Last week I told you why you shouldn’t fear a long-distance relationship. Now, it’s time to talk specifics. You’re in a long-distance relationship, but how do you make it work every day? Whether you’re doing long-distance across cities, states or even countries, the fundamentals of keeping long-distance love healthy are basically universal.
1.) Know your phone plan: I say this because when I was in London and my boyfriend, Chris, was in Syracuse, we thought we had a great calling plan. Because of this, we would talk on the phone almost every day. One morning I woke up to an e-mail from my mother with a subject line that read “!!!!!!!!!!” In the e-mail, I found out that we didn’t completely understand the details of our calling plan, and therefore had racked up a $3,000 phone bill. After much pleading and begging with Verizon we were able to knock it down to a reasonable fee, but needless to say our error was almost disastrous. This is why you should figure out your phone situation before you begin a long-distance thing.
2.) Plan your calls: This is especially important if you’re dealing with a time difference. You don’t want to be sitting on Skype sad and pissed off that the only person you can talk to is the robot you call to see if your sound is working. If you want to have a long catch-up, plan it out in advance so you’ll both be free and ready to chat.
3.) Share pictures of your city: Take pictures of the new views, restaurants, and attractions that you discover in your city, and share them with your guy. It’ll help you feel like you’re experiencing the things your city has to offer together. If you’re feeling really romantic, make a little sign that says “I love you” or “I miss you” and get a picture of you holding it in front of a cool landmark in your city. Send it to your guy to remind him that you’re thinking of him even if you aren’t together.
4.) Plan virtual dates: Just because you’re in different cities, doesn’t mean you can’t go on a date together. Rent the same DVD, get on Skype, press play and watch it “together.” Order/cook the same type of food, and eat it while you Skype. Pretend like you’re out at a restaurant and have a virtual date.
5.) Share the good and the bad: This mostly pertains to studying abroad, but could also apply to other types of long-distance too. If you’re in a new city experiencing amazing things and your significant other is stuck at home, make sure you share the good and the bad. If you’re constantly talking about what a fabulous time you’re having, how beautiful the city is, how nice the people are, etc. it can make your partner feel like you’ve built a new life without him. Don’t feel bad about talking about the great things that are happening, but be realistic about what your life in the new city is like. Tell him when you’re stressed about a paper or a work project. Include him in all aspects of your life, not just the exciting things.
5.) Don’t be afraid to fight: When I first went to London, I was afraid to disagree with Chris about the slightest thing. We were on separate continents and I was scared what would happen if I brought up an issue when we weren’t in the same room. What if Skype cut out? What if he interpreted what I said differently because he wasn’t there to read my body language? I was there for four months, so after a while I learned that you have to maintain a normal relationship even if you aren’t in the same city. If something was bothering me, I would bring it up just like I would if he was sitting next to me. It was a little strange at first, but I felt a lot better once I knew that no subject was off-limits. With that in mind, be careful not to pick fights because you miss each other and don’t enjoy doing long-distance. Being apart can be frustrating, but don’t take out that sadness and frustration on the other person. Are you really mad at the way he answered the phone when you called, or are you mad that you have to talk to him on the phone instead of seeing him? Keep it in perspective.
6.) “Check in” whenever possible: Balancing two busy schedules is not easy, and it’s more difficult when you can’t come home and see each other at the end of a long day. “Checking in” is a strategy I heard about while watching the show “Giuliana and Bill” featuring E!’s Giuliana Rancic. Don’t judge me. Anyway, G says that whenever she or Bill travel, they always “check in”. Basically this means that if you have five minutes, you call the other person to remind him/her that you love him/her. Even if he/she doesn’t answer, you leave a voicemail and then he/she knows you were thinking about him/her. If you talk, it doesn’t have to be a long conversation. The point is just to show that you care. Sweet, right?
Have you tried any of these tips while doing long-distance? Any others I haven’t thought of yet? Let me know! Leave me a comment, or find me on Twitter @lifewithlauren1.
