When He Just Wants to Be Friends

You like him. His dimple when he smiles, the way he tells a joke, how he says “hey” when he walks past your locker. And your stomach fills with butterflies when he asks you for help on that math problem or when he texts to ask if you’ll be at the football game. I know how it feels; I’ve been there, too. You tell yourself to remain calm, to play it cool. He’s just a friend, you remind yourself. But when you’re with the girls, you can’t help but gush about the way he acted annoyed when he saw his assigned seat was next to yours in that English class—and then proceeded to laugh with you while writing notes on your paper throughout the entire lecture. Maybe he really does like me, you think. You try to keep yourself grounded in reality, but it’s just too late. Your heart is fluttering in the clouds, and it skips a beat each time you see your phone light up with a text from him. You maintain that mental list of reasons that just might mean he has feelings for you:

  • He stood next to you in the student section at the football game on Friday.
  • He favorites your tweets and comments on your Instagram posts.
  • He sent you that text to remind you about the early meeting in the morning (because you totally overslept last week).
  • He’s the only one who calls you by that nickname he made up in calculus a few weeks ago.

All those little signs add up, right? There’s no way he doesn’t like me back . . . right? But one day you have the conversation that shatters your hopes into a million pieces. He thinks of you as a friend. That’s all he wants to be. Just friends. Because he’s always had feelings for someone else, and he just doesn’t picture himself in a relationship with you. He says he thinks you’re great, but a great friend, that’s all. And you’re crushed. Your heart plummeted from cloud nine and splashed into the deep, cold waters of heartbreak in five seconds flat, and you can barely catch your breath. You’re hurt, disoriented, and so embarrassed. You were convinced something more was there. Didn’t the signs add up? What am I doing wrong? Through tears, you re-read the strings of his text messages, partially to search for any clues to diagnose what went wrong, but also to grasp for the comfort of hope and infatuation you once felt. Why does he like her and not me? Why am I not enough for him? The thought of him laughing with her instead of you makes you feel sick to your stomach, a little jealous, but most of all, completely inadequate. You thought that finally, just maybe, a cute, funny, sweet, smart guy actually had noticed you and liked you back. Instead, you watched that fluttering hope slip through your fingers; now it feels like “unlikeable” has been stamped upon your heart.

Your Life Raft on the River of Heartbreak

Single girl, you’re not alone. Can I offer an understanding hug? Because I’ve been there.

Jesus knows the painful aches that are wrenching every square inch of your heart right now.

Yet even better than a hug, Jesus knows the painful aches that are wrenching every square inch of your heart right now (Ps. 56:8; Heb. 2:17–18). He’s your Life Raft in heartbreak. He’s the Answer to the lies that are hurdling at you—the enemy would love for you to swallow these lies as you wallow in despair. The lie that you’re rejected, unloved, and worthless. When the object of your affection tells you he isn’t interested, it’s natural to be hurt by rejection; it can feel like the rug was pulled out from under your feet. You wanted your identity to be his girlfriend. The reality that you won’t be his feels like a punch in the gut. But do you know who you’ll always belong to? As a child of God, your identity is forever in Christ (Gal. 2:20). If your world has come crashing down because you won’t belong to a guy, it could be that you’ve placed your hope in a person, instead of your Savior—where all your hope truly belongs. You’re valuable and loved in God’s eyes; when your roots grow deep into that truth, your heart can process human rejection with a gospel perspective. You’re a sinner saved by grace through Christ, our Father who loves you with an everlasting and steadfast love (Ps. 103:17). Rejected and unloved? Never. Because God is exactly who He says He is: the faithful lover of our souls (Ps. 42:8; Hos. 2:19; Prov. 8:17).

Is There Something Wrong with Me?

Another lie you might be entertaining? That something’s wrong with you. That you’re not pretty enough, funny enough, spontaneous enough, witty enough, likeable enough. Whatever it is, you don’t feel like you’ll ever be enough.

Don’t carry your broken heart around waiting for another guy to come along to fix it.

Did you know that when God created you, a purposeful and wonderful creation (Ps. 139:13–14), He didn’t forget to add anything? He doesn’t accidentally leave out personality traits or physical attributes. We’ve each been given strengths and weaknesses, and it’s our calling to trust the Creator with our design, especially with the areas in which we feel inadequate. Maybe your personality doesn’t seem as lively, bubbly, and spunky as hers. Could it be that God knows your future man will appreciate and admire your personality exactly as it is? And could it be that God wants you to drop your insecurities at His feet, discovering His sufficiency in deeper ways?

Will I Ever Heal?

Most of all, when you’re wading through heartbreak, the subtlest of lies becomes the most convincing: that God can’t heal your hurt or be trusted with future relationships. If you adopt those notions, you’ll find yourself running to the world to grasp at any kind of comfort. You might even find yourself lowering your standards to date the next guy who walks onto the scene. Don’t carry your broken heart around waiting for another guy to come along to fix it. He won’t have the power to repair what’s been broken. It’s God who can heal your broken heart and bind up your wounds (Ps. 147:3). It’s our tenderhearted Father who wants to draw close to you, to satisfy your soul with His goodness, to bring you real rest through His peace (Ps. 107). If anything can can rescue you from sinking in the rough waters of heartbreak, it’s our Savior’s grace. Trust Him. Place all your hope in Him. Over and over again. You liked him. You really liked him.

If anything can can rescue you from sinking in the rough waters of heartbreak, it’s our Savior’s grace.

But it’s going to be okay. Not because you’ll eventually meet someone who falls in love with you (though God can surely make that happen), but because God is good. Even in your heartbreak, He’s so good. You’re forever loved, single girl. Cling to your Life Raft. PS: As you wrestle through heartbreak, one of the best ways you can grab on to hope is to dive into God’s Word. Here are some passages to read and memorize:

I’d also encourage you to talk to an older, wiser woman with whom you can share what’s going on in your world and your heart. You may not realize how much you need to hear some godly counsel while sipping a chai latte. 

About the Author

Samantha Keller

Samantha Keller loves lazy lake days, strong coffee, and writing about the ways Jesus transforms our everyday messes into beautiful stories. She digs the four seasons in northern Indiana, is probably wearing a Notre Dame crew neck.