I recently realized how much my circle has changed. I’m not in close contact with many of the people I grew up with and over the years I’ve also grown apart from some friends I met during my college years. One thing I like about my current circle is the fact that everyone wants to do better. There’s intentionality around improving personally and professionally. One great quality of a good friendship is that you feel accepted as a person. You aren’t judged or made to feel like your friend is trying to change you. However, I’ve come to realize that the mark of a good friend is one that challenges you to grow—even if it’s an uncomfortable process. They aren’t trying to change you but they also realize opportunities for growth that you may not see so they challenge you to be better. Constructive criticism feels different when it comes from someone you know who genuinely has the best intentions for you. Instead of becoming more defensive, it’s easier to internalize what they’re saying. This type of a friend is rare to have and if you find one be grateful and keep them around.
There’s a lot that’s been going on and lately I’ve been thinking about the importance of compatibility in a romantic context. I’ve always been someone that hated the small talk part of getting to know someone. I’d rather ask deep personal questions that one should never ask on a first date that tend to illicit an awkward reaction. One of the most important compatibility aspects is the fact that both partners have shared outcomes. While they may not share the same favorite color or food, their values and life goals are compatible. They are on the same page about monogamy (or the lack of it), life philosophy, and other important big picture stuff. It gives them something to bond over and talk about because they’re on the same page and they see similar things in the future. Having increased positive interactions can help them in dealing with the everyday relationship stresses. It’s not always glamorous, but compatibility on a deep level works wonders for relationships success.
Sometimes I think that it’s easier to process through writing than it is through speaking. There’s the opportunity to delete, revise and edit in the writing process and talking out loud doesn’t come with those same privileges. I remember either hearing or reading somewhere about Reason, Season, and Lifetime people and I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon in my own life. It’s fairly easy to meet seasonal people. You cross paths with them while doing routine activities like going to work or attending a class. Being in a familiar place again has been eye opening and also challenging in a way that I had not anticipated. There’s something to be said about feeling the push and pull of relationships that seem to hover between the Reason and Lifetime. It’s one of those grey areas that can be a bit anxiety provoking because you don’t quite know what the outcome will be. There can be emotions that catch you off guard because the process is full of surprises along with disappointments. While you may have a preference, there’s not guarantee that the cards will play out the way that you want them to. The process isn’t linear because relationships and emotions aren’t linear and they rarely fit into a nice neat little box. The perfect solution in your head is at odds with the conflicting emotions in your heart. There is no easy answer because the questions are too complex. It’s almost like making a house out of cards and wondering which card will crumble the whole deck. One thing that I can appreciate is that the process makes you take an honest inventory of yourself in the context of relationships. Time can often be the deciding factor of which category the relationships will land in.
This week has been one of the most emotionally challenging ones that I’ve had in a while. I had to to say goodbye to my dog that I have had since I was 16 or so. He was quirky, stubborn, spoiled, and a bit slow at times but he was mine. I remember when my family first got him. He jumped into our car after we opened our garage one day and just stuck around. He lived in four different states and took road trips from Georgia to Michigan and Colorado. The great thing about him was that he was very good-natured and loved children. I never had any worries about him becoming aggressive as he was always incredibly gentle. He had the most expressive brown eyes that expressed his displeasure when he didn’t get the food he wanted or he wasn’t taken outside soon enough. He also loved carbohydrates in all forms including pasta, pie dough, and ramen and preferred a boiled egg to any type of dog food. He slept beside me every night for years and would often hog my pillow as he sprawled out across the bed. He was alive for every major heartbreak of my adult life as well as some teenage ones. Unlike most dogs of his breed he enjoyed chilling out and wanted to be held and cuddled most of the time. He would often fall asleep on my lap or chest as I was doing my homework. He hated loud noises which included gunshots and fireworks. Whenever it stormed I would stay up with him all night because he was so scared and would shake uncontrollably. He was lost on several occasions, he was trapped in a hole for a day, he suffered a brain injury from an attack from another dog, and he almost hung himself from our deck after jumping off and getting caught by his leash. He also ran towards cars instead of away from them. This dog was a freaking walking miracle. And yet he remained unbothered and continued to demonstrate poor safety awareness up until the very end. He was the perfect sized dog to pick up and pull out of any immediate danger rather quickly. Despite all his flaws I knew that he loved and trusted me until the very end when he put his little head on my chest and sighed before he went to sleep forever. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. He lived a long, adventurous and full 17 years and I’ll miss him forever. Life will never be the same without him and his quirks.
