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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Hugs and such

{Photo owned by Andrew St Clair}
 Ah, yes, it's a question that is frequently asked nowadays How close is too close? How far is too far? And while this is often asked of physical boundaries in a romantic relationship, I don't actually want to address that. I want to address the questions in the context of casual friendships with guys.

 I've had to ask myself the question "how close is too close" as I've become closer friends with various guys in the past few years. (It's all a relatively new adventure for me, as I never had any true guy friends until we moved to where we live now a few years ago.) Hugs? What kind of hugs? How long for? How close can I or should I sit/stand next to them? Etc, etc. So what are my answers? Well, there are a few guidelines I think every girl should operate by...

  1. Watch your motive! Is this hug/whatever a perfectly innocent gesture of friendship? Or are you trying to get close to him deliberately? The former is fine, the latter is not. If you're fighting off liking a guy, it can be easy to let yourself get too close to him. Be careful. Be honest with yourself and with God. Watch your motive. Back off from the urge to get too close.
  2. Preferably, let the guy initiate most times. Of guys and girls, guys struggle the most when it comes to physical contact. Do him a favour and let him initiate when he knows he'll be OK. Don't push yourself onto him by initiating hugs all the time. No, I'm not saying never initiate a hug. But to be on the safe side, let him call most of the shots.*
  3.  Just. Be. Careful. Ask yourself, "would I do this with Jesus? What if my parents were right next to me?" Remember that what is OK can differ from situation to situation and guy to guy, but don't use that as an excuse!!! If in doubt, don't do it. It's not how close you can go along the road to temptation, it's how far away you can stay from it. 

 So that's the general guidelines. Now for some specifics that I try to operate by. 

  1. A-frame/'man' hugs. This basically means contact with your upper chest and shoulders only. Alternatively, the side-hug achieves the same purpose: minimal body contact. I reckon that most of the time one of these hugs should be used when hugging a guy. 
  2. Keep an appropriate distance when sitting or standing. I can't make this one specific, I really can't. Situations differ, guys differ, etc. But it's definitely something to be aware of. It's crucial to be honest with yourself, and make sure you're not getting too close. 
  3. Don't lean against a guy. I know many girls sometimes lean against a guy when sitting or standing, and I know many guys who accept that as appropriate. But in my opinion, it's getting too close and intimate. It's entering a guy's personal space - something I reckon should only be done on occasions. (I.e. a good-bye hug, or a comforting hand on the shoulder are are examples of OK intrusions into a guy's personal space.)
  4. Be wary of other touches. Things like rubbing a hand on a guy's back (or his on yours), tickles, etc, I think are inappropriate. In our culture, these things are often norms. But we, as children of the Light, should be questioning norms, looking at things in a Biblical perspective, and making sure our actions are pure. Don't be extremely paranoid... but, be careful.
 I'd like to clarify something: there is no line of physical touch... but there is a direction. Joshua Harris says in I Kissed Dating Goodbye"True purity... is a direction, a persistent, determined pursuit of righteousness. This direction starts in the heart, and we express it in a lifestyle that flees opportunities for compromise." I can't set blanket rules about this. I can't say "this is right and this is wrong." But I can point to a direction. 

And yes, I'm talking to myself too. Most certainly. I've stuffed up with this stuff, gone a bit too far. Recently, in fact. But praise God, he helps me learn from my mistakes, working through them for good!

Your sister in Christ's grace,
Cassie xoxoxo

*Please note that I am referring to Godly guys here, those who have both his and your purity in mind. Only with these guys should you let them call the shots. Otherwise, don't let a guy dictate your contact.


  1. Much of what you have said in this post has greatly convicted me to change things about the way I'm currently living out daily life, and for that, I'm grateful. However, as someone who suffers from sexual failure, many of your posts leave me feeling as crushed and as broken as I did the first time I realised the depth of my sin. Since that day, I have come to value and trust the beautiful grace and mercy that the LORD has offered me. I would love it if, every now and then, you could write a post that moves slightly away from the dos and don'ts of purity, and instead, concentrates more powerfully on the truth that we are washed pure in Christ, regardless of what we have done, are doing, or will do.
    Just something to think about. Thank you for all that you have encouraged me in, you truly shine.

    A friend

  2. Thanks for that thought! I'll take it into account. :)

    Cassie xoxoxo

  3. I very much like the do's and dont's and it doesn't make me feel crushed or broken, not that I've done some really worse things, I haven't even kissed a boy lol. But the Bible is filled with do's and dont's so I don't see a reason why you should step down on that. But your posts do somehow show that we have a loving God who forgives us and that we should move on from our past. In the contrary this posts of do's and don'ts help me as a young lady growing in christ.


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