In case you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard about this amazing movie, ENDLESS LOVE stars Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) and Gabriella Wilde (The Three Musketeers) in the story of a privileged girl and a charismatic boy whose instant desire sparks a love affair made only more reckless by parents trying to keep them apart.
Can we say tragic awesomeness? Why yes, yes we can.
Besides our love for Alex Pettyfer (so hot) we live for a good love story. We will definitely be checking it out this weekend and know you will too. But in the meantime, we have a great giveaway and post from our very own Life with Lauren about her own story when she finally grew up.
Haven’t seen the trailer? Check it here and find more info about the movie and giveaway below. -Kira
It’s really, REALLY hard to transition from being a child or teen to being an adult all in one place. You may think you’re doing it and you may have every intention in the world of doing it, but it’s just nearly impossible. It took me a little while to realize this for myself, but when I did I knew that I had to leave my hometown of Syracuse, New York. It was the only place I’d ever lived (even during college), but it was time to see other things. No more running into my old teachers at my favorite restaurant. No more going to the same gym I’d gone to since high school. A little comfort zone expansion never hurt anyone.
For me, that someplace new ended up being Charlotte, North Carolina, and the transition hasn’t always been easy. Instead of knowing every road like the back of my hand, I rely desperately on my GPS to get anywhere. Instead of seeing the same faces I’ve seen since I was in middle school, I have to reach out and make new connections. I have to find a new doctor and learn where things are in a grocery store chain that isn’t familiar to me. I have to deal with getting a North Carolina license plate. Each of these tasks is relatively small on its own, but over time they add up.
But in the midst of these small yet collectively slightly overwhelming tasks has come a huge sense of independence that is worth any moments of frustration or sadness I’ve had to get through. It’s hard to feel like you’re really an adult when you’re still going to the same places you went to on a Saturday when you were in tenth grade. Now I’m in this new place, seeing new sights on my own for the first time. It’s like I shed my adolescent skin and am now a real, live adult.
While I feel like a grown up when I drive around an entirely new city and put myself out there so I can make friends, I’d have to say that my real “aha!” moment about my newfound adulthood happened when I got the flu. I was too cool to get the flu shot and, of course, ended up getting it and puking my guts out for three days. I could barely get out of bed to get water and I just wanted my mom. After calling her hysterical, I realized this was the situation I had to deal with. Sometimes you live somewhere on your own and your mom can’t bring you soup and that’s okay.
It’s important to prove to yourself that you can navigate any situation on your own, whether that means dealing with the flu, killing a cockroach, or figuring out which career move you want to make next. It doesn’t matter how confusing/frustrating/daunting it seems, you’ve got it covered. Successfully getting past challenges without a safety net of family and familiar places makes you more confident in your own abilities than ever before. It reinforces to you that you do have that grit to make it through a tough situation. While there are few things as stressful and life-altering as moving, you also see a really clear picture of who you want to be when you leave behind everything that’s comfortable in favor of things that are challenging and exciting. It’s not always pretty (to say the least) but shaking things up and trying something new almost instantly propels you into adulthood.
When did you lose your innocence? Feel like you grew up? Share your stories with your email below in the comments to win the cool stuff! Who doesn’t want that? It is awesome!!!!
