Archive for November, 2008

Hw to Tell Your Nearest and Dearest That They Are Full of Shit
November 11, 2008

This is most importantly an issue of tact. We’ve all had that friend come to us as an utter mess that is completely furious with the terrible treatment by their current boyfriend/husband/boss/doorman/starbucks barista. Women are emotional beings and as such tend to revert to ultimatums when emotions are about to bubble over. “Never” is a common word used during these moments and should be an easy red flag to catch for the interventionist to know exactly how to address a person in this mental condition. The first step is to completely agree with them one hundred percent. They could be upset because someone told them grass is green and they disagreed. No matter how ridiculous you must bite your tongue. This step is essential because they need to feel that you are on their side right from the get go. Only when they feel that you understand their pain will they trust your opinion or frankly give a damn about anything you say.

 

 

After you’ve given a sufficient amount of time to listening and agreeing, this is ofcourse subjective based on situation, and friend so use your best judgment, then you can hint at the possibility that there could be a second truth. For instance, “God, NAME can be such a jerk…you don’t think that he meant it like this though?” Once again you reiterate that you are on her side but now have presented a conundrum.  A secret double meaning that just fell out of the sky. At this point she can either see your point in which you can get more in-depth with your analysis, but of course don’t forget to keep reiterating that this is just a “possible” secondary option not something you are standing by as opposed to her original interpretation.   The alternative reaction would be her rejecting your theory, almost always in a polite way based on the way you’ve treated the situation up to this point. At this point you need to retreat. She is not ready to accept any explanations that differ from her own and patience is the only way.

 

Depending on your relationship with the guy, be it boyfriend or doorman, sometimes a covert expedition to the enemy camp is helpful. In most instances guys don’t have a clue. Now don’t get upset, this is not to say that they’re dumb, just that what women see as huge, I’ll be it subtle, hints are usually lost on the male species. They don’t understand, and in many instances I agree with them, why we as women don’t just say what we want or think, cut out the bullshit and just be honest.  There have been numerous cases where the guy is left after a blow up completely dumbfounded. For most, if they simply knew what they did that was wrong, or at least what was perceived to be wrong, they would have no qualms in retracting their previous statement or action for the better harmony of the union.  How you choose to be an informant is up to you but secrecy is of the utmost importance. Betrayal of a friendship is the highest capital crime and if found you can lose not only her faith in your advice but most importantly the friendship as a whole. Women never forget and in truth rarely wholly forgive. 

The “Dating” Stages:
November 11, 2008

            Meeting: Sorry ladies but the first time you meet a guy at a bar does not equal an actual date. For some this can be confusing. Along these lines this means that on the third meeting you can’t say that you’ve been on three dates and can therefore sleep with him without being considered a whore.  Running into someone at random, or even meeting up with someone intentionally with your friends out and about is not a date!

 

            Talking/Hanging Out: The reason why there are two terms for this is because if for whatever reason you are “involved” with someone who lives far away or travels on a regular basis, talking is the equivalent of group dating, aka hanging out. Again, sorry to disappoint, but these are not dates even if at the end of the evening you end up going home together. If you are talking to someone regularly on the phone, don’t start the registry at Tiffany’s; you are in fact just talking.

 

            Dating: This is the stage when an actual date occurs. Although this might seem like an absurdly easy concept but you would be amazed at how many people jump the gun with this classification. A date consists of one on one. Now don’t get upset, he doesn’t have to pick you up at your house and bring a flower. You don’t have to make him sit idly in your living room for 15 minutes while you pretend to finish up getting ready. Even getting together for a drink or dinner after work will suffice. Probably one of the greatest plans verbalized was in “Sleepless in Seattle” when Tom Hanks is discussing a date with his son. Just go out for drink because if after that initial drink you’ve realized that there is no chemistry you can always say you have to go, enter excuse here. While on the other hand if the drink portion of the evening is going well, then you can always continue on into a dinner arrangement.

