Is he interested or not? Should I test the waters to see if we can make this more than a friendship? Should I assert myself and ask him out? How should interpret when he says he’s been thinking a lot about me lately?
If you’ve ever found yourself asking this sort of question about a particular guy, you might consult author Denis Flynn for advice. Even if you’re marriage is a long way off, her new book Marry Me! provides a wealth of her perspective from many years on the single scene, and lessons learned. We offer our readers and excerpt below.
Time spent together is not necessarily an indicator of romantic interest from a man—at least enough interest to go the whole marathon of life together. Men get lonely for companionship too. They may spend time with a woman because they like doing things they would not ordinarily do with their male friends. They may enjoy a feminine presence. They may be going through loneliness and struggling for a little attention themselves. They may be lonely, but not your one and only. I do not want to be the “in the meantime” girl or the “pacifier” close friend. It could be costly to be in a friendship with a man who is lonely, likes my company and companionship, but who doesn’t really see me as “The One”. I feel myself to be a godly, sweet, attractive and fun female, a good listener, even soothing and sensitive. Men do seem to appreciate those traits. As such, it would be easy for me to fall into a dead-end, semi-romantic relationship. This requires that I guard my heart. I don’t want to be the “in-between, time killer” while they are waiting for their Mrs. Right. I’m not Ms. Almost.
The man should be the initiator of a date and of a relationship. He must be the stabilizer and maintainer as well. Women, don’t take up that role! It’s simply not right. Men do not pursue women who are pursuing them. You might get attention for a minute, but it will fade. Women in the leading role violate God’s natural law. Deep down they won’t have respect for you. In the movie Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara longed for Mr. Ashley Wilkes who was about to propose to Melanie instead. Her Pa said to her, “Have you been making a spectacle of yourself running about after a man who’s not in love with you when you might have any of the bucks in the county?”
Ruth’s destiny was that she was brought to Boaz through her devotion to Naomi and by working diligently in her situation. Ruth did make herself beautiful and visible to Boaz. Also as directed by Naomi per the Israelite custom of that time meaning no seduction or evil, Ruth did tip Boaz off by lying down at his feet, uncovering his feet and asked him to cover hers to consider her since he was her near kinsman-redeemer. Boaz took the lead from there and established the status of their relationship. We as women should keep our dignity.
It has been told to me, “Trust man through God.” I am not sure which gender has it more difficult—the man having to lead and take the chance to ask a woman for a date or a relationship, or the woman having to wait and see if the man shows interest. I have sympathy for both roles. But when we operate in our perspective roles with men as the leaders and hunters and women as the patient, pursued ones, there is a peace and a healthy sense of pride and productivity—regardless of the outcome.
That said, it is okay to ask a gentleman to attend such events as weddings or other ceremonies where you may need an escort. Make sure you communicate when you are asking him to go that you “would prefer a companion for the evening” if that’s your intent. If it is a dating relationship you desire with him, after that event, leave it all in his court. If he wants anything further, he will ask you.
If a man really wants you, he will make time to find and be with you. He will consistently and increasingly come around you and stay in touch with you. He will not be able to keep silent. It will come out. You won’t have to wonder. That’s what real interest consists of. That’s what it should look like. If he likes you enough for a date or relationship, he will find determination to get something going and keep it going. If he desires a relationship, he WILL be talking about it with you, about you. Remember that old Motown song “Ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from you”? Apply that here. If he is not doing those things, he is not sincerely interested or interested deeply enough and the truth will set you free.
Here are a few more tip-offs of platonic friendship. When a man addresses a woman as “Kiddo,” that’s a flashing signal he is only interested in platonic friendship. It is a fun, chummy title. It is a polite title, but says you are a friend who they have no romantic feelings for, yet there is a mutual respect and appreciation between you both. This is used when people have no interest, time or desire for a romantic relationship. I know a man means no harm when addressing me that way, but it makes me feel belittled because I actually am a grown woman with character. It makes me feel like an unaccomplished teenager. Brothers, even though you mean well, it may not be the best way to make your sister’s day.
“Take care” is another term holding up a pink flashing signal. It is something one would say to an aunt, neighbor, college buddy or work associate. Should you hear it as the conversation closure, the heart connection probably is not happening.
On the flipside women, when a man says, “You’re the only one I can talk to,” “You are so easy to talk to,” “I feel like I’ve known you for a long time,” “You are so stable,” “I love your laugh” or lets you know you can call him even in the middle of the night (unless he is offering to physically protect you from harm)…that very likely means you are finding a special way into his heart. You’ll have to decide to be really responsible with what should and will happen next. Pray and decide. Do you really like him or not? If not, you may need to pull back from spending so much time together. Thank him for those compliments. Tell him you consider him a good friend and brother in the Lord. Or, you can pray and continue to move forward, thanking him for the compliments.
The trouble we have is when our emotions get the best of us. Hope indeed is a wonderful thing, as is being confident in ourselves that we are a good catch! But hope and real life can be confused.
Here is a common dance among singles: Boy likes girl. Girl does not share the same feelings. Boy is sure she does have a romantic interest in him though, or that she surely will come around to that real soon. Boy feels frustrated that his romantic interest in her is not being reciprocated. Girl feels a little suffocated from the extra attention of his words and actions she cannot reciprocate. She feels guilty, and explains they are platonic friends. Boy says okay and backs off from pursuing her romantically, continuing in fellowship. The pressure is off of her and she starts to act nicely to him again thinking he understands the terms. Boy starts to have romantic feelings for her again. He thinks she’s changed her mind and now has feelings for him, but she has not. Recycle! Ladies: stay back, and then give the friendship six more months of space. Men can misinterpret friendliness. Women can too. It takes some refocusing and realigning to keep our hearts on the real track—the track of truth—that is, what is really or is not really going on in the other’s heart. It sometimes takes a good friend to say, “Didn’t you just tell me last week he/she’s not interested in you? What changed?”
Resist the temptation to hope for the “come around.” It usually does not happen. It is better to take the strong medicine and move on with life rather than get frustrated over unrequited love. You may have to keep saying to yourself, “Lord, help me not to hallucinate! It is only platonic friends!” Most of all, at this point, don’t beat yourself up because your heart got stirred up again over the person. It’s just how we are. It’s natural to unintentionally hold a candle for someone. We’re human. YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD AND OTHERS! Keep your eyes and focus fixed on God, His glory and the works we should be doing. My pastor always reminds us of the old, true hymn:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Keep your eyes on Jesus and your knees on the ground. Try it…it really works. He really fills you up.
Denise Flynn is the author of Marry Me! and is a souled-out woman of God who loves Jesus completely!
Single again for 10 years since an unwanted divorce, the hurts and bruises have taken her closer to Christ. All healed up and having no smell of smoke, she bubbles over with the joy of the Lord. She feels called to minister to the needs of singles, those in relationships, the hurting and the lonely. Check out her blog at TheMarryMeBook.com.