Female friends

Now, this is really telling on myself here, but it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to and I may finally be getting better at. As the post name indicates, the topic is female friends.

As a guy attracted to girls, I have struggled some with maintaining non-romantic relationships with women (I’ll leave the romantic relationships alone for the moment). The trouble lies with the fact that, if I appreciate a lady for her mind and her persona, it often follows that sparks start striking for me. The most luck I’ve had in the past was when I talk to someone who is already in a committed relationship (i.e. meeting someone’s wife) and is therefore not available and not interested. This flips off a switch in my brain and allows me to talk to her without involving any romantic feelings, I guess it’s a defense mechanism to prevent me from going insane with heartbreak and jealousy, or perhaps it’s some sort of emotional politeness. I feel genuinely sorry for people who can’t suppress the trigger in those situations, because that must be hellish.

If the woman is single and interested in guys, however, there have been rocky patches in my dealings. Is that normal? Suffice to say, I’ve had few female friends. I’ve had pleasant conversations with plenty of women that didn’t turn romantic, but I usually haven’t spoken to them enough to consider them “friends.”

I started writing this post in late July, and I set it aside then, perhaps because I ran out of time one night, or perhaps because it’s a subject I have difficulty putting into words. Since I got this far though, I’ll try to finish the thought. Anyhow, I do have a few female friends. Not many of them are close, where I see them with any frequency or can talk to them about anything freely, though there are one or two who can qualify as the former or the latter. I just wish I didn’t sabotage the process with feelings as often as I have in the past. Should I really feel sorry for being who I am, though? Maybe it is neither a good trait nor a bad trait, simply part of me. Even so, I can’t help but feel dumb for how easily I start falling in love. At least my one-track mind keeps me focused on the woman I’m with, when I have a relationship. I dread to think what kind of drama I’d have gotten myself into otherwise.

Right, I was going to keep this conversation grounded in talking about friends and not romantic relationships. I think I’m reaching the point in my life that I can successfully not make a fool out of myself all the time, and when I do make a fool out of myself I have the good sense to realize I’m doing so and have that be a conscious choice. I sometimes worry I might relapse and make the same mistakes I’ve made before, but I think we all share that fear. Now I can talk to a woman and – potentially – it’s just a conversation. I know the foolhardy romantic is still part of me though, one of the many facets of my personality. Perhaps I’ve traded enough innocence for experience to keep it in check now.

you call me as you come home from work
we talk about our day, our fears
our darkest moments manifest
you tell me you’ve been here

you tell me not to beat myself
it’s nice to know you care
you cheer me in a practical way
commiserate despair

eventually the time runs out
you go home to another man
and I know that I’m okay with this
for I tell myself I can.

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