friendship

Leading Lady vs. Best Friend: The Art of Not Dating, and Still Coming up on Top.

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“This is not a hard one to figure out. Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.”**

Great quote from one of my favorite movies, The Holiday. Not too much explanation is needed, but in essence the girl likes a friend of hers and is running around doing ‘best friend- like’ duties in hopes that he will see how amazing she is, but she never gets the leading lady status.

So Amma wrote a piece some time ago, which essentially discussed kissing dating goodbye and becoming friends with people (in the hopes that one of the friendships develops further). It was an eye opening piece, and something I’ve naturally kind of taken up. Truth be told, the traditional ‘American’ style of dating here has been a. exhausting and b. not fruitful. Not to mention it inadvertently makes people Ghanaians think you’re a whore. Not my words, but many, many, many other people’s. So naturally I’ve just pretty much migrated to not dating. At first it was something kind of strange to admit, however outside of a couple random first “dates” here and there, not dating has now become a comfortable norm for me. It makes life actually quite simpler, and if you recall, the simple life was all I was looking for this year. In general, not dating boils down to being friends with people and not having pressure (to be or do something after X number of rendezvouses). Although I’m not at the next stage yet, the belief is that in time someone will think that within our friendship ‘I’d make a good life partner for them’. It’s been a personal choice to go down this route, and I’m not saying it’s for everyone. But I told you about the jungle, right? You got folks out here denying your relation- situation-ship with them, faking the relevance you are to them, trivializing your feelings for them and their feelings for you, hedging against wifey with you, cheating on their girlfriends with you, and all other sorts of cowardice behavior, so it would seem that friendship is the safest only route to go in the beginning of getting to know someone.

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The whole point is that we all have a spectrum of behavior, and in some regard character is revealed in friendship- when y’all are not officially together- in ways that can be hard to see when one is trying to ‘impress’ the other within X amount of dates. Spending time with someone in a group or exclusively, in a platonic nature, helps you better sift out whether the guy is one of the players or even worse, one of the bad ones masquerading as a good guy… and these latter seem to exist far more than one would think. The whole process involves your own deductive reasoning and also questioning other people about the guy’s past, which can help in establishing patterns of behavior. However that being said, just like any plan of action, no strategy is fool proof. People can still get duped, there can be a lot of miscommunication, and time can still be wasted when you’re “non-dating”. So there are still strategies one should must adopt when one is a ‘non’ dater (particularly if you start preferring one friend’s company over others). In my brief time as a non-dater, there are a few things I’ve picked up on (through experience, but also through the mouths of men themselves). I think these are good food for thought if you’re still trying to come up on top as a non-dater:

  • Just like in dating, for non-dating to materialize into something long term, the guy must actually still want you and believe you’re the cat’s meow; the guy must still pursue you (after you’ve established you’d be open to being pursued). If this doesn’t occur, what will happen is y’all will just be acting like best buds only. You will be running around doing bestie-type duties and one day he’ll show up with his leading lady. Don’t play, it happens, so you need to strategize. I understand that it’s a buyers market in Ghana globally, and it probably will continue to be for the foreseeable future the entire life of my potential child-bearing age. But just like in dating, in non-dating you don’t want to chase a man down into being with you.
  • I know your initial relationship is that of frienship, and nothing more. BUT you need to still make him treat you like a lady- still allow him to pay when y’all hang out (it doesn’t have to be every time); don’t talk about other guys with them as if he’s one of your girlfriends… just don’t; don’t emasculate, belittle, or treat him with disrespect… one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my adult years is how fragile a man’s egos is… respect. is. everything. Also, don’t hang out with him and his buddies all the time – men rarely wife ‘one of the homies’. In essence, what you want to do as a friend is to still have a healthy distance, so he can see you as a woman that he could date/ wife/ whatever.
  • In regards to making your feelings known, this can be tricky. Some folks say flirting is ample, and if he doesn’t pick up on it, then it’s not on his mind. However, some folks say you can actually say something. It’s funny, 40-days-datingbecause the majority of the former advice comes from women, and the latter comes from men. I think one needs to gauge your individual relationship and situation here. However of late, I am of the latter camp: I don’t think there is anything wrong with notifying the person of your openness to something further. This, at the very least, removes any miscommunication and the other person can’t ever claim that ‘they didn’t know’. After that, the ball is in his court to move. A lot of men just can’t pick up on non-verbal cues… especially if yall have been just friends. Notifying him of your feelings should be done strategically though, and you have to ready for any outcome: whether he’s interested, not, or needs time. Make sure you figure out how you will behave given any of the outcomes, because the last thing you want is a ruined friendship because you’ve gone and made things awkward.

So what do y’all think? Is non-dating actually better or worse? Are there strategies you can suggest to not get trapped in the best friend bucket?

