Tag: Friendship

Who Touched You This Week?

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We are just about two months into the New Year & it was only the other day that someone actually touched me. No, I don’t mean “touch” as in anything sexual or even sensual, but “touch” as in a hug or even an extended handshake.

You see for a lot of single people like me, we can go days & sometimes even weeks without actually being touched. Just imagine: At work, no one is going to hug you or lay hands on you. So where outside of work would people touch you? The grocery store? Nope, just shopping there. At the gym? No, everyone is in their own world there. How about the gas station? No, everything is self-serve these days. Well, what about at church? Okay, church may be the 1 place where you can get physical contact. Churchgoers are usually touchy feely, which is definitely a good thing. Some churches will tell you to “hug your neighbor” or “greet someone on the way out”. I know mine certainly does that. But not every church is like that. And sometimes you may not be able to stay for the whole service or you may not even be sitting in an area where there is no one to greet. Then what? My point is that without a significant other a lot of time can pass where no one touches me at all.

So how does this make me feel? Well to be honest there are times when it doesn’t phase me. There are certainly other ways to connect with people without having to be “touched”. But other times, like on Valentine’s Day or my birthday, I am reminded of Maslov’s hierarchy of needs & the need for friendship, family, intimacy and a sense of connection.

Do you go out of your way to physically greet your single friends? A hug, a pat on the back or even just a tug at the elbow may be just the touch they need to make their day. If you know someone who’s alone don’t be afraid to “reach out & touch someone’s hand.”

My Open Letter to New Moms

Dear New Mom,

Congratulations! You just had a baby. There are probably a lot of things on your mind right now like how you’re going to get your body back in shape, whether or not your maternity leave is really going to be long enough and how getting only 2 hours of sleep at a time could possibly be your new normal. Although your pregnancy may or may not have been rough & the delivery was undoubtedly painful, it was all worth it – your new little bundle of joy is here & it’s time to be the mother you’ve always wanted to be. You are a parent now & it is your duty to make your child your #1 priority.

But I need you to know that just because you have a kid doesn’t mean the world around you has stopped. People still have lives, business still needs to be handled and the earth will continue to revolve. I understand that you may be out of sorts for a while, your hormones are probably raging and you now have responsibilities that didn’t exist before. All of this is understandable but it’s no excuse for being a bad friend.

Recently I talked to a friend who just had a baby. This is her second child; her oldest is about 2 years old. I’m happy for her, because this is what she always wanted, but this is a friend that I’ve talked about before – as a new mother, she’s gotten quite boring. We were on the phone for about three minutes before I heard her 2 yr. old’s voice in the background. He was whining & begging for attention. Periodically she would respond back to him and then apologized to me for the interruptions. Our conversation only lasted about 15 minutes but we were disrupted about 17 times by her 2 year old. I was truly annoyed. We had not talked in over 2 months but I couldn’t even get 15 minutes of her undivided attention. Did she not realize how rude that was? Sure, her child wanted her attention but if she wasn’t able to talk freely without a 2 yr old tugging at her then why call me at that time? Why choose that moment to reach out to me knowing that you are already occupied? See, the thing I don’t get is why not call me after you put your kids to bed or when you get some alone time? What makes you think I want to share my private life with you if your kid is just going to interrupt every 2 minutes? When you allow your kid to constantly interrupt our conversation, you are in essence shutting me out. It makes me think that you’re not interested in my life because we can’t even talk for short periods of time before everything is about you or your kid. Besides, we really want to talk to you, not the counter you put the phone on when you place us hold while you wrangle your child. If you want to really talk to me (like we used to do) then pick a time when our conversation is the centerpiece, not your kid.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that your child comes first; I have no problem with that. But I don’t believe that becoming a mother should be the end of the world – or the end of your world. I just wish that new mothers understood this. You are going to need your friends to vent, to babysit for you or when you feel the need to just hang out. When all you do is talk about your baby, your “Mommy & me” sessions, teething, bottle cleaners or anything else baby-related it bores the heck of me. It’s not that I don’t want to hear how happy you are with your newfound ‘mommy’ title, it’s just that you seem to forget – I can’t relate.

Since I don’t have any children of my own, I don’t know the perils of being a new mom. Sometimes I wonder if I would feel any different if I had kids, you know, if I was a new mom myself. But I honestly don’t think that would make any difference. I can’t imagine missing out on the incredible friendships that I have built over the years, just because I have a baby on my hip. The world is so much larger than me & my newborn.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that over time friends are bound to grow apart, particularly with a life-changing event like having a baby. But that’s all the more reason to work harder to maintain the friendship on your end.

