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How many times have you met a charming young man or woman who caught your fancy? You introduced yourselves to each other and then there is that deep desire within you to know this person more. And maybe you suspect the feeling is mutual. But you currently have resolved not to be more than platonic with anyone since you aren’t set or ripe enough for commitment. How do you get to know this person and develop healthy friendship without hitting the romantic button? Put another way, at what point does friendship crosses the line of platonic into romantic intimacy?

Before I go on, I must admit that a lot of us including myself have woefully failed in the past in approaching this issue. Most of these mistakes were due to lack of sufficient instruction on how not to instigate what we were not exactly looking for. Others were due to our insincerity. We claimed we wanted just friendship whereas we were looking for intimacy. Though not necessarily deliberately intended, we just enjoyed the idea of stoking someone else’s feelings and the fun that accompanied the adventure.

The first rule of keeping it platonic is the rule against singling. I think I came across this word first during service year at NCCF Family House, Ekiti State. NCCF is Nigeria Christian Corpers Fellowship. The family house is a large community of full grown brothers and sisters living within the same compound day in day out. It exists in the 36 states of the Federation of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory. They worship together (like twice everyday), cook together, do several common tasks as a community and sleep together. Yes now, in different rooms though. Lol. But within the same house. That’s a beautiful place to be by the way especially if you relish the culture of the Act of Apostles where people did everything in common.

Now, in order to be able to maintain the sanity of such a potentially charged atmosphere between sexually matured brothers and sisters, it was made a law that no brother must single out a sister for attention or affection and vice versa. That was the rule against singling. Of course there was also a law that didn’t permit any relationship to take off while brethren remained inmates within the house. By the way, somehow I couldn’t keep to this law. Please forgive me. There was this ebony black charming young northern girl from Gombe State. Of course I wanted more than platonic. Let me leave the rest of the gist until later. My former State President and Secretary often read this blog. I want to remain a good boy to them. But they shouldn’t bother. I’m already on my knees sobbing.

Often after meeting that young lady you’re considering platonic with, the first thing that comes to your mind is inviting her to lunch or to attend a show together so you can know yourselves better. As harmless as this appears, it is an error of approach for platonic intentions. Inviting someone for lunch alone indicates a deep special interest for that person. All through the outing, the prospects of your “coupleness” is vividly projected. You can hardly keep your mind off considering the possibility of you both being in a relationship while the outing lasts. So though you claim you don’t want romantic intimacy, this setting forces you to focus on each other in a romantic way.

In platonic friendship, the parties are bound together by their focus on a common goal or interest or hobby rather than on each other. The moment the parties begin to focus on each other and their relationship, the line of friendship has been crossed. So to remain platonic with a member of the opposite sex, you need to avoid singling the person. You’ll need to be content to relate with the person within the context of a group. If there will be lunch at all, you may want to get other people involved. But not get other people involved to be spectators while you still single that particular sister. You must be ready to focus on her and the entire group equally. After all, scripture says, “let love be shed abroad.” Why do you want to concentrate love on one person when some sisters and brothers are starving on love? Just joking. Then there must be something else outside of yourselves – a goal, a shared interest or pursuit to be the focus of your relationship if it is meant to continue platonic. If not, you may find yourself inadvertently crossing the line. Hard rule isn’t it? But safe rule.

The second rule of keeping it platonic is to guard your words and expressions – verbal and nonverbal and also be quick to clarify ambiguities that can send a wrong signal. I ought to be given six strokes of the cane at this point. Any volunteers please? How can your close female friend wait for you after service where you had ministered and on your way back to the hostel, while complaining about how long it took you to be done, you say something like, “you’re learning what it takes to be a Pastor’s wife.” Now you didn’t necessarily mean you’ll be the Pastor’s wife’s husband. But isn’t this statement suggestive? Which other currently close friend does your friend have who is a Pastor? You now later claim you were just friends when the innocent sister had plunged deep into you, believing the relationship was switching gear. On behalf of myself and my brothers, I sincerely apologise dear precious sisters. I hope you can help me relate this to all your colleagues.

We men wrestle more with our sex drive but ladies their emotions. We can help guard their hearts by being sincere and honest in our communication. We need to stop being flirtatious and refuse to play games and lead them on. We have to go out of our way to ensure nothing we say or do stirs up inappropriate feelings and expectations. So help us God. Amen.

Rule number three to successfully keep things platonic is to consciously space communications. Communicating frequently with someone you just met or you’re just developing friendship with is one of the clearest ways to say, “I’m interested in you.” Someone is likely to misconstrue your platonic intent if you go calling them every other day except your call is due to the demands of a project you’re both working on. In that case everyone knows what the calls are about. When I first met Iyebiye and wanted to let her know clearly I wasn’t interested in having a daughter in Christ relationship with her, that was what I did. I called her everyday. I’m so sorry. Shoo mo age mi? How can a girl be so charming and full of God only to just want to be a daughter? Daughter tie ko. Kikikikiikikiki. That’s me laughing deeply. I’ve raised enough daughters for other brothers. When will I prepare for my own home? Lol.

So what’s the summary of keeping it platonic:
1. No singling
2. No careless expressions.
3. No per seconds, per seconds call.
Oya, give me hi five.

For those who are ripe and ready for commitment but are wondering how to go about it without the dating approach of the world system, let’s meet in the coming weeks. We have a serious talk to talk.

On account of today’s talk, please be deliberate to make necessary amendments in your existing relationships and prospective ones. Some of us may even need to pick up the phone and apologise to some people we have hurt in this wise in the past. Do it Ok?

Your Brother,
Peniela Akintujoye.
For any questions or enquiry, write us via hello@lovestraighttalks.com

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