Monday, August 23, 2010

Excuse Me if I Don't Feel Like Being in a Fake Relationship!

Not too long ago, I met a guy that took up all my time, hung out with me, you know the whole nine. We cooked together, cleaned , made "plans" with our friends.I thought, okay, this guy really likes me. So I told him how I felt. He told me he wasn't interested in having a "girlfriend". I told him we could no longer be "just friends" since I was interested in having a "boyfriend". He told me he would think about not being my friend , but in the meantime could we still hang out? In fact, it took weeks for him to stop calling, emailing and coming by. He couldn't understand what MY problem was. I mean, excuse me if I don't feel like being in a fake relationship!

I'll admit, over the years I've perfected being the perfect female buddy to many guys. It's not the position I jockey for every time, but in the past, the one I had settled for when a romantic relationship was not in the cards. I wasn't just the beer guzzling, football, basketball girl pretending to be just one of the jocks though. I was the flirty, touchy-feely, hold hands and late-night phone call girl that the guys could call and lead on without ever having to be called out girl. And I accepted it. Each time one of these "fake relationships" popped up, I gladly settled into my place. I never questioned why I was never the girl who was asked out on a date, never the girlfriend but always the "home girl". In fact, I can't tell you how many times these guys popped up with girlfriends and I could never figure out when or how they had the time to get one since they spent a lot of their time with me! I never crossed the line physically or sexually with any of these guys(I didn't want to get hurt), but the intimacy we shared through spending time and getting to know one another, sharing secrets was deeper than any physical act could ever be and I fed off of it.

I remember times when I would have to explain, embarrassingly, my "fake relationships" with my overly flirtatious guy buddies when our behaviour would become public. Once, a guy friend even kissed me full on the mouth! I was so embarrassed when I had to tell my friends that this guy, who was so willing to be publicly affectionate with me, was not willing to discuss the possibility of being in an actual relationship with me. I knew then these type of relationships had to end.

So in order to stop being the girl in the "fake" relationship I came up with rules:

1)Your time, your space and your person is precious. You are special. You are wonderful and you are a beautiful person, especially when people get to know you. Ever wonder how that girl with a bitchy attitude gets that sweet guy? It's because she keeps that sweet wonderful part of her under lock and key until someone comes along and proves they deserve that part of her. I'm not suggesting you become a full out be-otch or jerk. What I am suggesting is that you not give away your time, your space and your sweetness to just anyone that comes along.

2) Be true to what you want! Never say or act like you want less than what you want. In other words, don't settle for less because you like/love someone. Don't keep thinking that one day he/she will come around and feel the same way you do about them now. How they feel about you RIGHT NOW and how they are treating you RIGHT NOW is what is important. One cannot predict the future. Do not allow someone to use you as their stepping stone until someone they really want and will treat well comes along.

3) Be direct. If you have hung out more than twice, go out regularly and call each other just as much, you have every right to state your feelings and ask important questions. Protect your heart because no one else will. Ask how the other person feels about you. Ask if the relationship is going anywhere. No one has the right to keep you in limbo and you have every right to not stay there and walk away.

4)Don't let people take advantage of your romantic feelings. Come on. Don't let a guy use you physically or let a girl use you as a cuddle buddy when times get rough. Sure, we'd all love to have no strings attached sexual or non-sexual intimacy every one in awhile, but usually only one person is benefiting from that, and it's usually not you in the end. While you get attached thinking they really care, they are usually making plans to be with someone else.

5) Your time is precious. Do not spend it on anyone that is not willing to make a commitment to you. So stop the late phone calls, the all night text conversations, Twitter and Facebook conversations, hanging out at a moment's notice and being the stand-in "date" when a last minute invitation is given. You are better than some one's lonely talk and afterthought! If he/she calls, be polite but keep the conversation short. If he/she doesn't call you at least three days in advance to invite you somewhere, say you have plans. If he/she asks you for help and then tries to turn it into an all day social outing, politely excuse yourself after an hour of "helping" and GO HOME! She can find someone else to put that shelf together and he can cook, clean and run errands just as efficiently without you as he can with you. Remember, if you were that special to them, you'd be that special someone, not just a friend.

In conclusion, it takes forever to really get to know someone but only a minute to fall in love. And your worth both! Have you ever been in a "fake" relationship? If it's over, how did you end it?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back-handed compliments:Thank you or F**k you?

