The latest conversation on social media is “should you have friends of the opposite gender while in a relationship?” My initial answer is yes, you should have friends of the opposite gender. I have always been able to have great platonic relationships with men. It has worked in my favor most times. There have been countless times where I needed the male perspective. It’s evident that men and women don’t always speak the same language.
I was having a conversation with a male friend. He agrees having platonic friends of the opposite gender is important. He said if he mentions to his guy friends that he’s having relationship issues, they will likely brush it off and encourage him to go out, which may lead to talking to other women.
But having a female friend that he trust would encourage the opposite. She’s going to tell you the consequences of your actions.
My brother was sharing with me the other day a conversation he was having with a woman. He was a little frustrated with her response. I said what she’s trying to say is “I’m being vulnerable and this is hard for me. You didn’t meet me emotionally when I was vulnerable so I’m taking it back”. He said mannn that’s all she had to say lol. Again men and women don’t speak the same language.
Have there been times where a friend might cross a boundary? Of course. But I will communicate that offense and take a step back from the friendship if I need to.
I encourage you to get a good trusting friend. Honestly, it will help shape and shift your perspective. Tell me what you think in the comments.
I love the maturity that’s happening in my friendships. Friendships can be just as much work as romantic relationships. What I learned is, sometimes your friends dont need your advice. I try really really hard not to give my unsolicited advice to my friends. You can be an active listener and be supportive without giving advice. One of my friends always makes a joke and says “I literally have to ask you for your opinion or you will be on mute.” Listen I’ve been through a couple of friendship break ups and I don’t have the emotional capacity anymore to break up with nobody’s daughter!
I dont know when this started but recently I noticed my friends and I will call each other and say “What are you doing because I just need to vent.” Pay attention to these words because that’s an indication of saying Im not asking for advice, just listen. The key is to really listen to what they need in the moment. You will also know when they need advice too. My sister will say “Now listen to this story and tell me if I’m wrong.” Thats is clear that she wants advice. Sometimes it’s not clear and I have to say are you asking for my opinion?
One thing we need to be ok with, is not knowing. I try not to make up an opinion if I dont have one. My favorite line is girl dont ask me because I dont know. Especially about these men and relationships. Girl dont ask me because I dont know. Just the blind trying to lead the blind. Trying these techniques are not easy. Its hard because we are protective over our friends but my friendships mean a lot to me and I like to keep it that way.
Should you be friends with your ex? Hmm let’s talk about it. I think it depends on you as a person and the ex as a person. Outside of a relationship, Im good at being friends with my significant other first. Shockingly, I am literally friends with all of my exes. Even the ones that we have had bad break ups, we still communicate today. Back in my immature days, I may have messed up an ex clothes. He told me to never contact him again. Well he lied and still calls me 🤣🤣. The married ones, the ones currently in a relationship, the singles ones, they all call.
When I start dating someone, I am very upfront about my friendships with my exes. In return, I make sure to keep them up to speed when I am dating someone. They adjust to the rules and boundaries. Listen, dont call me after a certain time and we stay away from certain topics. They give me advice about dating and I provide my perspective to them. It just works. They all served a purpose in my life and were there at pivotal points. Im not ending a relationship that was important to me for a new one. When my mom passed away, they showed up. When I started this blog, they supported me. They like, comment, and give their opinion. Oh and give me ideas to blog about when we argue.
One time, I tried to cut off a friend for a relationship because he felt uncomfortable. That friend was there for me when my best friend died in college and when my aunt died. But my current boyfriend at the time felt uncomfortable. So I distanced myself from the friend. Clearly the guy and I ended up breaking up. I felt like a fool for cutting my friend off. Lesson learned, I will never do that again.
Generalizations makes my skin itch. Everything is not always “all or nothing”. People are complex. I know the dating scene is less than stellar right now but sheesh. This is where I mostly see this saying “if they wanted to, they would.” Well, hold on a minute. Are there instances where people don’t show up like you expect them to? Sure. But life is hard to manage sometimes and that is also true.
Story time. My best friend went on deployment for 6 months. I literally felt like she was moving away and leaving me for good. Anyway, she loves cheez its. So I had this grand plan that I was going to ship her a care package. It was going to be an “everything orange” theme. I was thinking of all this stuff I was going to buy to put in the box. I even went to a womens seminar and got an extra copy of the audio to send to her. I legit missed her. Chillleee let me tell you, I never sent her a darn thing. Home girl was gone for six months and I didnt sent not one care package. The next time I looked up, she was already back home!! Trust me, I wanted to and I didnt. I am grateful she didnt hold a grudge towards me because I really felt like I dropped the ball as her best friend.
One thing we have to constantly remind ourselves is that everyone is trying to figure things out just like we are. Dont just conclude that If they wanted to, they would. Have an open dialogue. Express your concerns maturely. I have to constantly remind myself that people need grace. This is not an excuse to let people take advantage of you but to release you from holding a grudge. They didnt. Thats it. And thats ok too. My new mantra is leave space for people to be human. Let me know what you think.
