Plot Twist: I'm Dating!
Guys, I have a problem!
Oh my goodness, this is wild. I think this post is about to be an intervention for me because I have to share with you all this problem that I have…
I cannot stop dating!
I know, how weird right? I have a dating problem. It finally hit me that given the opportunity I will date to my heart's content. I mean, you say dinner and I say when? You say love, and I say you. (Wait is that too soon? Oh well.)
See, a couple of posts ago, I told you all that I am currently single, but I guess that wasn't the (full) truth. I mean, I might as well change my Facebook status to 'In a Relationship' but Facebook doesn't dictate my love life, and there's more than one person I'm in a relationship with.
Oh, I didn't tell you that?! Yes, I'm in a relationship with not one, not two, but…okay, it's a lot so let's stop counting.
I see you. You're raising your eyebrow (maybe eyebrows because I haven't mastered the one eyebrow trick yet so kudos to those who can). I understand the judgmental light bulb coming on, but you need to slow your roll.
Yes, I'm dating. Yes, it's more than one person. But I'm not…you know that word that I'm not about to share. Why shouldn't you start judging me for dating multiple people?
Well, it's because I'm dating my friends. (See what I did there?)
Happy Valentine's Day guys! Today is our day to show some love on those we love and today is my day to share with you guys the people that I have decided to date.
See, dating is a method of getting to know another person. Typically we associate dating with those we are romantically interested in, but I wanted to switch up our perspective of dating. Here's a challenge: date your friends, date your family, date yourself.
Confused? I got you!
The idea of dating my friends came to me about a couple of months ago, and I have been toying with how to explain it to you all. I believe that the level of respect, amount of time spent, and the dedication we pour into our romantic dates needs to be replicated in our other relationships.
Let me give you some background story.
See these two ladies below?
Well, they are two of my soulmates and my closest friends in the world. Y'all I'm obsessed with how beautiful, compelling, compassionate, and remarkable these two ladies are. But…we weren't always in love with each other, at least not as we are now.
Maddie and I became friends the moment we met. It was love at first sight, and I adore her! (Check out our collaboration in AB X MT!) But we came to a bump on the road. Maddie and I (let's be honest, it was me) stopped talking to each other (I know so elementary, right). I had gotten upset about something (I vaguely remember this story; sorry for not giving y'all the dirt) and began pushing away from her. Now, if you ever meet Maddie, you'll learn that this lady is a lover and she loves hard.
It came to a point where Maddie's love for me caused her to call me out. ( I love you for this Madeline!) In the midst of our makeup session, she stated this, "being best friends with someone is like being in a relationship. You have to literally treat them like you would with a husband, boyfriend, or girlfriend. You have to invest as much those because it's an intimate relationship." (I just paraphrased 3 hours of girl chat and tears over salsa.) This statement is where the 'dating your friends' concept began to take root.
Now, if you are ever following my IG stories, you're more than aware that I love this lady! It's emotionally painful to even go a day without chatting with her (trust me, I hurt hard). But similar to Maddie, just as amazing as our friendship is, there came a time when we were strangers to each other. This was the turning point for both of us. See, I again allowed elementary issues to cloud my perspective of my dear friend, and I pulled away more and more. It took Helena doing something similar to what Maddie did for us to come back and strength our bond; she sat me down, and we talked it out.
Helena's love for me and her level of respect for what we had at the beginning of our relationship was the reasons why she tried it again with me. She allowed herself to see past everything I had done because she saw the core of who I am. This lady made the bold decision to not only trust me with her friendship but to trust me with her heart. (Y'all when we hurt, we hurt together. It's pretty wild!)
So after rediscovering our friendships and reuniting with Maddie and Helena, I began to use the experience we each had to formulate a new concept of friendship and love. Here's what I gathered:
1| Never, absolutely never, allow anyone or anything to jeopardize your relationship.
Just as you are selfish and protective over your relationship with your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancée, husband, or wife, you must be willing to protect the relationship you have with your squad. The bond you share with those you consider your inner circle should be a priority of yours. Don't let anything get in the way of these relationships. Period!
2| Be honest about who you are.
Just like the first couple of months in a relationship (I'm more of the first couple of dates kind of person because your girl is going to lay it all out there), you must be transparent with your squad. By making it clear who you are and what you expect from the relationship, you save yourself and your friend from future forms of miscommunication (not all though because we're all human here...wait are we all, I think I spot an alien?).
I found that knowing more about myself (such as my love language, my weakness and strengths, and my quirks), I have been able to give both Maddie and Helena the opportunity to know the real me. The same happened for both ladies. The more I learned about who they as individuals, (what they like and don't like, traits of who they are, and so on) the easier it became to love on them properly.
3| Schedule it out!
We seem to have jam-packed days, and it's a struggle to make time with our significant others. I get it! We are busy people. But you must ask yourself, "how is it that I'm so busy that I cannot make time to invest in my relationship with my friends?" See, busy can be great for businesses, but it sucks for relationships. Similar to what I said before, you must be willing to prioritize your friendships enough to say no to schedule fillers and yes to what pours into the relationship.
4| Aim to master the 2 golden rules.
Helena and Maddie are goals when it comes to this: forgive and love.
A while back, a married man (his name escapes me) told me that the two essential phrases in a relationship are, "I forgive you," and "I love you." These words are simple, but they are what keeps relationships going.
Accept the fact that you will fall short of your relationships with your friends just like you do in every relationship you have. But, don't give up because it got uncomfortable. (I know, I know! I did that. Stop pointing those fingers at me. I did it, and that's why I'm telling you not to do as I do.)
Forgiveness says, "hey, I'm acknowledging that you messed up, but I care too much about you and what we have that I'm willing to take this experience and make our relationship better." Love says, " I will choose you in every lifetime because the real you is who I want to have in my life."
5| Be Intentional as…
Y'all! We can get picky about who we date when it comes to romantic dating. I mean, I will go FBI on someone before I even agree to a first date. (Like, where did you go to school? What are your goals? Why did your last relationship end? Jesus?!) Okay, maybe I'm the crazy one here.
Well, just as meticulous as I am with who I want to pursue as my lifetime partner, I have to be the same way with my friendships.
If you want to make a friendship last and keep those people in your life, you have to pay attention and dig deep. My mom once said ( I think a lot of people say this to be honest), "be careful with who you get in bed with." I typically associated this saying to whoever wanted to be my boyfriend but it goes beyond that. The adage applies to our friendships too.
As you get to know people and begin wondering who will make it into the inner circle, ask yourself these questions:
- Does this person add to my life?
- Can I see myself growing with this person?
- Can I take this person to my parents (or whoever I respect)?
- How does this person argue? Is it healthy and can I disagree with them while still maintain a positive relationship with them?
- How does this person talk about their family, friends, and ex(s)? ( The red flag for gossipers, manipulators, and insecure people will begin to wave.)
- Do their perspective of life and people line up with mine? (Or is it even close? i.e., do they believe in the goodness of others or are they cynical?)
As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.'
- Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, '
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.'
A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.'
But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”'
There are more tips I wanted to share with you on how to strengthen your bonds with those you love, but this post has exceeded my original word count goal, so I'm going to have to wrap it up now.
Remember that love is a part of your DNA. As a human being, you were meant to love on others, and you yearn for love. But, don't allow your perspective to be limited to only your family and significant others. Intentionally dating your squad is part of the whole friendship thing.
I know that a lot of parents will question me for saying this but date! Date more and date often. Get to know your squad and in the midst of it all, date yourself…oh, wait that's for another post.
Until next time…