Dear Very Smart Brotha,
I’m looking for your advice on two things; How do I make friends, and How do I keep a man’s interest?
Let me explain: I grew up in Detroit, coming from a working class family that works in the auto factories I was the first to go to college. I come from a mixed and adopted family, we have Black, White, and Latino in my family. I’m adopted, when you’re adopted your ethnic class is hard to identify but I was put in the “mixed category” of children, although I’m mixed I just so happen to be the palest light girl you have ever seen with light blonde hair and the A$$ of J-Lo. Unfortunately, given the circumstances I will never know my true origins, but Ive self-accepted this and moved on.
In Detroit it was really easy for me to make friends, black, white, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc… not a big deal. I recently moved to DC for a job, I’ve been here two years and have had the hardest time making friends with black females, I’ve tried everything from happy hours, networking events, to the club (I used to be a back-up hip hop dancer in Detroit). I’m a normal, nice, drama free person! Any advice on what I can do to make friends?
Also, When it comes to men and dating, I’m attracted to black men. I grew up with strong male role-models, who were supportive and non-intrusive so I’m very trusting of men. I also have working class midwest values, I tend to give alot in relationships. The problem I’m running into in the dating scene is, men want to date me – I have no problem’s getting dates, but that’s all men want! Men just want to casually date several women at a time. How do I get a man to go from casual dating to a relationship? I’ve been giving them 6-8 weeks of dating before I end it with them if they dont try and take it to the next level. Is this smart? And another problem I’ve ran into, is the men I’m dating tell me I’m too nice, too open, and too good to them – should I start being a little bit more bitchy? or Continue to act like myself?
Sooo Confused From Detroit
Dear Sooo Confused,
You know, I always assumed that it was easier for women to make friends in a new city than it is for men. You all don’t have the same hang-ups about approaching someone of the same sex (For instance: A woman asking the new chick if she wants to hang out next weekend? Cool. A man asking the new dude if he wants to hang out next weekend? Potential E. Lynn Harris novel.), and despite the fact that we have the ultimate bonder — most American men are into at least one of the three major sports (football, basketball, baseball) — it seems like women have more things they can bond and connect over.
With that being said, I think your friend-making issues and your dating issues are somewhat related, and I imagine that one of two things are happening.
- If your self-description is accurate, you’re in possession of a few physical characteristics (racial ambiguousness, long hair, big butt) that make some black men go gaga, and you seem to have no trouble finding men in a city (D.C.) that’s known to have a severe imbalance of eligible black men and single black women. When you combine this with your “countryness” (I know you’re from Detroit, but to most people in D.C., anything Midwest is “country.”), it’s easy to see why black women might be slow to befriend you. I mean, you don’t invite the competition to the cookout, especially if her potato salad is better than yours.
- I have to say that I thought it was a bit peculiar that you were so quick to mention your physical attributes in this letter, especially when they weren’t really all that relevant. You’re obviously very proud of them, and it wouldn’t be a leap to assume that this proudness manifests as arrogance. While you do attend these happy hours and networking events, maybe women are turned off by you because your body language and demeanor says “I’m better than you broke-down D.C. bitches.”
Anyway, some people have to work harder at making friends than others, and it seems like you’re one of these people. You probably have to be a bit more proactive and gregarious and start to approach women. Take it from a man, (genuine) compliments help women let their guards down. Also, when you do approach, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to say exactly what you’ve told me “Hey, I just moved here and I’m really looking for some cool homegirls to kick it with.” Yea, it sounds cheesy, but I imagine you’d rather be forcefully awkward for a couple seconds than having to continue to roll solo to brunch every weekend.
Oh, and regarding the men you’re dating, unless “giving a lot” means that it just takes a phone call and a Red Lobster appetizer to “get the drawers,” it sounds like you’re doing the right thing. Although 6 to 8 weeks might be too short of a time — I’d extend it to 12 weeks — I do think that having a set time limit is just weeding out the pretenders. I mean, would you really want to be with a guy who would dismiss you because you’re “too nice?”
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that it’s not all “men” who want to be playas and date multiple women at a time, but the “men you happen to be dating,” Again, if all that you’re saying about yourself is true — along with being physically attractive, you have a decent job, seem to be in shape, etc — you should have no trouble finding men who want to lock you down, but maybe these aren’t the men you’re as attracted to. I’m not going to sit here and tell you who you need to be dating, but if dating a man who’s ready to commit is a priority for you, you might need to start dating different men.
Damon Young (aka The Champ)