Saturday, April 7, 2012

Being a guy-friend-aholic, and where to go from there. (Part 2)

Well, since the original installment was my most popular post, I thought I would offer the single/dating gals a few more unfortunate pearls of wisdom. Now perhaps some of you are thinking, "this is a 'wedding' blog, why are you harping about this?" Because in all loving, brutal honesty I don't think anyone is ready to get married until they STOP this destructive behavior and draw these boundaries. So once again ladies -I'm sorry- but here are the signs that you should either date the guy or distance yourself from the friendship. I will allow that having just one of these signs in your friendship might not be a glaring red flag, but start to keep an eye out for others to pop up.

And here's a little more full disclosure (or TMI?) so you know that I'm not being a self-righteous know-it-all: I have done ALL of these things. Every last one. More than once. With more than one guy. So know what I say comes from love, not judgement.

10 signs that you are playing a guy (knowingly or otherwise).

1) You hug "hello" and "goodbye."
 If you do just one or the other it's not necessarily as weird. But if you do both there is DEFINITELY no room for the Holy Spirit in this friendship.

2) You've had a conversation past midnight.
 Fact: Men like sleep. Other fact: He's sacrificing sleep for YOU. Other other fact: It's not because he really wants to hear about what your frenemy posted on Facebook.

3) You expect that he will pay, or at least try to pay, for you.
  If you expect it that means he's paid for you X number of times, which means YOU ARE GOING OUT. ALONE. A LOT. And it also means you're at risk of becoming a gold digger... incidentally even they have to commit at a certain point.

4) You hang out when it is inconvenient for one or both of you.
 Like during the summer, or when one or both of you has to skip a class. In relationship-ese that translates to "we can't bear to be apart."

5) You do something on Valentine's Day.
 Valentine's Day is for couples and kids in elementary school... so which one are you?

6) You've told him "I miss you."
 Look at your hand. Now smack yourself with it. Because explaining why this is a jerk, manipulative move would take longer.

7) He talks to you over the summer.
 Generally (if you are both in college) this means he is calling you. It is a scientific fact that guys HATE to talk on the phone. He is defying SCIENCE for you.

8) You do guy things with him and he does girl things with you.
 You know that guy who willingly went to see Titanic in 3D with you? The one who bought the tickets and let you use his shoulder as a hanky? I had a guy do that too... MY FIANCÉ. That means we're together... like together together. And even he said "no" to Titanic the first five times I asked, so take the hint already.

9) You've brought him to your "real" house.  Meaning your parents' house. Meaning he spent the night.
 Um... YOU'VE BROUGHT HIM TO YOUR PARENTS' HOUSE. HE'S MET YOUR PARENTS. HE'S SPENT THE NIGHT. I think just yelling it suffices here, so yell that to yourself a few times.

And 10) You've gone on a road trip together. Just the two of you.
 This is last because it means he has done several of the above things at once: he has talked with you about this trip for an hour or more-- probably late and probably on the phone (#2, #4, #7), you will likely be driving late at night (#2), he has made plans that cost money and he is willing to get gas (#3), he has added a significant event into his schedule and possibly taken time off work (#4), he's taking that time because he misses you or you've said you missed him (#6), it's most likely during the summer (#4, #7), AND he probably picked you up at your "real" house and may have even spent the night (#9).

Whew. You know just looking at those makes me feel like an epic jerkette. I am certainly one of the guilty. Here is the bright side: you could choose to give this guy a chance and it could be amazing. But if you absolutely don't think that's a possibility then detox, and detox now. Eventually there will be a guy you can do each and every one of these things with, and you won't just be friends. It'll be much, much better.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Being a guy-friend-aholic, and where to go from there.

Well first of all, I'm sorry I've epic failed at blogging these past couple months. Really nothing particularly wedding-related happened until about two weeks ago, during which we booked the last competent DJ in town (according to him), selected a baker (which mostly involved me eating lots of raw fondant), placed an order with a caterer (white cheddar baked mac 'n' cheese... oh yeah you better be there), received bridesmaid dresses that were the wrong color, and in general fended off my Bridezilla meltdowns like a couple'a pros. Let's just say when you watch the actual show "Bridezillas" and think to yourself "You know... she totally has a point this time," there is a big, big problem. Fortunately while the urge has been there, the dragon still sleeps. Only two and a half more months to go...

When Harry Met Sally, Property of MGM
 Now that we're up to speed, here is my current philosophical musing. It is brought on through a mixture of marriage prep exercises/discussions, television shows/movies, and yes, even plain old awkward experience. Ladies, get ready to have some sense knocked into you from someone who required an embarrassing number of knocks.

Here is the unfortunate truth I bestow on you today:

No. Guy. Wants. To. Be. Just. Friends.


I'm sorry.

Now so as not to totally devastate you, I'll go ahead and give you the exceptions and the exceptions to the exceptions.

Exception 1) He is gay (obviously).

Exception 2) He is a relative (though keep in mind the solidity of this rule varies regionally... ew).

Exception 3) He is the best friend of an ex.
Exception to the exception: Keep in mind that I'm talking about the ABSOLUTE best friend of your ex. Like, they were each others' best men best. Any less and you are still considered fair game, awkward potential be darned. (*Edit: I have been informed by a male reader that this is in fact totally untrue, and I was just lucky that my ex's best man was a nice dude. So... watch out for all of your ex's friends. Feel free to debate. ;)*)

Exception 4) He is a "through" friend. 
Meaning a friend you know "through" your committed boyfriend/a girl friend/spouse/etc. as these friends have not intentionally sought you out for companionship based on your own merits. They have to associate with you by default and you never spend one-on-one time with them.

