Friends of the opposite gender

Hi all.

I’m a male teen 16 years old, I have been good friends with a girl since earlier childhood, since which I did all the usual things that friends do, going to each-other’s houses to watch TV or going for a walk or something like that. But recently I saw a lot of articles saying that you are not allowed in Catholicism to be alone with your girlfriend because it’s am occasion of sin. Now bear in mind, I’m not dating this girl at all. Not my girlfriend. Potential girlfriend? Probably impossible. She’s not a Catholic so the idea that I could date her is ludicrous.
Either way, reading all these artcles saying you must never be alone with a girlfriend and you can’t have a female roomate made me think. Can we go to each-other’s homes to watch TV? Or go for walks like we have been doing already? We don’t have many other friends in our area because we go to high school in a different town. This means that we don’t tend to hang around together with anyone else, except on more special occasions.

She invited me on a camping trip with her and her family for her birthday in some caravan during the summer holidays. There would be supervision at all times because of the precence of her family. Would the “no opposite gender roomates” rule apply here? Should I decline her offer?
Or just leave it altogether and talk on the phone instead of meeting in person at all unless there is other company?
Thank you.

Unless you spend time with her and are actively tempted to get touchy this is not an issue… it is more an issue of developing scruples :slight_smile:

there is no catholic teaching that says you cannot be friends with people of the opposite gender.

there are certain gidelines where you should be prudent however, imprudence does not always mean sinful.

but you are going to get a wide array of opinion on this issue. and be careful of what you read, not all “catholic” articles are credible. is there a priest you can ask about it?

I think you will be ok if you continue to hang out with your friend. You have been friends from childhood, you aren’t considering dating her, I doubt it will be a near occasion of sin.

I would love to see those articles about not spending time alone with a girlfriend. While that wouldn’t probably be prudent for most people, I don’t think it is a hard fast rule.

About your trip, if there is constant supervision you have nothing to worry about.

A person is a person no matter what sex they are. :shrug:

Why on Earth would it be wrong to be friends with someone of the opposite gender?

If neither of you feel tempted to sin - meaning it’s strictly friendship and there is no romantic or sexual attraction between you- I see no problems at all with you two spending time alone together. If that changes, then you would need to make an effort to spend time together with other people around to avoid the occasion of sin.

I agree with you. I think that there are less “articles” and more posters on CAF writing not to be alone. But they are mostly speaking of boyfriend/girlfriend relationships where the people involved are struggling with purity issues, or may be tempted by being alone.

In your case OP, you are friends, as if she were a guy you know from school or something. If everything is as you say, you have nothing to worry about.

:thumbsup:

As long as there is supervision / a chaperone, there should not be a problem at all.

OP: be careful about some of these “articles” you find on the internet. There are plenty of sites with cool-sounding names like “CatholicPlanet.com”, “DailyCatholic.com” and “RomanCatholicism.org” which contain very questionable and spiritually dangerous material, but cloak themselves by being rigorous on things like dating and clothing. They are best avoided.

What guidance have your parents given you on this?

Good question.

If it were my kids, it would really depend on the situation. It seems a bit too “familiar” for me, especially at your age. And having 24 hour supervision makes it all the more odd, as if they want you to be there but not really. Frankly, it doesn’t seem like it would be a fun trip because you (and her parents) would spend the whole time walking on egg shells because something might go wrong.

What I want to know is why the idea of dating her is “ludicrous.” Would you really not date a girl if she’s not Catholic?

I mean, I’m all in favor of Catholics marrying Catholics, but a date is just a date. If you start off taking simple, basic dating as serious “discernment” for marriage I think there’s a good chance you’ll be a frustrated and lonely guy. Just my opinion.

Why?

The Catholic Faith allows Interfaith Marriages, and never outright says to avoid non-believers.

If Saint Clotilde considered it “ludicrous” to be romantically involved with a non-catholic then Clovis would never have found God.

Of course I don’t imagine that there would be anything wrong with it, I just very strongly feel that it wouldn’t work well for me, especially since this particular person doesn’t even believe in God.

My parents want me to tell them where I am going, who I will be with, what time I will be home etc. They stronly do not want me to date at this age and I agree with them on that. But they do not mind me having friends of the opposite sex. They wouldn’t mind me sitting in the living room watching TV with her or going for walks, but they wouldn’t allow me to do other certain things like hanging out in the bedroom or something like that. I don’t go to girls’s bedroom because of this, also to aboud occasion of sin and for respect.

Sounds like your parents have this covered. Follow thier direction.

:thumbsup:

It’s always better to be prudent in such things.

