All Articles Tagged "friend"
Call me naïve, but I think that men and women can have strictly platonic relationships. This is even after losing a few guy friends who had bigger plans for our relationship than just an occasional movie and discussing our relationship woes about the people we were dating.
So yes, I know that strictly platonic relationships are rare; and chances are, if you are a woman who has ever had a male friend, you have or might experience the anguish of losing him because he wanted more than just a friendship. Whether it was sex or a commitment, either can be tricky if you don’t feel the same way. Still, although rare, there are ways to address his feelings and sustain a friendship, even if it means you’ll need to take a break from each other.
This is how the story goes. I am guilty of leading one of my guy friends on simply because I wanted to maintain his friendship. Sounds contradictory, right? After a year into our platonic friendship…well, at least I thought it was platonic…he began to state in different ways that he wanted to be more than friends.
After he began to address his developing feelings, I came up with different excuses as to why we should wait on that (still not sure what we were waiting on, because clearly my feelings weren’t the same). All of these excuses eventually led to me hurting him and our friendship suffering as a result.
I quickly learned that as cliché as it may sound, honesty is the best policy; and more importantly, delayed honesty is almost equivalent to a lie, at least to the person on the receiving end. So, I quickly learned that if your feelings aren’t the same, you have to state them upfront, as uncomfortable as it may be.
It usually comes with some repercussions though. Your friend will either want to end your relationship or act as if he can handle just being friends, despite the fact that he said he wanted more. In either case, I learned that allowing him to have space is necessary; and just like love, if the friendship is real or worth it to him, he will come back.
But I wasn’t about giving space. After I eventually told my guy bestie that I didn’t want to be anything more than friends, I selfishly wanted him to continue on as if nothing happened. Now, I know I knew better, but I wanted him around. Of course he needed space and by not allowing him time, I only fanned the flame. Everyone needs to take a breather from the person that hurt them.
Surprisingly, after his breather, my friend and I were able to rekindle our friendship. Unfortunately, his breather took two years, but nonetheless we’re friends again. We were only able to get back to where we started after I acknowledged that his feelings were real, even two year later. And of course, a few apologies accompanied that acknowledgement. By downplaying and ignoring his feelings at the time, I only made matters worse. If I could do it all over again, I would have acknowledged them and been immediately honest with him about mine. I would also have ditched the ‘all about me’ attitude and allowed him the space to get over his feelings of rejection.
While I’m glad I have my friend back, things are definitely not the same and probably never will be. Unfortunately, this usually happens after a situation like this. But since that incident, I’ve handled my friendships with guys who want to become more than friends much differently. Sad to say not all of them have ended with a happy ending, but no one ends up feeling lead on or deceived, a combination that always leads to feelings of resentment.
While every situation is different, the next time a guy friend falls for you because you’re just that irresistible (sarcasm), be considerate and acknowledge his feelings. More importantly be honest about how you feel and allow him space to get over his feelings. After a while maybe the two of you can rekindle your friendship, even if you have to start over from scratch. On the flipside, I’m sure that if you ever become the one who wants more than friendship from a close male friend, you would want him to be just as open and honest with you.
What has been your experience when dealing with a guy friend who wanted to be more than that? Has this experience changed your image of platonic relationships?
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I can remember so vividly being about four or five years old and having a favorite cousin, Shaniqua (Yes, I have a cousin named Shaniqua). Oh, how I loved Shaniqua. I followed her everywhere! Everything that she did, I did. If she laughed a certain way, I laughed that certain way. When she came home from kindergarten learning to read, I was determined to learn how to read, too. I used to be thrilled on holidays like Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day when our grandmother would go out and buy us matching dresses for church. I mean, I wanted to be just like her when I “grew up,” which was ridiculously hilarious and ironic because we were only two years apart. As time progressed, I matured and developed my own identity.
While the whole copycat syndrome is very natural and normal among small children as they begin to develop their own identities, what I find disturbing is how prevalent it is among adults. There is a shockingly large amount of grown women who must have never properly transitioned from the whole copycat phase as children and are still walking around imitating one another to this day. Yes, they do exist and you probably know a few of them personally. You know the ones who you hate to go shopping with because the entire time that you are browsing the store they’re behind you picking up, examining, and purchasing everything you pick up in the store? Yeah, them. They have to get some kind of variation of what you picked up, don’t they? Or, how about the ones who have no shame and will show up to work with the same exact dress or shoes you wore last week?