You will win:
Today I decided to clean out my Gmail inbox. It was a mighty task. I had nearly 3,000 messages that needed to be sorted through. As I was nearing the end of the massive amounts of e-mail (so refreshing when it was done), I got to some messages that made me nostalgic. They were from when my boyfriend and I had just started dating and I was studying abroad in London. Since we couldn’t just go out together or stay in and rent movies, we had to rely on Skype and e-mail to build a foundation for our new relationship. People thought we were crazy for beginning a relationship right as I was going abroad, but the circumstances actually ended up benefitting us. When you first start dating someone, it’s easy to get so caught up in the physical stuff that you forget to talk and create a closeness between the two of you. When you’re stuck with e-mail and Skype, you have no choice but to get to know each other on a more, shall we say, “intellectual” level. Even though my semester abroad was nearly three years ago, I still cherish the e-mails (and hand-written letters) my boyfriend and I sent each other while I was in London. They’re special and romantic. It’s also fun to re-read what was going on in each of our lives at the time. It’s like reading an old diary, except I don’t have to roll my eyes at my own dramatic tales of boys who don’t return my affections or bitchy girls in math class. After reading these messages, I’ve decided that I’m bringing love letters back. Yeah, my boyfriend and I live together. We also work in the same office. I could walk into the next room, get my boyfriend’s attention and say, “I love you.” But just because you see someone all the time doesn’t mean love letters have to become a thing of the past. In fact, I think they become even more special when you write them even though they’re not necessary. There’s something so unique about knowing that your significant other took the time and care to write a sweet note just for you. If you’re in a relationship and it’s been a while since you took the time to really tell that person what he/she means to you, take five minutes and write it down on paper. Tape it to the bathroom mirror or put it on the steering wheel of his/her car. Slip it into a notebook or planner he/she uses all the time. Leave it somewhere unexpected and fun, but not somewhere where it will get lost. I say this because I once thought I would be cute and fun by leaving a love note tucked under my boyfriend’s windshield. He didn’t see it and drove off and away the note went. Whoops. What do you think about bringing love notes back? Is this something you’d try? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or find me on my blog Life with Lauren. Photo found on http://ophidiophobic.tumblr.com/post/15982886297
I’ve been in love once in my life. But I’ve been in “like” and “infatuation” more than a few times. Sometimes when you’re in “serious like” with someone, lines become blurry and you may actually think you’ve fallen in love. But I’ve realized that there’s a difference between love and attachment. You can feel attached to someone, to care about them and want to spend time with them, without loving them. You can miss them when they’re gone and not be in love. This is all very possible. In fact, it’s common and it’s why it the line between love and attachment is so fine. Because sometimes feelings of attachment disguise themselves as feelings of love. That’s when things get messy. It feels like love, but it’s simply caring about someone and/or perhaps valuing the time you’ve spent together. Add in a physical element to the relationship and this line becomes even harder to distinguish.
Mistaking attachment for love is easy to do, especially if you haven’t yet experienced real love. I’ve definitely had this happen in the past. Caring for someone and wanting the best for them can seem like love. Wanting to spend time with them and thinking about that person sometimes feels like love. But it’s important to keep in mind that love has all the components of attachment and then some. Love passed attachment four exits ago. It’s levels deeper than attachment. It’s connecting with someone and understanding that person in ways that no one else can. Love is steadier than attachment and it’s more intense.
Another feeling to further complicate this love/attachment dilemma is nostalgia. Sometimes you feel nostalgic about the time you spent with someone and you mistake it for love. You’re feeling sentimental about your relationship with an ex and you think it means you want to get back together. In reality, it means you’re just feeling emotional about important times from the past. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should keep creating these times in the future.
When you’re evaluating current relationships or thinking about pursuing future ones, it’s necessary to stop and consider what’s really going on. Are you in love with that person or are you experiencing attachment? Is it possible that you’re feeling nostalgia for past memories? There’s no shame in any of these things, but it’s important to make a distinction between them.
Have you had an issue telling the difference between love, attachment, and nostalgia? How do you handle it? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or find me blogging over at Life with Lauren.
Photo found on http://strollingintherain.tumblr.com/page/124
We all know an alpha male: confident, well-dressed, knows how to work a room. You’ve probably crushed on one before. Think George Clooney or Brad Pitt if you need an example. But have you ever considered giving a beta male a shot? You know the beta male, too. John Krasinksi (aka Jim from The Office) or Topher Grace’s character in Win A Date with Tad Hamilton. He may be your best guy friend, or the sweet, shy guy in your class. He probably doesn’t have as much swagger as an alpha. He may make corny jokes. Yet let me tell you something, ladies: beta males make amazing boyfriends, crushes, etc. So whether you’re looking for a summer romance, or are trying to find someone boyfriend-worthy, you should expand your horizons and give a beta male a shot.