 

            Relationship: This happens when you and the other member choose, either by verbalizing it or be an unspoken understanding, that you won’t be dating or sleeping with anyone else. Getting to this stage in my opinion is HUGE and I am amazed at how quickly certain people jump right into it without any hesitation. Is this a problem; no of course not. I’m just of the school that you lead with your head instead of your heart. You don’t get the floaty flying feeling as often but at the same time you don’t suffer the ‘thud” when after a week of “happily ever after” the evil queen of reality gives you that tasty apple. And when you hold off, don’t worry you still get the butterflies and excitement, but at the same time you get to actually enjoy them because you’ve let them become activated once you have a decent amount of assurance that this boy is worth the attention and excitement. 

The Rebuttal Witness
November 4, 2008

No matter what sentence you provide, someone will have a complaint as in any other legal system. There has to be a winner and a loser, but at the end of a relationship doesn’t everyone lose? Even the people who end divorces with millions of dollars in their pockets usually use their new found wealth to fill the void and supplement them for all of the pain and suffering from the relationship.

 

 

In this vein, a hardship that every interventionista has to face from time to time is the angry ex boyfriend. You will naturally be to blame for the demise of this pitiful façade of a relationship. It won’t matter if he was emotionally unavailable or a cheating cad. You were the one who inevitably reminded his girlfriend that she deserved better. You woke her up from this imaginary connection and ripped the rose colored glasses off her face. How each person will address this is completely unique. An angry bar situation is probably the most common. While he’s drowning his sorrows with his guy friends after the dumping (even though you know damn well he was actually on the prowl mere seconds before noticing your presence) he will become incensed and know exactly who to take his irrational fury out upon. Don’t make any sudden motions and certainly don’t make a scene. In public areas, a boy attacking a girl who appears to be bewildered and defenseless will always arouse the white knight gene in the other males in the area. He will be seen as an emotional drunk and probably get kicked out of the bar, while you will get phone numbers. The other possible attack method is less direct but gives the boy a little more comfort to really attack you. The phone. In this age it might even be a text message, which I frankly think is just hilarious. If you can’t even be bothered to use your actual vocal cords to yell at me then you clearly are not that busted up by the loss of the relationship. You have two options in these cases, avoidance or acceptance. Simply don’t answer the call and erase the text or voicemail. Listen to it if you want but I must stress only if you have a very thick skin. Because the man doesn’t actually have to see your face and witness your emotions from the attack, he will probably come at you in a far more biting manner than in the face to face battle. I have had too many friends think they can handle this attack on their character and then be completely floored and destroyed. You weren’t even in the relationship so the demise of it should not affect you on an emotional level. If you choose to pick up the phone again the key is not to get engaged. Listen to his points. If you feel that he is in a place where you can speak back to him then feel free however that is going to be unlikely. A simple, “I’m sorry that you are feeling hurt. (Friend’s name) was unhappy and asked my opinion but in the end it was she who made the final decision.” And this is actually the truth. Unless you yourself typed the break up e-mail/text or made the “its not you its me” call then you can rest assure that you are in the clear. 

Interventions
November 4, 2008

Girls talk. This is just a fact of nature that we all have accepted.  As independent and self sufficient as we have become, we are still used to having our girlfriends as a sounding board to keep us in line. Even the smallest detail like a bracelet choice is often debated amongst a group of friends prior to heading out for a night on the town. So naturally, we require our friend’s opinions on the larger issues that we face in life. Should I take this job? Is he the one? Do I look fat in this outfit? As a friend it is your job to negotiate these questions truthfully but at the same time tactfully. But what happens when a friend is completely unaware that she/he is about to walk directly into a danger zone? As a friend you have to choose to let her fend for herself, or cast a line and try to prevent the tragedy.

 

As an interventionista the most common occurrence for you to involve yourself in a friend’s personal life involves the unhealthy relationship. These are necessary for a wide range of issues and concerns that for some reason or another the people involved are too close to see. Of course the only fly in the ointment with any intervention is that the person has to want help and want to improve their existence. However, it’s more complicated with relationships . There’s a very obvious black and white situation with drug use. It’s bad. Period. The end. But with relationships there’s the mess of shades of grey. No guy is absolutely perfection as well as there is no guy that is in fact the devil incarnate, despite how we perceive him after the break up. So where does that leave the interventionista?

