Monthly Archives: June 2010

Dos and Don’ts in the Dating Jungle: Attention Single-ish Guys

I like to think that as we age we evolve as individuals and as a generation as a whole.  Yeah, it’s a nice thought, right? But seriously, I’m starting to think that we are actually devolving. Our maturity/social intuition was on a steady incline (roughly and hopefully) from age 12 to age 24.  And then, weird stuff happened. We peaked too early? We decided we were over behaving in socially appropriate ways? We started freaking out because the dating pool was rapidly shrinking?

I personally think the latter is probably true in combination with the fact that you get to a certain age and the crazy/ridiculous/immature/lame behaviors you engaged in in your younger years are no longer appropriate.  Either way, something is seriously wrong with the mid-to-late twenties set when comes to appropriate communication and dating related behaviors.  (Yes, that is a broad generalization and no, I do not care.)  In an effort to help (in my opinion) the handful of single guys out there (who I am pretty confident don’t actually read this blog), some thoughts from one of the last remaining single girls:

1)  Do it yourself. The way into a girl’s pants is not through the ears/facebook wall/email/phone of her nearest and dearest friends.  First of all, you are going to annoy and piss off her friends, who could potentially be your greatest allies.  No one, I repeat NO ONE, enjoys hearing about how hot her bff is and how much you want to bone her.  It’s not that we don’t think our besties are hot, but ultimately we are all self-serving creatures and we want you to think that we are hot.  Second, how old are you? If you are over the age of 17, you should be able to try to hit it directly, without the help of intermediaries of any kind.  If she doesn’t want you based on your own game, so be it.

2)  Pick up the phone. And dial.  And say hi, would you like to have dinner with me tonight?  Asking a girl out via text is SO lame.  And don’t even get me started on email and facebook.  I know it seems like possible rejection will hurt less in text form, but really it’s going to be a downer either way.  Rip off the band-aid and get it done.  BONUS:  If you ask a girl out live or on the phone, she has less time to answer, which means she can’t send out a mass email to all of her friends asking for possible ways to let you down easy.  If she doesn’t have a good reason to say no immediately, she’ll say yes.

3)  Don’t be “best friends” with a girl. No good will come of it.  I could probably write a whole post about this but I’ll give you the top two scenarios of why this is a bad idea. One – at some point or another either you and/or the best friendgirl will want to hook up.  And you may actually in fact hook up.  Recipe for disaster.  Someone is going to get their feelings hurt and I’m going to get all sexist and say that it will probably be friendgirl.  Two – the girl you are dating will be constantly suspicious of your friendgirl.  Datinggirl’s thoughts will go something like this: “Why does he need friendgirl when he has me? I bet she’s totally in love with him.  I bet she’d totally try to hook up with him if I wasn’t here.  I will never trust them alone together.  OMG, she was so nice to me today.  She totally wants to do him.”  Yes, we really do think like that.  I’m not proud of it, but such is life.  Jealousy and girl drama will abound and no one wants to participate in that.  So either make friendgirl your girlfriend or keep her at a safe distance from datinggirl.  They’ll both thank you.  (Subconsciously of course.)

4)  Don’t be needy.  That’s our job.  Kidding…sort of.  But seriously, there is nothing sexy about a needy guy.  I know that we have all become accustomed to instant communication.  It is the pitfall of technology and I predict leading to complete social demise.  (Alas, another topic for another day.)  Any who, if we don’t text you back in under a minute, don’t freak out.  Or text us again.  Or cry.  Sack up.  Maybe we’re in a meeting or taking a shower or on the other line with our grandmother.  We aren’t ignoring you.  Good lord.  Be cool.  Girls like cool.  And really, this whole idea can apply to girls too.  Quit over-analyzing why you haven’t received a reply within 36 seconds.  You will live.

