The Friend Zone: What Male Friendships Can Teach You About Self Love.
One month after heartbreak, the reality sunk in. I fumbled out of bed. Slowly walked to the bathroom and stared at my puffy eyes in the mirror. Silently, I whispered, I miss my friend.
For the past six months, my best friend was Tyler (or at least that is what I will call him for now). Tyler was an enigma to say the least. The mix of his social nature and spontaneous personality made him easy to love. We were both in our own weird post break up process. It was tough, but he made it easier. Most of the time, we would just share a spliff and cruise down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway for all my non-Cali folks). It felt good to be free and laugh again. The situation began with shared adventures, escalated to a few giggles, and eventually led to a kiss which, in time, turned into multiples kisses.
On one beautiful night, the multiple kisses stopped abruptly. I said “Tyler”. He said “Mhmm”. I simply nodded my head. That night we became one. I will never be able to explain how it felt. The experience was more than physical. It was spiritual. My first thought was
“Have we done this before?”
When fall ended, Tyler informed me that he was moving back home, but our situation would remain the same. I was for it, because I believed sometimes true love must suffice from a distance. As the seasons changed, so did our love. The new season brought a new woman into his life. Unfortunately, Tyler failed to inform me of the change. When all the secrets and lies came to light, I was devastated to say the least.
We stopped talking for months. As much as I loved the first kiss, I regretted everything that came after it. I didn’t care about the intimacy. I would have given that all up just to go back to the days when we were simply friends sharing energy and taking trips to the stars. Today, we are cool, but it pains me to say that we will never be as close as we once were.
It made me reflect on my thought process towards the opposite sex. Why was it that whenever I am introduced to a male my initial thought is “Is he my husband?
It didn’t make sense, so I spent the last year intentionally cultivating and strengthening genuine male friendships. My clique of bros supported me, protected me, paid for me when I was broke and most importantly empowered me to discover what real love is. Through these relationships, I learned a few things about loving myself. Here goes:
Genuine connections don’t come from unrealistic expectations. I was on a search for love. If he didn’t fit the mold of my future husband, I would instantly dismiss him which made me miss out on a lot of genuine male friends. Eventually, I learned in every encounter whether physical, spiritually, momentary or whatever it may be you have to cherish the person in that moment without expectation. Don’t let unrealistic expectations block you from the opportunity to meet someone who can inspire your growth. In learning to enjoy men as friends rather than jumping straight to romantic partner, I met some really dope dudes who helped to reveal the light hidden within me.
Take Your Time Sis! You don’t have to go with the first man that gives you attention. The one thing I love about my bros is that they don’t settle. When discussing relationships, I often roll my eyes, BUT I always crack a smile when they say she is a good woman, but she isn’t my wife. They understand what they want and even better they don’t settle. My boys taught me to wait until you are ready, keep your options open and be patient. No need to rush. There are a million and one people in this world. You will find YOUR one.
Focus on yourself first. We all want to build the best life for ourselves, but our approaches are completely different. Men tend to focus on career first and family second. Women tend to do the opposite. One day one of my boys sat me down and said
“Tiff, why are you so concerned about a family right now. You can barely balance your checkbook”
All I could think was “damn bro, you right”.
I was focusing so much on having the “American dream” that I forgot to focus on becoming the best woman I could be. It was inconsiderate to even attempt to incorporate someone into my life, especially when I was still trying to figure it out.
Last thing, they taught me that I AM AMAZING AF! Leave it to your friends to always see what you can’t even in your darkest moments.
Is it possible that one of my boys could one day be my husband? Maybe. Who knows and honestly who cares? I am just blessed to have them in my life. So, this goes out to my boys all across the world. You have and continue to shape me as a woman. I am so grateful and blessed to have your love, your support, and your protection. I am because you are.