Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Hello is sometimes just a HELLO! Or I ain't SWEATIN' you!

Just so you know, I'm not SWEATIN' you!

Sometime ago, I attended an after-work social event. The kind we have all been to: reduced drinks, free admission, hot DJ. The person I attended with was a regular to these events and knew most of the crowd that had shown up. She pointed out some of the young men there and gave short bios on each one. One young man worked in the same field I was in at the time and being that there were very few Black people in the industry, I wanted to connect. My opportunity came when I went up to the bar for my 2-for-1 drinks. As we ordered from the bartender I simply said hello, introduced myself and weaved my occupation into the brief convo. He was polite and we briefy talked. I told him it was nice to meet him and stated if we saw each other at a trade event, we'd speak. That was it. I didn't ask for his business card, phone number or email address nor did he offer any of his. It was a straight networking connection. At least on my end. As the night went on, we exchanged glances and I wondered what was up with the stares. I shrugged it off and did not give it a second thought.

Fast forward to a month later. At another event, I saw the same guy. This time he was surrounded by a group of his friends, including one guy I knew personally. I smiled as I walked by but in return, I got a few snickers, glances and a sly smile, not just from him but from all his buddies too. Eventually, my friend who was a part of his "crew" came over to say hello. He asked if I knew the guy in question. I replied with how I met him.
"Well, he thinks you like him. He said you tried to kick it to him at a function last month".
WTF!?!? Was he serious? "You've got to be kidding me," I told my friend, " I was simply networking, I never expressed any interest in him whatsoever!". Man, was I heated. Since when did saying 'Hello' equal 'I want to bear your children'?
"It didn't sound like you, you're pretty direct and I told him so, but I had to come over and check." he said.
First of all, there is no anger like anger from being accused of liking someone you don't or being with someone you haven't. Why? Because there is no real way to disprove it. All you can do is deny it, but people will still wonder and be like hmm... and you, you wanna kill somebody!I had to get my head straight. Was I back in 6th grade? Was this guy really walking around with his chest puffed out as I walked by because he thought I was "sweatin'" him? C'mon son!

I wish I could say he was the only guy I encountered in NYC like that, but unfortunately that would not be true. There have been men, and I use that term loosely, that have taken my perceived interest in them and used it like a Billboard posting that states "I am so hot! Need proof? She wants me!" Grow up!

And I'm not saying men are the only ones. Oh no. Women do it too. Don't get me wrong, I like my ego to be stroked just as much as the next person, but not at the expense of anyone's reputation or feelings. Because of this, I've realized from time to time, we all need to check our egos and not jump to conclusions nor hold onto them because feelings and interests do change. Here are a list of "Don'ts" to go by to keep your 'Hellos" and friendly convos from becoming ego driven nightmares.

1)Don't think that everybody that steps to you wants you. A 'Hello' or friendly convo is just that. Stop equating every person that comes up to you with "Attack of the Killer Street Pimps" from the movie 'Hollywood Shuffle' or the guys in the opener of 'She's Gotta Have It'. Not everyone that approaches you wants to drink your bathwater.

2)Don't read into something that's not there. Just because someone finds you intriguing and wants to get to know you better, that does not denote that they trying to get AT you. It's amazing how people forget their social or occupational position when it comes to the opposite sex. If you work for a non-profit that provides clothing for the homeless and I'm trying to start one, you may ACTUALLY be a good person to know professionally. Unless the person states they are interested in you for more than friendship, don't assume they are. I befriend interesting individuals all the time. I'd hate to think that every single one thinks I'm on a mission to tap that a*%.

3)Don't exploit another person's perceived interest in you. For one, your ego will be hurt unneccesarily when you find they either don't want you or deny interest and your face might get cracked if you brag to your girls or your boys that so & so are "feelin' you" when they are not. And if the person is feeling you, how do you think they will feel when they see you acting like a kid at his first 6th grade dance smirking and acting like jerk with your girls or boys in public places? It's such a turn-off. Believe me, if they were feeling you before, they will stop!

4) Don't act "too good" to speak. I'm not saying to encourage someone you're not interested in if they expressly said they were. But if you're the guy and the girl was nice to you, say hello. If your a girl and the guy was respectful, speak when spoken to. It costs nothing and yet amounts to so much of your character to be polite. Assuming someone is after you because they approached you could be harmful to your personal and professional life. Who wants to connect with a stuck-up, ego driven individual?