Not too long ago, I was attending an event with a friend. We ran into a past classmate there. As we exchanged greetings, the classmate remarked on our current looks. I remembering thanking God that I actually decided to put some effort into my appearance that day. "Girl you look great!", she said to me, "Who knew you could be so cute?". Blank stare. Who knew I could be so cute? How in the heck was I supposed to respond to that? With a Thank you or F&%k you?I mean, was that a compliment or a diss? If I looked good or "cute" as she put it, she should have kept her comment to just that. Instead, she wrapped her words in an insult known commonly as the Back-Handed Compliment. Adding the "Who knew?" was just unnecesary.

And maybe she wasn't trying to be rude or insulting. Let's face it: many of us have put our foot in our mouths plenty of times. Many years ago, I recall having a conversation about how I just had to lose the 10 lbs. I had gained over the Summer. The friend (I hope she doesn't call me out if she reads this) asked, "You look fine, how much do you weigh?"

I replied, "I weigh about 130lbs!" I exclaimed"I'm so FAT!"

She squinted her eys at me and replied, "That's how much I weigh"

Scrambling, I quickly replied, " Yeah, but you look good with the extra weight." YIKES!!! It took a LONG time for her to let that one go. But again, I was in no way trying to be insulting and she knew that. Unfortunately there are people who intentionally give insults wrapped in a would-be compliment.No one's a stranger to back-handed compliments or passive-aggresive insults as they are called in pysychology.

Anyway, the rude girl I ran into comments that day got me to thinking about where these unnecesary comments come from and why. This what I've come up with:

1) Simply put: They hatin' on you. Okay, I dislike the term 'haters' mainly because most people do not have haters, they are simply disliked and for good reason (yep, check yourself first before you declare haterism people). But in the case of the back-handed compliment, if only for that moment, it's quite true. If a person cannot accept the fact that you either handled a job well, performed above measure or simply looked exceptionally well without reproach, it is what it is.

2)They want to put you in your "place", i.e., "I'm still better than you". So imagine that whenever you walk into a room people constantly compliment you for work achieved or perceived everyday. All of a sudden, one day or several days in a row, someone comes along and takes away your shine. It's a little disturbing, is it not? Well, that's what happens when certain persons put their confidence and attractiveness in other people's hands other than their own, their so-called confidence is easily shaken resulting in a not-so-nice comment towards you that is determined to shake your confidence as you did theirs.

3.) Maybe we're genetically inclined. Africa has a long history of checking people in a different way than we do in the Western hemisphere. For instance, it is expected that when attending an urban event or party that people will not arrive on time and it's suggested that it comes from some tribal beliefs in parts of African culture that it is rude to show up to a party on time. Guest are expected to arrive anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour than suggested. Another belief from the African diaspora is to not over compliment or praise someone for their actions, work or beauty.For example, you may call a women very pretty but then also suggest that she may have worn larger earrings or a different colored headdress. This was done so to keep people from being overly confident or getting too comfortable with their achievements, what we call getting a "big head". Not a bad idea when done for a good reason.

These may very well be the reasons people say some of these ugly things. But what's more important, since the only thing you can control in the situation is you, is how to respond. The number one thing I reccomend is IGNORING it or WALKING away. Nothing would frustrate the insulting peson more. But if you find you are in a situation where you simply cannot ignore or get away from the person or it happens more than once. Call them on it!I've come up with several snappy answers to a few common back-handed comps:

1)Your pretty...for a dark-skinned girl.
A) I think I'm pretty period, don't you?
B) But what if I were Asian, would I be as hot?

2)'re pretty smart for a blonde.
A) And I was just thinking you're not bitchy for a brunette!
B)Thank you! And I don't care what anyone else says... you're not an a$%hole.

3)Wow... you actually look GOOD today!
A)Thanks! What about yesterday, did I meet your approval?
B)And you actually smell nice! We both stepped it up today! Yea for us!

4)You look great for your age.
A)Thank you! You have the greatest inner beauty of anyone I know!
B)Aww, I wish I was like you and could leave the house looking any kind of way.

5)For an athlete, you're pretty smart.
A) Yes, I'm not afraid to use all those big words I learned in college like "the' & "and".
B) Well, I earned a 3.0 while practicing twice a day, playing three games a week and traveling. What were you doing while you earned your 2.5?

What are some back-handed compliments you received? What did you say/do?