Archive for May, 2010

Boundaries
May 23, 2010

As much as you appreciate and secretly thrive on the fact that a lot of your friends come to you for advice on their life choices, there will always be those friends who tend to abuse or take advantage of this. Offering up opinions on some of the bigger of the small issues is your forte and what you would prefer to have involvement in. However, when a friend or colleague can’t choose a soda without calling you first you have a “smotherer”. This is a person who will cling and become so dependent on your words that they are unable to live or really properly function without you holding their hand. This would be the parent who doesn’t let go of the back of the bicycle but is still continuing to hold the child up as he/she races around the neighborhood. In these instances applying the necessary distance can be tricky. Even interventionistas need to recharge their batteries and usually have other people with significant needs that might take precedent. But how do you convey this without giving off the impression that you or someone else for that matter is more important? This is a perfect time to step back even if its only slightly. Cut back on phone calls, e-mails or live visits. This acts as a reminder that this person had a life prior to knowing you. And to be perfectly frank, so did you. Clingers as I call them can drain you or their friends by the need for constant contact so be very careful. Usually these people will go to extreme measures to convey their need for your attention. Like a child throwing a temper tantrum, by acknowledging this behavior you are in fact condoning it. The best action is none at all. If you must converse do whatever possible to keep contact via any medium as brief as possible. It would be cruel to disappear and have this person go off your advice cold turkey…but gradually pulling back can be just the solution to save your sanity.

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Trust a Try?
May 23, 2010

The old saying rings true in that if seems too good to be true then chances are that’s exactly what it is. Trusting an interventionista is incredibly scary. You are basically letting go of the reins and letting their opinion guide your decisions for the future. You wouldn’t do this with just any friend so clearly there has been some past precedent that has been set to trust her so implicitly with your future happiness. Of course an intervensionista will make bad calls (we are human after all) yet you continue to trust that they have your best interests at heart. Now let me reiterate, an interventionista only interjects herself into a situation when requested; we’re sort of like vampires in that way. We’ve been trained by life experiences or just an inherent knowledge how to enlighten you on certain aspects that perhaps you have overlooked or disregarded too quickly. In the end every person makes their own decision, we can’t control that and thank god because we wouldn’t want to. In truth although we feel a sense of pride in the importance of our opinions, an interventionsta feels even prouder still when a friend makes the decisions you would have recommended without the extra encouragement. Not to wax sentimental but I would imagine similar to  when the parent lets go of the back of the bicycle and the child is riding all on their own. This is not a process that can be rushed so as always patience is key.

Yet whom can an interventionista trust? When you give someone all of your hopes and fears and then simply hope for the best one tends to end up hurt and disappointed. There are a handful of people in my life that know the real me in a whole sense. These people are my lifeline and after years of building an incredible connection I know that they are trustworthy with any emotion or thought. Even a cynic like me can get distracted or drawn to the fast friend. Its a situation in which you feel like you’ve known one another forever and it can even be addictive in nature at some point. You talk at least once a day and they know your life so personally because you’ve felt comfortable enough to share a play by play of any and all events. You trust them with one truth and after a day or a week of them maintaining their vow to protect your inner most desires you decide that they can and should know everything there is to know about you. No let’s start slow with two dates a week, you make them a key to your soul that they can access whenever they so choose. You’re throwing a hail mary, but with your soul. It’s a dangerous behavior that should be avoided at all costs. The best things in life are earned and you should think of yourself in the same manner. If, but honestly more likely when, they betray that confidence you are of course upset but it is mostly with yourself for not being more cautious. The hardest time exists when a betrayal occurs because you didn’t explain the importance of what it was you shared and the other member has no idea of crossing the line. Unfortunately, even in those instances, the perfect bond that you initially felt would last forever has suffered significant cracks at the foundation. Depending on the individual circumstance you can forgive them and yourself and perhaps take baby steps or you can call the locksmith and close up shop. Either way you will hopefully have learned something in the experience and in the future won’t be so easily seduced by the fast friend.