Exception 5) He is a stringer.
As in, he will string you along to fulfill his own needs without offering commitment OR EVEN genuine friendship, in which case you should not be friends with this person in the first place.

Let's have a DTR.
So let's really REALLY define what I'm talking about. A guy that sought you out, or does not mind that you sought him out, that you spend significant time with (notice that I did not say a significant AMOUNT of time, rather ANY amount of time that WAS significant... quality over quantity), who will have discussions and do activities with you that he would otherwise do with another guy, does not want to be "just" friends.

On the other side of that coin, girls are more than happy to invest the same time and emotion into a guy friend as exactly that: a "guy" friend. The guy is usually completely interchangeable with a girl.

Only that isn't fair to guys.
Hear me, ladies?
That is. Not fair. To guys.

You dirty Jezebel!
Let me own up to a huge chunk of the blame. Until I was in a serious relationship, I was a total guy's girl. To this day I can't stand an all female workplace. If I'd had to get married in the middle of college I would have been the one with the groomsmen. I would average maybe one serious girl friend at a time, while the rest of my time went to a handful of wonderful, loyal, funny, smart, uncomplicated guy friends.

Only it was incredibly complicated and I didn't know it. Though if I'm being honest -if ALL ladies were being honest- I'd have to admit that somewhere in my not-so-subconscious subconscious, I knew. I knew what smile to smile, what laugh to laugh, when to make the inappropriately unfeminine Family Guy reference, and when to rock the sundress, paint my nails, and wear his favorite perfume. Oh yeah... I knew all of that.

Oh gosh, I even brought them home with me. More than one and more than once. I went on lengthy roadtrips with them, usually spent headbanging to Queen and all 90's music. I'm horrible, right? Really, who brings a guy friend home and expects him to not get a very specific idea about where the friendship is headed? Dumb dumb dumb me...

Now I know I've just incriminated myself probably beyond repair, but really my motives were never impure... I was simply uncouth enough to want the impossible. Any close guy friend I've had could tell you that I've beat many a dead horse trying to keep these impossible friendships going. But I was wrong: the eternally platonic guy/girl relationship DOES NOT EXIST. Because that kind of guy friend DOES NOT WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND. He wants more. You cannot convince him to want less, nor should you. We are created to be monogamous, and there is nothing wrong with that... except that you can't be best friends with a bunch of guys. And people have TOLD us this, but why don't we listen? Well, because I truly believe a girl can become addicted to guy-friendship.

It is with extreme difficulty that I admitted all of the above ramble to myself, and began a guy friend detox when I started dating Tim (who incidentally was a guy friend who did not just want to be friends... see?). There is really no way to describe just how much that sucked. Mostly because guys are just way more fun to be around than girls (sorry). They're a consistently calming and nondramatic influence, and it's something that for a long time I couldn't live without from just one guy. I was addicted to the fun, the absolute lack of pretense, and yes, even the attention. (Total and complete honesty right now-- hope you can tell.)

My addiction was overcome in several ways, and here are a few of them:

Way 1) Have an awesome Maid of Honor.
When we first met a couple years ago, my Maid of Honor very quickly brought back to life a lot of girly interests I'd left by the wayside, like musicals, fashion, cooking, Disney movies, the Kardashians (kidding... or am I?), and finding the humor in the drama. We loooove to laugh about the drama. There is hefty value in girl talk if you have a friend who is good at it, and she's definitely one of the best.

Way 2) Admit you've been building a wall, and tear it down.
Because you've totally been building a wall between yourself and meaningful, lasting relationships the entire time. Really. I didn't realize this until my MoH and I became close. I thought I told my guy friends everything, but once I started talking to girls again I realized I was opening up an entirely new (or forgotten) side, a side of vulnerability and big, impossible dreams that girls only share with other girls. Guys simply do not know what to do with it. So while I thought the guys knew me, I kept this integral part of me a secret, which cannot work in a lasting friendship.

Way 3) Spend more time alone.
Let's continue a pattern of honesty and admit to ourselves that excessive male companionship is usually linked to unacknowledged loneliness. Again I will speak from my own experience. Perhaps due to reasons beyond your control, things have happened that caused you not to trust other girls. On top of that, perhaps a bad relationship convinced you that putting your time and trust into one man will only lead to unhappiness, so instead you seek surrogate companionship with several.

Get to know yourself again. Rediscover hobbies and secret hideaways. Volunteer. Consider moving somewhere else, if your situation permits it. A change of scenery will drastically alter the way you view yourself and others.

Way 4) Workaholism.
Self explanatory. Throw yourself into finding your career. Of course I've seen enough romantic comedies to know this can turn into a negative, so don't get carried away. Just keep yourself busy.

And if none of those work...

Way 5) Pick the one guy friend that you a b s o l u t e l y cannot live without... and marry him!
That's what I did. :) Okay there was a lot more to it than that, but there was a moment a couple of years ago when I had decided that I had to let him go because I wasn't ready to commit to anybody. Then just the thought of never speaking to him again freaked me out so much that I realized I was supposed to give him a chance. He was worth cutting back on the males in my life.

I hope this has helped you in some way. I apologize if I've said something you don't want to hear, but you need to hear it. Believe me if I had no shame whatsoever I would list the details of every best guy-friendship I've had (of which there have been... 7... and that's just off the top of my head) and you would see that my experience has revealed the truth. Think about your best buddy, and what you're doing to his feelings. Open the door or shut it. You'll be doing yourself a favor too.