Attracted to Someone? The Art of Expressing it.

It started on a Spring Break bus to Panama City Beach, FL. There in the back row was a girl that I could only describe at the time as “HOT” (I had just started following Christ and didn’t have any other category). I promised myself that before we landed back in MN five days later I would have a date with her (*mission: accomplished!*). Between bus trips, I was able to finagle a walk on the beach between just the two of us. She needed a sweatshirt as the departed sun had left things a bit chilly. I told the rest of the group to go on ahead and we’d catch up to them. Yeah, right! After our long walk and conversation, I was pretty sure she was awesome, not just on the outside but on the inside too (i.e. someone I didn’t want to be just friends with).

So, I tried my best attempt at some form of Christian, honorable pick-up line action thing. I told her thanks for the walk. Then I lifted my hand up for a high-five. Here’s where you really need to pay attention. When she came to high-five me, I grabbed on to her hand. Pulling it down to waist level, I proceeded to give her hand an extra squeeze. YES! Did you feel that? BOOM! Alright, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. But 20 months later I did marry that girl. So, that counts for something, right?

About a year ago, our church was just finishing a sermon series on the Song of SolomonOne of the sermons that Steve preached was on The Power of Attraction. I recall how influential this sermon was for many people. In it Steve addressed what makes an attractive man and what makes an attractive woman (similar to the conversations on Men and Women here and here). Then he asked the question, “Are you attracted to someone?” If so, there are three questions he felt you should ask yourself:

    1. Is this the best thing for the other person?
    2. Is this the best thing for you?
    3. Is this the best thing for God?

If, after answering these things affirmatively, steps need to be taken to express this attraction. In the Song of Solomon this meant her asking the man where he grazed his flock and rested his sheep at midday (1:7) and following the tracks of the sheep so she might graze her goats nearby his (1:8).

What’s the modern-day equivalent of tracking your crush’s sheep? How can attraction be expressed in honoring and healthy ways?

QUESTIONS
  • What are honorable ways you have heard of, or seen, or even carried out of expressing attraction to someone? Do you have an example(s) about how a person tried to express this and it just didn’t work?
  • Singles, how do you feel like someone could express this to you in ways that honor and bless?
  • Married types, how did you or your spouse come to express your attraction for one another? It better have not been like me!
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Posted on by Cor in LIFE

21 Responses to Attracted to Someone? The Art of Expressing it.

  1. Joey

    Oh man, I’m so glad I never have to date again! Don’t get me wrong, there was that excitement in wondering if the next girl I’d meet was “the one,” but boy could the interactions be painfully awkward!

    My wife and I were introduced to one another at church. There was ZERO attraction for either one of us for the other. 10.5 months later we were married.

    Because we weren’t interested in one another, we didn’t really interact with much an intent for a relationship at first. We were just 2 of the only people around our age at the church so our first real conversation came about because we were within 10 feet of one another with no one else to talk to. I recall only 2 really awkward moments.

    The first awkward moment: After a month and a half of talking for 10 minutes after church, then 30, then an hour, she was off to a summer job in Colorado. We walked to the parking lot and then said goodbye. We’d obviously been spending more time together with no relationship intent and needed to define things if we were going to keep going, so I think we were both relieved for the geographic separation. But how do you say goodbye? We may have shaken hands when we were introduced, if even that. Well, we had a nice awkward side hug, made that much more awkward by the 12 inches in height that separate us.

    The second awkward moment was a few weeks after she returned from her summer job. She’d invited me to her parents’ house for a dinner that she cooked (and she never cooked at the time!). After hours of talking into the wee hours of the morning in that living room, we both knew we needed to figure out where it was going. She finally stepped up to the plate and initiated the DTR. I was never very sure of myself and was always afraid to go there, and I don’t think I’ve ever hemmed and hawed more than the 15 minutes after she asked where I saw things going.

    That’s about it. We didn’t have to chase each other down. We didn’t have a one-sided situation with one of us trying to convince the other to “give it a chance!” We just became friends and fell in love. Given that we’d both really only dated once before and it had been a few years for both of us, I don’t know if any other way would have worked for either one of us.

    (Dang, I really need to figure out how to condense my thoughts into shorter comments…now that it’s written though, it’s getting published!)

    • Cor

      Become friends, fall in love. It seems so easy when you put it that way!

