“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.
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 Ghanaglobally, and it probably will continue to be for the foreseeable futurethe 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, because 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):