Wednesday, March 18, 2009

03/18/09 - What are your intentions?

I receive e-mails all the time from young women confused about the way a young man is treating her. One question I almost always receive is: When should I ask him what his intentions are?

There are a couple of factors that I believe should be involved in knowing when to ask what a guys intentions are.

First, is he treating you different than other single women. You may be friends with a guy who is just super friendly with all women and you could be reading his signals wrong.

I think of my friend Joe. Joe is just a nice guy. If he would call one girl to invite her to a gathering, he'd call 15 girls and guys. If he gave one girl a hug, he'd give all the girls and guys hugs. He is just a nice guy. A girl could easily mistake his friendliness as "liking" her, when in reality he was just being Joe.

So make sure he is really treating you different. When I asked my husband what his intentions were with me it was after 6 months of face to face friendship and he began to treat me very different than the other single women in our group of friends.

Second, I feel that having a green light from God is the most important thing. Let the Holy Spirit guide a conversation like this.

A conversation about intentions can come purely from manipulation or a need to "have" this guy and not from a real need to clarify the situation. Make sure your motives are pure.

I will say that there are other authors (who write about this subject) who feel that a girl should never say anything to a guy and should wait on him. If God has convicted you of this, then this is your answer. If God has given you the freedom to ask, then follow the Holy Spirits leading.

Maybe I just opened up a can of worms of other questions. Please send them my way and I'll try my best to give my thoughts.


chakia said...

Thanks for sharing...I wish I would've known this before I met a brother like "Joe." Would've saved me a bunch of heartache! God Bless.

Julie said...

This makes me wonder how a friendly, outgoing guy like Joe would let a girl know she was special to him. Quite possibly this is where his amiable nature could work against him - the girl might think "oh, he's just nice to everybody". For an extrovert, there's little risk involved in being sociable, but revealing one's deeper feelings is probably quite daunting.

Elizabeth said...

I am struggling with this right now. It's confusing because it seems like the woman should never have to ask. Maybe I'm just in a hurry to know his feelings too soon.

It's a good point that he might be paying the same attention to other girls. I normally try to keep my mouth shut and observe a little first. Yet watching how he acts towards all the other girls in the vicinity can become obsessive and invoke feelings such as jealousy.

I completely agree about motives.

Heather Paulsen said...


When Joe met his wife, there was NO doubt he treated her different ;-) They have a sweet love story and a whirlwind courtship!


Ruth said...

I totally agree with the girl never say anything regarding to a possible relationship or feelings to a guy. It's biblical that she waits for the man to take initiative - and I wonder if the Holy Spirit could lead otherwise, meaning leading the girl to ask and "clarify" the status of the relationship. I can tell from my own experience that I felt God leading me to ask this kind of question, but I was wrong, I misunderstood the Spirit's leading and I did make many mistakes.
I would feel free to say to a guy that seems to treat me differently: Please be "careful" around me, I am vulnerable as a young woman and want to keep my emotional and spiritual purity. That sould make him attentive of his behavior with me and girls in general.
Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

Heather, I would love to hear Joe and his wife's love story. I always enjoy a good story like that.
Elizabeth, I totally understand the feelings of jealousy you have identified, especially when a guy you like appears to be interested in one of your girlfriends. I have yet to find a helpful remedy to curb my jealousy in those situations. :-)
Ruth, I completely agree with your stand on waiting for the guy to do the initiating and the girl to do the responding. But your last paragraph made me it necessary for a girl to alert a guy to her vulnerability? Any guy worth pursuing a relationship with would already be aware of a girl's sensitivity, and his caution around her would be evident. And even stating such a noble statement would show that you are interpreting his treatment as interest, and inevitably cause him to feel the need to reiterate either his intentions for his treatment of you. (<< That last sentence is spoken from pure experience, but every guy is different.)
Didn't mean to ramble like that and hope I didn't confuse anyone here!
~ Mandy D.

Elizabeth said...

I think it is appropriate to alert a guy to your vulnerability if he is persistently pursuing you. It's a "what are your intentions" moment that Heather referred to. But a lot of times it's my own fault that I've gotten into a vulnerable situation, so I set boundaries for myself or simply stop encouraging the attention, and the problem goes away without an awkward conversation.

If the guy seems to be misleading girls in general, maybe you could quietly tell the pastor or another mentor who could gently mention it to the guy.

Jealousy is tough, and I take it as a warning sign that I've become too attached to a guy without a commitment. It becomes an issue of trusting God: do I trust him enough to keep my future husband's eyes off other girls and prepare his heart for committing to me? Should I be keeping my eyes off this guy so that I can keep myself pure for meeting my future husband?