WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Katie was in Chicago for a business trip. She and her coworkers were attending a staff dinner at one of the fabulous restaurants along the Magnificent Mile. The menu was amazing, the jazz music was soothing and the men were gorgeous. “I must have died and gone to heaven,” Katie said to Tina, her shy and quiet associate. Katie excused herself to go to the ladies’ room and literally bumped into Joshua St. James, an old flame from years ago. He still looked good and still had the most mesmerizing smile of any man she had ever met. In that moment, she flashed back to the year they were “hanging out” together. They talked several times a day, prayed together, supported each other’s events and were the joy of each other’s family. Their conversations and interaction had led Katie to believe that Joshua was “her man” and she was “his woman,” until she received an e-mail from her cousin asking her if she and Joshua were still together. “Yes, of course. Why would you ask me that?” was the response she returned to her cousin via e-mail. The next e-mail knocked the wind out of Katie. It was a newspaper picture of Joshua and another woman taken recently in New York. The two looked quite cozy and when she asked Joshua about the photo, he brushed it off saying it was really nothing. He said the woman was a client and that he was just her escort for the evening. Katie let it go at that. Several weeks later, Katie was preparing for another business trip and thought back to the question her cousin had asked. “Are you and Joshua still together?” For some reason, this time she evaluated their connection differently. He had never really asked her to be his lady. He had never introduced her as his lady. While he was open to sharing information about his life, Joshua never gave Katie specific details. “Are we together at all? What are we doing?” Katie wondered. No longer would she just go through the motions and “see where things went.” She picked up the phone, called Joshua and flat-out asked him, “What are we doing? What is this?” His initial silence spoke volumes. Obviously, he was thinking how he should respond. “Katie, I am enjoying what I thought was a great friendship. I’m just not ready to be in a fully committed relationship with anyone,” was his reply. “That’s all I needed to hear, Joshua, because moving forward, I want to be very clear on us,” Katie said. That conversation had been four years ago. That was the last time they’d spoken --- until now.
Men and women view relationships differently. I have learned that men make wonderful friends and confidants. Just because a relationship does not work romantically does not mean you throw away the potential of a friendship. It is critical to be authentic and honest from the beginning, because eventually we attract into our lives who we are.
A successful friendship is based on what each person brings to the relationship. Some of my most important friendships are with men. We share mutual appreciation, trust and trustworthiness. We enjoy caring, supportive and nurturing conversation, companionship, and are deeply committed to each other’s well-being on a nonsexual, non-romantic level. It is friendship of the ultimate kind. However, too many times women skip over the stages of “getting to know you,” only to arrive prematurely at the dangerous stage of desiring and expecting long-term commitment based on short-term knowledge.
Human nature is such that we value what we have to pay a price for. The greater the price, the greater the care we tend to use in protecting our investment. Take your life off Pause and push Play. Let him catch up with you and clearly define his intentions. Ladies be very clear on this --- you are the prize! If he wants to pay the cost, then he can have some of your precious time. If not, then I’ll share a quote from a coworker that literally changed how I view reciprocity in relationships: “Never allow someone to be your priority while for them, you are just an option.” Enough said!
Excerpted from ADDICTED TO COUNTERFEIT LOVE © Copyright 2011 by Vikki Johnson. Reprinted with permission by Kimani Press. All rights reserved.