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Lessons From The Lady Friends

September 10th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Yesterday, I took one of my friend’s out to lunch for her birthday. She invited me to her birthday party this weekend, and I flaked so I wanted to make it up to her. When we sat down, she jokingly asked me what this was about, suggesting I was trying to make myself over. I had to explain it wasn’t about some larger life mission to be a better friend to everybody. She had been such a good friend to me, so I didn’t want to let her birthday pass without acknowledging it and doing something nice for her. It was my way of saying Happy Grown Woman Day and thanks.

When we said bye to each other, I must say I felt good about what I did even if it was something I was supposed to do. Because let’s face it, when it comes to what we are supposed to do, sometimes we have no clue. I know I certainly don’t know what I’m supposed to do all the time, but I’m learning, and what’s cool about the process is I can learn with women in my life who I call friends first.

I understand most women don’t trust a man who says he just wants to be friends. We call it the back door approach. So even when we’re talking about friendship, one usually assumes ulterior motives are at play. She thinks so, I know so, and so there’s really no way of getting around the stigma.

But one thing I am trying to do in my quest for genuine friendships with women is learning more about myself in relation to the women in my life. We already know the way a man treats the women in his family isn’t an entirely accurate reflection of how he treats the women outside of his family. But if I had a couple more women in my life who I can hold down the way they hold me down, I think I’ll get something I never got when I was in relationship.

Confidence.

I’m not talking about self-confidence. I understand it’s like Katt Williams said, self-confidence is confidence of “yo m*therf*ckin* self”. And on my own two, no matter what the women of my past have told me, I’m a man and a good one at that. But when it comes to being a boyfriend, when it comes to being a man to a woman and knowing what I’m supposed to do, I don’t think there’s no greater teacher than being a good friend to a girl.

To be clear, I don’t think a woman has all the answers to another woman’s problems. Just because two people share the same type of anatomy doesn’t mean they share the same heart and mind. But, what I do need to know about myself is that I can actually be good to a woman in a real way because when I look back on the failure of all my relationships, there’s so many things I see that just broke down my confidence to be that guy.

I have written about this before; women who stay with a man only to tear down his pride, so by the time he’s single again, he no longer believes he has the good for a relationship. Women are constantly telling a man who messes up their not ready to be in a relationship at all, when sometimes, they’re just not ready to be with her.

The reason I bring this up is because it justifies the need for a man to have closer platonic ties to a woman. If I listened to all the things my ex-girlfriends said about me in the past and let their feelings towards me affect the perception I had of myself, I would check myself into sex rehab like Tiger Woods and be in church every single day of the week.

But the women who are my friends have a more balanced perception of me. They never fail to call me crazy or a plumb fool when I act like one. If I want them to facilitate a situation with one of their other friends, they’ll make sure I don’t act like the man all my ex-girlfriends broke up with. One of my good friends won’t even introduce me to a girl who she knows wants to meet me. I jokingly call her a hater, but I also know she’s helping me avoid a situation with a person I’m probably not ready to deal with and I appreciate her for noticing that. I also appreciate how the same women who can say I’m up to no good still recognize the good in me. This is why those female friendships are invaluable because only a woman who is a good friend will forgive me when I’m acting an idiot and give me props when I’m being all brilliant and stuff.

The way I see it, all I need to know about being a good man to a woman I can learn in being a good man to a lot of women on a platonic level. I know I’m a good brother. I know I’m a good son and grandson. I know I’m a loyal boy to my boys. But the one thing I’ve only done a C+ job at best at is being a good friend towards women and being a good boyfriend, and I don’t think the reasons for one are entirely different than the reasons for other. It’s like, how can one be good at algebra if they’re not good at long division?

I know one thing’s for certain. If I can be a good friend to a woman, if I can be there when she needs me, and hold her down the way she holds me down, if I can make her laugh like I make my boys laugh and learn to give to her without asking for anything in return, if I can learn to do what I’m supposed to do, and it becomes second nature to me, I’ll be ready to be with a woman the way I’m supposed to be.

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  • Top5WitnessProtection

    My female friends go at me the hardest. My problem has always been keeping a relationship purely platonic. But my female friends and I have done a good job, of not burning down a bridge and even though we no longer have a sexual relationship, our friendship has lasted.

    The only time it gets a little complicated is when I bring around a new girl who I am interested in. I always tell any female I am dating, look I have a lot of female friends… I am very close to them, and I cherish their opinions.

    Recently I have been very interested in someone and my female friends jumped on me because i did not properly introduce her to the “CLAN” and let it be known this was a person of serious interest. My female friends dont bite thier TONGUES…. they let me know when they think I am doing some BS.