Random Bonus: I saw this clip of two friends who tried to date for 40days. I don’t know where I was last year, but apparently it was all the craze. SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t work out for them, however it was fascinating reading their daily blog HERE. The thing is a great friendship doesn’t automatically equate to a good romantic relationship… for various reasons. The two of you may not want the same things in life… one of you might not be ready for the work it takes (to love) – which was the case here… or just plainly, one of you may not have romantic feelings for the other. However, it never hurts to try, right?…

** It’s completely cliche, it’s a chick flick, and… welt, it’s got jude law… but, it’s a great movie. Check out the scene (start at 1:05):

We Should Have Just Been Friends.

edited-12943We were sitting on a couch together at one of me and roommates famous house parties. He was flirting, I was flirting. It was fun times. I’d do my lap around the room, playing gracious host, but somehow I’d always find myself returning to that couch. He was cute. Correction, he was hot. He was sweet too. And above all, he was into me. Done. Numbers exchanged and we were off into dating bliss for all of…two weeks.

There was a chink in the armor.

Actually a few chinks. But I ignored them… after all, he was so sweet… and hot.

A couple more weeks and a couple more chinks. Hmmm ya, this isn’t going to work. But… he’s… so.. sweet. Like that kind of, take you and your roommates out, sweet. Like that kind of, come over and cook for you, sweet. I must Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Perhaps the chinks aren’t really chinks, perhaps I’m being too picky, perhaps I’m comparing him unfairly to the previous one, perhaps…

Perhaps, these chinks ARE real. Very real.

Against all my better judgment, I think… I had to end it. But now what?

But of course, we stay friends…let’s hang out when we can or speak from time to time.

Nope, was his response. Why would we do that? I have enough friends.

Ouch.

Hmm k, well I guess that’s that.

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But it isn’t just that. I genuinely miss him as a friend, and although I didn’t fancy him as anything more, I hoped we could continue to be friends. He didn’t though. He saw our relationship as one of all or nothing.

Maybe my desires were selfish, who knows. He does have the right to pick and choose his friends, right? In all honesty, I’m not sure what else I could have done to steer clear of an outcome like this. Perhaps we should have never dated. Now I see him frolicking with my roommates… ‘so you can hang out with them, can you… thought you had enough friends‘… yes, I’m a little salty annoyed. Perhaps we should have just been friends.

I suppose one can’t be too mad because if I look at the reverse, just a few months ago I did the same thing:

‘We can ease up on this friendship thing for a while.’

And I find my actions completely reasonable when I’m the one dictating them *shrug*. I guess this is just one of those casualties of dating. But, I wonder… how does one minimize these types of outcomes? If you knew losing a friendship could be a possibility, would you be deterred from dating someone? In my case, looking back, prob not.

Poll [Results] Wednesday – 11/2/2011

Do You Remain Friends With Your Exes?*

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*The original poll was posted on October 12th, 2011:  http://loveafrican.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/should-you-remain-friends-with-an-ex

Should You Remain Friends With An Ex?

Given the success of my last music-inspired post, I had to do another one. This link http://bossip.com/463076/adele-forgives-ex-boyfriend-who-inspired-album-21-90210/ popped up on my twitter timeline the other day, and it got me thinking about how people deal with their exes. I’m pretty sure the majority of us could only wish to have an outcome such as Adele’s after a breakup. The 2-time grammy winner and dubbed ‘queen of pain’ has had tremendous success from her 2nd album, ‘21′: 10 million copies, #1 in 18 countries at one point. Most people know that it was a devastating breakup that served as inspiration for her award-winning album; with songs such as ‘Someone Like You’ and ‘Rolling in the Deep‘, it is no wonder Adele has soared to the top of the charts. Not only is her voice timeless, but she has been able to convey such raw emotion in her songs about love and heartache.

Regarding her ex, Adele said recently in an interview, “We’re becoming friends again. It’s alright, I know what I’m doing. Enough time has gone by… He changed my life, I can’t deny that. The album helped me get over splitting up with [him]. It helped me forgive and I hope that he has forgiven himself.”

I’m wondering what you all think about it? When should you let an ex go for good and when should you remain friends? I thought it was interesting that bossip.com stated in their article: ” [with] 10 million album sold… why not forgive him?” To me, forgiveness and getting over a relationship is a very different thing than friendship, especially if your breakup wasn’t mutual (and in her case also pretty devastating). Friendship takes a lot more strength (and generally more time). In my experience, I don’t see very many people staying friends with their exes- and let me be clear here, I’m assuming friendship to be more than just the sporadic ‘hey, how’s it going, I hope you’re well’. However, if you are able to truly get over the person and remain friends, more power to you. Usually the true test comes when the other person moves on, how do you feel then?

So let me know, do you remain friends with your exes? Does it depend on whether the breakup was mutual or not? Or whether you hang in the same circles? Take our poll below.