(This may seem an odd post to follow my last one about my increasing comfort with being alone and not being so desperate in seeking friendship, but both are true. If I had have felt this desire eight years ago there would have been an emotional desperation in it whereas now it’s more an intellectual acknowledgement.)
In the past couple of months two female friends have asked me out and I sense a third would if they didn’t already know about my same sex attraction issues. It always feels uncomfortable in terms of the non-reciprocation aspect of my desires and awkward in how to kindly say no. You may be thinking ‘come out and your problems are solved’, but working at the school I do means this is not a viable option and I generally don’t feel the need to tell everyone about it.
To me part of the solution, unfortunately, seems to be to reduce the amount of time I spend with females.
Somehow most of my ‘local’ friends; the type who ask ‘are you doing anything tonight?’ or for lunch an hour before it happens are mainly female. I genuinely enjoy their company, but I wonder whether I’m leading them on somehow or it’s entirely helpful to be spending significant amounts of time in their company.
It wasn’t always like this. I remember times in my life where I would go weeks and months without having any female only (and me) social occasions. There were times where I lived with guys, worked with guys and hang out with guys on the weekend, but I’m at a different stage of life now.
My closest male friend is about 2.5kms away, but he’s married with two girls and we rarely spend time together that doesn’t involve his whole family as well. My other male friends, and God has blessed me with many, live an hour away or interstate or overseas. My female friends tend to live within an hour and are all single which increases the amount of time they have available to hang as well. In some ways this highlights the fact that my male friendships are supported by intentionality and effort whereas female friendships seem to happen because they are here.
Most of the time I enjoy friendships with either sex equally. It’s great to sit down and chat and make jokes and get my female friends to laugh in front of a fire on a winter’s afternoon and it’s enjoyable to hang out and do stuff with male friends. I do notice the absence of male friendship and conversation if I am without it for a while though. I just get on better with them and it feels easier at times. One aspect of my new workplace that is different is that I share an office with mainly females whereas last year it included an extroverted male. I saw him earlier in the week and it crystalized one of the reasons that working this year feels slightly less enjoyable than last year in some ways.
I guess the solution to this is effort on my part in being involved in local things and taking opportunities at church that involve working closely with others. Do what I should be doing anyway and see what happens.
It also, to some degree, highlights an issue that perhaps the church can do something about in regards to same sex attraction. As I get older and more and more of friends are married with children, my available social outlets will diminish. It seems that couples or families are less likely to feel the need to text someone to hang out, which puts me in the uncomfortable position of doing more and more of the initiation. I’m not going to go ‘oh this is horrible’ and get a boyfriend, but I think it’s a reason that some people use and it would be good if the church was such a great family itself that it removed the plausibility of this excuse.
Later thoughts partly inspired by http://spiritualfriendship.org/2013/07/16/what-does-genesis-218-really-teach/