Having a copycat can be flattering and even somewhat amusing, at first. However, after awhile, it becomes outright annoying. I mean honestly, what normally adjusted woman imitates another woman constantly? There has to be some sort of imbalance there. I used to think that the only real issue with having a copycat was the fact that it was annoying, however, I am beginning to feel a little differently about that. If you can’t even trust her enough to discuss future plans out of fear that she may run out and go do it first, you probably don’t need her around. What is the point in having a “friend” around who is constantly studying and looking to imitate you? After awhile you begin to question why. Is she looking to replace you? Does she want want your life? Something about that situation is plain old wrong and a bit creepy. While there is no way that she can replace you in the eyes of the people in your life because you are one of a kind, she can certainly try, which could potentially cause unnecessary heartache and grief for you if she is ruthless enough. But, then the question arises, how do you handle such a childish situation like an adult? You can’t deal with it as you would in preschool by pushing her and yelling “Stop doing everything that I do!” or you will look just as crazy as she does.
I remember my mom lecturing me about a copycat I once had, whom she’d nicknamed “Single Black Female.” In the process she said to me, “If someone wants to try to emulate you, you can’t really stop them, but you’d be a fool to sit around and pass them the playbook.” What she meant by that is you can’t control someone else’s actions, but you can control the access and insight that you grant them into your life. Feed her with a long-handled spoon. In simple terms, put some distance there. If you value this woman as a friend, don’t go starting a fight, just gracefully and gradually back off. If she’s someone new working your last nerve, keep her at an arm’s length or move on entirely. In due time you’ll turn around and she’ll be off imitating someone else.
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How important is sex to a man? Would he be willing to forgo sex in a relationship? A few years ago I decided to take a hiatus from dating to regain focus of my life as a single woman. I didn’t want to engage in any type of relationship with the opposite sex because I needed time to learn how to balance everything that was going on in my life. With this hiatus, I realized that I subconsciously and consciously made the decision to practice celibacy. I say I made this decision subconsciously and consciously because during this time, subconsciously, I did want to have sex, but I didn’t want to deal with the emotional and possible physical consequences that come along with it, and I didn’t want to have another meaningless sexual experience. Consciously, I had plenty of options and chances to indulge in sexual intercourse, but I didn’t, and that’s when I realized I was going to try and be celibate. After this realization, I decided to do some soul searching to really understand why I was celibate, and to decide whether or not I would stand firm on this decision.
During my soul searching, I reflected back on each of my relationships, and I discovered that I was sexually intimate with the men I was involved with before I had a chance to be intimate with them. I didn’t take the necessary time to learn who they were and develop a close and personal connection with them for the people they were before I developed a connection with them sexually simply because I was physically attracted to them. I also realized that I went into each relationship with my feelings and not my faith, which in turn led me to be misguided. After this discovery, I made the decision to forgo any sexually intimate interaction, and remain celibate until I am married. The beginning of this journey wasn’t difficult because I was on a hiatus from dating. It almost seemed easy and unreal, but when I decided to go back into dating, things got real. I met a wonderful man that I seemed to have everything in common with. We liked the same foods, we communicated well with each other, we share the same favorite color, and on and on. Most importantly, we both wanted to start our new relationship as friends.
I recall one evening when I was on the phone with my new male ‘friend’. We were engaged in a great conversation when the subject of celibacy came up. I shared with him that I have the honor of teaching a class on celibacy very soon, and I told him that I was nervous about it. He then told me that I would do fine, and as he started another sentence he abruptly stopped and asked if I was celibate. I replied with a nervous, yet firm yes. He immediately replied “Oh, oh no, I can’t do that…yeah, we are definitely going to be just good friends.” I said okay, no problem, and started to move forward with the conversation. While moving on to a different topic, I noticed the tone in our conversation went from upbeat and funny to slow and drab. Where there were no awkward moments of silence in our conversations before, there were now more than enough to make up for it in this one. I could tell my friend was uneasy about what I told him, but what did it matter? We were just friends anyway, right? So my decision to be celibate would not affect him in any way, right? Wrong.