What about my situation? I've seen the guy out and about several times since then. Should I have taken the "L" and preserved his ego by not clearing up his obvious mistake about my interest in him? Or should I have let him know that I was in no way "sweatin' him and deflate his ego? And ladies we all know how guys can be when you hurt their egos. What I had decided was that telling my friend about it was enough. I'm sure he brought that back to the guy not to mention the fact that I haven't spoken to him since our first encounter. That alone should have tipped him off that I was not into him that way. But I'll never know for sure. What I do know for sure is that when people like him finally grow up, a lot of us will have outgrown them.

I'm sure there are plenty of other scenarios that people have experienced on both sides of the fence: thinking someone wanted us when they didn't and having someone think that you are into them when you weren't. Feel free to share!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Asked to help a friend move into a new place? JUST DO IT!!

In the past two years, I have moved a total of three times. The first time into the Big City, the second time into a new apartment since the first one went into foreclosure and a third time into my new studio apartment. Twice I rented a huge UHaul truck and twice I've hired movers. Needless to say, the hired help was more reliable. Not that my family and friends don't love me and I them, but really, who likes to move? No one, not even themselves, which is why moving services are such rackets.

Being in the city I've learned that it is quite a luxury to not have to move from place to place year after year. Being able to stay in one spot means you have a fabulous rent controlled apartment, live in an illegal structure, pay under the table or have crazy, mad dirt on your landlord which prevents him/her from going up on your rent. If you do not fall into any of these categories, chances are every year or other year you've moved into a cheaper or better apartment time after time. Which means time after time, you've hired movers or have asked friends to help you move, and probably more of the latter. Living in the city, no matter how much you make, is expensive.

That's just life. A friend that needs help moving is indeed a friend in need. But there are rules of etiquette to be followed on both sides whether you are the friend that is moving or the friend that is helping. Here they are:

The Friend Who is Moving:
1) Be organized. Pick the day(s) you are going to move at least 2-3 wekks ahead of time and ask your friends to set aside that day and the estimated hours it may take to move your things.
2) Be packed. Have a packing party with wine and pizza if you must, but have your boxes and bags packed ahead of time. I'm guilty of not following this rule. This WILL result in people not being "available" to help you move the next time and if you live in NYC, there will be a next time.
3) Offer compensation: Offer to feed your crew WELL in addition to returning any needed favors. Yes, you may have to housesit, doggy-sit, and help run errands over the next few weeks, but you will save lots of cash and honestly, if they are your friends, you would do the favors anyway. Which brings me to my next item:
4) Only ask your close friends and family to help you move. Moving can be rather intimate situation and honestly too huge of a favor to ask random co-workers, acquaintances or associates to assist in. What makes for an awkward situation is when you do not know which people fall into which category. Believe me, when you ask them to help you move, you will find out! Don't get bummed if someone says no if you ask. Most people have a strong desire to help others, but due to legitimite reasons, simply cannot. But if someone simply doesn't want to do it, respect that and move on. Again, the response will define for you where you are in their life and where they should probably be in yours.
5) Say THANK YOU. Your friends and family do not owe you one thing, not one iota in the world. Even with pizza and beer and lining that skirt like you promised for your best friend will not excuse you from stating your gratitude to each and every person who assisted you in moving. Say it loud, say it clear and say it often: THANK YOU!

The Friend Who Is Helping
1) If your friend asks you to move, SAY YES! Unless you honestly cannot make it for reasons out of your control, do not turn your friend down when they obviously need you. Yeah, who doesn't want to to spend their Saturday morning or afternoon laying around on the sofa or taking care of much needed errands, but a good friend will, even if reluctantly, be there to help. Remember, asking for help, even with close friends, can be difficult for some people despite what you may think. And honestly, you should be flattered. I'd be hurt if I found a friend moved and didn't think to ask me for help. A friend in need is a friend INDEED.
2) Show up on time. If the move is scheduled for Noon, be there at 11:55 a.m. or earlier. Nothing makes a situation as horrible as thinking no one or not enough people will show up to help you. Renting trucks, cars, vans or even worse, borrowing other people's vehicles to do the move means you have a very limited amount of time. Taking the attitude of "I'm not getting paid" or "They are lucky I'm coming" shows a lack of respect for your friend and your relationship.
3) Come ready to work. Moving is a lot of work that needs to be done in a finite period of time. Coming in a "lazy haze" does not help. Picking and choosing what items you will or won't carry only makes for a difficult situation. Unless you have a bad back or knees, pitch in where you fit in and don't stop moving until everything is moved out and then ultimately moved into the new place.
4) Be as pleasant as possible(no griping). As I mentioned before, no one wants to help someone move, people do not want to move themselves, again, who does? But if you are going to be there for your friends and family members, then leave that attitude at home. Moving is already a crazy, fast paced event, not to mention leaving a place can be quite emotional. Do not add to the crazy by being Mr/Mrs. Grinch. Don't remind your friend that you're only there for the pizza/liquor/dinner being served every 5 minutes, because believe me, THEY KNOW.