Let’s clear something up right now, though: beta male does not equal nerd. Betas may be quirky or have nerdy interests, but just because the guy is a beta does NOT mean he is a nerd. Nerd equals awkward/hairy chest/bad kisser. Beta equals understated/good sense of humor/sensitive. Got it? Okay, good.
My boyfriend is a beta male, and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. He is confident yet I’m not dating him and his ego. He’s funny yet he doesn’t need to dominate a conversation. There is a give and take to our relationship that I really appreciate. Because of this, I can tell you that betas make great boyfriends. In the past, I didn’t have any interest in a beta. If there was a guy buying a round of shots, performing on stage, or doing other alpha-type things, that was the guy who caught my eye. But I’ve changed my ways, and I think you should, too.
In case you aren’t totally sold, here are some reasons to date a beta male:
1.) Give and take: Betas tend to be team players. Sure, they love to talk about their interests and hobbies, but they also want to hear about yours. This is such a huge part of building a solid foundation in your relationship. If one person is making the rules or setting the tone, then you have a problem. Your relationship needs to ebb and flow based on what’s happening in each person’s life.
2.) Genuine to the core: Betas are who they are. If they’re shy, they embrace it. If they’re quirky, they make it work. This allows you to do the same, which is pretty refreshing.
3.) Revenge of the nerds: Being with a beta makes it easier to let your inner nerd out. If your boyfriend is always perfectly dressed, it means you probably have to follow suit. Getting all dolled up is fun, but it’s hard to always be “on.” Unless you’re a Kardashian. Sometimes it feels good to rock the messy bun or to admit that you’re still holding on to your Beanie Babies collection because you think someday they’ll be worth a lot.
4.) Sit back and relax: Guys who sweet talk and play games can be alluring, but can you really trust them? The answer is probably not. Beta males tend to be low-key and usually more genuine. This makes it easier to let your guard down. This is not to say that you should, therefore, always let your guard down around betas. Like any guy, get to know him as a person first before you fall head over heels. But if he’s not sweet talking you, then it is probably safe to say that he’s not doing it with other people. Guys have a style, and it says a lot about them. Remember, in most situations you can’t change a guy. Nor should you try.
Listen, I’m not hating on all alpha males. Believe me, I love me some Brad Pitt, and I think he seems to be a great father and a great partner. But I also know that Jennifer Aniston probably has some different feelings on the matter. And, for the most part, you don’t have Brad Pitt clones running around your campus. You have 20-something college guys. If they have swagger, they’re not using it to star in big-budget films and to save refugee children. They’re using it to sleep with many, many girls. Hence my hesitation when it comes to the alphas.
I know that betas often get overlooked in college and in life. How many movies have you seen where you are just BEGGING the girl to open her eyes and see how great her best guy friend is? At the end she finally realizes it, but she could have saved herself a lot of heartache if she had heard about the greatness of the beta a little bit sooner. This is where I come in.
Talk to me. What do you think about betas, alphas, and nerds? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image found on: http://weheartit.com/entry/81341301
I recently read this hilarious article about annoying couples, and it amused me to no end. It also gave me a painful flashback to a time when my boyfriend and I were stuck with “that” couple. They were our friends. They were a new couple. We thought it would be a fun night out. In reality we were punishing ourselves, because we were forced to sit through a double date which consisted of them whispering sweet nothings to each other and kissing. And sometimes talking to us. My boyfriend and I exchanged pained glances. We tried to make some jokes. We also tried some not-so-subtle coughing and sneezing. We asked the other couple questions. We tried to take shots. We challenged them to a game of pool. Nothing worked. They were newly in love, and in their own world. Unfortunately for us, it was a world which included some heavy petting in public. We made the mistake of trying to go out with “that” couple again. Then we realized they were only capable of using the word “we”, and could only refer to each other by nicknames. In fact, I’m not positive that they even knew the other person’s real name. They were a new couple, maybe they hadn’t bothered with those minor details yet.
