Accidentally C-blocking Our Friends

13 11 2014
Photo: tomorrowsmemorieswa.blogspot.com

Photo: tomorrowsmemorieswa.blogspot.com

The other night I ended up at a bar with a bunch of girlfriends, talking girl talk, laughing, drinking whiskey, and giggling about boys.

Well as we looked around the bar, we realized there were several said boys in attendance as well. But, I noted, we were in far too large of a group of women for any of those guys to approach someone in the group.

“Yea you know the only guy who would do that is the kind of guy you wouldn’t want anyway,” one of the girls said.

“Right, because I mean, who wants to walk up to a group of like 6 girls and try to talk to just one of them? The odds are not in your favor.”

Exactly.

But really, why is that?

Wouldn’t you think if you have a table of single women who like dating and someone wants to ask one of those women on a date, everyone else would be down for the cause? Wouldn’t you think the other women would revert into wing women essentially? I would think so.

And yet, that’s not what happens in real life. We know this because there’s a reason men don’t tend to walk up to groups of women by themselves. Because far too often, they are instantly grilled, pulled a part, sized up, and judged before they even get out something beyond “hi.”

Thing is, we all know this. We all are completely aware of this phenomenon… and still the six of us sat at the bar/table giggling, not having anyone walk up to us, laughed about why, and didn’t do anything to change it.

It wasn’t until one of the girls walked away to go to the actual bar that she found herself being approached by a guy. And you know what he told her right? “I was hoping you would go do something on your own so I could talk to you.” Mmmmhmmmm. Theory confirmed.

So why do you think this happens? Why do we accidentally c-block our friends when we’re out? I’m not saying you should change the amount of people you meet up with, because that would just be crazy… but somewhere along the line, we’ve made it uncomfortable for men to do what we claim we want them to do just by hanging with our girlfriends. And if everyone is supposedly on the prowl, then aren’t we hustling backwards here?

What do you all think?





Tips for My Future Husband — #20

6 11 2014
Photo: derrickjaxn.wordpress.com

Photo: derrickjaxn.wordpress.com

Get Silly with Me

Y’all remember that song, “Get Silly” from a few years ago? It was super catchy, had a fun dance, and we, of course, had no idea what they were talking about — but it was fun! So it was great.

Well, I heard it while out at a Halloween party last Friday night, and it gave me the perfect idea for my next tip for future hubby.

You see, I already talked about wanting him to laugh at my jokes, but I don’t want to just stop it there. I want us to have fun being silly with each other.

I actually found myself talking about this the other day with a bunch of girlfriends. We were out at a bar, and one of the girls wanted to know what we all thought was the most important thing in a relationship outside of trust (which is incidentally, my number 1). I said the ability to have fun with each other. But as I was describing it, and giving an example of what I meant, I realized that fun didn’t quite give the most clear description.

Why?

Well, I think you can have fun doing things like watching a movie or attending an art show or scrapbooking. But what I really meant is that I want the ability for me and my guy to enjoy those things, but also enjoy cutting the fool with each other while we’re doing them. I want that guy who’s going to be up laughing with me for hours and then when we try to figure out what the heck we were laughing about, we have no idea. I want that guy who I can lay in the bed with and just be goofy with without a care in the world. I want that guy that’s going to turn a music festival into a giggle festival. Who can keep me in stitches, not because he’s a class clown or something like that, but because we’ve cultivated a friendship that just oozes pure unadulterated fun.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are times and places for serious conversations and serious occasions. No one is trying to be silly at a funeral or something like that, right? But even at the stuffiest gala, wouldn’t it be nice to know you’re sitting next to someone who can quickly make a silly face at you (that only you can see) and then go back to proper decorum afterward? I think it would be.

In fact, I think it’s one of the biggest keys to keeping a relationship alive and thriving — just how much fun you can have with each other. And so I hope future hubby takes that into account. This future wife (me lol) just wants to spend as much time possible laughing and enjoying life (preferably with him by my side).





All Wedding Everything

16 10 2014
Photo: 365til30.com

Photo: 365til30.com

Recently, I found myself a bridesmaid to one of my very best friends.

Well you know what I learned about being a bridesmaid?

Your friend’s wedding (and weddings in general) tend to begin to consume the conversation.

As in, my friends and I would be talking about normal topics and all of a sudden, someone would mention something we still had left to do for the wedding and the conversation would go a little something like this.

