Years ago, I had a twenty-something friend who was asked out on a date by a guy she was interested in getting to know better, but she turned it down because she already had plans that night. She was picking up a (platonic) girlfriend at the airport.
Guy Who Asked Her Out: Wait a minute. You are turning down a date so that you can give somebody a ride? Can’t she take a cab?
Woman Who Was Asked Out: I told her I’d pick her up.
GWAHO: I have never heard of a woman choosing a female friend over a guy.
WWWAO: Maybe you either don’t get out much or you have terrible female friends.
That was a true story.
Yesterday I wrote about Girl On Girl Betrayal which is sadly all too common. That post had a basic heterosexual, binary view of the world which bothered me a bit, and so I’ve asked someone I love to share a different perspective on loyalty and loving behavior later this week.
But for now, what about basic, platonic Girl On Girl Loyalty? A friend who privately commented to me on yesterday’s post wondered how we can develop this basic loyalty between young girls (and young boys for that matter.)
Assuming that – let’s say – tween girls will always be mean and that’s just the way they are seems almost as ridiculous as assuming that all football players beat their partners/wives and that’s how it is. Assuming that women will choose romantic opportunities over platonic opportunities is wrong. Women of any age are not necessarily in competition with each other. And yet we could cooperate a little better.
Church can be one of the best communities to teach loyalty.
Imagine a church culture that encouraged confidence. (We were each created in God’s image in unique ways.) Imagine a church culture that encouraged cooperation and collaboration. (There is a priesthood of all believers.)
Imagine a church that taught stories like Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah as “how to live in the real world” stories about loyalty and connecting this to friendship today. Maybe you know lots of congregations doing Christian Education this way – relating Bible stories in such a way that life is transformed. We meet as a community and we leave after the conversation/class/meeting not just socialized or smarter but better friends and human beings.
Imagine a church women’s group which is more than a mission project or a Bible study, but the women were taught how to be loyal friends to each other and to women in the community. My hope is that everyone reading this can say, “That’s exactly how the women’s group is in my congregation.” So is it? Do girls and women learn how to be loyal friends in your church?
Image of Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah by Chagall (1960)