This subject here is one that constantly troubles me. I find myself going back and forth trying to decipher the difference. How do we know when we are compromising instead of settling? Well I sure dont know. So you know what I had to do. I had to ask my married experts what did they think. My career advisor and I had a discussion briefly about relationships. Every time I even mention the word settle she will instantly correct me and say compromise. In her words, you are going to compromise in some way. No one is perfect and we need to leave space for a real person.
I remember having a similar conversation with someone else. She gave an example of her own life. She said when she met her husband, she was already financially stable and independent. However, her husband was living at home and working on his next degree. This scenario worked out for them obviously. She said to some people I settled but it was the best decision ever for me. Her husband made promises to complete school and provide for their family in the future. That’s exactly what he did.
When she decided to make a career change, he was able to provide for their family comfortably as he promised. To her; she compromised and it was beyond worth it. She explained that settling would be listening to someone promise you future plans with no plan in place.
I recently saw a video where a lady said settling means you have to compromise too much to be with them. You will compromise so much that it takes away from your happiness. I can understand her point of view but that’s too black and white for me. Relationships are hard work and you won’t always be happy. So then what should you do?
I promised to write this post a while ago but my thoughts wouldn’t align. I already know this one will be real vulnerable for me. I promised to write about the intimate conversation that I had with my mentor. Although I will share some things, others I will keep to myself for obvious reasons. I had this conversation with her more than a week ago and I just couldn’t figure out how to write this out.
I couldn’t get my thoughts together to make this post come full circle in my mind before typing. I still haven’t been able to do so; so let’s wing it 😊
We all know how I despise the dating scene right now. That’s for sure not a secret. Let’s be clear, I enjoy a good hot girl summer but I am NOT for the streets! I’m trying to be in the house before the street lights come on. Anywho, I met my mentor for breakfast one morning. I haven’t seen her in more than a year, definitely before COVID.
She asked me how dating was going because, well, the people know ya girl is not for the streets. I told her my concerns and how my friends share the same sentiments. Some of these guys just don’t date anymore. Every once in a while you might find one who will actually plan a date and do the reservations but mostly from what I hear that’s not happening. She literally sat across from me, looked me right in my face and told me, well why don’t you plan the date? Excuse me what ma’am?! You would like me to do what? You mean me… you want me as the woman to plan the first date. What part of the game is this?! And when did married women start giving out this atrocious advice?
Guess what? Married women definitely give out this advice. Very often. I’m pretty sure my married cousin gave me this same advice in July. Of course I didn’t do it; I’m hard headed. My other married mentor I met with in the middle of august said the same thing. But here’s the thing, married women aren’t speaking on large platforms to give this advice out. Culture would have us to believe that we are the prize and the man is supposed to do this, and do that.. and if he doesn’t… girl pack ya stuff and run because you deserve better. If he won’t, the next man will! Isn’t that what culture says? Isn’t that all over social media. We’ve been brainwashed.
Culture would have us to believe everything comes in a pretty bow and if it doesn’t, move on. No one stays planted to do the work anymore. That definitely has been my problem. I had this false narrative that sir you have to come in the complete packaging. I don’t want to assemble. Here’s another gem she shared. She said everyone comes with baggage. Being married is finding your person to keep helping you unpack your baggage. She repacks it sometimes and her husband is right beside her unpacking it. I’m sure she does the same for him. Yup, I had this thing all wrong. Don’t call me for advice. I’m trying to figure it out too LOL
For the past couple of weeks, actually a couple of months, I’ve been in a transition in my life. I haven’t felt grounded. I’ve felt an increase in my anxious thoughts. Fast forward, I concluded that my anxious thoughts were tied to friendships and dating. I was talking to my mentor about this guy I was dating and how things were more challenging than I was willing to sign up for. We talked things through and she helped me look at the big picture. She stated, this guy is in your life for a reason and you have to ask God to show you why.
In the meantime, I have been following a trauma therapist on TikTok (somymomsatherapist) and she has great content. She talks about anxious thoughts and how things are uncomfortable in the beginning of dating someone. She helped me realize that I was having anxiety because my body was holding onto pain from past experiences. To be transparent, when I would text or call this guy and wouldnt hear back for hours, my body was going into protective mode. My brain would run negative scenarios and my body would believe that to be true. She (the therapist) explained how our body holds on to trauma history. So if in the past, a guy was unfaithful, you will fill in the trauma history at this moment. (This does not mean you arent over your past relationship either). This is exactly what I was doing. So she talks about regulating your body. You have to recognize that overly thinking about it wont help so you have to engage your brain elsewhere.
This has definitely been quite a challenge for me. I’ve noticed that lately one sign of discomfort and I am out. When people talking about fight, flight or freeze I am taking the flight every single time. I also like this therapist content because she is realistic. She talks about how everything isnt black and white. I love that because it sure isnt. Most people will post on social media to run at the first sign of a red flag. There are usually a ton of people in the comments sayin YASS sis! Thats RIGHT! They know what they are doing! In actuality, running at the first sign of discomfort is actually a trauma response.