5) Quit playin’ games. With my heart.  Seriously.  Here’s the deal, as girls we have come up with an unwritten rubric for determining whether a guy likes us/wants to date us/is going to marry us or not.  When a guy does certain thing A we think, yes he likes us. Then in combo with certain things B, C & D, we think he is my boyfriend.  E-Q are the road-way to marital bliss.  When guys do these things out of order or without thinking about their significance girls get confused, get the wrong idea, and ultimately, get their hearts broken.  So be nice.  And thoughtful.  And communicative.  Recognize the fact that you can say “I don’t want to be in a relationship” all day and all night, but if you treat a girl like she’s your girlfriend, she will think she’s your girlfriend.  It’s all about your actions, baby.  So, do not do any of the following with a girl you are not serious (and by serious I mean, you have envisioned her carrying your future children and it made you happy) about: 1) holidays with either family,  2) family weddings, 3) vacations that require you to take at least 1 day off of work, 4) say I love you, or 5) invite her to participate in long-term commitments – i.e. to join your kickball/softball/bowling league.  This list is in no way complete.  It seems like this is self-explanatory but based on the things I hear from my friends every day, clearly, guys need the explanatory version.

I think the underlying message is this: Grow up. Be an adult. Be brave enough to talk openly about your intentions, expectations and feelings.  Be authentic and genuine but in the way that best represents who you are.  And for the love of all things good, put down your iPhone, make eye contact, and have a conversation.

What do you think single guys do that is annoying/irritating/confusing/ridiculous? What about the single ladies? Do we make guys just as crazy?

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Glory Days. They passed us by?

Editor’s Note:  Today’s posts examine the college experience from two different perspectives — the male story is an exercise in learning and the female story is an examination of the best parts of college.  Please join me in welcoming contributing blogger GeoffersonSpin!

Glory days well they’ll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days

You know how “adults” always told you that college was the time of their life? And you thought, “Come on.  It has to get better than this.”  Well, they were right and young you was oh-so-very-wrong.

Big-Little Christmas Party 2004 with (clockwise from top left) Miss PR, T, L, Me, and Miss Dubs

I completed my undergraduate degree five years ago. Five.  I still talk about college like it was yesterday.  It feels like it was yesterday.  (Or I have successfully convinced myself that the last five years of my life never happened.  Either way.)  I miss everything about it.  Perhaps we should glimpse back to college me…

Halloween 2003 with Mrs. LR and Mrs. K2 -- My date (who I don't actually remember...) was a pirate and I was a "treasure chest."

I was a professional nap-taker.  I slept between every single class  There were honestly semesters when my day didn’t really start until 5:00 p.m.

I lived in the sorority house for my entire college career.  No cooking, no cleaning, no bill paying, no yard work, and no running to the store for TP.  I was one of the few sisters who I think really embraced the responsibility-free household model in which we lived.  It was glorious.

It didn’t matter if I went to class or not.  I was a French major.  (I know, what did I think I was ever going to do with that?!)  Most of my major classes were all about reading and writing papers.  My profs didn’t take attendance so I didn’t attend.  Most of the elective classes I took were huge lectures of 200+ people.  No one ever knew if I wasn’t there.  Or if I was there sleeping under my OSU hat.

Jeans and a sorority t-shirt were my uniform.  No one expected me to wear anything else on a daily basis.  Sure, twice a month I’d schlep out some black dress pants for formal chapter and of course, I’d put on a “going out shirt” for Thursday-Saturday nights, but other than that I rocked my letters and some comfy pants 24/7.

Semi-Formal 2004

My friends were literally at my finger tips every day.  Although I did spend a couple of semesters in some random room assignments, most of the time my friends were within 10 feet of me at all times.  We lived in the same rooms or at least down the hall from one another.  And even the ones who weren’t in the sorority house with me were most likely a few blocks away.  Being able to spend almost every waking moment with people I adored was an experience and a blessing I will never, ever be able to replicate.

I could tell you a million stories about the fun and admittedly stupid/irresponsible things I did in college.  I could tell you about the moments that forever shaped who I am.  I could tell you about how little I appreciated it at the time.  But you already know.  Because some of you were right there with me and even if you weren’t, I don’t doubt you did it all too.

I’m not saying that being a “grown up” is horrible or that I don’t think my future is full of wonderful things.  I know life still has so much to offer me, but my life now is full of work and bills and traffic and responsibility that I just didn’t have then.