Now if you really are interested in keeping your friends (that are not new moms like you), there are a few things you can do. Here are some solutions to make sure that your non-mom friends don’t feel like you’ve completely forgotten about them:

  • Texting – Sending a quick text message seems to be the best way to keep in touch especially when you’re really tired. You can text while you’re breastfeeding, waiting on the laundry or even rocking your baby to sleep. Even though I’d prefer a phone call, it doesn’t take that much effort to touch base with me via text.
  • Conference call – It’s always great to talk to your girlfriends! When you’re stuck in the house all day with a new baby it can be a little overwhelming. But thanks to modern technology, we can connect over ConferenceCall.com, Facetime or even Skype. Setting up a time to talk to each other or see each other will allow us to reconnect. The best part is it won’t even cost you anything!
  • Girls get away – Let’s arrange a trip to hang out live & in-person at least 1/year. No baby talk, just grownup friends hanging out & having a good time. This way we can catch up without the distraction of your new baby. Yes, this will require some planning on your part but it’ll be worth the effort to rekindle our friendship.

I know this is a long letter especially since you have a baby that’s probably begging for your attention as you read this, but I really wanted you to know how I felt. Even though your life may have changed for the better, I really don’t want our friendship to change for the worse.

Signed, your friend forever (I hope),

Chocolate Vent

 

New Mom

Wait A Minute, Money Can Buy Happiness!

We humans spend a lot of time waiting in lines: People queue up for days in order to get their hands on the latest iPhone, or what feels like eons for a table at that hip new brunch place.

You may be better off spending time and money on the latter. A growing body of research has shown that experiences tend to make people happier than material possessions.

And even anticipating an experience like a concert, a ski trip or what better be a really great brunch makes us happier than purchasing the latest gadgets, according to a study published Tuesday in Psychological Science.

The study, cleverly titled Waiting for Merlot: Anticipatory Consumption of Experiential and Material Purchases, tracked how about 100 college students and over 2,200 randomly selected adults felt about material goods and experiences.

People got excited about both things and events. But they tended to feel more positive about experiential purchases, and their feelings about material purchases were more likely to be tinged with feelings of impatience.

“I think one aspect of that has to do with the nature of imagination,” says Amit Kumar, a doctoral student of psychology at Cornell University and one of the researchers behind the paper.

“If you’re waiting to buy an iPhone, you know exactly how many megapixels the camera on the new phone will have,” Kumar told Shots. People often get really creative while planning out a future vacation, he says, and just thinking about all the things they’ll be doing and all fun they’ll be having can boost their mood.

Plus when it comes to experiences, money isn’t as much of an issue, the researchers hypothesize. People may be competitive when it comes to keeping up with the Joneses, but tend to be less competitive about spending on experiences.

And as people age, they tend to find more joy in ordinary, everyday experiences like walking or gardening, compared to that trip to Fiji, another recent study found.

One reason may be that experiences give people the opportunity to bond and socialize, Kumar says. Even when if you aren’t guaranteed a ticket to a concert or a taco from the cool new food truck, people often enjoy waiting in line. “While waiting for concert tickets, people reported singing songs together, or people would be playing games with each other while they’re waiting,” he says.

And we’ve got proof of that right here at Shots. Editor Scott Hensley says he could buy tickets online for the Old Ebbitt Grill’s annual Oyster Riot, but he much prefers going downtown first thing in the morning and waiting in line with his fellow oyster aficionados.

That sounds a lot more fun than those Black Friday scuffles over flat screens and Xboxes. Indeed, Kumar and his colleagues compared news reports about people waiting in line and found that long waits for material purchases were more likely to end in violence.

We bet nobody’s gotten into a fight while waiting for that oyster party.

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*Article originally published on NPR.

 

Friendship Is A Two-Way Street

Roses are red,
Violets are blue;
It sure would be nice if you reach out to me
Half as much as I’ve reached out to you.

That is the poem I wrote in a few of the Christmas cards I sent out over the 2013 holidays. Year after year, I invest my time, money (stamps aren’t free), energy and efforts in making sure that I send out something in the mail to those I consider my dearest of friends. These may be friends that I don’t talk too very often or those that I see all the time, but I still like to mail letters & cards out the good ole fashioned way. Those who know me personally know that ever year they can expect a Christmas card, birthday card, a “newsletter” (which is nothing more than a written update on what’s happening in my life) and even a Valentine’s Day “surprise!” for my single girlfriends. I do these things because I care & while I may not be able to see or speak to you very often, I want my friends to know that they are always on my mind.