R.I.P. Sam 2002-2019
I realized that I’ve posted some bad date stories but to be fair and to also (maybe) inspire some sense of optimism in my seemingly string of endless romantic bad luck I’ll write about a good date that I’ve had. I moved to a new place and I updated one of my social media accounts to show my new location. But let me take a few steps back. I’m a big fan of not having public social media pages. I like to be able to choose who sees what I post. There was a guy that I added for the very simple reason that he was cute and what he posted had substance. So for the past few years we didn’t interact but followed each other on social media. Fast forward to me coming to the new place. He commented on my post that he lived nearby and that we should hang out sometime. So a few weeks later we messaged and decided on a time and location. I was excited but had no idea what to expect. It was a public place but honestly you never know when you’re meeting someone in person for the first time. He was a good looking guy but for some reason I imagined that he was shorter than average because of the angles of the pictures he posted. Nothing wrong with that. So I arrived at the restaurant early and proceeded to order food and a drink. I didn’t know if he would decide to show up and I didn’t want to wait forever, plus I was hungry. But I picked a seat that faced the door so I would see him if he decided to come through. I’m enjoying my food and I see him walk past the windows and into the front door. Up to this point I had only swooned over a guy twice or so. Once when I walked past Brian McKnight in college and once when I was in Paris. This was the third time. I saw him and felt the air leave my lungs. I immediately felt my ears getting warm and I think my jaw literally dropped. Dude was fine. Not regularly fine where you can glance, smile, and keep it moving. The kind where you stop in your tracks and and stare while trying to decide if it’s worth it to take a picture to document the moment. He spotted me and came over to say hi and give me a hug before we moved to a different part of the restaurant. He ordered drinks and we started chatting. Great conversation that didn’t have those awkward silences. Found out that we had some things in common. I’m also mentally checking off things on my unofficial checklist of what I’d ideally like. Dude is passing with FLYING colors. Corporate with a twinge of bad boy? Check. Well read and well spoken? Check. Has a passport and travels? Check. Goals and ambition? Check. So I’m just enjoying the moment and focusing on the present. Another unaccompanied woman comes into the restaurant and sits close to us. She orders a complicated drink and frustrates the already swamped bartender. Then she starts to low key flirt with my guy. I’ll admit that I started to feel some twinges of annoyance and possessiveness but he shuts her down effortlessly. Bonus points for him. It was a good evening. We chatted for about 5 hours about anything and everything under the sun. It was never officially stated as a date and I was fully prepared to pay for my food and drinks and as the evening went on he started ordering drinks as we continued to talk. The bill came and he paid for it without complaint despite me half heartedly offering to pay for my portion. I’ve heard that if a guy pays than it should be considered a date. The bill was close to $200 bucks so I guess it officially counted as a date. He walked me to my car and walked on the outside curb. Great guy, good time, no complaints.
@BYONELOVEShe wants your reassurance without you perceiving her as ‘needy’. She wants to hear you say you love her and that you’re not going anywhere. She wants your arms around her as you say it, showing her with your affection how much you care. She wants you to understand and not be annoyed when she…
Without adding any snarky comments and making a generalization about “all” men out there, I will say that this sounds nice. It’s interesting how people who appear so self assured in other areas of their life can feel so unsettled and anxious within a relationship. I think that it’s because there’s something that is out of their control. It feels weird and different and naturally some anxiety ensues because you find yourself really self-doubting for the first time in a while. Great article
As usual, this is the traditional somewhat reflective post of this past year. Seeing that my birthday is only a few days again, it seemed only fitting to do some reflection. I have to admit that as an introvert, I spend a lot of time in reflection and analyzing. A year ago, I had just made the decision to relocate across the county and I was still settling in. I hadn’t gotten my apartment yet and job prospects weren’t the greatest. As opposed to receiving gifts and being treated, I treated my family to lunch. The day was cold and dreary and I remember thinking that I was alone as always–never having had a significant other for my birthday at any point in my life. And this year the tradition continues. As I reflect, I keep trying to remember a moment or moments that were epic. Where I had the chance to experience something out of the ordinary or feel special to someone for a few moments. And as I think about it, I did have that moment. I was sitting in the passenger side of a rented Toyota Camry and I was crying. Not loud and obnoxious but it was a heart cry. The one where you’re silent and tears are just running down in rivers down your face. I was crying because I didn’t want my boyfriend (at the time) to leave and drive back to where he lived 3 hours away. It was the first time in my life that I felt safe enough to be vulnerable and cry in front of someone. He was great. He just held my hand and sang off-key to me. It was actually kinda cute and cheered me up. I got it together and wished him a tear free goodbye not knowing that I would never see him again (still haven’t), because he called me a week later and dumped me. This past year has definitely been one full of heartbreak and questioning myself over and over again. What’s wrong with me? Why am I always the one screwed over at the end of the day? Am I really THAT hard to stay with? Does no one appreciate loyalty or loves these days? Being honest, I had two huge heartbreaks and then a whole bunch of smaller ones to break up the monotony. This was the year I gave dating a chance and it just didn’t work out at all. But I quit a job that I hated and I moved across the country. And in the end I’m still alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely grateful for my life and supportive family and I’ve had the opportunity to accomplish some decent things professionally but I miss having someone to share that with. Every. Damn. Day. It’s been a long long year with plenty of sleepless nights and crying at random times because I just wanted someone in my corner to be supportive of me no matter what and to match my feelings for them. Obviously up to this point it’s been an epic fail but as I find myself saying every year around my birthday, “maybe next year.”