I would go back in a heartbeat and I’d do it all again without question.  Wouldn’t you?

What’s your favorite college memory?  Were your college years your glory days?  What makes your life more fun now than it was then?

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Consequences and Repercussions

Editor’s Note:  Today’s posts examine the college experience from two different perspectives — the male story is an exercise in learning and the female story is an examination of the best parts of college.  Please join me in welcoming contributing blogger GeoffersonSpin!

GeoffersonSpin is the creator and author of the blog LongSpin.wordpress.com where he writes about his experiences raising money and completing a 100-mile bicycle ride with Team In Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s primary fundraiser)He now writes about fitness, nutrition, cancer research and his foray into cycling, running and swimming.  Disclaimer: The following post is not at all relevant to any of the previously mentioned subjects.

Let me tell you a funny story.  Once upon a time, in a little college town a few miles south of Oklahoma City, I got arrested.  Before I go any further, let’s make this our little secret since I still have family members who don’t know this story. Fortunately, I don’t think they use the internet.  So, how did I get arrested you ask?  It was actually pretty easy.  All it took was a handful of beers and a guy in my fraternity saying, “Hey, I’ve an idea!”  Everybody has that friend, don’t they?  The friend that always has “great ideas” that end up being ideas that should get you dead or in jail.  Well, I made the mistake of listening to that friend.  (Mistake 1: Drinking enough to think I’m a ninja.)

I was a freshman in college, no more than two months into my first semester.  I decided to pledge a fraternity, and when you are a young, impressionable, drunk 18-year-old you will sometimes make bad decisions.  Apparently, it has always been a stupid tradition among “frat guys” to steal stuff from other fraternities.  Every now and then someone would come to our weekly chapter meeting and show off some trophy they poached from another fraternity.  Flags, pictures, volleyball nets, dinner plates and silverware (I’m not joking).  Conversely, we might wake up on a Saturday morning, undoubtedly hungover, wondering where a certain award, picture or living room couch wandered off to.  It was the way of the fraternity world, and we lived in this chaotic harmony for quite some time… until I got involved.

Back to my buddy.  “I’ve got a great idea,” says he.  “Let’s go steal something from another fraternity house!”  My reply, “You’re a genius!”  (Mistake 2: Listening to stupid friend.)  Off we go, drunk, on foot, wearing flip-flops, casing the other fraternity houses.  Finally, halfway across campus, we reach our target.  We started early that night so it was about 10:30pm.  Our target fraternity is in the middle of having a house party.  That’s right, we chose to steal from a fraternity in the middle of a house party.  This means that there are about 350 people inside the house, awake, drinking… and we decided to go steal something from them.  (Mistake 3: Do I really need to explain this one?)

We slipped into a side door that was open.  He grabbed a picture, I grabbed a composite.  Let me break real quick and explain a composite for the uninitiated.  You know those giant picture boards that have the individual photo of every person in the club?  It’s about 5 feet long and 4 feet tall.  I decided to take that… in the middle of a party.  I told you, I was channeling my inner ninja.  We slipped out the same side door we entered through, snaked our way through the parking lot, and bolted down the street.  We actually made it in and out with our loot!  About that time one of their members drives by in his car and notices what is going on.  (Mistake 4: Now would have been a good time to drop the pilfered goods and RUN!)

About 30 seconds later we are run down by a few of their members.  We were actually blessed by a small miracle at this point considering they didn’t immediately beat our asses.  We simply gave the stuff back, they said it was no big deal, and we went on our way feeling lucky to survive the incident.  Ten minutes later our luck ran out.  Two cop cars stop us in the street and ask where we were coming from.  Little did we know, target fraternity broke the first rule of fraternity gamesmanship and called the freaking cops!  We played right into their hands (more like handcuffs) and next thing I know I’m sitting in a cell in the Cleveland County jail.  Yikes.

