Seriously? Is It Just Me…

Posts Tagged ‘friends

grinch

Cuddly as a Cactus

For the past few years, I’ve made it a habit to change my Instant Messenger avatar to the Grinch as my way of letting the world know how I truly feel about the holiday season. I have several reasons for dreading the month of December which thankfully isn’t the purpose of this post. However, despite my desire to remain cuddly as a cactus until the new year, I do find myself enjoying a few Christmas traditions.

One of those traditions is watching at least one variation of A Christmas Carol. While the original is a great version, I actually enjoy the knock offs more (who would ever have thought I would recommend a knock off of anything). One in particular is Ebbie, played by the Daytime Emmy snubbed Susan Lucci, as she works her way up the department store career ladder to find herself bitter, alone and…well a scrooge. Despite how poorly acted, written and shot this adaption of A Christmas Carol is, I always settle in to watch it, at least up until the part when Tiny Tim begins singing a painful version of “Angels We Have Heard on High”.

So why do I eagerly await the showing of this classic christmas tale? Well, because of the moral. At the end, when the Scrooge character wakes up full of the Christmas spirit, and realizes that he or she should have been giving not taking, that life is too short for frugality and resentment, and that this is the time of the year to spend with your family and friends, I can’t help but get teary-eyed. I hate to say this, but I am a little like Scrooge. I don’t enjoy this time of year, but after watching that movie I remember that being surrounded by people I love and who love me is a blessing.

This past weekend was another one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season; my girlfriends’ annual holiday party. We eat, drink fancy cocktails, and laugh so hard we shed tears. I wish I could tell you exactly what is so funny, or why such an electic group of women have so much fun together, but in my heart I know it’s simply the bond of friendship. Thinking back on the year my friends endured, I realized that:

  • One of us became a mother;
  • Another lost a very important person in her life;
  • A few of us struggled to find good jobs in a tough economy;
  • Two of us worked hard to raise beautiful and smart daughters;
  • Half of us fought to maintain a healthy relationship with our mothers;
  • Some of us endured a lonely night or two in search of the one;
  • And all of us were there for each other through it all.

So this holiday season I’m going to remember to smile a bit more as I cherish the times I spend with those I love and thank God for truly blessing us, every one. Seriously!

Smerry Christmas Ladies!

8 days of christmas

Our version of a friend contract!

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I’m probably dating myself here, but does anyone remember the movie When Harry Met Sally? If you haven’t seen it, you should rent it on NetFlix, if for no other reason then to see how cute Meg Ryan was before she let a plastic surgeon butcher her face. Tragic.

The movie is most famous for the classic scene where Sally proves to Harry in a public restaurant that women do indeed fake it, and do it very well. But the movie wasn’t about the big O, it was actually about the changing face of a friendship between a man and a woman. The following is part of a dialogue from the movie:

Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
Harry: What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Whenever I hear a woman who has been spending a lot of quality time with a guy say, “but we’re just friends”, I automatically think of this movie and shake my head. It may just be me, but I’m simply not convinced that it’s possible to truly be friends with a man — no strings attached. So can a man and a woman be nothing more than friends without someone wanting more? I’m not a dating guru, although after 20 years you would think I at least had a degree in it, but I have seen these scenarios all to often:

yes-no-maybe

What do you think?

1. You like him – he no like you. Painful! You hang on as “friends” in hopes that he will one day recognize that you are the woman of his dreams. You spend so much time trying to convince yourself that you are okay with being friends that you actually forget to be his friend.

2. He likes you – you no like him. Even more painful. You have to endure the puppy dog I love you eyes every time you hang out with him. He continually reminds you that you are just friends, but you can tell he he’s really just trying to convince himself.

3. After years of friendship, you decide that there’s “something there” so you take it to the next level. If you can get past the incredibly awkward period, you may stand a chance. But that interim period where you can’t figure out if this is a good idea or not makes it very difficult on all parties involved.

Maybe I’ve just had bad experiences, but it doesn’t seem possible to be friends with someone of the opposite sex without the awkwardness of attraction flying around the relationship. In my opinion, men are for “dating” and women are for friendships. If you truly want to be friends with a man, may I suggest a good gay one with a great fashion sense, seriously?

