“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”~ Martin Luther
Not so long ago I did what some people thought was impossible. Hanging out with the guys. It was a group of about seven, all coming from different walks of life. Some married and some single.
It was a fairly good time hanging out together and not carrying about the outside world. Until I heard one guy’s story of how it was so difficult for him to deal with certain situations when it comes to the bonding between a male and a female.
He said something that at one time, I thought I was the only one who thought it and was about to take the credit for coining the phrase.
He was discussing his friendship with a female. They have been friends for the past few years. He is single, she on the other hand has been recently married and has one child. He was there for her wedding. He threw her an engagement party. He saw everything through the entire way and stood by her side, celebrating her triumphs and being the rock that she needed to fall upon when she crashed and burned. And even through the point where she was married, he remained the same guy that she always knew him to be.
But it wasn’t the fact that she had recently become someone else’s wife that was bothering him. It was not jealousy that was driving him crazy. It was the fact that whenever they would communicate, it felt like to him that she was always introducing the fact that she had boundaries.
He would go on to say, that ‘friend’ was the new F-bomb.
Some of us guys would sit there, looking confused. But I knew exactly what he was talking about.
He would explain that whenever he would talk this female that she would always say “friend” to him. And he felt that it was not used in the sense of endearment.
And because this group of guys knew that I have this reputation of being some kind of listener with valuable insight, I ended up sitting next to him, talking about this the rest of the night. I knew where he was coming from. I’ve gone through the same kind of bumpy roads. The exact roads, to be honest.
His point that I will share in this blog post is that he had been friends with this woman for a very long time. It was quite established that they trusted one another to become friends and do what friends do. But he felt like every time she would do this to him, that it was setting everything back.
Let me use this analogy:
Relationships (male to female & vice versa) can be measured on a scale from 0 to 10. The higher the number, the more meaningful and deep the relationship and the stronger the bond. Of course 10 being that this person is a permanent fixture in your life, whether that person has become your spouse or whatever. But they are there every day for the rest of your life.
The more that time had passed for him, the deeper the relationship that he had with this woman. And it was totally based on them being friends. There was nothing that suggested that it would turn into a romantic relationship or that they would be dating one another, and so on. So this guy’s relationship with this woman would probably only be measured up to go as high as a 7 or 8. And it would not go any higher. It was something he understood and actually is quite content with that.
Yet whenever she would say “friend”, to him it felt like she was pushing him and their relationship down to maybe somewhere between 2 and 4.
He was actually intelligent enough to mention that she should have her boundaries, given her current situation in life. But when it feels like to him that she drags him down and pushes him back to a lower number, his mental state of mind gets bruised and hurt.
What in the world is he to do? He sees her every day. They talk every day. And for the longest time he says that this has been happening even BEFORE she was married to someone else. A new relationship for her, that he completely treated with respect.
Both people should own up to their responsibility, in order to make sure that the relationship is healthy.
Upon entering a new relationship, there’s going to be those times where people slip up and make mistakes . But that is all a part of learning about one another. Because not everyone is the same, not everyone is going to have the same boundaries.
I have my own boundaries and I can tell you that there are a lot of differences between my boundaries and the boundaries of my male counterpart.
I believe that what he truly wanted to say, and I will say it for him here is that there’s nothing wrong with having boundaries. Once you learn what a person is willing to deal with and what they are not willing to deal with, you adapt to it. You learn from that. But then also you carry on. There is no good reason for a person to continually remind the other about them.
From what I heard this guy tell me, this female picks on him and pounds down upon him in a verbal sense that all they will ever be, is friends. And he feels that has already been established so very long ago, and so there’s no real good reason for her to constantly be bringing it up.
You have a responsibility with your relationships. If someone crosses a line, then yeah- its healthy to remind them that they slipped up. It is not healthy for you to come down on them with wrath because of their transgressions and then push it into their faces all the time like a dog who has taken a huge dump throughout the house, instead of doing its business outside.
If there really is a need to do that, then perhaps you should be re-evaluating things.
The way to stop making mistakes, is to learn from them. We have to allow people to do that.
I went ahead in the spirit of all fairness and non-judgement if by chance he may have crossed a line with her. But he said that he had not done so in a very long time. He recognized over the past couple of years where he had crossed a line and he did pay the price for it. And since he didn’t like that outcome, he stopped doing whatever he was doing that was making him cross that boundary. It pained him to think that he had done it before, and it pains him to think of the possibility of doing it again, and that is the driving force that prevents him FROM doing it again.
Humanity is not perfect. Neither are relationships. Are you actually going to remind people of that every time someone does something to you that was wrong or that you didn’t like? Even after the person has shown regret for it, are you still going to bring it up time after time after time? If yes, then honestly what kind of a relationship do you REALLY have with that person??
Having boundaries in life is VERY healthy. But it is unhealthy to hold people’s mistakes against them. Especially if they do not know you very well.
You cannot say that you have a coin, if there is not both “heads” and “tails”.
I believe that having open communication is very much the key. And that means BOTH sides should be able to talk about whatever they want. Should someone cross a boundary or make the other person uncomfortable, then the person who is feeling that way should be able to hit the “ENOUGH” button… explain how or why this is an issue. And if the guilty party owns up to their mistake and apologizes, it needs to be forgiven then forgotten- forever.
Being timid and hoping that something goes away, never works out. If I am doing something that is pissing you off, and I get no response or sense that it is doing just that, and I am not told about it? Chances are that I am going to do it again. Speak up and save the relationship as well as save yourself from further anguish!!
This poor guy that I talked to the rest of the night, he just really enjoys the company and the bonding that he has with this woman. And that’s just a small part of what being in this particular relationship is all about. But he feels so miserable because he’s being constantly reminded of the DO’s and DO NOT’s.
I do not personally know the woman that he talked about. So I cannot say much about her. But what I do see is a person being treated unfairly. Especially since he broke down and said that he hadn’t done anything to offend or make her uncomfortable. I do not see why this woman feels she must constantly reflect the word “friend” on him. After all, they already have been that way for years! I do not think that she should be saying this to him all of the time.
The best thing for him to do is to make HER aware that he is not comfortable with this behavior. And should the truth be that he IS doing something that makes her uncomfortable, she needs to plainly tell him instead of always being quick to run up the walls on him and push him away. It does not sound like to me that she knows what she is doing to him when she does this all of the time. But if he too, is unaware of what he might be doing to her that causes this, then she needs to speak up as well. People are not mind-readers.
Own up to the fact that you do have the right to tell someone that you are not comfortable with what they have said or done. But remember, you have to take responsibility for your own words. Understand that your words are just as powerful and influential as those words (or actions) towards you that cause you to cringe.
It always takes two to do The Tango.
Be aware that even though you might be hurt, that you could potentially hurt the other person by what you say or do. And doing so on purpose, is just cruel and mean. And personally speaking… if that is the case then you don’t deserve to be a part of that relationship.
Sure, you have the right to walk away. But remember, so do they. And if you are behaving in a similar manner as this woman has been, then by all means that other person has every right to walk away and they would be justified to be doing it and there would be no “social jury” willing to convict them of wrong-doing for it.