Why risk harm to your own heart or to that of a brother or sister to have a type of companionship that, outside of marriage, is arguably questionable anyway?This brings me to my second argument against intimate one-on-one friendships between brothers and sisters in Christ. Men and women who are not called to long-term singleness and celibacy have a strong desire for companionship with a member of the opposite sex. As I've discussed before, Scripture seems to consider marriage (and children) to be a normal part of the progression toward biblical manhood and womanhood (see, among others, Genesis -28; -24; Matthew -41; Luke -36).
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?
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.
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.
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.
This is especially so in a culture — and a church — that struggles with the widespread sociological trend in its young adults known as "perpetual adolescence." Albert Mohler, Alex and Brett Harris, Candice Watters and other Boundless authors have written about this trend at length.