Out of Order

Maybe it's broken...

Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when a Saturday night out with a girlfriend was merely an excuse to go man hunting. We would get all dolled up in our sexiest clothes, the more you show the better your odds, and then teeter off to the newest hot spot in search of the “one” (because yes, he was in the clubs and bars despite what those old 30 plus year olds said).

Upon arrival, we would squeeze our way through the sea of people searching for the perfect bar seat that gave us the best opportunity to survey the crowd looking for hot guys. The added bonus, of course, would be people watching which was always one of our favorite past times. The rest of the evening would be spent scanning the room looking for a “sponsor” to buy us a drink and entertain us.

As I reflect back on those days of trying to snag a man, a hook-up or a friend, I’ve come to realize that I may have lost my dating mojo. I probably would be panicking right about now, if it were not for the fact that one of my girlfriends* has clearly lost hers too.

A few weeks ago, she and I made plans to actually get out of the house one Saturday night and decided to sashay over to a new bar in town. It turned out to be a really cool spot as we consumed fabulous cocktails, munched on yummy tapas, and chattered well into the evening.

I was in the middle of a story (which was funny, I’m sure) when I was approached by a slightly intoxicated guy so far from my type I wasn’t sure if he meant to talk to me or my girlfriend. Since I’m all for meeting new people, I politely engage in small talk before he asks if he could buy me a drink. Now, the younger me would have been all — “yes, I’d like another of what I’m having” because you never turn down free drinks, but instead I say, “no thanks, I have to drive home”. (More like I didn’t want to get a cab and potentially sleep on my friend’s bathroom floor.)

Thinking that would knock the wind out of his sails, I attempt to return back to my story, which I’m positive now was funny. However, that didn’t deter him as he proceeds to fill me in on his life details — in the music business, recently divorced, has an eight year old kid, and apparently likes his women of the chocolate variety (yes, he shared that with me).

So I’m nodding and smiling as I see my pursuer’s wingman, a rather short black man, make a beeline to my girlfriend. We had been tag teamed. Now, women with their dating mojo intact may have been all over this situation. Free drinks, musicians with connections (apparently Kid Rock and George Clintion, but no confirmation received), and no girl left behind to fend for herself. But not the two of us, instead in perfect unison as if part of a synchronized swim team, we both ask the bartender for our checks, insert laughter, leave our tips, insert hair flip, accept their numbers and then bolt for the door. Not a word exchanged between the two of us.

Clearly annoyed we stomp down to our cars when suddenly my friend busts out laughing. She points out that we both got hit on, ended up with phone numbers and we’re pissed off about it. I started feeling sad for us, but then I thought if they had been more our types that we would have stayed, drank and had a lovely time, but I the thing is I can’t say that for certain. Guess I need to go find my mojo, seriously?

* No names will be used…but she knows who she is.

airplane

The joys of flying!

Now, I could probably throw a rock in any direction and easily hit someone who struggles with control issues. I tend to believe there are very few people out there who can let everything just roll off their backs. I mean, no one truly likes to feel out of control and depending on how distrustful you’ve become in your “old” age, you tend to cling to anything that you think you can control.

However, when you take it to the extreme, I can’t help but call you as I see you – a control freak. All this to say, it became painfully obvious during some recent trips with my girlfriends that we definitely have some control issues.

So, of course it was fitting that I outline some key points that indicate when you might be a traveling control freak:

1. You never check your luggage. When you would rather pack two t-shirts for a week long trip and drag your suitcase throughout several airports instead of trusting baggage handlers to transport your luggage to your destination, you might be a traveling control freak.

2. You don’t request housekeeping. When you refuse to bask in the beauty of having someone else clean up after you every day because they might go through your things, then you might be a traveling control freak.

3. You won’t use a travel agent. When you would rather spend hours surfing the Internet for low fares and hotel promotions instead of piggy backing off a professional’s discount because you’re confident they won’t get it right, you might be a traveling control freak.

4. You hate flying. When you require anti-anxiety drugs to reach your destination upon which you then criticize the pilots take off and landing techniques, you might be a traveling control freak.