Oops
May 23, 2010

Even interventionistas make mistake. For fuck sake we’re human too. The best thing to do is acknowledge it like an adult and take the necessary steps to rectify the situation as well as put in place precautionary measures to prevent a future occurrence. For instance. you have broken the cardinal rule. You made out with an ex. It’s such a rookie mistake you’re sure that you must have been in some sort of parallel universe or were possessed by the devil. Unfortunately neither is the case and now you are stuck with a very messy position. The key is not to panic, remember your training and that there are always going to be reversals. In fact if you are so inclined, you can even look at this painfully embarrassing situation as a training exercise for your followers. To prove that although difficult, your practices are for the best and that even you follow them after an “oops” moment. Chances are right after the fact you aren’t feeling that magnanimous and are desperately hoping that your rewind button on the TV remote might work for your life like in the movie “Click” after exhausting the remotes in your house you face the music; usually with a stiff drink in hand. OK, Damage control; if you’re lucky the guy will have just been looking for some fun and will have let this go. Which means all you have to do is avoid him like the plague and if he happens to bring up your indiscretion again the ever popular and simple line of “ohh my god I was so drunk that night I can’t even remember” Of course if this happened at church or a non alcohol related function you’re shit out of luck. If you have an ex who now believes that this was a rekindling moment for the relationship things get harder. Avoidance might work but chances are the guy who is most likely incredibly thickheaded will interpret this of you being coy or playing hard to get and will only spur on his attempts with even more vigor and drive. As difficult as this will be and completely unpleasant, this situation needs to be addressed head on. For some, they have no problem sticking it to the guy and hitting them without any qualms. However some of us find this type of confrontation to be far worse then a root canal. Face to face or via phone will suffice but texting or e-mails are completely out of the question. This is because of the lack of tone that leaves room for interpretation. You have to calmly reiterate that this was an oops moment and you have no intentions of trying again. Be prepared for rebuttals. Practice either with yourself or a male confidant who might be better equipped to let you in on some sneaky comments that might be thrown out at you during this dialogue. Also, have an “out” phrase. If you feel yourself getting flustered say you’re closing line and end the conversation. After this conversation take a break from contact for a while. You are probably the best determinant for the specific length. This decision will probably based on how often you two had been in contact prior to the oops heard round the world.

Test: Former Fling to Friend
May 23, 2010

If the relationship ended on decently agreeable terms you may be flirting with the idea of keeping this person in your life as a friend. This plan isn’t completely inconceivable if you had been friends prior to the start of the relationship and you are not defeated/damaged by its demise. There is a simple set of rules to follow in order to properly test the waters and see if this can in fact work. Its best to go one toe at a time into the murky waters of this type of newly generated relationship. First experiment is the daytime meet up. For your first post break up encounter coffee or a walk would be preferred. Movies get too date like so it is very important for this first step to be as asexual as possible. Keep the conversation light and it might help to bring up new potential suitors, real or imaginary, just to convey the message that you have moved on and are back out on the market again. If after this element you feel that the relationship can progress into phase two then you can try the evening meet up. Obviously a drink would be necessary simply due to the fact that your nerves will most likely be shot from the pressure. This should be an instance where you meet him somewhere, either prior to you official night out on the town or in the middle of your bar crawl. Having witnesses present can also keep you from making any fatal errors. The key in this meeting is to not get too drunk that you make a disastrous mistake like going home with him. Then and only then after making it through these hoops is it acceptable and you should feel comfortable enough to ask him to an event such as a friends birthday party or wedding.  You could try to skip these two steps but then you might be shooting yourself in the foot and giving off the vibe, unintentionally as it may be, that this is a reconciliation and not a friendship.

Former Flames
May 23, 2010

Whether they were your high school sweetheart, or someone you remember from playschool there are always certain people that no matter how much time has passed give you those butterflies. But what happens when they make a cameo in your new and improved existence. For some odd reason we always feel the need to be our most impressive self. A slight competition of who has progressed and become more fabulous than the other. In a perfect world you would be thinner, have the perfect hair day and be sleeping with Brad Pitt. This never seems to work out but for whatever the reason we strive for it just the same. Its at these moments when we put the harshest light on ourselves for some reason, even though the majority of the time the person you’re trying to impress, could care less.