A lot of times I may never receive anything in return. I don’t mean getting an actual gift or card in return; I mean I don’t even get an acknowledgement that they received my gift, card or newsletter was received let alone read. I realize that some people are just not the “send a card” type, but you would think year after year of receiving something from me that they would at least attempt to reciprocate (or at the very least reach out to let me know they got my mail). Well, they haven’t. So I’ve decided that I’m going to stop trying to connect with people who don’t want to connect with me.

This includes phone calls too. How many times have you heard “I don’t like to talk on the phone” or “I’m not a phone person”? To me, that’s just a piss poor excuse. If you own a phone, you ARE a phone person. What else is a phone for, but to communicate with people that are not right in front of you? There is something wrong with someone who enjoys the benefits of someone else calling to check on them, but can’t reach out to check on anybody else.

As much as I value some people, it seems that they just don’t value me. And for that reason, I realize that some friendships are a 2-way street I’d rather not drive down. So in 2014 I am cutting people off – people who I used to call friends, people who used to call me their friend. Not to say that these people can’t ever be my friend again, but it’s gonna take a lot more effort on their part going forward.

As Robert Brault once saidI value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.”

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I Could Rock With Her!

Have you ever met someone that looks like they should be in your crew? I know I have. Every now & then I see a woman who looks polished – dressed fly, nicely coiffed hair, makeup & nails tight. When I see women like this I think, “Man she could rock with me!”

The saying ‘birds of a feather, flock together’ is so true for me. The friends that I hang out with on a regular basis are pretty much like me – put together & carry themselves well (I have my days but for the most part this is how I try to present myself). And nothing over the top – no crazy nail designs, ridiculously high heels or tacky-looking weave. If I present myself a certain way, I want to hang out with people who present themselves in a similar fashion. That’s probably what attracts one person to another in the first place.

Whenever I do see women who look like they could be in my circle, I try to get to know them and possibly make a connection. I don’t want a group of friends that all look or act like me, but I certainly don’t want any ‘crazy looking’ friends either. People would think I’m crazy if they saw me associated with someone who doesn’t look like they belong in my circle of friends.

So, what do you do when you see someone that you’d like to have in your circle?!

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Everyone Is Entitled To Their Opinion. You Just Need To Keep Yours To Yourself

Similar to my other randoms, here is my latest list of things that people shouldn’t do (or say):

  • Women who gloat about not having to wear makeup but they wear weaves – Fake is fake. Most women who don’t think they need makeup really do. Even if it’s just lipstick – there is nothing wrong with a little color to brighten up your face. Makeup does more than just cover up blemishes it adds to your overall appearance just like any other accessory. You may think you look nice as a plain jane but a splash of color never hurt anybody
  • People who gossip about everyone’s business but get mad when you don’t share any of your own – If you are telling me about other people and their private lives then I know for sure that you will tell other people about my personal business. If I can’t trust that you would keep my business between the two of us, I won’t share anything with you. (I’ve had to come to this realization as my friends get married & chose to tell my business to their husbands. *less pillow talk, please ladies*)
  • Other people that keep track of YOUR finances – How about you keep your eyes on your own account and make sure that your finances are in check? Unless they want to make a donation, other people should never be checking your checking account
  • Don’t you hate it when someone compliments your outfit, but they can’t dress themselves? – When bad dressers tell me how cute my outfit is I always think to myself “Too bad I can’t tell them the same thing back. I really need to take them shopping with me.” After all, how can you admire my sense of style when you don’t have any?
  • People who forget your birthday but hype up their own – I have friends who talk about their birthday months in advance, but can’t remember when mine is. If you want others to celebrate you on your special day, you should remember theirs. Isn’t there an app for that? Folks need to remember that it’s not always all about them

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Why Do We Keep Friends That We Shouldn’t?

How many friends do we keep that we shouldn’t? In other words, do you have people in your life that you confide in, hang out with or keep in touch with that do things that you disagree with morally?  I do. And I have friends that do as well (hopefully I’m not the friend that they shouldn’t be keeping around!).

I do wonder why we keep these people in our lives. If I know that someone is doing something that is reprehensible, immoral or even illegal how can I truly look them in the eye & call them my friend? Should I cut their friendship off? Or make some new friends that share my morals?