Here’s the point: There are consequences and repercussions for everything you do.  My parents have been telling me that since before I could pronounce consequences or repercussions.  Did I listen?  Apparently not.  I’ll cut myself some slack though.  We all do stupid stuff; it’s just to what degree.  In reality, I got lucky because it could have been much worse.  I ended up with a couple of misdemeanor charges: petty larceny and public intoxication.  The judge was merciful and dismissed the petty larceny charge and I had a deferred sentence on the public intoxication (sort of like probation).  No felonies, no convictions for anything, I’m not dead or maimed, I didn’t get kicked out of school or my fraternity, and technically a background check doesn’t even pick up the charges.  I’m not totally off though.  This event still follows me to this day.

When I decided to go to law school I had to disclose this on my application.  When I finished law school and had to apply to the Oklahoma Bar Association I had to disclose this.  When I filled out my application for an apartment I had to disclose this.  I made a stupid decision when I was 18, just starting college and it still follows me.  Granted, I consider this event to be the biggest learning experience of my life.  Sure, at the time I thought my world was collapsing, but I don’t regret what happened and I wouldn’t take it back.  If I didn’t get in trouble at that point it just would have happened later and possibly with greater consequence.  I’m glad I got my big screw up out of the way early because I have spent the rest of my life trying to think before I act since I have first hand experience of the consequences that come from your actions.  By no means am I perfect though.  Believe me, I have screwed up countless times since and I will likely screw up today and tomorrow, but at least I have a little better perspective.  I messed up, I learned from it, and I emerged relatively unscathed.  Some people aren’t so lucky.

Have you made any really stupid decisions that still follow you?  Did you learn from that? Have you forgotten those lessons?

Thanks for reading and thanks to Quarter Life Confused for giving me the opportunity to make a guest appearance!  Feel free to check out more of my stuff at LongSpin.wordpress.com and be on the lookout for appearances by QuarterLifeConfused on my blog.
-GeoffersonSpin

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I believe in a thing called love.

There, I said it.  And “…just listen to the rhythm of my heart.” Okay, it’s out of my system. (And if you watch the creep-tastic video it will be out of your system too.)

Look familiar?

Maybe I’ve read too many girly romance novels or seen too many cheesy rom-coms.  Maybe it’s that whole princess/hero mentality that Disney ingrained in my soul from birth.  Maybe I can blame Mattel for making Ken to be Barbie’s main man. (Although, since they’ve recently split, maybe they are more realistic than I originally thought.)  It’s probably a combination of all of that.

Where ever it comes from, I have a deep-rooted belief in love.  And more importantly (and more naively), in love overcoming all obstacles.  I think I still believe in the fairy tale.

Quit laughing. Some where in there, you do too. At least, I’m brave (or stupid) enough to admit it.  I’m not saying that I believe that I will kiss a frog and he will turn into a prince or that if I marry a beast he’ll transform into a total hottie.  But I do believe in love — the butterfly inducing, stars in your eyes, fireworks with Michael Bolton blaring in the background kind of love.  (Michael Bolton doesn’t play in the soundtrack of your life? Get real.  All I have to say is “Said I loved you but I lied.”)

I think as I have gotten older, I have generally become less idealistic about life and work and relationships in general.  You grow up and realize that you aren’t going to score some amazing dream job straight out of college with no experience and that you can’t afford to go on nice vacations and that all the time you spent trying to befriend “popular” people in high school and college was a colossal waste of time.  You get real. And thank goodness!  But the one thing I still haven’t become all that real about is love.

For the most part, Patti gives some good, albeit at times extreme, love-hunting advice.

Are you surprised?  Me too.  I’ve been a bridesmaid 5 times and been invited to 30+ weddings, but I can’t remember the last time I went on a date.  I have watched my gorgeous friends get their hearts broken by guys who we all thought had such great lifelong potential.  I have wallowed in a break up for an amount of time so ridiculous and humiliating that I refuse to share it with you.  I have watched hours upon hours of TV by myself on weekends.  I have read all kinds of relationship self-help books.  You would think that after all of that I would be jaded, cynical, depressed,  or some combination of the three.  But I’m really not.  I’m hopeful.