Friend/Other bridesmaid: OMG, did you get your dress back from the tailor yet?

Me: Not yet, I get it back on Tuesday.

BM: Oh ok, I got mine today. It looks really good.

Me: Oh that’s great!

BM: Yea, I was pleasantly surprised since it’s not a color or style I would have picked, but it really does look good. Speaking of colors or styles I would pick, just so you know I plan to have a black and white wedding.

Me: Oh yea?

BM: Yep. And I want it on [redacted date], and I’m going to have all my bridesmaids where [redacted color].

Me: That’s so funny. I was thinking sometime in [redacted month] would be good for me since it would have to be in New Orleans, and I don’t want anyone dying from heat exhaustion down there.

BM: Oh good, I’m glad you’ve thought about me, because I absolutely would die if you tried to have it in July or something like that.

Me: Nah, I wouldn’t do that to you lol.

Here’s what funny about this conversation and the other ones very similar to it — none of us (the other folks in the bridal party who were not already married) are anywhere close to actually getting married to even be discussing things like this. But it’s what happens when wedding stuff is on your brain. Or at least it’s what happened to us.

I found myself sending my girls potential bridesmaid dresses and discussing colors and locations and potential bridal shower ideas and all sorts of things that NO ONE should be discussing prior to being in the position to discuss it.

Now, let me be clear. It’s not that any of us are anxious to get married. I tell people all the time that while I would prefer to get married one day, I’d rather be happy and single than married and miserable, meaning I’m not looking to marry anyone just to say I’m married. Heck, I’m still at the point where I actively correct people who say I have a boyfriend and let them know that “I’m dating someone, but he is not my man.” So the conversations weren’t prevalent because of some deep desire I have to be married that I was finally letting out.

No, they were cute, frivolous conversations about what we would and wouldn’t do when it was our turn. They were often funny, sometimes serious, but if anyone had ever listened in without our knowledge, they probably would have thought we were crazy. Why are these very single girls speaking about what they’d do on their wedding day as if it’s anywhere near happening for them, they’d wonder. And all I’d have to say to them is that it’s because weddings consume.

That’s what I learned as a bridesmaid. They consume your thoughts. Your conversations. Your actions (who wasn’t on a diet to look good on those official wedding photos??). Your everything.

So while I am so very happy that I had the immense honor to be a part of one of my besties’ days, and to stand up with her as she pledged her vows to her husband in front of God and her family and friends, I am also so very happy that it’s over.

Maybe now, the wedding talks can pause for just a bit. At least until the next friend gets engaged.





On Long Distance Relationships (but not the kind you’re thinking of…)

12 08 2014

A couple weeks ago, I spent most of my time running the Washington, D.C. streets with my oldest niece and the only relative I have who lives anywhere near me (one of my sisters/her aunt). And while we had a blast, we also spent so much of our time catching up on life. You see my niece, along with my brother, sister-in-law, and other niece and nephew live in California, so while we Skype and talk on the phone, it’s not quite the same as her being here. Which, of course got me thinking about how most of the people I count as essential in my life do not live near me.

I mean we talk about long distance relationships in terms of lovers all the time and how a majority of us don’t want to participate in them, but it hit me that I’ve been engaging in long distance relationships for quite some time now. My parents are long distance. So are my bestest friends. Same thing with my nieces and nephew, my godchildren, my siblings with the exception of my one sister, etc…

And maybe that’s why I know just how hard they can be when you try to have one with someone you want to be with — because long distance relationships are hard as hell with the people already in my life.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could see my godchildren more… that I don’t wonder if my being so far away is a disservice to them. And I can’t even count all the times something has happened to a close friend that’s made me just want to hold him or her, but of course my arms don’t stretch states away. Or just even wanting to be there more times to celebrate the good in their lives. Sure I make it work — we have a lot of technology available these days — but there’s nothing quite like being in front of the person you love, you know?

It’s an interesting aspect of life these days, really, when you think about it. Because while my case might be extreme (and really, I don’t think that’s all that true either), I think most of us experience this in some way. I don’t know anyone in my generation who has all their close friends and family in the same place as them. Do you? Probably not.

Instead, I believe we’ve all been living life, carrying on long distance relationships for some time now, failing at some, succeeding somewhat at others — but never really flourishing. Because again, Skype and Facetime can’t replace the simple effectiveness of a hug or laying your head on someone or laughing with them in person. Technology can and will never be enough.

