My friend Tori and I sat on a stoop in Soho eating chicken strips and fries while watching black SUV’s ride across the cobblestone. We hadn’t seen each other in months so it was time to indulge in our shameless girl talk topics on beauty, hair, social media, life goals, spirituality, dreams, success, BOYS…oh boy. We hadn’t updated each other on the boy segment in a long time but somehow, as always, one girl’s experience is totally relatable to the other. Here was her situation:
Storyline: twenty-something-year-old woman rendezvous with twenty-something-year-old boy in hopes of attaining a successful, dynamic, radiant companionship filled with tranquility, peace, happiness, everythingsheeverwantedness, and dopeness.
“It’s not me, it’s you,” she vents to me as if talking to the one who disappointed her. “It’s you! The truth is, you just don’t have my back. You don’t have my back in the way that I have yours. You don’t even know how to be a good friend”. I pondered on this. The simplicity of her words left me in deep silence as I listen, think, and people watch…
“It’s not me, it’s you. You don’t have my back, You don’t even know how to be a good friend.”
I have read just about every article on the face of the internet about relationships, breakups, ex’s, emotional unavailability, heartbreak, narcissism, codependency, and pretty much every emotional discrepancy under the sun. You name it, I’ve read an article about it. I was in desperate search of a logical explanation for dysfunctional behavior. I had so many questions: How has childhood affected today’s generation? How have past experiences affected our present? I acquired a multitude of perspectives but still could not fully understand it all. Tori’s conclusion was so simple. It was so genuine according to what she wanted. An incredibly smart, beautiful, down to earth, funny, and driven chick just wanted the dude she was hanging with to have her back and treat her like a friend first. Was that too much to ask? Was it just too much to want to be treated with dignity and respect, instead of some chick he met drunk at a party who killed his cat, slashed his tires and trashed his Xbox while singing Alanis Morissette’s ‘ You Oughta Know’? Was it really that challenging of a request? I thought about it for a while and all of the sudden had an epiphany or as Oprah would call it, an AHA! moment.
Yes. It is a challenging request. Yes, It is an unreasonable request. Yes, It is a downright impossible request. And Yes, it is a set up for failure and I am going to tell you why.
We often expect to receive the same level of treatment we so willingly dish out to other people. In our minds, it seems like common sense. One of the most valued qualities in a friendship or a relationship for my friend and me is loyalty. ‘You got my back, I got yours, let’s protect each other from the BS of life by never feeding each other BS’ kind of mentality. Because really, how hard is it to be loyal? How difficult is it to act with integrity? It does not seem like a standard set too high…right?
WRONG. We were dead wrong. In fact, it is an extremely high expectation. Consider it an impossible expectation that will cause you to spends weeks, months, years, wasting your time with someone while beating a dead horse because they refuse to get the point.
If you are dealing with somebody who has no intention of being loyal to you and has shown through their actions they have no intention of being loyal to you or demonstrating any acts of integrity, then you are beating the dead horse like a piñata with no prize.
If loyalty is not a quality they value or something they are willing to reciprocate to YOU, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
If you expect someone to respect you when they don’t even respect themselves, then you might as well take a seat and go watch paint dry because that process will be much quicker and a much better use of your time. Not to mention, a lot less excruciating.
People (women especially) tend to blame themselves for failed endeavors. We spend hours thinking, what could I have done to make the person I care about treat me like the scum stuck to the bottom of their shoe instead of the smart, vivacious, generous person that I actually am? I am so guilty of doing this to myself. My mother told me ‘ Look outward instead of inward’. The reality of it is, there is nothing you could have done. Don’t go down that dark road because it is not about you. In a situation where you are mistreated, it is never about you. (We want everything to be about us so badly, but it’s not.) It is not about you being beautiful, or smart, or happy or loving or perfect because none of this will matter to a person who doesn’t care. Even if you did kill his cat and trash his precious Xbox in your past life, no one who loves themselves, or who is in their right mind for that matter, is going to string you along, treat you badly, or leave you on the side of the road feeling lost, confused and alone. Think about it, is that something YOU would be capable of doing to someone else, even if you weren’t that into them?
We have to keep in mind that we are not all the same.
To expect something from someone who is not on the same page as you, does not have nearly the same emotional capacity as you or who is just plain lacking in empathy, to give you the love and respect you deserve, is not a viable expectation. It is so important that we are honest with ourselves and that we respect our own values and boundaries. Love yourself and be confident in the fact that Single+Netflix&Chill alone is pure heaven on earth compared to settling for someone that does not deserve you or know your worth.