5. You ignore your GPS. Despite having no idea how to get to your destination, you still second guess the directions supplied by your GPS because it just doesn’t feel right, you might be a traveling control freak.

Of course, traveling these days can make the most patient and calm person slit their wrists, so no wonder it highlights issues of control, lack of trust and anxiety. Honestly, it might not kill us to one day check our carry-on bags, fly out west, then hop in a car and just see where the GPS takes us, no questions asked, seriously?

As a faithful fan of the Real Housewives of New York series, I’ll admit that I was quite excited to watch the reunion episode from this season. However, it turned out to be 40 minutes of constant bickering and bitching between seven grown women, which depending on who you ask makes great television.

The highlight of part one’s episode for those who had been watching was to see if Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel would mend their shattered friendship in front of millions of viewers. Personally, I had been anticipating this episode in hopes that they would, because frankly true friends are hard to find and I enjoyed watching them together.

I was a complete ball of nerves as I witnessed a tear stricken Jill apologize repeatedly to Bethenny for her callous behavior to her this season, her regret was stifling as she all but begged for forgiveness. Then it was Bethenny’s turn and I thought this is it, the make up. I was sitting on the edge of my sofa, anxiously awaiting the response that would make all the tension, drama and backstabbing displayed on this season worth the agony of watching each emotional show. And then Bethenny unleashed the flood gates of her hurt, anger and embarrassment onto Jill by outlining each of her wrong doings throughout their relationship. She reminded her how many times she tried to make amends and was repeatedly shut out to the point where her heart simply shattered. My mouth fell open, as I watched Jill run from the room crying and Bethenny stammering on about how she simply could not keep Jill in her life anymore. There would most certainly be no make up tonight.

As the show came to a close, I was feeling incredibly let down, frustrated and quite honestly angry with Bethenny. How could she not forgive this woman who appeared to so desperately want to be friends with her? What kind of person can see an old friend crying her eyes out and just say I can’t?

It was disheartening to say the least, until I remembered that friendships as close as they may have been do end and that’s okay.

When I went off to college, I made the decision to cut out my toxic best friend from high school. For so many years (awkward teenage ones, I might add), I tried to make that friendship work. I took her verbal abuse, her jealous attacks, and her backstabbing while forgiving her nasty comments and harsh demands to be her friend time and time again. And then with a shattered heart and bruised spirit, I was done. I had finally reached a point (more so, the courage) where I realized the relationship was unhealthy for the both of us and I ended it.

Over the years, my ex-girlfriend has repeatedly contacted me to makeup for her wrongness, seek forgiveness for her past behavior and suggest that we be friends again. And each time I listened to her, absorbed what she was saying, and forgave her for what she did but I never allowed her back in my life. The friendship had long run it’s course and I no longer had a place for her in my heart.

As I reminded myself of that painful experience, I began to completely understand why Bethenny couldn’t rush into Jill’s arms and say I love you, I forgive you, we can be Bestie’s again. The pain and hurt that someone you love causes you can leave a mark so deep you’ll never forget how you got it. Can you move on? Yes. Can you learn from it? Yes. Can you forgive? Yes. But no one, not even the million of viewers let down by the lack of a reconciliation, should expect you to open yourself back up to a relationship that caused you so much agony.

I hope that Jill was truthful when she said she had changed and I believe that my old friend has changed as well, but often that relationship ending was meant to be the catalyst for that change, nothing more and nothing less, and that is okay. Doesn’t make for great reality TV, but it is oh so real. Seriously.

It seems like every time I turn around, some new dating statistic is released that yet again dashes the hopes of many a single woman over 30. I tend to not remember the specific numbers since most likely they are inaccurate, but I’m constantly hearing about how:

  • The chances of finding a man go down the older you get.
  • The chances of finding a man go way down if you are a black woman.
  • The chances of finding a man go up or down depending on what city you live in (mine is down, by the way).