The most interesting situation is when you are both single. Do you fall back in to that former sex pattern for old times sake? If you’re lucky then he’s just in town for a random event and there’s no pressure either way. If you see him and decide to take the plunge, there’s no morning after worry-fest of where the relationship is going and if in fact you two even still have anything in common beside your home town. If it’s someone who might be coming into town on a more frequent basis then things tend to get stickier.  Is this a “Lay-over buddy” just in town for a bit and if you’re not busy with someone more desirable than you make the time for him? The flip side puts you into basically a long distance relationship. Sure he’s with you once or maybe twice a month but the majority of this relationship will take place over phone or e-mail. Some people can handle this type of bonding. I on the other hand feel completely unfulfilled. I’m sure that they’re cheating and in truth I probably end up cheating myself so really it’s lose lose.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Unfortunately even before you get to have fun you get to have the awkward as ass first re-meeting. Inevitably the words “Ohh my god it’s been forever” will no doubt escape your lips upon entry which I think is redundant but for whatever reason I can’t help but saying it myself. Then you get to catch up which can be a bit unusual because he’s not going to know any of the people or places that you are referencing and vice versa. At this point you guys find other things to discuss or you revert back to “the good old days” and reminisce about your high school and any common bond that still exists. As in any uncomfortable situation, I highly recommend some alcohol to be present. Perhaps even a third wheel so the two of you can bond over sharing these stories with that third person. If the third is your friend then buying her some sort of treat for tagging along is customary since chances are she’s going to have to sit there for several hours hearing stories that she’s already heard years ago but pretending they’re brand new. One thing that I think is just completely rude is to bring your significant other to the meeting, especially if your long past friend is single. Inevitably the single person has to sit there all uncomfortable and feign interest in how the adorable couple met while trying to contain an overactive gag reflex. In those situations having a back up plan is essential. The good old “something bad happened” call from an anonymous friend.

Why do these former flames always seem to be more romantic? I think more than anything it’s a fantasy of a lot of girls to have that “great story” of how you became a couple. Former flames are the most realistic possibilities for this to work out for you in the end; unless you have a tendency of getting trapped in burning buildings or something equally dramatic. To be able to say to someone “ohh we actually dated in high school and then found each other again” gives that awe inspiring feeling that there is such a thing as fate. That this person came back into your life for a greater purpose. “If you love something set it free and if it comes back to you then you know its meant to be forever” unfortunately this phrase also tends to get applied to girls who have had boyfriends break up with them and then come crawling back once they realize how good they had it.

Camp Romance
May 23, 2010

This one is so cute, sweet and incredibly naive that you have a difficult time bursting your friends bubble of happiness. And to be perfectly honest, in most situations there really doesn’t need to be an intervention because after about 2-4 weeks following the departure from camp, the relationship collapses like a house of cards. A camp romance is that wonderful kind of romantic connection that occurs when two people are thrust together by one singular interest and are forced to spend an inordinate amount of time together. The first recognizable existence of this bond is at summer camp. Usually the male and female are from different areas or different states but through a twist of fate end up spending every waking moment with one another for approximately 1-3 months. This would be a honeymoon period for anyone in a relationship but the constant contact causes this emotional feeling to be far more intense then any real world relationship. At the end of the summer both parties cry and promise to stay connected forever. Naturally, after several weeks apart they recognize that it was a fling, an intense summer romance that had no viable capabilities for being ever-lasting as the two had previously believed and vowed. The grown-up world sees this when two co-stars end up dating after the close of production on a film, TV season, stage production, or music tour. It’s because that person is completely inundated in every single going on from that period in your life. One would think that as adults we would recognize these kinds of relationships for what they are. Wonderful but at the same time fleeting. I’m shocked by how many friends at the end of this love rollercoaster say, “I still don’t understand why we couldn’t work it out” Well, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that you are no longer surrounded by the same people and now have to actually make an effort. It’s far easier to feel a connection with someone you don’t have to explain. They already know your friends and the back-story that you feel is important enough to share. Its like dating with cliff notes. In the real world you have to make an effort, for any and all contact. He/she isn’t just sitting on the bench waiting for you and you two have matching schedules. What if he works late and you travel most weekends. Effort. Something that was never an issue before that will blow up in your face in a mere couple of weeks. Unless your friend is planning to propose marriage or are about to sign a lease on a new condo with the camp fling then just sit back and let the chips fall where they may. If these two decide to take the more radical approach it may be in everyone’s best interest to remind them how long they’ve know each other have existed and suggest more time. Again, as in any situation where emotions are running high, tact is key. Never question or doubt their perfect connection or anticipate a painful tongue-lashing. Instead tread delicately by just ever so slightly mentioning that other than canoeing there is no other bond, but you two are just precious.

Forbidden Fruit
May 23, 2010

Every person has that list of qualifications that make a person off limits for any sort of romantic or sexual shenanigans. When you’re younger it can be something as trivial as a friend saying that they saw him and called dibs. Later on it could be a friend’s ex or roommate. Guys are a lot easier on these rules than girls for the most part and depending on the girl, you could be back to that 2nd grade mentality of whoever smiled at him has the prior claim. No matter what happens, those guys are always the ones that seem to be the most tempting. Probably because you can’t have them lets you imagine them in their best sense. You can romanticize their personality into some prince charming persona when chances are he’s a dud like the rest. There are two ways of thinking on this topic. You can just jump in there because the probability that you’ll jump right back out once you see the real him is so high that its best to just burst the Disney bubble. The other option is to withstand the temptation. Prove that you have the will power to just say no.  