Not too long ago I saw a post from a friend that said that there is no such thing as having new friends of the opposite sex. If you haven’t been friends with them for at least two or three years then you’re just out of luck. The first thing I thought about after reading that post was that there may be some truth to that. Depending on the situation, most people of the opposite sex don’t meet people just to be friends. There are ulterior motives that include networking or additional “benefits” that motivate people. I’m not saying that no one meets new friends of the opposite sex but I doubt that is always the primary motivation. People meet other people for personal gain as adults. Things aren’t as simple as it is when you have friends as a kid. I’ve met a lot of people in the last few years. However, the process of making someone of the opposite sex a “true” platonic friend is much more complicated than it used to be. There’s always something that one person wants from the other and very rarely does this include “true friendship.” It’s just the way of the world. Friendship is often given as a consolation prize or a compromise because both people aren’t on the same page. The point of all this is to say that it’s rare as an adult to be absolutely 100% friends with someone of the opposite sex from the very moment you meet them without thinking of what they can do for you, who they know that they can connect you to, or if there’s a chance for some additional personal gain in some way.
Today was a good day. While I don’t usually characterize my days as good or bad, I must say that today was the exception to the rule. I guess part of the reason I had a good day was the fact that I had a pretty good weekend. Traveled a few thousand miles back to the South and had a random adventure in the urban section of Atlanta with a friend and some others. Witnessed an altercation that could have quickly turned into a fight and did some advocating and mediation that actually had some positive results. But I digress. Today I got a chance to spend some time with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and I really enjoyed it. As I grow older I have found that good conversation is a luxury that is often disregarded. While there are people I talk to fairly regularly and keep in touch with through phone calls or texts, there’s no substitute for a genuine human face to face interaction with someone I enjoy talking to. It’s a great feeling to have an intelligent conversation without constantly backtracking and feeling like you may be offending the other person and that they don’t understand where you’re coming from. It was also great seeing a familiar face because that rarely happens unless I travel a significant distance. I personally enjoy good conversations because they can be so enlightening and helpful. Those kind of conversations are even better when you have rapport with the person and there are mutual interests and a history of shared experiences. Those are the conversations that keep you awake, alert, and engaged despite just finishing your 12 hour shift and being beyond exhausted. Yup, it was a good day.
I ran across this article pretty recently and it quickly caught my interest. I’ve included a link here . I’ve seen seminars, books, webinars, and programs all addressing this topic. So many people (both men and women) claim to have the magic formula and list their own love story as the proof that their way works. This article was specifically addressing a Black women as a group. Between the interpersonal cues, relationship coaching, speed dating, and other means of “catching” a significant other. The article challenges that thought behind the idea that a woman’s life should be defined by her relationship status. But let’s face it, unmarried women who don’t have kids aren’t typically looked upon with the same level of respect as career women who are married and raising their kids and balancing it all in a (seemingly) effortless manner. The article highlights the fact that shame is often a part of the internal narrative of black women and explored how one’s relationship status can contribute to levels of shame. That thought made me wonder how many products and advertisements are targeted to someone’s level of shame. Products that are marketed in a way that make you feel inadequate unless you become a consumer of the product. Very thought provoking read.