Needless to say, now we don’t hang out with “that” couple anymore. We just watch as they write each other Facebook love letters and have the same profile picture. I am certainly not hating on people being in love. I love love. But I do NOT love couples who make other people uncomfortable. I always believe a little PDA goes a long way. Yeah, you can show you love each other. Totally fine. But we don’t need a sneak preview of what’s going to happen when you get home later that night. Know what I mean?
The reason I’m writing this cautionary tale is because I know that when you first start dating someone you fall into that new relationship bliss. In your eyes, that person puts George Clooney to shame. Which actually may be easy to do, considering now he’ll date people like Stacy Keibler. Come on, Clooney. Let’s get real. Anyway, you want to show the world how great you are together. That’s awesome. What is not awesome is insane PDA, gooey nicknames, and groping.
So when you’re out with your new guy, consider the following: What is your guy’s name? Have you called him that name or have you been calling him “Honey Bunny” all evening? If you’re going with option number 2, realize that it’s not too late to make a change. Next, take a look at your hands. Where are they placed? If they’re in your boyfriend’s general crotch area….move them. Please. Other people are uncomfortable. A subtle hand hold or arm around the shoulder is fine. Anything more than that is just awkward for anyone who is not you or your guy. If you want to show that you think your new main squeeze is great, you could simply say, “And Dave recently won an award for his _______ collection” or whatever your love’s accomplishment may be. People will be more likely to ask a follow up question this way, because they’re not trying to refrain from vomiting as they watch you guys go to second base in front of them. Know what I mean?
Also, to be fair, these rules can apply to seasoned vets as well. Just because you’ve been together for several years, you’re not free from morals and standards when you’re out on a double date. It’s great that you’re still just as crazy about each other as you were when you first met but please, I beg of you, keep it classy.
Have you ever suffered at the hands of a new couple? Or any couple in general? How did you handle the situation? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or find me at Life with Lauren.
Photo found on http://www.flickr.com/photos/withak/2510871627/
Lately I’ve been thinking about being friends with the opposite gender. I originally wrote this piece talking about the merits of guy/girl friendships. I still fully believe in those things. But I’ve also realized that there are “rules” involved when you’re friends with someone of the opposite sex. For example, there seem to be regulations on what is and is not appropriate to do with a guy friend if one of you is in a relationship. Dinner? Kind of date-y. A movie? Questionable. Coffee is acceptable. I didn’t realize this until I was talking to my own friends about the subject. There’s just something about dinner alone that screams “date!” even if it’s not. I did some Google-ing and some asking around and got several confirmations that, yes, dinner does appear to be too date-y for opposite-gender friends. Unless your significant other is totally comfortable with it and knows the friend. And it’s clearly understood that you’re just friends. There’s a fine line between maintaining a good friendship and having respect for your partner’s level of comfort. It’s a delicate balance, to say the least.
To add to the complexity of it all, I read this article about guy/girl friendships. A university actually did a study about how opposite-gender friend pairs perceive each other. According to the study, the majority of opposite-sex friendships contain at least a low level of sexual attraction. I think you could debate this point, but it definitely makes the idea of male/female friendships interesting to consider. The study goes on to say, “Not only did men report more attraction to their female friends than women did to their male friends—they also overestimated the strength of their female friends’ attraction to them.”
So basically, sexual attraction was either present in the friendship or was misinterpreted as being present in the friendship. Usually by the guys. Sorry, dudes. This is part of the reason why opposite/gender friendships can get tricky. In my opinion, the moral of the story is this: don’t delete your guy friend’s number in a panic. Just be open and honest with him, and with your significant other if you have one. Make sure everyone’s on the same page, and be upfront about your intent to be just friends. If feelings develop, address them sooner rather than later.