      • Joey

        Ha! Easy, no, but I always did want it to go that way. I never did really jump on the dating bandwagon where you meet someone you like and immediately (or shortly thereafter) express your intentions or ask her on a date. I don’t have a problem with that approach, it’s just not one I was ever comfortable with so I never followed it.

        That said, there’s something to be said for not stringing her along. There’s a point in that friendship where you have to draw the line and determine whether you’re just friends or more than friends. That point should come sooner than later. For me it was 4 months, but that included a 2.5-month separation 3 states away. I never did believe in the notion of guys and girls being close friends long term.

  2. Faith

    Ooookay. I’ll be the first to respond. I was one of those people who was affected in a very positive way during Steve’s series on the songs of Solomon. In fact, it was my very first day at hope. The beginning of that series and another way God was going to get me to see that He is enough. And to begin to change my view on relationships forever. It was then that I really became on fire for the lord.

    So how do you let someone know that your re attracted to them? Tell them! How? Refer to Cor’s blog on how to be a man and a woman.

    I met a guy at a mutual friends function last summer. It was like a ten min convo. I would run into him at another friends function 5 months later. I wouldn’t remember him, but he would remember me. We kept on running into eachother and I invited him to a Super Bowl party and after that he messaged me and said just so we are clear, I’m interested in getting to know you better. You seem to have a sincere desire to follow God. Friends, that was the clincher for me. Communicating what his intention was. That’s all you have to do!

    So about the graze and flocking of sheep. He’s an avid cyclist. Races for a team locally. So I go on bike rides with him. 25+ mi bike rides. The conversation? Always centered on the Lord. Stories and insights are shared from the week.

    • Cor

      Refer them to this blog!? Too funny.

      As always, thanks for commenting, Faith!

  3. Derek Hanisch

    Honestly, I’ve come to believe that men these days are dweebs. We meet a girl, we like her, and we get along well. We want to go on a date with her. What do we do? In a lot of cases, nothing. We drop hints. We just wait for something to happen.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much guilty of this. Girls are scary!

    Yet, I truly think that we just need to man up and ask the girl out that we like. Over the past year I’ve begun doing this, as scary as it is. There have been two girls that I’ve asked out, neither worked out, but both remarked on how guys these days just don’t ask girls out.

    So my advice? Pray that your actions will honor God, and then just go for it. Be bold, be honest, be respectful. What are you waiting for?

  4. faith

    Ha! I meant the one about men and women. There were some valid biblical references! :)

    And yeah make sure you are honoring God and why not just communicate with Him about the girl you like or have gotten to know? I guess consulting the bible works too….that’s how we learn how God thinks, right?

  5. David

    Cor and Joy, no offense, and it’s clear that God has made something beautiful out of your marriages, and attempting to rebuke older guys puts the fear of God in me, but both of your initial ways of showing how you felt seem reckless and even foolish to me, like you did what turned out to be the right thing for the wrong reasons. Maybe this is my own lack of understanding when it comes to “matters of the heart”. As a very single guy, then I think about those three questions, I feel that there isn’t anyone in my life I know nearly well enough to confidently answer them for. Derek, I would say my caution isn’t out of cowardice, but out of a sincere desire to remain intentionally faithful to God and not let my affections compromise this faithfulness by entangling me in anything that shifts my focus from Him.

    • Cor

      David, I was intentionally trying to showcase my story as an example of God’s grace. Maybe i didn’t make that clear enough. I had no wisdom or counsel in these things. I had just came to faith in Christ. I tried my best with what I knew at the time. And both God and Jill showed me a ton of grace.

      Re: not knowing someone well enough to answer those questions. I think there will always be faith and unknowns when it comes to approaching another, even of that person has been your friend previously. Women are deep. Well, I speak for Jill. She is deep. There are dreams, desires, hopes, thoughts, and feelings that can fill an entire lifetime getting to know and enjoy. This is why I think it’s important to ask someone out to an activity where you can talk and get to know one another (like coffee or lunch).

      • Matt

        I think that much of guy’s apprehension about pursuing is warranted.

        If its not perfect, or, if she’s not into you she’s going to get together and berate you with her friends. Its fun and it makes her feel good.

        Just gotta get over it and ignore the haters. One more no is closer to the next yes. B-)

        But, hopefully there’s someone in her life that is reminding her that she’s not perfect, if a guy makes a “feeble” attempt at wooing you, take it or leave it. But, I’ll never understand why women want to marry a guy who’s good at getting a new girlfriend.