I’m not sure where it comes from honestly.  And I won’t pretend that I always have a sunny outlook about love.  But overall, I am hopeful.  There is love out there with my name on it.  In my head, it will be perfect and all-encompassing and romantic and fantastic.  It will make all of my friends just a little jealous.  It will fill my soul completely.  On paper, I know that my prince-charming isn’t going to come rescue me from my life (and I don’t need him to necessarily) and that he probably won’t be rich and famous and perfectly classically handsome.  But I think for me to hold onto my hope, I have to hold onto a little bit of the fantasy. The magic.  The fate.  The fairy dust.  Thinking there’s something truly magical out there makes it bearable most of the time.

And when I finally find the love, the really great love, it won’t be perfect.  But it will be real and that will be so much better.  (I mean, seriously, look what happened to Ken & Barbie.  Obviously, perfect is overrated.)  So yes, I believe in a thing called love.  It’s out there.  Now, I’ve just got to find it…

Do you feel like you have gotten cynical/skeptical/bitter about finding love as you have gotten older?  Do you still cling to the child-like fantasy of being swept off your feet by prince charming?

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Sleeping with the Enemy…

Political enemy, that is.  I’m not really sure how it got started but I ended up in several conversations this week (with Miss Agnes, Miss H, Miss Dubs and Mr. G) about politics in Oklahoma and party affiliation, which led to the question:

WOULD YOU MARRY SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF YOUR POLITICAL PARTY?

I did some polling (sort of) of some of the major players.  Here all the results:

The Unmarrieds

Yes: Miss H, Miss Dubs, Mr. G

No: Me

Abstained: Miss Agnes

The Marrieds (NOTE: I didn’t actually ask them. This is based on who they actually married.)

Yes: Mrs. K2, Miss Preppy

No:  Mrs. V, Mrs. Bookworm, My mom*

* My mom said that when she got married (31 years ago today!) she could have married someone from the other political party, but that things were less polarized in the 70s than they are now.  If she were getting married today, she’d have to say no.

Initially, I was really surprised that I was the only person from my (admittedly loose) poll who said no.  But then after hearing my friends responses, I thought I was MAYBE being too rigid/inflexible/picky/any other adjective describing me as unreasonable.  So what is my reasoning for wanting to marry someone affiliated with the same political party? I’m so glad you asked…

Rock the Vote Bus. Legit.

Here’s the thing, for me, politics are personal.  My responses to the so-called issues relate back to some of my core personal beliefs.  I was raised to be a politically interested person and forced to GOTV (Get Out the Vote! <— anyone remember the MTV Rock the Vote Bus?!) from an early age.  Seriously, every time there was a school bond issue my parents would drag us out of bed at unreasonable hours and post us on prominent street corners with giant signs in our little hands telling people to VOTE YES! This really happened.  (And for the record, as a product of public schooling I still vote yes for all school bond issues.  People did it for me and my education so I’m happy to pay it forward.  Bonus: I don’t actually pay property taxes right now.)  All of that is to say, I struggle to separate the personal and political.

How can I be intimate with someone who disagrees with me about race/gender/sexual orientation equality? Or abortion? Or tax cuts?  Or the interplay of state and federal government and their respective roles?  The way I feel about these things is very real to me.  I will readily admit that I struggle when talking politics with friends from the “other” side.  Struggle as in force myself not to scream and yell and throw things.  That’s what intelligent political discourse is about, right? Not throwing stuff?  So I don’t understand how I could marry someone whose beliefs were fundamentally different from mine.  That’s not to say I couldn’t respect someone with different beliefs (and I feel I show my respect through the aforementioned restraint re launching projectiles), but actually unite myself with them in holy matrimony until the end of time? EEEeeek. That is serious.

And then comes the voice(s) of reason in the form of my comrades, some of whose political leanings are completely opposite mine.  Some of their good points:

Them: How can you rule out an entire political party?  Me:  That is a lot of people in a small state.  Point taken.

Them:  What if you have lots of other things in common and you get along really well?  Me:  Having similar hobbies does not a marriage make.  And will we get a long really well if we disagree about big stuff?

Them:  This is a little bit extreme.  Me: Hi, have we met? Extreme is my middle name.