Do you think guys and girls can truly be friends? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or find me at Life with Lauren.
Photo found on http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=189168697869782&set=a.1148583919674
I’ve been trying and trying to swear off the Kardashian family. I really don’t want to be a part of their publicity machine, but when I saw the season finale of Kourtney and Kim Take New York sitting on my DVR I just couldn’t resist. I had to see how this whole divorce thing would play out. How do you tell someone you want to break up after 72 days of holy matrimony? After watching the episode, I felt the way I’d imagine you do after eating an entire pizza. Gross yet strangely content.
I truly believe that this show should be used as a form of pre-marital counseling. I know that many religious organizations have their own system, but they may want to consider adding this series into their regularly scheduled questioning about finances and children. They could just show a few episodes to engaged couples and say, “Do you think that this is how a marriage should be?” and if they say ,”Yes” then they’re not allowed to get married. I mean seriously. I know this marriage played out on reality TV, so a lot of it was probably done in various takes. In one scene you could even see a piece of paper next to the door that said “Don’t enter or knock” which indicates the presence of crew and cameras but still…it couldn’t have been completely scripted, which means that Kim actually behaved this way. And that’s scary.
Here are a few things we can learn from the series finale of Kourtney and Kim Take New York:
1.) When you marry someone you actually have to live together: Kim starts to panic and cry hysterically when Kris wants to move into her home in Los Angeles. She begs him to just send his stuff to Minnesota and then bring a small bag to her house instead of actually moving in. Clearly she is not grasping the concept that the days of two separate homes are over. Scott comes right out and says, “You do realize you’re married, right?” but apparently she doesn’t care. She doesn’t have room in her home for his things. Because, remember, it’s her home. He just lives in it. Or not, as the case may be. Kris suggests buying a new home together, or keeping her home and building a summer place in Minnesota. Nope. Just tears and panic and hair extensions. Clearly something is wrong here.
2.) Newlyweds shouldn’t have the chemistry of people on a blind date: In a desperate attempt to save their fledgling union, Kim and Kris head out for date night together. I don’t know if the presence of the cameras makes this date night awkward, or if these two really have no chemistry but…oh. my. God. They sit there, pick at their food, and talk about how Kris wishes he could take a nap at the dinner table. It is painful to watch. Then Kim talks about how they had nothing to say to each other during dinner.
3.) Don’t ask everyone you know for an opinion on your relationship: We see scene after scene of Kim on the phone with Khloe or talking with Kourtney or her mom. She’s out to lunch with this friend or that friend. She’s constantly talking to people about her unhappy relationship. When you’re having a relationship problem it can be really beneficial to get an opinion from someone who can act as an objective third-party. But when you start getting too many opinions involved, these thoughts can go from helpful to overwhelming really quickly. Call your mom or your sister or your best friend if you really, truly need assistance. Don’t call each one of them every single time you have a small crisis. Keep it simple.
4.) Don’t surround yourself with “yes” people: Kim tells Kourtney about her issues with Kris and then freaks out when Kourtney says she’s being unreasonable about not wanting Kris to move in with her. Good for Kourtney for being honest. Kim should respect that honesty. You don’t want to surround yourself with people who always tell you what you want to hear. There’s no value in that kind of opinion anyway.
5.) Complete opposites don’t attract: Kim talks about how she and Kris don’t have the same friends or hobbies. She emphasizes that they have nothing to talk about at dinner. This is a huge problem. Forget age or career path. If you have no similar friends or hobbies, or topics to discuss, then why are you together? You want to be with someone who makes you laugh, makes you think, and who enjoys spending free time the way you do (or at least in some of the ways you do). If you don’t have these basic elements then you don’t have much of a foundation for a relationship. Opposites attract. Definitely. But complete opposites with nothing in common are not a good match.