        • Tom

          A possible reason a girl might want a guy who’s good at getting a new girlfriend might be that she wants to feel special. It may seem counter-intuitive, but look at it this way: if there’s a girl who could have any guy she wanted, but chooses you over the other guys asking her, you feel like a pretty lucky guy.

          Same way for her. If a guy could have any girl and chooses her, she feels valued. This isn’t to say that this is all or even most girls’ thought process, but one of the reasons many girls can be attracted to one guy or a type of guy.

        • Christine

          “But, I’ll never understand why women want to marry a guy who’s good at getting a new girlfriend.” Such a good point, and one that girls should remember!
          It’s funny looking back at that time with my husband; he thought he was being so smooth and used all the right moves, while I thought the opposite! I fell in love with him after those awkward first dates when we talked about our passions and where God was leading us.
          Single girls: don’t judge him too critically. Wait until you get a look at his heart, past the nervousness. My guy turned out to be the best thing for me!

    • Joey

      David, words like “reckless” and “foolish” are very strong, extremely charged words. I would caution you on two fronts:

      1.) As a single guy (and honestly, even for married guys), be very careful about deciding that you’ve figured out how dating and courtship should work.
      2.) There is no one right way to go about dating.

      I wouldn’t recommend that you follow in every step I took for two reasons:

      1.) I could have made some better decisions.
      2.) You’re not me and your future wife isn’t my wife.

      I have no plans to write the next book in the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” series. But I also don’t really have regrets. I loved getting to know my wife. I loved the hours-long conversations and phone calls. I loved the strange “non-date first date” (talk about a classic “what not to do” story!). I loved the awkward DTR (well, I loved it 15 minutes into it, when I had confirmation we were on the same page!). I loved dating her!

      I wasn’t intentionally “seeking a wife” when I met mine. I had decided if God wanted a relationship to happen, he’d make it happen, but I wasn’t going to force the matter. So while that didn’t mean I wasn’t keeping my eyes open for someone, when I met my wife I really wasn’t thinking in terms of finding a spouse. It didn’t enter my train of thought until we’d known each other for a while. Many other guys, of course, are in a very different place than I was. They’re actively pursuing a wife, and that may change how they interact with a girl they meet compared with how I interacted with my wife when we met.

      To be honest, the most awkward part of that entire time and something I don’t think I’d repeat was asking her parents for permission to date her. I was trying to follow Joshua Harris’ advice (much of which is very good!) since I really felt I’d screwed up a relationship 3 years before that when I had no direction. Yet to ask a grown, independent college graduate’s parents for permission to date her really wasn’t something any of them felt was necessary and I don’t think it benefited any of us. I checked a box on my list of “things I need to do to ensure a healthy relationship,” but it was really an unnecessary box that just made both them and me really uncomfortable.

      I think what I ultimately learned is this: there is no formula for getting to know a girl and dating her! Sure, there are some general principles to follow. Yes, there are some lines in the sand. But people and relationships are complicated. Reducing them to a systematic method in which guys and girls each follow a list of formulaic steps cheapens the experience in my opinion.

      Good luck to you. It’s great to see you observing others like myself and Cor and taking notes of what you do and don’t like to shape your own path forward.

  6. Danielle

    Sometimes, discussions like this turn toward telling men how to act and what to do, and almost “beating them up” in a way. I know I’m guilty of doing that very thing in my own life! I start to look around at my amazing friends who are women and wonder why the men in their lives don’t step up and be a man and ask her on a date. However, I don’t think that men being timid is the only reason people don’t seem to be dating as much as in the past.

    I think women (myself included) need to tone it down a bit with being so focused on marriage and having a family. It might be hard, but it’s important to be in the moment. When you meet a cute guy who is interesting, that doesn’t mean you’re going to date, get married, and have a long life together! BUT that’s where a lot of girls’ minds go. No wonder men don’t want to ask women out! That’s really scary!!

    Alright, on to the main point of this whole post! :) I can definitely understand how nervous people can get when they are trying to express their attraction toward someone. The fear of rejection runs deep on both sides of relationship. I think what I’ve come to see and try to practice, is first seeking God’s guidance. Second, spending time with that person. This might mean going to different parties with mutual friends, finding a common interest and getting people together to do that activity, and just in general “putting myself in their way” so to speak. Ultimately, I think the lines of what is appropriate for time spent together, conversations had, etc during this slightly awkward get-to-know-you-and-express-my-attraction-phase are very individualized. Some people can keep their hearts’ main focus on God while spending a lot of time with someone and keep their thoughts and desires in the present. Others cannot. You need to know yourself and how you work, then go from there.