    I love my female friends, I cherish our relationships. Sometimes it might complicate my LOVE life but I think in the long run, my female friends are partially why I never had any serious drama in my life. I learn from them and they let me know when they think a lady I am dating is not good for me… So it will always be a work in progress and as I have matured i appreciate them even more now.

  • ShaCrista

    Great post! Many guys miss the opportunities to learn from platonic relationships. I’ve been in relationships where if he just knew how to treat a female other than his momma, things may have turned out all right. Keep learning and keep sharing!

  • http://bubblyblackgirl.wordpress.com Renae

    Again, this is so wonderful Jozen. In the few months since I’ve began reading your blog, I’m amazed by how much you’ve evolved and matured as a writer and a man. Cheers, and best wishes.

  • goalawal

    How many of us would be the man we are without our female friends.. 1 of such that i love dearly and of Guyanese descent always made me open her car door, pump her gas and etc.. it became a habit and it was surprising when i opened my mothers door one day upon going out and she asked what had gotten in2 me…

    However, you got to be careful cos these girl friends can get overbearing at times and u just might have to remind them i’m ur homie NOT ur man….

    nice like or dislike button….. Now, we just need ur business partner to add a delete quote button

  • Keia

    Having friends of both genders help us become well-rounded individuals. I applaud you on your efforts to develop genuine friendships with women. Kudos!

  • BoomShots

    My female friends and family are a big part of who I am as a man and how I relate with the world and other women. My Mom always said to conduct my self with the women in my life in a manner that is respectful. I have not always done that but I have always aspired to do that.

    It would be a major mistake for any man, myself include to in any way compare his relationship with female friends and family to past, current or future girlfriends. If you do, you are going to lose 95 percent of the time. Yeah, there is that 5 percent chance that you have lucked out with that one woman who fits right in.

    No matter what your track record is with the other women in your life, they could love you like a fat kid love cake and know you to be that great man you aspire to be….but in a romantic relationship a majority of women seem to lose perspective. You that cool brother who is supportive, consistent and a pleasure to be with all of a sudden seems to no longer be able to provide all the things you should in a relationship. You keep coming up short in some way you never claimed you wouldn’t.

    Maybe its the nature of relationships, the dynamics of the interractions that make even the best man become somehow greatly flawed to the most even keeled woman. I have a friend claims that women in a relationship become a different species…I think he greatly exaggerates but based on some of my experiences, i often wonder if he may not have it right some times.

    I say all of that because, I have very close relatiosnhips with women in my life, Mom, sisters, cousins and platonic friends. Yet the whole GF thing is really difficult because I try to relate to women as equal in every way and outside of my romantic relationships they actually are very receptive to that approach. In a relationship, there is often a request for extra special entitlements without ever having earned it.

    What is that about really?

  • Bee

    For a while, I had stopped reading your posts. I enjoyed this one though and will probably come back to read Monday’s.

  • Truth

    Randomly loving this new like and dislike feature! Go Jozen! Great Post!

  • http://womanofcolor.wordpress.com brownivyx

    Great post. I really have nothing to add, as you pretty much said it all. Ummm…yeah. Awesome.

  • Leah

    BoomShots :
    Like or Dislike: 0  0
    I say all of that because, I have very close relatiosnhips with women in my life, Mom, sisters, cousins and platonic friends. Yet the whole GF thing is really difficult because I try to relate to women as equal in every way and outside of my romantic relationships they actually are very receptive to that approach. In a relationship, there is often a request for extra special entitlements without ever having earned it.
    What is that about really?

    I think certain “special entitlements” come along with the title “gf” or “bf.” I’m sure there are other “extra special entitlements” that require more than just the title, and probably should be earned. But perhaps you might re-examine this and take a look at whether your take on that matter is different from the hypothetical gf’s. Maybe she puts certain entitlements in the “automatic courtesy” category, while you put it in the “not ’til you earn it” category.

  • Codie Elaine

    I think it’s great how much you value your platonic relationships with females. Maybe you have written about this already, but if not, I’m curious to hear your views (and that of your friends) when the girl that you’re dating has platonic male friends. Do you ever question the relationships? Do your platonic female friends’ men question your intentions? You mentioned sleeping on top of the covers in the bed with female friends. Does that change when you or she gets into a relationship?

    I’m just curious, as this has come up with men I’ve dated questioning my platonic relationships. It’s hard for a man to understand it when he has no female friends of his own, so I am very interested in your thoughts as someone who has genuine, platonic relationships with what sounds like several women.

