(Quote) William-607613 said:
I brought the subject up briefly in a somewhat-related thread and it was suggested (before that...
(Quote) William-607613 said:
I brought the subject up briefly in a somewhat-related thread and it was suggested (before that thread completely collapsed) I start my own thread with this question. I ask this because I think we all assume the answer is, "Of course," but I think if we were to reflect on it, then
I think most of us would come to the conclusion that it's impossible.
It's safe to say that we overuse the word "friend," using the word to describe almost any associate with whom we are on friendly terms. I would be willing to bet that most people we assume to be friends really aren't; we may get along with them and have a relationship without any fights, but I think most of us would have to agree that that alone would not make us friends.
To explain further: There is a non-physical intimacy in a friendship. (As marriage is beyond this non-physical intimacy, a marriage is, or should
be, the epitome of what the word "friendship" means.) We let our guard down with friends, we confide in them, and we share fears and anxieties with them. Most of our acquaintances do not reach this level of trust and confidence, but almost by default, any of those that do are almost certain to be of the same sex. (It's the members of the same sex with whom we have the most in common to form any kind of acquaintance.) As romantic interests are one of the most personal subjects to any of us inclined towards marriage, these are probably the most often discussed topics among intimate friends; it is easy for us to turn to someone like us, either to share a story or to seek advice.
I take issue with the idea that we would allow a member of the opposite sex this far into our minds without moving together in a direction that would only lead to marriage (or would lead to heartbreak and frustration if it didn't)....
I'll wager that if one of the two people doesn't see marriage in the future, than the other one does.
Anyway, that's my two cents and I am curious to hear your thoughts on the matter.
William, that was an awesome post.
I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU, WILLIAM. I actually so emphatically agree with you, that I got online onto Catholic Match this morning precisely to go on the forums and post the very same topic. Then when I saw your post, I was surprised.
Whatever one wishes to call a friendship where he or she confides personal information, whether they call the person an acquaintance or close friend, that confidence sharing is a type of intimacy. If you are not company keeping with the intention of timely marriage it is simply imprudent, as one person at least is likely to have or develop feelings for the other. Even if that hasn't yet happened, the emotional intimacy is one step closer to more, sans the committment. Take the same two people, even if one is not attracted to the other, at the wrong place and at the wrong time, and it is a near occasion of sin if not worse.
This is even more greivous if someone is doing this while in a courtship. That intimacy of sharing personal information in confidence should be shared with only he or she with whom you have the courtship, and no one else. Otherwise, you are not developing the type of relationship you ought to have by the time you are married. You would have given that intimacy to someone else.
Also, I want to point out that with men this is especially true, as they often hang onto women friends either waiting or hoping that there might be an opportunity to be more. I know this because I have been that friend to guys. For the longest time I didn't understand this, but now that I am older, I have to actually tell my friends in so many words, "Tell this to your girlfriend, not to me." They will almost always make and excuse and complain about their relationship. This is disrespectful to their relationship AND to you. If they have a problem, they ought to deal with it and work it out, not try to get attention and sympathy from another woman, which is really what they are trying to do. It is not cool and you aren't really being a friend at all if you let your guy friends maintain this type of friendship with you. Either you are cordial or you are courting. End of story. The rest of the drama, complications and manipulations belong in highschool.
Women do that sort of thing, too, but I think it is more often men who do this. Which ever way it is, one ought to ask themself, "why would you want to do that?" If your friend is some sort of licensed psychologist, then maybe that is the one exception, but other than in a professional context, it really is a no-no.
The popular excuse against this point of view is, "But we've been friends for years", meaning to imply that nothing is ever going to "happen" because it hasn't yet happened. That is a poor excuse simply because that friend should not still have the same priority (especially) whenever you are courting someone else. Anyone who thinks that things ought to always stay the same, then they are fooling themselves and haven't really a clue what it takes to be fully committed to someone.
Even if that emotional intimacy never expands to the physical, that emotional intimacy alone takes away from what one ought to save and give to the one for whom they are courting or wish to court (or be courted by) in the future. It is not enough to say that you want to marry your best friend, and still have these other friends of the opposite sex that fulfill other areas of your life. People often say it is not 'cheating' if you don't intend on it to go further, but it is either leading the friend on indirectly (or directly) or lying to yourself about your own feelings that you've compartmentalized for this person. Besides, cheating can occur even just by developing emotional intimacy outside of your commitment and shows a lack of prudence, without anything else but the emotional cheating. From what I've read, most affairs by far begin in this manner, and take people off guard because they didn't necessarily 'intend' intially for the relationship to develop beyond friendship.