So it’s not a complete surprise, when I hear about some women who have determined that men recycling is clearly the way to go these days. After all, going green is the new fad, so why not apply that same principle when it comes to dating a man who once dated one of your friends. Frankly, most men are technically “recycled” from someone’s past relationship, however, there is certainly a fine line as to which of those men are acceptable to date. Wouldn’t dating be so much simpler, if there was a handy-dandy flip chart that helped you discern when it was appropriate to start a relationship with a friend’s ex. So here’s my lame attempt at a help guide:

The first step is to determine what type of friend she is and how to proceed. If she’s an:

  • Acquaintance then mark O for Okay
  • Member of your Girl Pack then mark M for Maybe
  • Best Friend Forever (BFF) then mark C for Caution
  • Like a Sister or your Sister then mark H for Hell No

The second step is to determine what type of relationship she had with her ex-boyfriend before you can proceed. If they were:

  • Blind Dates then mark O for Okay
  • Casual Dating (less than 6 months) then mark M for Maybe
  • In a Long Term Relationship then mark C for Caution
  • Married (with or without children) then mark H for Hell No

The last step is very simple, match up the two codes to determine if it’s okay to begin the relationship. Obviously, there is no simple answer, except for maybe dating an acquaintances former blind date.

Undoubtedly, I’m an advocate for a single woman finding an intimate, committed and connected relationship with a man but not at the expense of destroying a loving, connected relationship with a friend. In all fairness, each situation is different and it truly depends on the parties involved, but it should be discussed with each party involved. In other words, no sneaking behind her back hoping one day she’ll understand and be “happy” for you. You have to honestly take stock of the how it will affect your relationship with your friend and potentially if this guy is worth losing that friendship over. I know it may be hard to believe, but despite what the statistics say, there has got to be more fish in the sea, seriously?

In the land of love, many will reminisce about the “one” who got away, but what about the “one” who won’t go away. Who is this guy? Well, he’s the one who you had major chemistry with, dated for a significant amount of time and fell madly in love with despite your intentions. In many cases, you may have exhaled, decided to get married and live happily ever after. Ah, but sometimes life doesn’t always work out the way we planned.

For whatever reason, the relationship ends and while you are stunned, heartbroken and have to be peeled off the couch by your friends, you eventually come to realize that it was the best thing for both of you. Yet you still hold a soft spot for this guy and letting him go becomes the challenge of a lifetime. Most exes leave never to be heard from again, but for whatever reason, you find yourself in a twisted merry go round relationship with this guy, one that neither one of you is willing to jump off first. So how do you make it stop:

1. Stop communicating with him. Yes, I know that your hearts literally skips a beat every time he calls but that should be a warning not an invitation. The only way to get off the merry-go-round is to end the constant conversations. Eventually, you won’t think twice about letting him go straight to voicemail.

2. Stop meeting him for a rendezvous. Nothing makes the heart cling steadfast to a past relationship than still being intimate with him. Sure, it’s comfortable and he knows what you like but this only confuses the heart, mind and spirit. Eventually, he stops asking because he should know the answer will always be no.

3. Stop calling, texting or Facebooking Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas or Happy President’s Day. All these dates are an excuse to keep the lines of communication open. Eventually, you only remember his birthday when someone randomly mentions the date.

4. Stop thinking you can be friends. When you convince yourself that he’s suppose to be a part of your life even if he can’t be a lover, then all the above becomes impossible and therefore the “one” never goes away. I’m all for having friends in your life, but with so many kind, supportive and fun people in the world I recommend spending your energy finding someone else to fill that vacant role. The heart doesn’t forget who it once loved.

5. Go find another “one”. True, easier said than done, but nothing helps you forget an old flame than a bright shiny new one. Besides, I doubt the new man in your life will be accepting of your late night text messages and casual get togethers with your old boyfriend…er friend.

Cutting all ties with someone who you truly enjoy being with and love dearly is difficult. Every relationship serves its purpose in your life. If the relationship with the “one” didn’t work out, then take the time to determine what you learned from it, make a mental note and walk away. Of course, it could quite possibly be easier to stop smoking crack than end a relationship but eventually with time and willpower you will get there. Now maybe one day I’ll be able to completely jump off my own merry-go-round and meet you at the finish line, seriously.


Soapbox Diaries from an Unplanned Single Life!

I hope you enjoy the random thoughts, observations and life lessons that I've learned along the way. It's called Seriously? because some days I just shake my head and say seriously, is this my life?


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