But what does it mean to say no. Does that mean absolutely no contact what so ever? In truth that would be the simplest decision because inevitably, with each additional conversation or contact, comes the desire to push it even farther. Test your limits and see how much you can handle without going to the dark side. It’s a dangerous game and although it’s boring not to play, in the end it’s the safest bet if you want to keep your sanity, the friendship, and your word. Again, not a fun answer cause it means no bedtime adventures will be in your future but starting this from the very beginning will save you a lot of pain and sleepless nights than if you start out thinking you can handle the friendship and then realize you’re in over your head.

The most clear indicator of this horrifying moment is the butterflies. Your gut is your most trusted resource so try not to ignore it. The second you feel that little flutter when you talk or make eye contact or even just think of him at random beware! If you don’t take care of that within moments, and I stress this, not days, moments, it could be too late and you could have a crush on your hands.

It’s such a simple progression that most people really don’t take it seriously. We talked at the bar with a group. Nothing bad happened. We left each other Facebook or AIM messages. Completely harmless. Even if the chats get to be a bit more on the risque side they’re still all in good fun right? This slippery slope leads to phone calls. probably just to check in or ask a quick question at first, but then you get to chatting. These conversations become more of a regular occurrence and mere weeks later you’re in bed having that post coital cigarette wondering how you could have let it happen.

Some of you might think that the friend won’t get upset. Please test this theory of yours with something small. I too was under that impression with a roommate. She had “dated” (see glossary to understand need for quotations) this guy for a few weeks maybe. Not really sure to be completely honest. Now, this is actually someone I had met first but I don’t tend to go by those rules. So when I was spotted talking to him online, as a friend mind you, I had no way to anticipate the shit storm that was about to blow in my direction. There was yelling, and the ever popular broken record syndrome that we women tend to suffer from when we’re flustered or in shock/dismay.  The point that she was making was a simple one “He is off limits”. She however thought this might confuse me which is why she repeated it a good 15 times in a row followed by several days of reiterating the original message.

Little did she know that it was in fact this statement that I couldn’t have him which set the sparks for me to all of a sudden want him. Prior to this I thought he was a funny guy but certainly not my physical ideal by any stretch of the imagination. Yet after that his eyes seemed to have a certain sparkle and his devious smile was like something sneaky drawing me in for a closer look. To make matters worse the friendship is almost always on the rocks which makes the loyalty factor shaky at best. Most days I want to sleep with him just to piss her off. Not a good element to throw in there when you’re trying to show personal restraint.

Thus that leaves the question? which is more valuable. The possible relationship or tumultuous friendship. Depending on how far you have allowed things to progress, as in if you’re in full crush stupid mode. An easy question, again not a sexy one, is does this person actually have any relationship potential or is this someone that is just for fun to pass the time. This will require you to probably step back from the situation and even get some outside assistance if you think it would be beneficial. If you are too ashamed to ask for help an easy indicator is to look a the past relationships. Of course we’ve all made mistakes and had terrible break-ups that we don’t want to be judged by so if possible get the dirt on at least 2 past break-ups and the reason for the demise of the relationship. If he hasn’t had any past relationships then that’s your answer. On the flip side of the coin how long have the two of you been friends? In my case mine was my roommate and thus causing any sort of rift, especially one of this magnitude would be catastrophic and would probably result in me finding all of my clothes covered in pigs blood. If this is a work colleague follow the same hindrance that you would if it was a living companion. Having an enemy at work can be more dangerous. Which is easier to find, a new apartment or a new job. Ohh and remember its a new job after your colleague has told every interviewer that you have a coke habit, gave head to progress through the company and only have a 5th grade reading level. Enough said.

Unfortunately, most of these hurdles makes it hard for you to have to super fun ending of a romp in the sack. However, a good way to get over these no-orgasm blues is to contemplate the idea that in having sex with the ex, he could, and would be able to make a comparison of who is better in bed. With all of the pressures in life do you really need that added pressure when you’re already of a competitive temperament. If that isn’t enough to cool you off the idea then you may have reached the point of no return and should lock yourself in your room until the moment passes or get your ass to the first available bar and tell the first guy you see that you’ll go home with him straight away.

So now, clearly I have not taken my own advise on the subject and am in too deep and need to figure out a hasty exit before more problems arise. The one thing I have working in my favor is the distance factor. He is currently in OC so the temptation is diminished ever so slightly. However, the dirty AIMing is getting out of hand and needs to be stopped. No more contact for the next week. The challenge has been set and is acceptable.