I’ll give you a prime example: I have a friend who has admitted to cheating on her husband. Now I don’t condone anyone cheating – if they’re in a relationship let alone if they’re married – but I’ve known her for a long time so why wouldn’t I want to remain friends with her? We’ve all heard the expression “birds of a feather flock together”, but that doesn’t mean I’ll commit adultery when I get married. I also have friends who know men that disrespect women or deal with ‘street pharmaceuticals’, yet they still maintain those friendships.

What gives? Do we keep these friendships out of loyalty or obligation? Or for fear that making new friends come with new risks? Is the history we have with these friends worth more than where these friendships may lead?  All I know is that I do have people in my life I probably shouldn’t keep but I am not ashamed of these friendships.

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You Are Dismissed!

As my birthday month comes to an end I’ve been thinking about all of the people who have let me down by not being there for me and not just for my birthday but in general.  The last month has been rough on me and the people that I thought I could turn to haven’t been there like I thought they should be. A few of my “friends” forgot about my birthday and even some of my own relatives haven’t been there for me, so it’s becoming more & more apparent that everybody in my life wasn’t meant to be there forever.

I realize that I am quick to dismiss people. If someone doesn’t treat me the way I feel I deserve then I stop talking to them. If someone can’t pick up the phone for 60 seconds to wish me happy birthday but sends me a text message instead then I have no problem deleting them from my phone. I get so tired of reaching out and my friends & family don’t reach back.  I don’t know how many Valentine’s Day cards I’ve sent to my single girlfriends over the years just to let them know that someone is thinking about them or how many birthday cards I’ve mailed out and have never gotten anything back. I never give with the expectation of receiving but sometimes it’s nice to have the thought reciprocated.

I know that not everyone shows their affections in the same way. While I love sending out cards & small gifts to people that I care about I know that people can exhibit their friendship in other ways. Plainly put: not everyone is into greeting cards. But it goes beyond the cards; even just keeping in touch with me seems to be a lot to ask. I know that as we get older life gets hectic and it means nothing for six months to pass by without calling me. But I am tired of reaching out to people to see how they’re doing & they never initiate contact with me. One of my girlfriends NEVER reaches out to me unless I call her first. Once we get to talking it’s like old times all over again, but for some reason she just never initiates contact. I love her to death otherwise I would’ve “dismissed” her a long time ago. I just can’t understand – why are some people so casual about maintaining friendships?

I know that I can’t go around dismissing everyone that forgets my birthday or doesn’t call me as often as I would like because then I wouldn’t be left with very many friends. But how can I be fulfilled in a friendship where I am the only one initiating contact? Yes, we all have a lot going on but unless your name is Michelle or Barack Obama, you are NOT too busy to check on me. Do I just give up on my friends? Does this mean our friendship doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to me? Or should I let these people slowly slip out of my life because they are “too lazy” to reach out to me?

The old adage says: “Some people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”

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Could I Be Jealous Over a Baby?

So, I have a close friend who is pregnant due any day now. I told her about a month ago that I am excited for her & her husband but that I would “give her space” once the baby comes. And for me, “space” means that I don’t plan on calling her for quite some time – months even. Just like all of my other friends with kids, I know that she’ll be very tired and won’t have much time to keep up with our friendship.

I also know that once she gives birth she won’t have much else to talk about. Since she’ll be on maternity leave and won’t be going out much, there won’t be any work conversation or any of the usual gossip. No offense to her but I don’t really want to hear about her baby. I have lots on my plate, plus baby talk is uninteresting to me.

Now, I know how awful that sounds – I’m supposed to be her really good friend & I am – but I’m in a different place in my life (read: no kids). Of course, I’ll be excited for her once the baby arrives but since I can’t relate I just have no interest in talking about her “little bundle of joy”. The issue is that I don’t think that’s unreasonable….I mean, people who are in different phases of life just can’t relate. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be friends any longer or that the friendship wasn’t genuine to begin with. When my grandmother got her dentures, I was excited for her but because I couldn’t relate the topic of dentures wasn’t discussed. I know that example may be a bit of a stretch, but the principle is still the same. Just because someone is in a different phase of life doesn’t mean that the other person is supposed to be thrilled to hear about it.

Ironically, before my friend got married she & I used to joke with each other that we never liked those women who ONLY talked about their babies and how un-relatable those women were now that they had become mothers.

Could I be jealous of her? Could I be jealous of her baby? Or am I just a bad friend?

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