Seriously? Is It Just Me…

Posts Tagged ‘friendship

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?

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?

Throughout my life I’ve generally been more successful at having female friends rather than male ones. It frustrates me somewhat because I think having a guy friend to pal around with can be a lot of fun. They are able to offer a different perspective on dating, they can be great wingmen (if used properly), and who couldn’t use a dose of testosterone to help with the heavy lifting around the house. However, finding a true male friend tends to be the exception rather than the rule.

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Seriously, with friends like these who needs enemies?
While watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta (guilty as charged) I was struck by how often these women referred to each other as friends yet never once acted like one.  Between online social networks and the keeping up with the Jones mentality, the word friend has lost is true meaning among so many people. Heck on Facebook, everyone who’ve ever met in your life is called your friend. What makes a person your true friend? That question may be easier answered by knowing who isn’t your friend.
The Fairweather Friend
“OMG, we so need to get together!” – This is the woman who consistently invites you to her showers, her weddings, her birthday parties and other random social events. You attend her gatherings, bring your gift and support her cause. Yet when you send her an invite to one of your parties she’s no where to be found. If you’re lucky she offers up an excuse as to why she’s M-I-A. Once you recognize you’ve got a Fairweather friend on your hands, take her for what she is and don’t feel obligated to show up to her events.
The Hater
I’ve had many a Hater friend, and initially she can be tough to spot since the reason you most likely became friends was because you had so much in common. Maybe you shared the same fashion sense, or you were both single and looking, or you lived in the same neighborhood. All of these reasons you had in common with her essentially make you her most fierce competitor. How do you she’s a hater and not a friend? Her support for you is next to nil. You get a new boyfriend, she’s angry with you. You buy a new pair of hot shoes, she buys the same pair. You redecorate your home, she has nothing to say about it. Whenever you find yourself being competing against by another woman it’s simply time to re-evaluate the friendship and let her go.
The Two-Facer
Sad to say, but it’s quite easy to spot this woman disguised as a friend. If she’s talking trash TO you about everyone you know….guess what? She’s talking trash ABOUT you to everyone you know. It’s that simple. Just keep your business to yourself, smile and nod as she goes on and on about everyone else and eventually she gets bored with you and moves on.
Unfortunately, these are just a few of the more damaging “friends” out there so it’s no wonder many women say they can’t be friends with other women. Yes, it can be hard to find a good girlfriend, sometimes even harder than a good man. I’ve truly been blessed to be surrounded by women in my life who I can call true friends. We make every effort to attend each other’s events, we support each other’s accomplishments, and we call each other Bitches as a term of endearment rather than behind each others backs. At the end of day, I know I can call on them to be there for me and they will show up.
We’ve all been in the situation where we thought a friend was truly a friend only to discover she was actually just a frenemy. Just like when you end a romantic relationship, you get up, dust yourself off and move on. But once you do find a true friend, you’ll be forever grateful, seriously.

While watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta (guilty as charged) I was struck by how often these women referred to each other as friends yet never once acted like one.  Between online social networks and the keeping up with the Jones mentality, the word friend has lost is true meaning among so many people. Heck on Facebook, everyone who’ve ever met in your life is called your friend. What makes a person your true friend? That question may be easier answered by knowing who isn’t your friend.

Read the rest of this entry »

I just finished celebrating yet another birthday with My Girls at one of our local “go to” spots and as the conversation flowed I had a sudden realization…”Crap, we are getting old”. Not like Shady Pines old, just not young anymore. To be honest, I don’t really feel old and I still think of myself in my late 20s but clearly I’ve aged. How do I know? Try these comments made from our conversation on for starters:

1. I had to take Tums to drinks my Margarita. WTF? My favorite adult beverage now gives me a heartburn. I totally was not prepared, so I had to borrow some from my pregnant friend – who excitedly passed me her stash as she explained about the new cute mini versions of the big bottles. Her words…” they come in a three pack, and I keep my big bottle on my desk”. Yep, popping anti-acids before drinking means we’re getting old.

2. We had no idea how old each other was, including the Birthday Girl…err Woman. Yes, we had to all go around the table and say our age while everyone gasped in shock when it was your turn. Yep, you’re getting old when you can’t remember your friends age and have to do the math to remember yours.

3. We think it’s stupid when we see a young girl not wearing a coat in temperatures below 40 degrees. As we all we’re agreeing vehemently how utterly stupid it was to be outside in the cold weather in a short dress and cute open toed shoes, I had to remind everyone that when we were young we used to it. I remember us running to the club in our tank tops because we were too cheap to pay for coat check and besides it wasn’t cute to walk in the club wearing a big bulky coat. Yep, if you wear a coat when it’s cold despite your destination, you’re getting old.

4. We all were ready to hang a co-worker of Kim’s who didn’t know who Elton John and Billy Joel were…WTF? We all agreed instantly that she was clearly stupid rather than just young. Yep, we’re getting old, when stupidity has to be the reason someone doesn’t know songs from our generation.

5. We all went home at 7:00 pm. There were no “Where to next’s?” or “What we getting into now?” except for one of us who was going to go grocery shopping. It was perfectly acceptable to call it a night…and on a Friday. Gasp, we are getting old.

Hey, I’m happy with where I am in life…great friends, loving family, the ability to emotionally and financially enjoy my life. But it bothers me to realize that the younger generation more than likely thinks we are old. We have become those women who we used to make fun of at the club. Remember, the women who showed up early, probably in their 30s-40s, who would dance to the old school music with their big ole purses under their arms, fully dressed and grabbing their big heavy coats to head home by 10 o’clock. When I was in my 20s, we used to laugh at them and say things like “The party will start when the old ladies leave, ha ha ha”. My only solace is that those 20-something girls who laugh at us now will be writing this same blog post before they know it. 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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