“Sure, we were friends who exchanged soulful glances, friends who slept in a bed filled with sexual tension, friends who found any excuse to touch, but I worried that we’d never take that perilous leap of faith toward becoming a real couple, a permanent team.”
― Emily Giffin, Something Blue
LIFE CHART #15: For the past few weeks there has been this conversation about relationships between my friends and me. We have varying perspectives on relationships from being friends to those involving intimate ties. My perspective on each comes from experience, watching, growing, choosing, and discussions. I have come to be comfortable with how I am in relationships not so much the level of comfort of the other person.
Last year, I was accused of being what I can only equate to cold-hearted because I don’t fall in love. I know. I know. For me, falling is an accident and I do my best to avoid accidents. When I leave the house it is my intention to give my focus to being safe so I can return without incident. Love is very much intentional for me. Why? It is a gift that I don’t give lightly to anyone. When it comes to relationships there are benefits to my love. That sounds arrogant when it is actually confident and self-assured.
When I say, “I love you” that comes with benefits not every person gets. It’s love having the gate code to a secure community, the access code to an ATM, or authorization to use a Black Card (not that one!). Like American Express says, “Membership has its privileges”. When I am in a relationship it is not just me, but we and so I approach things like with that in mind. “The Former”, as I shall refer to him, had high blood pressure. When he would have a physical for work and it indicated that the pressure was too high, I knew that meant a morning of sitting at a doctor’s office. He would call to let me know when the appointment was and we would be in the waiting room. I cannot say how many times that was the case, but it happened. He drove trucks so I often received a call 2 hours before he needed to be picked up (usually after 12am) and I was there with my son in tow. Once I am in and say, “I love you,” that is it – you get access. Membership has its privileges.
The big deal? It occurred to me that not every person operates this way. Some people just like to know that someone likes them, wants someone to grovel for their attention, enjoy games, or simply don’t take relationships or interactions with someone else seriously. And that is fine unless it’s not. For me, at the point I begin to sense some squirreliness and inconsideration with respect to my need for clarity or interaction my response is to reduce my interaction, think about what I want, and, then, act in that vain. That might be to reengage and it might be to disengage completely. But in some cases, where there was never a clear distinction of what is or is not going on, I am happy to place you in the Friend Zone. Yes, there.
I do Friend Zone so well I have been told to never say, “Let’s be friends” because it is known I can make that transition like flipping a light switch. See, the thing is that for me Friend Zone is not an announcement that I make it is most likely a place you find yourself. For men reading this, it is like going to the buffet with the intention of ordering the steak and potato dinner with a dessert buffet and, then, finding yourself getting the whole thing. It just happened, weren’t cognizant of it going down, you ate and ate but you are sitting looking at the multiple plates you used to manhandle that buffet. Let it be known that I rarely toss someone with whom I have great interest into The Friend Zone quickly. I make my interest known verbally, physically, and through allowing myself to be vulnerable. When that squirreliness and inconsideration rears its head and it has been addressed with no solution that is a win-win, you my friend, are zoned and you will not get a notice. And, know it will not be easy to get out once you realize you are there.
See, this conversation about being place in The Zone unfairly has to be considered from another view. You might be a good guy, good job, have a career, and all of that, but if you have shown interest in a female, become wishy-washy, do not want to discuss it, and think that it is perfectly fine let me help you out. You, my friend, have placed yourself in The Friend Zone inadvertently. You are in there legitimately so sit, watch the above .gif, and think about how you got there because that is you attempting to get out. Grab some bandages for your knees and elbows or maybe just accept it.
Just today I shared with a friend my desire to have an amazing relationship, period. No games. Fun. Interacting with all the stuff of life. Enjoying the dance and foolishness of it all. I’m pretty simple about it all. I’m pretty open. And, I’m pretty clear that life is dynamic and know how to flow with that through communication. Relationships don’t have to be hard, but they do take wisdom that overrides any sense of desperation. Desperation has people do things that are devised to bolster their self-esteem. For me to be able to have a healthy relationship we both have to have a health sense of contentment with who were are and a desire to continue to grow.
So, here it is. I am no guru, but I am learning to be content with me, what I have, what I do not have, where I have been, where I am, and where I am heading. The Friend Zone, to me, is not a holding area, but a place for people with whom I want to be friends. And, that is perfectly fine. Last, I am thankful for the wisdom that decreases any sense of desperation, but increases my sense of contentment and self-confidence.
I’m thankful f0r the 180º.