So what do you do? We can’t all make pacts to go back to where we’re from. Even if we could, it wouldn’t help matters. Sure I’d be around more of my family then, but I met some of my closest friends in college. They’re not going back to my hometown! And our parents (for the most part) didn’t experience this spreading out of relationships to the extent that we have, so as much as we love them, it would probably be the blind leading the blind if we asked them for help.

Plus, I don’t know about y’all, but mine would just say come home as if that was the cure to all problems lol.

I’m actually not quite sure that we can do anything except continue to cultivate those long distance relationships in ways that sort of make sense for each one. Some friends, I know email works better for them. Others, it’s texting. Some family members I know I need to schedule phone dates with, and some people I have to just schedule weekends and trips with. But I do those things because as much as I (and we all) hate long distance relationships of any kind, those people are important to me, and I need them in my life in anyway possible. Distance be damned.

That doesn’t make it any easier though, especially during times when they need me and I can’t get there.

What about you? Do you find yourself trying to juggle long distance relationships in your life as well? And what are some ways you think work better than others?





The Sanctity of Time

20 05 2014
Photo: timemanagementninja.com

Photo: timemanagementninja.com

I turned 31 this weekend (wooot!), and while it was an amazing experience that was filled with joy and laughter amongst very good and best friends who continue to amaze me, birthday songs on the phone from professional opera singers and those who think they are opera singers, cake and drinks, great food, surprise calls from folks out of the country, Michael Jackson Experience Wii game battles, an epic pajama jam and more… it also marked the death of a best friend’s father.

And it reminded me of something that has been on my heart for awhile now — the preciousness and sanctity of time.

If you recall, I recently re-took the Love Languages test and found that my top languages had switched so that now quality time and physical touch lead the pack by miles. This is no coincidence, because what I’m learning (through watching friends battle life-threatening illnesses, experiencing the pain of loved ones passing away, being there for others who have also experienced that pain, and finding it more and more frustrating that most of my best friends/family live at least hundreds of miles away from me — which makes our time spent together so much more meaningful but also so much more upsetting when it doesn’t come to pass) is that time is so much more important to me these days. As is the ability to be able to physically be there for someone when he or she needs you the most.

In fact, I know just how much I care or love someone by the fact that I make time for him or her. It’s how I express my love these days, and it’s how I know that I am loved.

Indeed, I’m learning that time is my (and everyone else’s) best form of currency.

And yet, so often, I have wasted time on things that are so insignificant in my life. I’ve spent time worrying over facts I couldn’t control. I’ve procrastinated and hesitated on moving forward on visions I knew God gave me. And all because even though I know it to be true, it can be hard to always remember that time is not always on our side.

But this is not meant to be a depressing post. I know it doesn’t seem like it just yet, but it’s meant to uplift. Because it was only hours after our friend gave us the sad news about her dad’s death that we saw the beauty of a couple getting married at a small church in DC. The bride was standing right outside of the church, arm and arm with what looked to be her father, getting ready to walk down the aisle in her gorgeous white dress. And as we looked for parking to go to brunch, that image reminded us of all the good that can be accomplished in the time that we do have on this earth.

It was a reminder of the circle of life. That yes, time is not promised to any of us. And yes, time is precious because it is the only thing that once lost cannot be regained. But it’s also a call to take life by the ropes and spend every day, every hour, every second like we know what kind of prized jewel God has gifted us.

It was a reminder that we should honor the sanctity of our time together. And like Mandypants said to me the other day, make sure we give out our flowers to the people we love before their time has passed.





On Being Best Friends with My Boo

24 03 2014

One of the things that has gotten a bad rap over the years is the idea of figuring out what is most important to you in a relationship. On the surface, that seems wise, right? It’s similar to how we approach interning in college — some of them are meant to show you what you want in your career and some are meant to show you what you absolute do not want. Either way, you begin to create a list in your mind of what makes you happy in a job. Over time, though, some times folks have gone too far with this concept and created lists the size of encyclopedias for relationships that no one on this Earth could possibly live up to. And thus birthed this stereotype that if you do have a list of wants, you’re looking for the perfect person or someone who doesn’t know what the word flexible means.

Yet, even with the bad reputation it’s received in the past, I tend to believe there’s a great benefit to knowing what you do and don’t want for yourself. There’s a balance, of course. I’m not saying that you become this stringent person that will only date men over 6’4 who have a graduate degree or higher and have been to at least 3 other countries.