    Great post :)

  • Roni

    Let the church say “Amen”

  • Danni

    Yeah, this was a good one. Very introspective. Oh, and GO COWBOYS!!!!!

  • Nadira Rae

    Great observation. What alot of people don’t realize is that friendship is the basis for any good relationship. So if you can’t be a good friend first, all the other things are irrelevant.

  • http://whetheryoulikeitornot.wordpress.com booboonotthefool

    Piggybacking of Nadira Rae (and semi-cosigning on Boomshots) I do think that friendship is an important part of a relationship, but I also think that relationships take friendships to a new level. While I might get over my man friend doing something that I’d have a HELL of a time excusing from my boyfriend. Ultimately, I do want friendship to be the foundation of my (romantic) relationship, but I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t hold it to a different standard. Once a man graduates to the boyfriend level, I am acknowledging (by agreeing to be exclusive) that this could be the man to replace my father in my life. (For me, my Father is the clutchest man I know, the one who told me I could call him in the middle of a down stoke and he’d come to my aid. TMI, but still…).
    Being a boyfriend (or girlfriend) can be a hard job. Sure, you can learn some of the more surface things a woman might enjoy -like opened car doors, or pumped gas- but we all bring different perspectives (and baggage) to a relationship. Each woman (and every bf/gf relationship) will be different. Male friends don’t get held to the same standards of boyfriends, who might get compared to previous boyfriends. It’s not fair, but it IS true. With a boyfriend, your heart is at stake, and you are playing for keeps. That makes the game different.

  • http://yanddumb.blogspot.com/ Rae

    1st time commenter but I have been reading for a while… I really liked this post because I feel like if you can not treat a person who is a probable sigfig like a friend then you have no business getting involved. I think it is great that you realize that you need to work on your female friendship’s dynamic.

  • SimplyBeatiful

    ‘One of my good friends won’t even introduce me to a girl who she knows wants to meet me. I jokingly call her a hater, but I also know she’s helping me avoid a situation with a person I’m probably not ready to deal with and I appreciate her for noticing that.’

    Funny, I just told my brother from another mother that (I wouldn’t hook him up with anyone just yet). Literally. I know he’s a good man, BUT there are still some kinks to be worked out. I’m not about to hook you with someone who I know wants the whole 9 until you have everything out of your system (can be faitful). Slowly I do see him making the changes he needs to be a better man for himself so that he can be the best man to the woman that was created for him.

  • SimplyBeautiful

    One of my good friends won’t even introduce me to a girl who she knows wants to meet me. I jokingly call her a hater, but I also know she’s helping me avoid a situation with a person I’m probably not ready to deal with and I appreciate her for noticing that.’

    Funny, I just told my brother from another mother that (I wouldn’t hook him up with anyone just yet). Literally. I know he’s a good man, BUT there are still some kinks to be worked out. I’m not about to hook you with someone who I know wants the whole 9 until you have everything out of your system (can be faitful). Slowly I do see him making the changes he needs to be a better man for himself so that he can be the best man to the woman that was created for him.

  • Kendra

    C+…wow! Interesting…relationship wise, you ever wonder that you’re putting forth a C+ effort because you haven’t crossed paths with a woman worthy of your personal best? You mention learning to do what you’re supposed to do…lol…when you meet “the one”…or someone let’s say that you absolutely adore…love takes over…and then you’ll find yourself wanting and willing to be a better man…a better friend. You’ll care like you’ve never cared before…you’ll love like you’ve never loved before…you’ll just do it…effortlessly. Not because it was something you learned to do but because it was something you yearned to do:-) Easy A at best…

  • Vanessa

    I have been fortunate to have male platonic friends my whole life. Although there are factors that have made these friendships wane, like girlfriends, “feelings” and such, I still have my best friend who has been there for me through some rough times. One way that we’ve kept our friendship strong is no “hook-ups” because we are well aware of the ramifications as he started off about 5 years ago as my sister’s boyfriend. She’s aware of our friendship and it really doesn’t bother her and our friendship has withstood distance, jealousy and stupidity. Sometimes I don’t know what I would do without him, but he’s really like a big brother at this point. I respect your views on friendship. You’re really onto something here.

  • Brittany

    “Women are constantly telling a man who messes up their not ready to be in a relationship at all, when sometimes, theyir just not ready to be with her.”
    Hmmm, that makes sense. Can you elaborate on that?

  • http://www.teaandsuch.blogspot.com Tea

    Man, why didn’t you tell us it was friendship week on the blog? Good post!

  • Amarie

    Hands down, one of my top 3 favorite posts from you.