 

What makes it harder for the interventionista is the realization that any information provided to them is not actual first hand knowledge. There is no way to know exactly how the said couple behaves in private, which complicates the process.  There’s no way to confirm tone or body language or eye contact. He/she could only share the horrible moments of their contact with their partner in a venting form or they could take the opposite road and share only the gushy moments. Either way the member on trial’s true nature is hard to define without these first hand experiences and observations. This difficulty greatly increases if your friend is not near by and you’ve had no contact whatsoever with the individual you have to vote on.

 

So why get involved at all? Are you meddling? The worst outcome following an intervention is when they get back together after all of the advice has been dispensed. I call those cases lost causes and from that point on I refuse to bestow any other opinions on the situation. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not cruel. I’ll of course listen to the good and bad times but when the inevitable moment arrives with your friend sitting across the table from you asking, “Well what do you think?” or the ever popular, “But what would you do?” At this moment the best attack is to walk away and answer with a simple “I don’t know”. This response only works however on newer friends. The long time comrades won’t let you off so easily. They will be insistent on your good opinion. If you’re lucky they’ll give you the perfect easy out clause by saying something along the lines of, “You always used to give me advise before” This of course gives you the opportunity to say, “Yes and see how well that turned out.” In the end, this phrase is an adequate base for your answer; “ No matter what I say you’re going to do what you really want to do. Just follow your own lead and see where it takes you.” Now in most instances your psychic nature knows that this lead of theirs is going to direct them back into the brick wall that they’ve been running up against since the beginning of the relationship.  If you’re lucky they will take this advice to heart and it will act as a WWJD, What Would Jen Do?

 

At times it really is a thankless job but the flipside is that it protects you from having to attend weddings of couples who you can predict down to the week that the divorce will be filed. Really it just makes sense economically. Why spend all the money on bridal shower, bachelorette party, and wedding gifts when you know the relationship is doomed.

Cold Hearted Bitch?
November 4, 2008

Because of my attitude and sometimes seen as harsh analysis of relationships I have been dubbed by most as a cold hearted bitch.  I don’t put up with a lot of nonsense and really do follow the “he’s just not that into you” formula as opposed to searching out additional explanations for his inexcusable behavior. While the majority of my friends have planned out their weddings and the number of kids they will have with “tall cabo guy” I tend to stick to a more cautious or guarded outlook. Call me old fashioned but knowing a persons first and lat name is fairly essential when writing all over a notebook “Mrs. Tall Cabo guy”. Do I call him my boyfriend when we’ve slept together after the fist meeting and he calls a second time, three weeks later at 2am?  Again, perhaps I’m provincial but to me the relationship doesn’t start until you both are not seeing anyone else. See below for my glossary and in-depth analysis of each of these stages.

 

 

I’m one of those people that truly believes that we do leave a piece of our hearts with those we love even after the relationship gets shot to hell. No matter how long it is, that person is always going to have that part of you. It’s because of this belief that I am so guarded with mine. Having it scattered around the city can be hazardous to ones health. Because over time, especially if you have a small circle of acquaintances and colleagues, that person will come into contact with you and your heart will remind you that the other person still has it and will never give it back to you no matter how much time passes. Even if you are able to get into the friend phase following a break up I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t feel the sting. No matter how slight, jealousy or loss are the two emotions most commonly felt when he is with someone else and looks happy. You could be married in the suburbs with a half dozen kids but when you see them together you will wonder if he still remembers that at one point, when you two had been happy. And then the awful question emerges; was he happier with you or her? That twinge up your back and the tightening of your stomach never fully goes away as a telltale way of your heart trying to reconnect with its missing piece.

 

Is this a cruel way to look at romance or is it merely honest realism? That’s for everyone to decide on his or her own accord. I simply like to look at all of the elements in my life in a business sort of manner. I review the facts and decide what is or is not a good investment of time, money, emotion and energy. There are always red flags and sometimes when you are so involved in a relationship you become blinded to them or push them aside. We’re all guilty of it. We rationalize and provide excuses for anything great or small. It is because of this lack of perspective that we need people like me to take a step back and really look into whether or not we should be going all in with our hearts. Sometimes the best bet is to walk away from the table before devastation and heartbreak occur.