Well, those are my main etiquette rules for moving. I will be assisting in a well-planned, well thought out move for a friend this month. I appreciate her OCD level attention to detail, especially in this endeavor. My shift begins this Saturday at Noon and I'll only say it once and here in this blog to keep in accordance with my rules: I'm SO looking forward to the booze and food afterwards,lol! Happy moving!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back to Love

One day, not too long ago, I had a "day of reflection", we all need one every once in a while. On my day, I reflected on the rejection of love, or the perception of it.

I realized that there have been times in my life where I did not allow myself to be loved, mainly because I was unaware of all the types of "love" that exist. I only knew of 2 kinds: Family(unconditional) love and romantic love. That's it. So, if you weren't family and I wasn't "in love" with you in a romantic way and you with me, then we had absolutely nothing to talk about, no reason to be around each other, excluding my girlfriends of course.

And man, if you were a guy and I was crushing on you, feeling you,"loving" you and wanting you? Then those feelings had better be returned or else hell fire and brimstone. If I liked you and you didn't like me back, I'd go into this "You don't deserve the wonderful, awesome Kimberly that everyone else who loved, adored and sees all these wonderful things in me gets, you get the attitude, neck-rolling, eye-rolling, non-presence acknowledging, non-speaking, "when it comes to you whateva" Kimberly schickt. And believe me, you did not want HER!!

In becoming my alter-ego when my feelings or ego were hurt, I actually missed out on what could have been wonderful life-long relationships. Reflecting on the relationships I destroyed I remembered a particular guy who unfortunately received the wrath of K.I.M. Despite, my childish, immature antics though, when I needed him, he was there. At anytime he could have told me no, not supported me or helped me out, goodness knows he had the right to, but he didn't. While I didn't go out of my way to be cruel or mean to him, I wasn't particularly nice either. And he didn't deserve that. Now don't get me wrong, he was no glutton for punishment; he threw in a few jabs, threats(yes, threats-all talk) and expressed the opposite of "un-dying" love for me to a few close friends of mine. Still, I can't remember a time when he ever told me no or turned me down when I asked for anything. Like ever. He avoided giving me answers, but never answered in the negative. Despite our faults(we were still growing and maturing), he was a pretty cool dude considering. It hurts me to realize I may have missed out on getting to know a person who obviously had so many sides to him. For the first time, I looked back on that entire relationship in such a different, elevated way. If I ever see him again in life, he's owed more than a few thank yous.

While I can't go back in time and fix my past aggressions and apologize for the person I was back then(I was still learning and growing - we all were), I can certainly move forward in love and maturity and recognize when K.I.M. is about to go in effect mode. I step back and realize that if I feel like this human being is wonderful enough to consider a romantic relationship,a partnership and friendship with, then this person is more than worthy of being loved as a friend, as family and given the consideration of unconditional love. I ask myself:Does this person bring out wonderful feelings in you? Challenge you? Inspire you? If so, why not have this person in your life to enhance and exchange ideas, love and friendship with?

Instead of looking on back on my past K.I.M. episodes and cringeing, I can proudly say I avoided one this past year. Mr. Perfect showed up to my Bible Study group and let me tell you, I silently mouthed a prayer of thanks to God and moved on in to my husband-to-be. Except one thing: He was gay.Openly. Proud. Yeah. Of course I was crushed and started a mini-campaign to get him removed from my small group. If I couldn't have him, I didn't want to see him,lol! One day though, a few months later I caught him after one of our church's Friday night functions. We talked and laughed and I forgot how much my heart was broken that he wasn't on my team. As looked at this wonderful human being who was beautiful on both the inside and out (how rare is THAT?!?) I realized how much I would miss having one single, solitary moment without him in my life. My heart? Recovered. My feelings? Intact. My love for him? Has grown into something greater than I could ever have imagined.

So, I'm growing, I'm learning and who knows? I'm a football chick, I believe in return passes and re-plays. Maybe one day, someone will be kind enough to let me get a do-over. I'll pray on it:-)