6.) On paper is not real life: Kim talks about how Kris is everything she wants on paper because he’s good-hearted and is a Christian. But “on paper” and real life are not always the same thing. You need to look at your relationship for what it really is, not how it should be. Also, if you go by “on paper” you could be limiting yourself. For example, if you believe that you will only date blonde guys who are at least 6’2″, well that’s fine and dandy but maybe the perfect person for you is brunette and 5’10″. Then you’ll want to just take that paper and crumple it up as you live happily ever after.
7.) Relationships require effort: I couldn’t believe how quickly the Kardashian-Humphries marriage dissolved. Looking back on it, I don’t know why I was so surprised. I knew it would happen eventually. But the speed shocked me. Again, I know that reality shows do not equal real life, but the show made it seem as if little to no effort went into saving the relationship. No talk of marriage counseling? They didn’t even want to try living together in their own house without Kim’s sister and her family? Nothing? A divorce is just easier? Oh, okay.
8.) Don’t fake it: After Kim sits and sobs with Kourtney she then goes out to talk to Kris. I thought she was going to have a heart-to-heart with him about their crumbling relationship. Instead she tells him that they’re going to go out to eat and she’s sorry she was mean. I understand that it was probably not the best time to drop the divorce bomb. But how could you go from openly talking about divorce to just pretending that everything was totally fine? She should have let him know why she was upset and tried to talk to him about it. No need to discuss every gory detail and end the relationship right then and there, but at least clue him in so he’s not blindsided. Maybe talking to him and getting his opinion on the situation would provide clarity and a sense of calm for her.
We can only hope that Kim learns a little something before she jumps into marriage #3. And maybe Reggie Bush will take her back. That’s the next logical step, right? What did you learn from Kim’s disastrous 72-day marriage? Are you on Team K or Team Hump? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or find me at Life with Lauren.
Photo found on http://www.celebuzz.com/2012-01-31/kim-kardashian-i-dyed-my-hair-photos/
I’ve never been one of those girls with more guy friends than girl friends. I don’t trust girls who say “I hate hanging out with other girls.” I think everyone needs at least a few lady friends. But lately I’m realizing that the “we’re just friends, no really we are” type of guy friend is extremely valuable. There are some people who believe that guys and girls can never be just friends, but I disagree. At some point you’re probably going to have a “guy friend” who isn’t actually a guy friend. He’s either a crush or a hookup buddy or a kind-of boyfriend or something. But I’m realizing that an honest-to-goodness, totally platonic guy friend can exist, and it’s a valuable friendship to have. Friendships with guys provide everything you get from a friendship with your best girl friend, but they have their unique qualities too. For example:
1.) They’re refreshing: The other day I was out at lunch with a guy friend. We covered various topics including jobs, life plans, doing long distance, and appropriate age gaps in relationships. As we were talking I realized that his take on these topics was very different from what I was hearing from my lady friends. Not better or worse, just different. It was really helpful to hear a different perspective. I think I was able to offer him some different takes on things too, so it was a good conversation for everyone involved.
2.) They’re relaxing: Being in the various stages of dating can be extremely stressful. You’re constantly thinking, “Wait, is he going to kiss me? Do I want him to kiss me? Does he like me? Am I okay if he doesn’t like me?” All of these questions and uncertainties make it hard to just enjoy wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Dating is one of the least relaxing things around. When it’s understood that you and the guy are really just friends it takes the pressure off and you can both relax and have fun.
3.) They’re different: I know many times when my friends and I get together we do things and talk about things that are of interest to women. Obviously with a guy friend you’re not doing these womanly things. It’s refreshing to change up your routine.
However there are a few ways that your “just friends” relationship can go awry. Things to be aware of:
1.) Significant others (respect them): Theoretically, should your significant others be cool with platonic friendships? Yes. But this doesn’t always happen. If one or both of you is dating someone, make sure the significant other understands the nature of your “just friends” relationship. Invite the significant other along, don’t monopolize all of your opposite gender friend’s time, and don’t do anything the significant other may find questionable (my friend couldn’t understand why popping into Victoria’s Secret with her taken guy friend was frowned upon).
