the relationship you thought it was. He knows what is best for us – and if we take the time to listen, He will counsel us. He may do this in your spirit, through His Word, or through a friend or counsellor. Do not dismiss a negative comment just because you do not want to hear it. Evaluate it and see if there is merit and act accordingly.
Enjoy the process of building friendships
We hate change. When we find someone that shows us any positive reaction, most singles will hone in with all they have. This is not good and will not provide the foundation for any healthy relationship to follow. SLOW down and enjoy the process of building friendships!! If they cannot be a good friend first, they will never make a good mate!
If I just love them a little more…
Often the single will say to themselves ‘if I just love them a little more and hang in there, they will fall in love with me’. This does happen – but the chances of it happening are less than winning any lottery! If you find yourself saying this, I would seek the counsel of a good friend who is honest and mature enough to speak the truth to you. If you do not have one, then seek a Pastor or Christian counsellor to help you process what is going on in YOU to see if you are making healthy choices.
If you can’t ask the other person…
We should be relating to one another in such a manner that we can ask the other person to explain what they mean so that you can relate to them wisely. However, I realize that this is not always the best course of action between singles when one of the parties may not be in as healthy or understanding place as the other. You should consider though that if you do not have enough of a relationship that you can openly discuss something like this, then it likely is not the one that you should be putting any more time into.
Don’t rush into a relationship
Do not rush into relationships quickly. Relationships need to grow from fertile seeds being planted and time allowed for them to grow into a healthy plant/relationship. You may be rushing yourself into a lot of pain if you try to take shortcuts.
Put your expectations on God
Dating is a growing experience and not an easy thing for anyone. Put your expectations on God and not on each other, at least until God reveals AND the other person confirms that this is the relationship that God designed for each of you.
May God guide and give you wisdom as you relate to His children.