    The third part of this, well, honestly, is flirting. Seriously. How much more confusing does it get?! ;) But really though, showing someone you are interested is about giving them your attention, time, laughter, etc. Making them feel cared for, worth your attention and time, and often times making them feel like they are the funniest person you’ve ever met. To me, that’s what I mean when I say “flirting.”

    Can someone just give us a poster with the simple steps to follow in this area of life? That would make things less complicated, nerve-wracking, and in the end much less painful. :)

  7. Faith

    Danielle, I like what you said in the beginning. There is MUCH to be said about contentment. In His timing, he will give you your desires, and if He doesn’t, then He truly has something better for you. I cannot imagine going through life/my walk being so focused on it. It would almost become an idol (and trust me it is a desire of mine. We were designed for relationships). And this coming from a almost 32 year old single female. I can sit here and think well the clock is ticking…but I am not. God has me where he wants me and I am okay with that.

    But what I really wanted to add here was something Joyce Meyer shared in a book I just finished reading. “What God does for you or for me may not be what He does for someone else, but we must remember what Jesus said to Peter, “Don’t be concerned about what I choose to do with someone else-you follow me!” (John 21;21,22) So I think you can use this in many areas of your life, especially when you are going through trials and someone close to you seems to have it all. I also think you can apply this here. Just because one person had a DTR after 3 months, and another married after 6 months, or another didn’t even have the DTR until 12 months after becoming friends doesn’t mean that is what God has for you or what will happen to you when you meet that person. The worse thing I can do for me is to compare my dating scenarios with others.

    With this guy I am getting to know. It’s been a few months since we met for the second time. We hang out maybe once a week and communicate via phone and such, but he hasn’t touched me. Not even a hug. I like that. The boundaries. I need that. Some don’t like that. It just allows us to get to know eachother, to serve, to build the foundation and see if it is even going to work without all the confusion that touch and kissing can bring. He shares his life with me as he builds trust with me and feels comfortable, and he encourages me in my walk. That is a man to me! And I have no idea where it will go, but I trust God will lead and I pray about it.

    The only reason I am being so candid here, is because I spent so much of my 20’s focused on relationships, but in the ungodly way. God has renewed my mind in that area and has taught me much about how he designed them to be.

    • Danielle

      Faith, this is such a great reminder in this area! Don’t compare. Comparison hurts and pulls your focus from Creator to created. I also think it’s great that you’re being candid. We need to be honest with other believers, and not shy away from truth and reality of situations.

    • Matt

      Thanks for sharing this. I would assume a girl who didn’t even want to hug me finds me unattractive. I guess communicate, communicate, communicate.

  8. Ruth

    I don’t like games and I’m not good at playing them. (Which is not to say that I don’t play them.) Here are some great lines that would work with me, assuming everything else is in place:

    “I think you’re really nice and I’d like to go on a date with you; what do you think?”

    “I’d like to see you again. How about ___?” (Must clarify that it is a romantic-type thing)

    “I’m attracted to you. I understand that may put you in an odd situation, and I don’t need to hear your response right now, but I wanted to let you know.”

    Honestly, speaking from my experience, the aforementioned assumption is the big part. If things are going to go well, I believe they will go well regardless of what dumb thing either party does. Likewise, if one or both people aren’t feeling it, the relationship probably won’t last long even if it does get started. The right person will have understanding for the things that make you you (separate the wheat from the chaff to keep what’s valuable and true). I would rather have an awkward but heartfelt and dis-disingenuous (?) talk than a smooth conversation without real character behind it. Intent and moving from a God-seeking heart are the most important things, imo, and everything else can follow!

  9. David

    Cor, a quick clarification. Your/Steve’s three questions ask if expressing your attraction is the “best thing” for yourself, the other person, and God. Do you think this means “the best possible” or “the best option between expressing or not expressing it”? Because if it’s the first, then the question becomes nearly impossible and it almost sounds like the hokey talk you hear from the world about finding “the one”. This might account for part of why I found the questions so hard to answer.

    And Ruth, yes, I think you meant “ingenuous”. :D

  10. Tim L

    Just to reiterate a point that was previously brought up…

    Men, I still would recommend this as the go-to guide for expressing one’s attraction to the opposite gender:

    http://heychristiangirl.tumblr.com

    You’re welcome.

  11. Ruth

    Ha! Doesn’t have the same ring!