Thursday, September 15, 2011

Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em

One thing I've come to realize that happens as a result of a self-imposed, almost year-long online dating (again, who am I kidding? Dating, in general, is a better way of phrasing that, but I'd like to keep at least a semblance of dignity.) hiatus is a lot of free time for reflection.  Not having to juggle jokers with bad screennames and worse profiles who desire nothing more than to take up permanent residence in Text Land leaves one with plenty of spare moments for pondering and evaluation.  And believe me...  I've been thinking.  Writing, not so much.  But, thinking, yes.  Danger zone.

So, as my ever-faithful readers (if you are still there considering the ridiculous gaps between posts and even more inexcusable lapses in my own original material...fingers crossed anyone is actually reading this), you get the extreme pleasure of being the beneficiaries of said ponderings and considerations and helping me unravel the unending streams of consciousness that seem to only complicate my already over-analytical thought processes. 

During my year of nothing year of loneliness hiatus since last October, I've tried dilligently to focus on meeting people in what I refer to as "the real world."  Online dating, regardless of how successful your endeavors may be, just seems so... well, not real world... to me at least.  "The Real World" consists of those standard meeting opportunities, like bars (blah), coffee shops (only happens in the movies), being introduced to each other by a mutual friend (potentially dangerous) or playing 'damsel in distress' at a hardware store (I have yet to attempt this one, but I'll keep you posted.).  Judge me if you will, but I still think that most people would prefer to meet their significant other in one of these more traditional ways.  Online dating is great (did I really just say that?!), and I know it works on ocassion (except for yours truly, the world-reknowned Serial First Dater), but it's still my Plan B.  At this point. 

So, this desire to focus on men in "the real world" got me thinking about my approach and style when it comes to interacting and building relationships with the male species.  I think we've talked about this before, but I'll explain for the newbies.  Throughout my entire adolescent and adult life, the men that I've been most attracted to have started out as my friends.  And eventually, their charm, wit, and all around fabulousness caught the attention of my heart (and/or my eyes... and... I'll leave it at that.) and I was smitten.  Years ago (like, we were 12), a friend with whom I am still extremely close and who maintains this sentiment to this day, told me that she was sure I would end up marrying someone who was my best friend first.  And I knew instantly that she was probably right.  I feel like I have to have that foundation of friendship first.  I don't want to build a relationship on physical attraction and then try to create an emotional bond and connectivity after the fact.  And I'm not sure that I want our first date to technically also be the first time I ever lay eyes on the guy either.  At 30, I don't want to jump into a dating situation without knowing some non-dating background on the person first.  What if I find out he buries kittens up to their necks in his backyard for giggles on Saturday afternoons after we've been dating for months?  Or something as dreadful as (dear God) he's not a Braves fan??! (Gasp in terror.)  Time wasters, people.  And this girl and her biological clock cannot withstand time wasters. 

The problem here is that most of the men who have become the object of my affection following months or even years of friendship don't seem to have such an easy time turning the Friendship Boat around to head upstream toward Coupledom.  More often than I'd like to share, I get the "I don't want to ruin our friendship" line.  Here's my question to you, Singletons and Marrieds:  When is the potential for a fantastic relationship worth the risk of losing the friendship?

Granted, just because I think we'd make a wonderful couple and have stunningly beautiful babies doesn't mean that he (hypothetical man) necessarily agrees with me, and I realize that the "ruin our friendship" line could be total bull crap and really translate as "I'm not interested in dating you, but don't want to hurt your feelings."  Lame.  I'm grown. I can handle it.  Interesting men are like a good pair of shoes.  Potentially hard to find, sad to see go when they're worn out and appreciate them for their beauty and the great times we shared together, but the shoe store is right down the street and probably having a sale.  I'll get over it when I find another pair of black patent leather heels that make my calves look awesome.  But, I digress. 

Is it possible for both people to simultaneously think that the friendship is worth risking for the potential of an amazing relationship or does it require one person convincing the other to give it a shot?  And, if you're good enough friends to begin with and things go south relationship-wise, shouldn't that make for a softer crash landing?  Maybe I'm naive and inexperienced.  So, you tell me.  What would it take for you to risk a friendship for a romantic relationship?  What components would have to be present for you to say "I see your friendship and raise you one potential fairytale romance"?  Because to me, if I think you're wonderful, it's worth putting all my chips in.  I can't think of anything that would stop me from grabbing the chance and playing my hand.  I know it's a gamble, but having the opportunity to fall in love with my best friend is one I'm willing to take. 

Anxiously awaiting your commentary...


  1. I have seen a lot of friendships turn into relationships that turn into a horrible mess, but when it actually does work out it's an amazing thing!! I have also seen friends that would be perfect for eachother ruin something good because they are friends. That's a really tough situation!!!

  2. Meeting someone online is just the introduction. Once you take it offline and meet in person, it no longer matters how you met. That's my opinion anyway. Unless it's a friend of a friend, there's no guarantee that someone you meet in person isn't a creep. Just as there are no guarantees that someone you meet online is a creep. Some people are wonderful - after all, we're there, too! ;-)


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