Them:  How do you really know how you will feel about this situation until you are in it?  Me:  I won’t.  But exploring it has been thought-provoking and makes for good blog-fodder. =)

Ultimately, I don’t think I can ban everyone in the other party from my dating pool.  That’s just a little harsh.  However, when it comes to marrying or even dating someone from the enemy camp, I think I will always be a little leery.  I think it would take one hell of a guy for me to commit to a lifetime of agreeing to disagree on politics.

What say you blogosphere? Do politics matter that much in a relationship?  Does it all depend on the circumstances?  Or am I just being a rigid witch?

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Sex and the City: An essay on female friendship in the new millennium?

“No matter who broke your heart, you’ll never get through it without your friends.” – Carrie Bradshaw

Sex and the City.  It’s epic.  It is a point of reference for endless conversations about men, sex and shoes.  I cannot tell you many times certain episodes are referred to or quoted by my friends.  It seems like everything goes back to SATC, or at least we’d like for it to.

My mom once asked me (after seeing the movie and always scolding me for watching the episodes) what the big deal was, why it was SO popular with the women of my generation.  She wasn’t asking because she thought it was stupid (although I’m certain that she does actually think it’s stupid), but because she really wanted to get it.  I told her that ultimately, the show was a celebration of the enduring love of female friendship.  At the time, I think I just said that to make my obsession seem less ridiculous, but when you really think about it, the ladies of SATC were all about their friends.

In one episode, the girls decide they’re each others soul mates. This gave hope to single girls every where.  I’ll admit I have at one time or another clung to this idea — that my friends are the ones for me and a man is a bonus.  In Sex and the City 2, the movie, they talk about the soul mates thing a lot. Well, I guess they reference it more than discuss it but the point is still there.  Your girls are the family you’ve created for yourself.  They meet all the needs you have that a man just can’t.  (Or at least, I think that was the point.)

I think female friendships have evolved over the years to become more intense and important and lifelong than they were in the days of yore. (At least, discussions with my mom support this idea.)  Because women are marrying older these days (or at least that’s what I hear — don’t worry, people are still getting married at 19 here in the bible belt), they devote a lot more time to their female friendships in their 20s and early 30s than they might have had they been married and procreating during that time.*  More time spent being single means more dating, more heartache, and more soul-searching over cosmos or whatever the kids are drinking these days with your girlfriends.  And when your married friends are all paired off for couple-y activities on New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, etc., your single girlfriends are there to convince you to try on your skinny jeans, wash your hair and put on your lipstick for a fun night out.  And if you are really, really lucky, they are also there to peel you off the bathroom floor in the morning and lie to you, err, I mean tell you that you didn’t do anything embarrassing the night before.

SATC celebrates young, single, sparkly girls every where.  The ones who are still trying to figure it out and who use their girlfriends as their sounding board/lifeline/emergency contact.  It was okay to not always have a man because you had your friends.  (Until the end of the series when they all had a man, but that’s kind of missing the point…)  The girls were there for the hard stuff — broken engagements, divorce, cancer, family passing away, etc. — and all the good stuff in between — marriages, babies (seriously, how can you not love Brady Brady?!), career successes, and new homes.  I always felt like no matter what happened, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha came together and loved each other.  Sometimes in real life friendships don’t work out that way, but a girl can dream.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I’m pretty sure I’m Miranda.  Partially because she’s an attorney, but also because she says things like:

“Sexy is the thing I try to get them to see me as after I win them over with my personality.”

“How did it happen that four such smart women have nothing to talk about but boyfriends? It’s like seventh grade with bank accounts.”

“I don’t have enough time to tell you what’s wrong with corduroy.”

Also, she has a pretty dry sense of humor, she’s pretty neurotic, and she once at a cake out of the trash can. . . . =)

Do you think Sex and the City has a message?  Or am I reading way too much into it?  Which SATC lady are you most like? (And, I hate to break this to you, but we are not all Carrie, as much as we’d like to be!)

