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Bottom line: I believe it is difficult and rare — as a practical matter — to honor these principles in the context of a close, intimate friendship between two single Christians of the opposite sex.(For the verbally precise among you, I think such friendships between non-single Christians are also a bad idea, but that's not what we're talking about here.) Intimate friendships between men and women almost always produce confusion and frustration for at least one of the parties involved.I admit we're not talking absolutes here, but almost.In my experience counseling and writing on this topic, everybody thinks (or at least we'll end up in one of the situations you just talked about.They tend to involve the sharing of many aspects of each other's daily lives and routines.In other words, they tend to involve much of the type of intimacy and companionship involved in — and meant for — marriage.So is the trend toward intimate friendships between single men and women a good thing? If you haven't read my previous articles on biblical dating, you'll be helped in thinking through this issue by reading "Biblical Dating: How It's Different From Modern Dating." Based on some of the principles found there, let me offer a couple of practical reasons why I believe such friendships to be generally unwise, and then I'll suggest a positive role for friendship among singles in the Christian community.In this series of articles, I've raised several biblical principles regarding the way we should treat our brothers and sisters in Christ.

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Essentially, the historical reality is that until 30 or 40 years ago, long, intimate friendships between men and women in which each served as the other's emotional confidante, relationship adviser and "best buddy" were far less common than they are today.Yet even with all this deep communication going on, at least one aspect of these friendships inherently involves a mixed message.No matter how clearly one or both of you have defined what's happening as "just friends," your are constantly saying, "I enjoy being with you and interacting with you in a way that suggests marriage (or at least romantic attraction)." The simple reality (of which most people are aware, whether they admit it or not) is that in the vast majority of these types of relationships, one of the parties involved either began the "friendship" with romantic feelings for the other person or develops them along the way.Ladies, might there be men who would have initiated with you but for their uncertainty about or discomfort with your intimate friendship with another man?Guys, has a woman perhaps turned you down over questions about a woman friend you spend lots of time with?

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