Balance (repost)

This was originally posted 1/26/2010

This afternoon I had a brief conversation with a friend about what's been going on with her since we last spoke. (This is the same friend I talked about in this post) She mentioned she was spending a lot of time working and getting ready to apply to grad school. One of her major complaints after moving to NYC was that she felt like people just weren't nice. She's given me many examples of situations where she stepped up to be nice, but was knocked back down.

In this conversation, she mentioned that she felt herself being hardened by the city and wondered if I had any thoughts on maintaining a balance between being kind and protecting yourself from being taken advantaged of.

I told her that I try to remember what my mother tells me all the time: "you show people how to treat you..."

When she says it, she means that everytime I let someone get over on me, I'm telling them that's ok. She also means that I should stand up for myself and show that I know what's going on and I'm not going to be played for a fool.

However, I typically take that quote and flip it a little. I'm an actions person, above all else. I don't care what you tell me, I will always believe your actions if there's a discrepancy. I once told J, "you say you love me, but there's no way you could treat me the way you do and love me. You may want to love me, you may think you love me, but your actions say otherwise..." So, when I engage with a person, I engage with them in a way that I'd want to be engaged with. That is, I follow the golden rule and treat them as I'd like to be treated.

When I say I'm going to call, I do.

When I say I'm going to be somewhere, I am.

When we talk to each other, I pay attention to what they say, I respond to their questions, I show interest.

I do these things (and more) because these are things I think a)you do for people you care about and b)because I expect the same in return.

When it becomes obvious that the other person has his own agenda, I take that under advisement and all that effort goes out of the window. Often that will open up an opportunity for dialogue "Hey, man, you usually call when you say you will, but lately that hasn't been happening.." is a great opportunity to counter with "yeah, because you don't give me the same courtesy -- so I guess it doesn't matter much..." If it doesn't, though, that's ok because I didn't cease the activity to illicit a response, I stopped because I've shown you how I expect to be treated and I'm assuming so have you -- one good turn deserves another.

Sometimes the relationship deteriorates from there. Once I quit pulling all the weight to watch it sink or swim, sometimes it sinks. In those cases it sucks but there are a lot of other people in my life who are pulling their weight and they deserve my attention more.

I'll admit, there's a certain passive aggressive air to this. I'm not one to feel a whole lot of talking needs to be done when the actions are telling me everything I need to know. The friend I discussed here recently told me she misses hearing my voice. I told her she can call anytime. That was 4 days ago and she still hasn't heard my voice -- her choice and her actions tell me that she doesn't actually miss hearing my voice.

This morning on twitter I said, "The next person to tell me they miss talking to me is gonna get it... right in the kisser!" A friend asked me what was behind all the hostility. As I told her, it's about actions. If you miss talking to me, CALL ME! I'm one of the easiest people in the world to find, if you want to. Between facebook, e-mail, gchat, twitter and the old-fashioned phone, there's no excuse not to simply drop a line to say "hi." You don't have to tell me you miss talking to me -- you can just talk to me.

As I told my friend, though, I'm not always really good at this. Sometimes I get caught up in wanting a relationship to work out so I ignore what I see. I want people to like knowing me, to like interacting with me and when they don't, my kneejerk reaction is to "fix it" by assuming it's something I'm doing (or not doing). There's a lot of trial and error in this, but I'm working it out.


30 Days...

Three bloggers I follow and ♥, Thoughts of A Black Southern Gal, MsBehavin and LadyLee, as well as a host of other bloggers have been participating in a 30 Day Blog Challenge. I've enjoyed reading their posts and of course been inspired to participate as well.

But there's that pesky issue of being careful about what I blog right now (as well as tweet for anyone who's noticed my tweet levels down a bit). So while I've been thinking about these posts and started on a few, it's not time to share them. However, when the time is right, I'll start throwing those posts at you. In the interim, I'll keep diggin for some good blogs to repost.

For any bloggers interested in the 30 day challenge, here are the days/topics...

Day 01 – Introduce yourself
Day 02 – Your first love
Day 03 – Your parents
Day 04 – What you ate today
Day 05 – Your definition of love
Day 06 – Your day
Day 07 – Your best friend
Day 08 – A moment
Day 09 – Your beliefs
Day 10 – What you wore today
Day 11 – Your siblings
Day 12 – What’s in your bag
Day 13 – This week
Day 14 – What you wore today
Day 15 – Your dreams
Day 16 – Your first kiss
Day 17 – Your favorite memory
Day 18 – Your favorite birthday
Day 19 – Something you regret
Day 20 – This month
Day 21 – Another moment
Day 22 – Something that upsets you
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry
Day 25 – A first
Day 26 – Your fears
Day 27 – Your favorite place
Day 28 – Something that you miss
Day 29 – Your aspirations
Day 30 – One last moment


Standards: A Repost

This was originally posted back in December during my Things We Don't Apologize For series...

A while back, I did a post titled Deal Breakers and I said,
Deal Breakers are the things that either with or without, you have to leave a relationship. Be that a romantic one or friendship or even business relationship. When you know what your deal breakers are and can effectively communicate them, it helps people know what you want but most importantly, they help you know what you want. I'm not sure my personal deal breaker list is exhaustive, but it's a far cry from where I was. My deal breakers apply (except where obvious) to any kind of relationship.
I also did a post titled Flows Like Water where I recalled words J said to me during one of our classic "are we breaking up for real this time?" arguments.
Good luck finding a guy who meets all of your requirements. You want too much
I went on to say
I know he said that out of anger, but it's always stuck with me. I might want too much -- but that's why I'm ok being single forever...
Deal breakers and standards are something I believe heavily in. When J first made that comment to me (and he would repeat it later) I remember spending a lot of time thinking about what he said. Are my standards too high? Do I want too much? I tried to imagine a relationship without the things I wanted and I kept coming up with a relationship that didn't look too good. I decided then I wouldn't settle for less than I deserved. It took me a while to put that decision into practice and it started with being ok with singleness and understanding the difference between compromise and settling.

I'd love to be in a long-term relationship with a man who has no kids, but I won't kick an otherwise eligible man to the curb because he has a child. That's a compromise. It's important to me that anyone I date be goal-oriented. If you are not goal-oriented, we don't need to go past the friend zone, because otherwise I'll grate on your nerves and you'll grate on mine. To decide to be in a relationship with someone who has no goals and no drive would not be a compromise, it would be settling. It goes against something I value highly.

When we start apologizing for knowing what we want and refusing to accept anything other than that, we set ourselves up for failure. It's like researching the perfect car. You find out that the ideal car for your lifestyle is a small 2-door coupe with great gas mileage, but for some reason, when you go to the dealership, you let the car dealer talk you into purchasing a large SUV with horrendous gas mileage. It makes no sense and that's not a compromise, that's absurd! Now you're giving away your hard-earned money every month for a beast of a vehicle that you didn't even want. We wouldn't do that with buying a car, so I have no idea why we would do that with people we're in relationships with.

For all the ish we go through in our lives, dealing with other people and the mess they bring into our lives, the least we could do is set some standards and expect people to live up to them; compromising where necessary and not budging one inch when it's important. High standards? You'll be getting no apology for that.

Tomorrow: Never apologize for saying NO.