Nice Guys Pt 1: “The Curse Of The Friend-Zone”
by Men For Treasures Director, Adam Graham
Being single in 2012 is hard.
Being single in a city like Los Angeles compounds the problem.
Being a Christian doesn’t give one a golden ticket to living happily ever after with the guy or girl of your dreams.
Sadly, being single in the Church can be just as challenging as it is in the secular world. It brings with it a perceived set of rules, a whole new code to follow, a new language to learn.
I’ve heard a grumbling pretty consistently in the church I’ve been a part of for the last four years. At first, I thought it was just my church, but over time I began hearing the same grumbling from women in other churches too:
“Men don’t ask women out anymore.”
“The men in this church are timid.”
“Men are too afraid of commitment.”
“Non-Christian men treat me better than Christian men – they mean what they say, follow through, respect me more.”
Let me start by saying as a single Christian man myself, I was confused by which men these women were talking about. The men I know in my church, the brothers that I do life with, aren’t like this. They’re all good guys. Great guys!
Why is it that being called a “nice guy” by a woman can sound so much like the nails of your teacher, sliding slowly down the dusty blackboard hanging on the wall of your fifth grade classroom? It sends a shiver down the spine. Or is it just me? Sometimes I feel like I’ve become the poster boy of the American “Nice Guy”: saved at age eight, raised in an ideal Christian home environment, signed a true love waits card in high school and meant it (26 year-old virgin by choice), college educated, now living in Los Angeles serving in an amazing church, and leading the first men’s ministry established in the country with the mission of showing women in and coming out of the sex industry that they are ‘loved, valued, and purposed.’ And yet every time a woman I’m interested in tells me what a “nice guy” I am, it hurts like she’s kicked me where the ‘sun don’t shine.’ Not because I don’t believe what she’s saying, but because of what she’s implying.
I know that I’m not the only man that’s heard this throughout his dating life:
“You’re a guy that you marry.” (…just not one you date.)
“I just see you like a brother.” (…and nothing more.)
“You’re going to be the best husband one day!” (…just not mine.)
The list of backhanded compliments goes on and on and we’ve now entered The Friend Zone – a magical land a little further north, though maybe not as twisted as, its more famous neighbor, The Twilight Zone. The Friend Zone is a place where men and women go to be, well…just friends. It’s a tricky place; some would even say a cursed one, where one party in the relationship is usually content in being there (wants to set-up camp, put up their feet, and stay a while), while the other desperately scrambles to find a way out. For nice guys, this is a place we see all too often. My “I Heart The Friend Zone” t-shirt faded long ago. If I had the detailed map or the app on my iPhone required to get out of The Friend Zone, I would not only be married with 2.5 kids, I would be wealthier than Bill Gates.
But that’s another blog posting.
Some thoughts for all the single ladies to consider (before he puts a ring on it):
- Are you giving the “brothers” or “nice guys” in your life a chance to pursue you…to take your relationship to another level?
- Are you willing to be lead?
- Are you being clear with your feelings and intentions with men who are being intentional with you?
- Are you keeping men in your life “on the hook?” Are you giving them false hope by leading them to think that there will be more in the future between the two of you?
- Are you lending to the opposition that Godly men already face from the world or are you building them up?
- Are you allowing men to follow how God may be leading their heart as far as your relationship is concerned?
I realize that these questions can just as easily be redirected to men…and they should be. We aren’t perfect by any means…nobody is – not even “nice guys.” And there is a need for more men within the Church to step into the manhood that God is calling them into. All that I’m saying is that it is imperative that we be intentional with our communication when it comes to matters of the heart.
to be continued in part 2…