Im pretty impulsive at the beginning of dating until I feel security and honestly that takes time. I’ve done some things and said some things that I should have thought through. Because my anxiety says NAH WE OUT, RUN! But Im learning to stop and give it time. I have to train my mind to look at the whole picture and not just the solo situation. To see if I feel the same way two days later. Most times I dont. To come full circle, he’s in my life because I needed to heal this part of me.
Have you seen that Tik Tok that says “That was the best idea I ever had” then 2 seconds later it says ” That was the worst idea I ever had!” Thats exactly what moving far away from home can feel like. Its definitely a roller coaster ride. There is this meme that everyone is posting on social media; encouraging to move away and it will be the best decision of your life. Well that’s a tad overzealous. It may not feel like that at first. Moving to a new city is challenging. The hardest part is leaving your support system. I moved away from home 5 years a ago (Not counting college). I would have anxious thoughts about what if my car breaks down, who will I call? What if I get into an accident, how am I going to figure that out?
One of the biggest adjustments is trying to get a positive social life. Who do you hang out with after work? Or on the weekends? Its hard to make friends as an adult. Everyone is having this struggle. When I first moved, I felt so out of place. I was beyond ready to have local friends. I started going to meet ups. This was trial and error in itself. Although I met other women at happy hours and the movies, I didn’t necessarily find anyone that I connected with. We struggled to have common passions and interest. Our personalities didnt click. Most of my local friends came from work. That’s where I found my tribe. We clearly already had work in common so there was a connection there. I would say, be patient and creative. Look up organizations in your area that might interest you. What about your local alumni chapter? I also volunteered as a troop leader for Girl Scouts and met a friend there.
I didnt feel like I made the right decision until I started making permanent changes for myself. Once I found a church home that I loved, I felt more grounded. Its something about a great church with great people that gives me balance and peace.
Also, my family and friends from out of town came to visit me often. This helped with the transition. But lets be clear, there are many days where I questioned did I make the right decision. I would come home from work and go right to sleep on the couch. This came up in my therapy session one day. She told me I was probably had functional depression at the time. I had no idea. Couldnt even recognize it. It took about a year for me to get used to the adjustment.
If you are deciding to move, go into it with realistic expectations. Its not easy, but it may be worth it.
There’s this saying going around. Date em all sis. I get it. The women just want to level the playing field with the men. I truly understand. To a certain point, I agree, you should date them all. But Im also practical and realistic. My question is, who exactly are you dating? Because I like to date men who are in my league. I like to date with intention. So when I add those factors, I just cant date them all. At the beginning, it makes sense. Maybe the first 2-3 months you are dating multiple people. Eventually, I would think you would start making some cuts. At this prime age, why keep people around who you dont want to build and grow with. This guy said he was talking to multiple women but most of them are annoying. Excuse me what sir? Why keep annoying women around? To say you have a roster? I dont get it . Furthermore, don’t keep people around for place holders. That’s how people get hurt.
If I’m dating multiple people past 3 month, eventually someone is going to take the number one spot. Then I will get annoyed when the other person calls because what do you want? LOL That’s why it’s important to be honest and just let people go. I have literally read desperate text messages from women begging men to spend time with them. If you know you dont see any type of future with them, just say that. We dont give people enough credit. The person will respect you more for your honesty. Unfortunately, its a dog eat dog world out here for these and women are sticking around for a lot of stuff. That’s another story for another day.
Back to my point, if you are dating with intention, then Im not sure how date em all sis will play out. I dont have the answers Sway, I just know what works for me. Typically I know by the second date if I can keep you around or not. Otherwise, lets not waste each others time.
Lets have a round table discussion on who is raising these men shall we? We are #OverIt in 2021.
Now before you prejudge and say oh this is about to be about men bashing, its not. Its me sharing our stories collectively. Somehow we are seeing some common themes in these new age men and we dont like it. Lets list some common denominators.
Consistency -I don’t necessarily hear my guys friends complain that women are inconsistent but that is for some reason these men struggle in this area. Dont start anything you cant maintain. This guy told me I dont tell him good morning. You know why I dont? Cause I cant maintain it! Im not a morning person but I can for sure say goodnight. Dont call me every day for months and then randomly I dont hear from you. Dont introduce me to a vibe you cant maintain.
Emotional Intelligence– This one is rough. Men dont spend enough time developing in this area. Its not only about showing or expressing emotion. One of the biggest components is self awareness. Most men arent self aware. Especially when it comes to relationships and dating. They have put so much focus on building their career that this becomes a large area of weakness. You aren’t aware that your over indulgence in drinking, smoking or sex is avoidance for your problems and issues. Emotional intelligence means you know how to communicate effectively. There’s is this meme going around that says “time passed its not an apology”. I for sure know that this is directed towards men. Men will not communicate for days at a time and think things are supposed to go back to normal. How about learning how to communicate to overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
Low Effort- If I hear one more man make the excuse that he is busy Im going to swipe a table. Everyone is busy. We are adults. Grow up. People make time for who and what they want. The “Im busy” excuse is old and tiring. Most of my friends are really low maintenance. This guy took my friend to watch the planes take off. Cheap, easy, intimate and low maintenance. That’s it. Its the low effort that takes me right on out of here.
Those are the major themes for now. Im sure there will be Part 2. Stay turned.