Lessons From The Lady Friends
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.
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.
Real quick: Third edition of the Poppin’ Questions Podcast is up now. Click here to listen.