I believe my friend thought we were going to develop a great friendship that would lead into an even greater monogamous relationship; and with a relationship comes sexual intimacy. Or maybe he thought we were going to be friends with sexual benefits, and with news of me practicing celibacy his thoughts were shattered. As much as I tried to move forward with the conversation it was difficult, because I knew my friends thoughts of me and our relationship had changed. After our phone call ended, my decision to be celibate and the effects of that decision stayed on my mind. Yes, things got really real.
After hearing and comprehending his reaction, I was slightly disturbed, and a little disappointed because subconsciously I thought we were going to develop a great friendship that would lead into an even greater monogamous relationship without having sex. But clearly I was wrong. And even though I was flabbergasted with his reaction, not once did I doubt the decision I made because I’ve learned to stand firm on the standards I’ve set in regard to my body and relationships even if it hurts.
I’ve also learned that I can’t expect someone to change their expectations to meet my standards, and not to change my standards (my non-negotiable standards) to meet someone’s expectations; they are who they are, and I am who I am. Although it is still slightly difficult for me to grasp the fact that my friend and I will only be friends, I respect his honesty, I look forward to our growing friendship, and I am looking forward to learning and growing on this journey through celibacy and dating.
Liz Lampkin is the author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.
Have you tried to be celibate? How did that affect your dating life?
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In this exclusive opinion piece, actor Gabrielle Union issues an impassioned and very personal plea to spare the Affordable Care Act, now under attack by politicians.
I am going to do something that most people in my position don’t do often – tell you my age. I am 39 years old. I am at an age where I realize that life isn’t always fair and that unlike fairy tales, life doesn’t always have a happy ending.
Nearly two years ago, I lost a close girlfriend to cancer. Diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at 32 years old, I remember thinking this wasn’t part of the plan. We were too young to worry about getting sick. In fact, we were supposed to be invincible.
For the complete story, visit HelloBeautiful.com.
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By Taylor Lea Thomas
I have a friend in NYC. She’s having her bachelorette party in Miami and her wedding in Turks. Do I still give a gift?
The simple answer is no. Your presence is the present. However, your friend may not see it that way. If you are being invited to a destination wedding, odds are the couple considers you to be a close friend. Although destination weddings are notoriously expensive for guests traveling to the destination due to all of the costs associated with doing so, it’s also costly and time consuming for the couple too. When they made the decision as a couple to have a destination wedding, they did so knowing that not everyone they’d ideally like to be there will be able to attend because of the cost, scheduling conflicts, etc. While you are not obligated to give a gift, it would be nice if you did, and here’s a few reasons why, as well some alternative gift options:
When I was in college, I met and then became best friends with a very smart, pretty, down-to-earth young woman. Everything about her was fun and bright; except for the abusive relationship that she was in with her lowlife, longtime boyfriend. Throughout the years, my friend tried very hard to stay positive and hide her unhappiness. She was successful for the most part, but she couldn’t hide all of her bruises, black eyes or the broken arm he gave her as a Christmas gift in our senior year. The routine of her getting beaten up and then weeks or sometimes just mere days later making up with the guy, confused and angered me and our other close friends. About a year after we graduated, she and the guy moved in together and shortly after, she became pregnant. She was so happy to be pregnant and I wanted to be happy for her, but all things considered, I was actually upset because I was sad and scared for her and the baby. We got in a huge fight because of my lack of support. She (not so nicely) asked me to stay out of her life. I complied. A year went by before she contacted me. When she did I learned that she miscarried at four months after a particularly brutal fight with the lowlife…We cried about it, rekindled our friendship and she told me that his causing her to lose their child finally gave her the urgent motivation to move on.
My friend had been single since the incident. She was very introverted and somber all the time…Given everything she’s been through, I completely understood, but I didn’t want her moping around forever. Sso I encouraged her to fix herself up, go out, and live. She did. She met an actor who stars on a popular TV series–a very MARRIED actor with kids! She confided that they’ve been having unprotected sex…
I feel like she’ll only end up being hurt again. Maybe not physically, but definitely emotionally. He is the first man that my friend has been with since coming out of her shell, so to speak. She is so happy and giddy and I am ecstatic about that aspect because I hadn’t seen her smile in so long that I damn near thought she forgot how. I really don’t want to steal her joy and I don’t want to tell her what’s on my mind and get into another big fight with her, but biting my tongue is beginning to hurt. I find myself distancing myself from her and I hate this. So, I ask you, what should I do? Do I speak up? Will it cause a fight? Should I just mind my business and be a supportive friend?
-Sincerely, Walking On Eggshells.