2.) Developing feelings: The “just friends” friendship only works if you truly are just friends. If one person starts to develop feelings, things get complicated quickly. If you sense that one person is developing feelings, have a chat about what this friendship means and where it’s going. If you’re both developing feelings that can work too, but realize that the friendship is changing.
3.) Feeling used: Just because this person is a guy, doesn’t mean he can be your stand-in boyfriend. And vice versa. Appreciate the friendship and everything that comes along with it, but don’t use him as a shield from your family’s hundreds of questions about your relationship status. It’s great to take your friend to a formal or party if you know you’ll both have fun. It’s not great to start asking him to go to every family wedding and anniversary party just so your Aunt Mildred leaves you alone. Your guy friend also shouldn’t expect you to be his go-to date for every boring function or event.
Do you think guys and girls can be just friends? Do you have truly platonic guy friends in your life? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or find me at Life with Lauren.
Photo found on http://gypsies-rain-nd-sunshine.tumblr.com/post/15482660870
I’d never been on a trip with a boyfriend and his family until a few weeks ago when I made my way down to Virginia Beach with Chris’s family. Virginia Beach is a great place. In many ways it reminds me of California. There’s a beach running right up to the boardwalk where people rollerblade and ride bikes. You’ve got lots of volleyball courts. But then there is also a Jersey Shore-esque feel to it because you’ve got plenty of bars and shops selling shirts that say “YOLO” and “Come at me, Bro.” In a way, everyone wins.
As I was packing for my trip (read: throwing my entire closet into a suitcase) I started to get nervous. My first vacation as The Girlfriend. How was I supposed to behave? I’d been to weddings and dinners with Chris’s family before. I’d stayed over at the house before. But a full week of “perfect girlfriend” behavior? I realized a few things during my trip (and the ten hour drive home). The most important thing is that you don’t need to be on perfect girlfriend behavior. Be respectful, polite, and clean, but also be a person. Here are a few other points to keep in mind if you’re hitting the beach or lake (or anywhere) with your guy and his family this summer:
1.) Don’t be afraid to do your own thing for a little bit: It’s important to spend time with his family, participate in activities, and generally be a social person. But that doesn’t mean you have to do every single thing all the time. Think about it: when you go on vacation with your own family, I bet there are times when you do your own thing. The same goes for a vacation with your boyfriend’s family. It’s okay to break off and go read while the guys play cards. You can relax on the beach if he and his sister want to wakeboard. Be friendly and social, but you don’t have to move as a unit for the entire vacation.
2.) Eat normally: At first it feels a little weird just going to the refrigerator and getting a snack when you’re not in your own house. But, again, this is your home for a week. You have to feel comfortable. Don’t eat all the strawberries or leave the milk out so it goes bad. But eat normally like you would at home.
3.) Be neat: I’m hyper-aware of how neat I am when I’m on vacation when my boyfriend’s family. Tables get an extra wipedown. Dishes get thoroughly rinsed. I don’t want anyone thinking, “Ew…this is how they live?” This is great, but you don’t need to go crazy and get up at 5 am to mop.
4.) Don’t hog the bathroom: When you’re sharing a bathroom with other members of your significant other’s family, it’s important not to take a hundred hours when you’re showering. This is especially important if other people also have to shower, get ready for dinner, pee, etc. Be considerate and use your bathroom time carefully. Take your shower, but then get ready in the bedroom. What’s fine at home is different when you’re sharing with people you’re not related to, people you’re not dating, etc.
5.) Be honest: It’s your vacation too, so don’t be afraid to speak up about what you do or don’t want to do. It’s a lot better than getting dragged along to golf or not getting to see that museum you’d been dying to check out. As long as you’re not preventing other people from doing what they want, there’s no shame in being honest. It can feel a little nervewracking to speak up. You feel bossy and you don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. But if you’re polite, then it’s completely okay to express what you do/don’t want to do.
Photo found on http://lyckligheten.tumblr.com/post/24473051423