It would be wrong to put yourself in the near occasion of sin.

If being alone with someone of the opposite sex could very well lead to fornication, and if a person knows that, then this might constitute an unnecessary near occasion of sin.

But as others have pointed out, OP, it doesn’t seem as if either of you are really falling into those temptations.

:thumbsup:
Edited for emphasis.

Wow, sixteen.

Bear in mind that your hormones are taking control right now. They kick in BIG time around your age.

Your parents say this. Your priest says that. Forum members will say whatever they think is applicable. All with good intentions. But your hormones…

Well, they will tell you something else. They will tell you not to listen to anyone else. They will tell you things that will contradict everyone else.

I seem to have had some success in bringing two kids up. One boy and one girl. They’ve turned out great. But maybe I just got lucky. But I think that what actually happened was that they both hung around with friends who watched each others back.

I know that both of them drank before the legal age. I know that they had sex with partners that are not their current long-term partners. I know that they tried some drugs. So hey, what was I supposed to do? Lock them up for a few years?

Nah. I just did my best to explain to them the consequences of making very bad decisions. And their friends…well I guess that’s what their parents did as well. So on ocassion, one friend might say: ‘Hey, buddy, not a good idea’, or ‘Hey, time to head home’.

Hang around with people who will watch your back. When there are no chaperones. If someone like that is not around, then it becomes your responsibility to watch her back. Don’t let her down…

I see you hail from the Republic of Ireland, and maybe things are different there, but although I think it’s prudent not to be in a bedroom or hotel room together, I associate the"never be alone with a girlfriend" ideal, more with fundamentalist Protestant evangelicals than Catholics.

Now, I think we can make an argument that a chaperone would be prudent for younger teenagers, but there are actually people who think 20something “children” should also be chaperoned at all times, CC their parents on all their text messages, etc.

The underlying assumption here seems to be not much different than the ones more secular people use to tout birth control, condoms, etc. That it is impossible for young people to actually control their sexual impulses on their own. The solution is different, of course - strong external controls.

(They also believe that a wife has a duty to have sex on demand with their husbands, and some even think that if she fails to do so, and the husband has an affair then it’s the wife’s fault. :rolleyes: But most Catholics would say that marriage is far from a guarantee to sex on demand, and chastity is important within marriage as well.)

She invited me on a camping trip with her and her family for her birthday in some caravan during the summer holidays. There would be supervision at all times because of the precence of her family. Would the “no opposite gender roomates” rule apply here? Should I decline her offer?
Or just leave it altogether and talk on the phone instead of meeting in person at all unless there is other company?
Thank you.

Well, even these extreme fundamentalists I have described, actually would have no problem with such an arrangement. So, I would say there is no issue with that offer. Unless, I suppose, that there is any hint that this girl has feelings for you that are more than friendly, though that would be more about being gentlemanly and not leading anyone on.

But assuming that she isn’t out to seduce you, or her family is the type that actually thinks teen sex is inevitable, and that it’s better to allow their teens to have “safe” sex “under supervision” than sneak around to do so – I’d say go, though certainly, don’t sleep in the same tent with her.

Thank you very kindly for all of your responses. I absolutely agree that to be as prudant as one can is paramount in such situations. I fully recognise the ferocious hormones that teenagers have, and you will see how I speak of them on some of my other threads as it is a topic that I require much advice on. I have learnt that the more prudent or “conservative” you are, the safer you are and the less likely you are to fall into sin. At the same time, I know that most of you are saying that I have been doing nothing wrong and perhaps some of you feel that I am being a little over-scrupulous. I understand this and I am inclined to agree, one of my Catholic friends (a past school teacher) has told me that I must not worry so much and that I am to trust the Lord and not huddle away in a corner trying to avoid everything like I sometimes do.
One of my main concerns is scandal. While I trust myself reasonably well not to fall into sin, I do not want to cause scandal and I do not wish for people to misjudge my intentions. If fellow Catholics at my parish thought “look at him, he says he is a good Catholic, but he is with a girl walking alone”, this would upset me a lot because I do not wish for people to think that I am committing serious sin.

Again, at the same time, I agree that these are things that would mainly be associated with Protestant fundamentalism and puritanism, and sometimes I feel that I am falling into that trap. There is a very fine line between being on the safe side, and being over-scrupulous. If it should come to pass at some stage that romantic feelings develop, then I will have to be doubly or triply prudent, as I strongly feel that dating for teenagers is among the most foolish things that a teenager could do. Some would say that the development of romantic feelings is inevitable, but my prediction is that it is highly unlikely.

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