Boundaries – “And you say he’s just a friend”

So along with terminology, it’s advisable to place boundaries on relational interactions. I’ve noticed that there are girls who love the attention of all & sundry, and then there are classier babes who love the attention of one! Young men/women we need to understand that relationships are not a play, we are not actors trying to earn rave reviews from the general public. Instead, we should desire to perform only to an audience of one; the person you have chosen to be with. Through choice and default, that one person will naturally be your co-director, co-writer, co-actor, co-everything. Attention is good and we all like for it to be lavished upon us, but not when it’s coming from the wrong people.

We all have that one girl-friend who has this one guy-friend that she interacts with on a whole new level. As in, you’re never exactly sure if they’re just friends or flirting their way into a relationship. That’s dangerous, if you don’t know where you stand something needs to change. Either your behaviour with that person or the situation fullstop. The amount of girls that that be like ‘he’s like my best friend’ I always challenge them and say there’s no such thing as ‘like’ when it comes to relationships. Proper relationships are absolute. So he either is your friend or he isn’t. He either is your boyfriend or he isn’t and he either is your husband or he isn’t. This is why I say you need to know your role and play it well. If you’re a friend be a friend, and have boundaries on that friendship or else you end up playing the substitute girlfriend. Likewise, guys quit doing too much and operate within the parameters that have been set for you. I’m not trying to be your rent-a-boothang and I sure as hell ain’t trying to be your have a go side chick! So you either are or aren’t my friend, don’t come around me trying to blur lines. Because, by allowing yourself to play a role you didn’t audition for means that when another girl rightfully earns her part in the play, guess whose regulated to the role of understudy…….YOU! Don’t play a role for a part you didn’t audition for. So if you play the substitute girlfriend don’t be surprised when you’re called off the pitch for the real player.

Substitute Boyfriend — The Long game

Now there are some guys who will happily play the substitute boyfriend. They’ll sit on the bench and watch the Beckham-Torres-Messi type characters get to work and wait patiently – afterall, they’ll eventually get tired and be called off the pitch right?. They play the long game. I’ve seen some long games evolve into marriage and good on them because the guy gave the girl time to see the treasure he had within. But at the same time, there is a mild element of deception involved in this long game which unsettles me. When a girl tells a guy upfront she has no interest in him, for those who aren’t consumed with pride and pack their load to find a new target, the others settle for friendship. Nothing’s wrong with friendship right? However, these guys will agree to the new t&cs that clearly inform them that the only future they have with you is friendship, but won’t sign on the dotted line. Some of these guys then pack their load but move into two houses. They unpack their bags to occupy physical residence in the Friendzone whilst undertaking an emotional mortgage in the land of ‘what if’. Similarly to that bedroom furniture company, this is also a land of dreams! It’s a secret place filled with the dreams of men, thinking of ways to one day make you theirs.

Substitute Boyfriend ——–> Man of the Match

Now, some guys are wilful enough to get off the bench, prove themselves and make the first team. Good things come to those who act! These guys will start to put in work early and do overtime to develop a relationship with you whereby they treat you like you’re their girlfriend – just without the title. They’ll be a friend, then a good friend, then a close friend and some may even graduate to the position of best friend. They allow you to get comfortable with them, confide in them and for some, start to imagine your life with them. They’ll be your shoulder to cry on and that ear to listen when your love-interest/ boyfriend is misbehaving. They’ll be your safety net and constant as things start changing around you. They’ll learn all the things you think you want in a man and be all the things they can see that you need. Eventually be it months or years later, they’ll show up at your door with roses and a declaration of love. This is the long game. A long-gamer waits till all the Beckhams have gotten tired and you need a new player to head onto the pitch. They’ll be that guy! With a fresh trim, boot and kits they come running onto the pitch of your life and score their way into your heart. But in this light, the long game isn’t necessarily bad is it?

Sometimes we have such a fixed idea of a type, we don’t seek out our match. We want someone who is dressed up in the exact packaging we require and will not settle for anything less. I always say be careful what you pray for, you just might get it! So sometimes a long-gamer can show you what it is you need after you’ve suffered at the hand of what you thought you wanted. And I guess American movies have thought us that we’ll all marry the friend that has loved us since high school but was too shy to declare his love, so he waited patiently by our side as we messed around with the football stud, baseball star and the DJ.

But on the flipside I won’t tell lies, long-gamers do upset me a little bit. It makes me question the authenticity of the friendship because it then feels like you weren’t being honest with me after I was honest with you. There’s no situation more awkward than telling a guy you do not like him nor have any desire to be with him, he plays the long game, confesses his undying love for you, you still do not like him and tell him so, and it alters the course of that friendship. The nature of the friendship changes and sometime you even lose that guy friend all because he thought he could change your mind about him. Was our friendship purely based on the hope that you’d reap the specific fruit you desired? But why when I clearly told you you’d only reap mango, were you still hoping that you’ll one day see passionfruit? This is the element of pretence and ingenuity in the long game that unsettles me. It actually makes me upset when months/years pass by and a guy wants to change the nature of a friendship I so clearly told him only had one outcome. It’s different if during the friendship I catch the revelation to and then let it be known that we’re headed in a different direction, but if I haven’t – don’t ruin a good thing. Keep your feelings to yourself LOL! That sounds selfish right? So to all the guys, if a girl is really not interested but you are, assess the risk of losing a great friendship V gaining your life partner. If the risk is too great and outcome unlikely, wait and be patient. Patience demands that we give ourselves time to outgrow our emotions. When I was aged 13-15 I was head over heels besotted with Usher, but I grew out of it. Likewise, you will too.

This ends the section on Dating. Next up is Sex, to be followed by Marriage.

So let’s spread the word, feed a spirit, encourage a soul!

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