The DM Revelation #1: Let’s ignore the dudes I date for a second…
Alright ladies and gents… Here is Simone’s first real post from the Dating Moratorium. And I want to mention first that I think Simone is a wonderful friend. She’s not one of your garden variety I Disappear Into Relationship chicks. Which, to me, makes this all the more interesting…
Revelation of the DM #1:
What friendships have I given away, taken advantage of, or never even began because of dating??
I know this sounds like a standard question. “Bros before hos, man!”; “Sisters before misters!” Sure. And, I agree. There are reasons these things are cliché.
I want to delve a little deeper, though. I have never thought of myself as one to abandon my friendships for a relationship. In fact, my favorite relationships in the past three years have been with guys who happily introduce me to their friends, and vice versa, so we can all go out together. Or with guys who have a serious independent streak. I learned something from them. It is okay to continue your life whilst beginning a (potentially) new one with someone else.
This, however, has not stopped me – I’ve now realized – from not being the best of friends. I have two examples:
About a week or so into the DM, I ran into McRockerPants at a bar near my house. This threw me for many reasons that aren’t relevant to the story, but for one that definitely is.
He showed up with one of his good friends & tour manager – the person I met him through. Let me digress to tell you that this woman was one of the most important role models of my early 20s. I had just turned 24 when I got to know her – she was 34. I was a few months out of a serious relationship, about to go to grad school, but struggling with all career!/family!/baby!/successful! pressures that can start in one’s early 20s. Except, conventional ideas of career!/family!/baby! weren’t sitting right with me…
Then there was H. She was smart, funny, grounded. She had beautiful, rockin’ tatts (that she still rocked at 34 – that was ground-breaking at the time (p.s. I’m seriously cringing at my 24-year-old self right now)). She still worked as a bartender to support her new but burgeoning massage therapist career, while also still working as McRockerPants’ tour manager when appropriate.
She had a conglomerate career; a non-traditional career path.
But she was clearly happy.
This blew my mind. I didn’t have to go the route that I thought I had to. I could do whatever I wanted.
I know this sounds small. But it wasn’t. And I think we were pretty close; we got along really well, and I think both looked forward to our Saturday nights together at the bar (I barbacked for her).
Yet… fast-forward to now… and here I was… seeing her for only the 4th time in over 3 years.
How did this happen?
Why did I spend so much effort keeping in touch with and “getting-to-know” McRockerPants … while giving so little effort keeping in touch with H.? Why could I not see what was important to me? Or, maybe more realistically, that that was important to me, too?
Why do we take friendships for granted? Why do we assume these people will be there “when we come back”?
H. certainly isn’t “there” anymore. I tried to reach out to her via facebook when I had this realization… and she never responded.
I blew it.
In the long run, even though I had less, in terms of literal time, of a relationship with H., I’m finding the loss of her friendship matters much more to me than the fact that my “relation-friendship” with McRockerPants is pretty close to extinct.
During my run-in with McRockerPants, he insisted that, I “let him know when [I was] free” so that we could “hang out.” So, I did. On day two of two such free nights, I was at the bar with two of my close friends. They wanted to continue to hang out. I said I wasn’t sure because I was supposed to meet a friend, but wasn’t sure.
Of course, this vague phrasing has become synonymous with “I might have plans with McRockerPants but he is notoriously flaky and has no follow through” (followed by friend insinuation: nor does he treat you with very much social respect). Immediately one of my friends says, “Invite him to come hang out with us.” He insists.
And then, angrily, continues: “It makes me really upset that we’re your good friends and we’ve never met a dude who has been such an important part of your life. It hurts my feelings.”
Needless to say, I was flabbergasted.
I see these dudes all the time, I listen to their problems, I (very rarely) turn them down to hang out and never stand them up. I call them on their bullshit. I let them into my life & share with them. I am a great friend. Right?
Sure. But I also came to a realization: when you don’t include a guy in your life, I mean really include him, not just verbally (he knows about your friends, and knows about all your shit), but physically…
How much of a relationship can you have or do you have with him?
Moreover, continuing to have a relationship with this person – where you don’t include him in all aspects of your life – SHOULD be offensive to your friends, regardless if the reason has nothing to do with “being embarrassed of them” or something like that. Keeping someone that’s special to you to yourself basically tells your friends that you don’t trust them with your valuable things.
Essentially, you are saying: – to your good friends – “hey, thanks for offering to watch my house for free while I’m away but I don’t trust you to not really fuck it up, so no.”
[Nikki's side note: Or, "I don't trust this not to fall apart at the drop of a hat so... I am handling it with kid gloves... at your exclusion and expense."]
(P.S. I did invite McRockerPants to hang out with us that night and… as I suspected he would… he declined. That’s a whooooolllleee other story – the dudes that won’t hang out with your friends…but not for this post which is about my side(s) of the fuck ups.)
[Nikki Notes: It took the DM for Simone to start looking more closely at how she treated all of the important relationships in her life. To start to wonder how she was handling the people most important to her. To explore what she had been overlooking or taking for granted...
Even if we feel like we live by the whole chicks before dicks/bros before hos thing... Even when we think we’re doing a good job of balancing our relationships and our friendships... How are we really doing? What do we let slide because “they’ll still be there when we come up for air?” What do we keep from our friends, what do we exclude them from? What are our priorities, not based on what we think they are... but in how we act? What we make time for, make sure to include, where we put our effort and our energy? ]
“In these bodies we will live
In these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love
You invest your life.”
~ Mumford & Sons
“Awake My Soul”