* Please note: I realize these are all gross generalizations.  Not all women have my experience.  And lots of women who marry young still devote a significant portion of their lives to their female friends.  I commend them for their efforts.  Young married ladies, if you still see us on the regular, your single friends will think you are super woman.

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What to Expect….

…NOT when you’re expecting, but just in general.  Lately I have had several conversations with various friends about expectations — both reasonable and unreasonable — that we put on ourselves, and more importantly the expectations that we have for other people.

(Side note: This post is not visually stimulating.  Nothing really seemed to fit. So you don’t feel like I completely failed you, click here for a tune to listen to while you read….)

As I have aged, I have come to realize that the things I expect either from my friends or from our relationships are not necessarily the same as the expectations they have for themselves or our relationship. I have become more and more disappointed/frustrated with them in the past few years. That’s not to say I don’t adore my friends, I really do, but sometimes I feel like they are out of their minds or don’t get me or don’t care or are inconsiderate. I feel disenchanted with them sometimes and it makes me mad/sad. (Smad?)

Recently, Miss Rose told me (and it broke my heart) that she feels like she really can’t count on the people in her life the way she always thought she could.  I think this realization came over time and was a difficult one for her to swallow because for Miss Rose loyalty and dependability are MAJOR when it comes to her friends/family. (And for the record, she is probably the most loyal person I have ever met. Even when I, err, don’t exactly deserve it…) As much as I hurt for her feeling that way, it was sort of comforting to know that I am not the only one who feels disappointed in the people I love from time to time.

But the expectations issue still begs the question: is it them or is it me? Well, as much as I would LOVE to blame it all on them (because clearly I am the best, most wonderful/thoughtful/perfect friend anyone could ever ask for), I know that there’s more to it than that.  Maybe what I expect is too much.  Maybe I’m trying to turn these pretty great people (who seem willing to put up with me) into people they just aren’t. And maybe that’s not fair.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t have ANY expectations for my friends.  I am not a doormat and I am not going to tolerate “friends” who treat me like crap — these are total frenemies, but that is a topic for another day. I expect my friends to be honest (relatively of course, you don’t have to actually tell me if my pants make my butt look big — trust me, I already know) and kind and loving. I expect my friends to have integrity and to be loyal and to remember my birthday. But other than that, should I really have a bunch of expectations for them?

I tend to get all wound up in knots when I try to set expectations and standards for my friends that maybe they don’t set for themselves.  Examples of my possibly unreasonable expectations:

1) I get mad to no end when I have to wait on people — if I’m ready on time, you should be too.

2) I am inflexible with plans. If we said we were going to do X or go to Y, that is what I expect us to do. Changing it up on the fly gets me all in a tizzy. What can I say, I get nervous or something. Maybe I have some undiagnosed social anxiety. Plus, I’m a total control freak so anything changing at the last-minute gets under my skin.

3) I expect my friends to be what I want them to be. You know, I want them to agree with me when I rant about some grave injustice that has occurred in my life. Or tell me that so-n-so was totally wrong and I am completely justified in being pissed. Or assure me that some boy will call or that I shouldn’t want him to.  Basically, I like it when you tell me what I want to hear.  But at the same time, I don’t necessarily give the same lip service in turn to my friends. Wow, I think I just called myself a hypocrite. Ick.

The point is expecting other people to behave a certain way or say or do a certain thing is a one-way ticket to Les Miserables.  I’ve been trying to stop expecting people to be what I want them to be and to start just letting them be who they are.  That’s not to say that who they are isn’t ever going to drive me nuts because let’s be honest, it might.  But if who they are/the way they behave makes me crazy, that’s on them. I have wasted too many hours and too many energy on lamenting about how someone disappointed or annoyed or frustrated me because they didn’t meet the expectations I arbitrarily set for them without their consent.  It really isn’t fair to them. And it isn’t worth my time.

So my expectations are evolving. And I’m thinking more about how I behave as a friend. And the things I do.  And the expectations I can reasonably set for myself. I figure, if I do what I say I will, that’s the best I can do.  And with everyone else, I’m trying to just let them be…

Do you set unreasonable or unfair expectations for your friends and family? Or yourself? How do you manage your frustrations with your friends?

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