I would like to tell you all a little story I like to call, “How my former best friend fucked me up”. My former best friend of 5 years and I were inseparable as recently as 9 months ago. We texted and/or called each other at least 9 times a day and never went more than 2 days or so without seeing each other. We knew everything single thing about the other person and then some. She was my rock, my guide, my sister, my…..mom? My damaging therapist?
You see our relationship started to evolve into something strange after about year 3 and 1/2 and it continued downhill from there. She is 7 years older than me and very smart, but at times it felt as though she was trying to manipulate and control me instead of being nurturing and wise. As I neared my 30th birthday I knew that I had to break-up with her and her toxic energy. We fought and made each other miserable for months at the end until we had it out one night through text and I’ve never heard from her since.
Anyway, the point of this story is that I always looked to this person, the one who I always counted on to have my best interest, for all of my life choices. Toward the end of our relationship she began taking courses on how to be a “love coach” and thought she knew EVERYYYYTHING there was to know about courting, dating, and relationships. And because of that, she literally would shame me into making decisions with men that not only were not in my best interest, but were not in my character. At first I blindly followed her advice thinking that, of course, she knows best! She’s been trained! She has life experience! But what she was giving me was a perspective that was so shrouded by the negative, bitter lens she had on her OWN life and was damaging to mine.
Because of this, I literally have NO IDEA how to handle myself with guys. I am trying to undo YEARS of damage that she caused me by brainwashing me into thinking that her way was the only way. Now I am so shy and apprehensive with potential mates (which is completely out of character for me) and trying to carefully craft my every move so as to not to make a mistake. I don’t really know if I should hinder most of my natural impulses (which was basically her advice) or be myself and trust that the right guy will love me no matter what mistakes I make.
She would tell me to “sit on my hands” all the time and not text a guy when I really wanted to. She would tell me to “date everyone” even when I thought a guy was repulsive and wanted to refuse a date with him. She would tell me to “insist that the guy pick you up for the first date and only accept dinner and nothing less” even if it was someone I hardly knew. What was supposed to be some weird form of relinquishing control in dating turned into me being the ice-queen-super bitch who no one wanted to be around.
Here is the thing about your friends giving you advice: you have to know that it is completely biased and manipulated by what they choose to see and hear and what is going on with them at that moment. If I ask my friend who is dating a married man what advice she has for me her answer would be something along the lines of, “life is short. You just have to go with your gut instinct and know that even if the timing is bad that you have to follow your heart.” While my friend who is feeling insecure about her budding relationship would give me this advice on the same guy, “You just need to let him go and move on. You deserve better and he’s not good enough for you. You should join online dating to meet some new guys.”
And here is the thing, we ALL ask our friends for advice even when we know deep down what we want to do and what we feel is right. So why do we still take screen shots of text conversations and analyze and agonize all day over something that we can’t control? Why do we feel we need someone to tell us what to do and what moves to make? I have, on a number of occasions, had a friend dictate to me word for word what I should say to a new potential guy through text. Even if it’s something that would never come out of my mouth in real life I still trust that more than my own intuition.
I went out with this new guy that I met last Friday and I literally called one of my friends after every single text he sent to have her dissect what he was really thinking and what I should respond back. She wanted me to be very proper and forward in my responses instead of sending texts that were light and humorous, which is my jam. If we can’t be ourselves when we meet someone new, then what is the point? He asked me out because he liked who I was, not the perfect manufactured version of me.
But years of damage from ex-bestie and years of being single have made me so confused about the game. I figure if I’ve been single for this long it must mean that I’ve been doing MOST everything wrong and that I need someone to fix me. Right? I dunno. Dating is so weird and hard especially in this modern age. Everyone is trying to feel as little as possible and be as casual as can be that you can’t get a direct answer out of anyone.
What does it all mean?! When can I finally stop agonizing?! When will I know what’s right?? When can I begin to trust that what I think immediately is what I should do?
So many questions. It takes all the fun out of dating. Was it only easy when I was 22? Is this a sign of getting older? Or is this merely a sign that I’ve finally grown up and am ready for something serious and therefore taking it all more seriously? I hope that’s the case. I just wish I could chill the fuck out and enjoy the ride. I’m trying to do the same in my career, which leads me to believe that some day soon down the line it will ALL come together and I will be ridiculously happy for all eternity.
Maybe you can actually trust yourself and know that when you are ready the right one will waltz into your life and stick no matter if you sent him a text when you shouldn’t have or not. Or if you were too talkative at dinner or tried to pay or made some other game-changing mistake.
I have to choose to believe that the universe has a bigger plan for me and to just be myself and let go and allow for what’s right to be there when it’s supposed to. I can feel it coming… 🙂