But it’s good to take what you’ve learned from past relationships and to be able to apply it to the future, understanding what works for you and what doesn’t. For example, I’ve learned that I am most happy when me and my guy have a relationship where we support and push each other in whatever goals we’re reaching for at that moment. And I have no desire to be with a guy who puts me on a pedestal and makes me his sole goal in life.

These are things that are good for me to know going forward so I don’t waste either of our time. But I probably wouldn’t list them as most important. No, for that I’d need to dig a bit deeper.

Now, there are a lot of great qualities that could be listed as “most important” when one thinks about what they want in their future boo and/or relationship. Things like trust, for example. Or for the person to have the same belief system as you. Openness. The ability to make you laugh. Kindness. Respect. Etc… And all of those are great and very important.

But I’ve found that the most important quality I need/want in a relationship is for my guy to be one of my best friends. For me, that encompasses all the rest of those qualities and more. It means that we can laugh together about nothing, we have fun with each other, we’re always honest, we trust each other, we give unconditional support, we inspire each other, we respect each other, we’re there for each other even if we don’t necessarily agree with each other, we love each other, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we can have serious conversations where we learn from each other, we bring out the best in each other, we enjoy spending time with each other, we don’t expect each other to be perfect, but we know our lives our better when they include each other and so much more. If we’re best friends in the truest definition of that word, for me, all those other qualities that everyone says they want fall into place anyway.

At least that’s how it is with my best friends. We do all those things together anyway, and mean all those things to each other as well. In fact, I’ve been blessed with some pretty amazing best friends, and sue me, what I think I want more than anything right now is to eventually be able to include my guy on that list. For as one of my friends recently said, “relationships and attraction go through cycles, but if you can come back to the foundation of friendship, you can get through anything.”

What do you all think? Is there a quality that’s most important for you in a relationship? If so, what is it and why?





Choosing the People in Your Life

21 03 2014

“You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.” ~ Ted, How I Met Your Mother

I’ve been talking a lot about choices on the blog lately: choosing to be happy, choosing to step out on faith, choosing which priorities are more important to you, etc… Shoot, even my church is in the midst of a sermon series about the choice to be healed right now, so those who know me in real life know that I’ve been talking about choices in person a lot too. But I realized while watching How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) the other night that I hadn’t actually talked about one of the most important decisions we make daily — on the people we allow to be in our lives.

Now, if you don’t watch HIMYM, I should tell you that while it is a comedy, it’s also one of those shows that typically has a lot of quotables about life in it. Such was the case on this penultimate episode before the series finale. The episode was designed to give us more insight into the relationship of the main character, Ted, and his would be wife (the mother of the title of the show). But in showing us more about their first date and the connection they immediately had, it also highlighted an important choice made at the end of the night by the would be mother, a choice that was juxtaposed to one seen in a flashback of someone leaving the wedding Ted attended just a few days before. The choice was to make sure that person remained.

Or as Ted put it while relaying the wedding story and the night of the first date to his future kids:

(flashback to the wedding) Barney: Blauman will cool off eventually. We’ll see him again.

Marshall: I don’t know, we might really never see him again. I remember at our wedding (looking at his wife) and thinking, man everyone here means so much to me. A bunch of those people, I haven’t seen them since.

(back to the present) Ted: And that’s how it goes, kids, the friends, neighbors, drinking buddies, and partners in crime you love so much when you’re young, as the years go by, you just lose touch. That being said, I did manage to keep in touch with a few people… (goes into montage of flashbacks and updates on friends)… You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.

As soon as I heard that, it struck me like a lightning bolt. And it was in line with what I’d read in the book, The People Factor, that I told you all about earlier — that when you find the people you need in your life, you don’t let them slip away.

I believe we all have those people. The ones who God has put in our lives to journey with us for a lifetime. The ones He blesses us through. The ones for whom we wouldn’t be who we are without. And I think it’s our duty to figure out who those people are and choose to do something about keeping them around. That’s not an endorsement to hold on tight to no-good people, or to try to force someone who doesn’t want to be around you to remain. But, instead, it’s a reminder that we make choices every day that effect our lives.

And when you have a chance to do something that ensures you don’t lose one of your important people (or covenant partners as Van Moody would say), whether that’s a text saying I love you, a call just to hear their voice for 5 minutes, an email encouraging them on an endeavor they are facing, an impromptu visit, whatever that thing may be — you do it.

You just do it.

It’s that important.