I got a heartfelt email from one of my favourite readers the other day asking about change and friendships. He thought that if he was asking, that others may have the same question and rather than a personalized response via email, he asked me to do a post.
Your boys, the crew, the man dem…whatever you refer to them as, it’s that group of friends you’ve had since childhood that you see regularly, but maybe don’t have much in common with. My theory is that guys form many strong friendships based on shared experiences, unlike us women who form friendships based on shared values or beliefs.
It’s the only way I can explain how two guys can sit in silence for three hours playing video games and not know a single thing about the other person’s week…
As I review ghosts of boyfriends past, I realize a few things: no two would have had anything in common. I don’t have a physical “type”. They all gave great gifts. And…
I couldn’t stand any of their friends. In every relationship I’ve ever had (and I’m going back to the playground here), I have only ever really liked ONE friend out of each lot. In fact, I spent a lot of relationship time trying to figure out how this man, that I liked (and in rare instances, loved) could hang around such fucking idiots.
I’ve had guys explain to me that because they went to school with a dude, because they got into trouble with a dude (i.e. arrested), backed him in a fight, et cetera, that’s all they need to know in order to have a friendship. But other than that, what else binds you to him? That’s the part we women can’t wrap our heads around. Our friendships change, ebb, flow and sometimes die because we’ve changed or our friend has changed. These changes in our values, life experiences, and beliefs leave us staring at a person over coffee wondering what the hell do we talk about with them? But for you guys, it’s different.
You find yourself at a different stage of life and find that your values and your beliefs have changed (or maybe it was theirs). Either way, you find yourself rethinking the value of the friendship and then… you remember how they had your back that one time. Or that they you were there for them when they needed you. So yes, you could be married, with a corporate job, two kids, and a minivan, and he could still be living with four dudes in rental, picking up odd jobs while still drinking and getting high every weekend (while you’re a soccer practice).
Basically, you’re living two different lives, but he’s still your boy.
When I was younger and lot more immature, I thought if I complained and bitched about the friends enough, I wouldn’t have to subject myself to being around them. Then I realized, I don’t HAVE to be around them!
Ooooh. I’m betting to some of you this sounds familiar? You have that girlfriend/wife/wifey who complains constantly about your friends? What do you do? Do you give up the friendship(s) because she can’t stand them? Do you use it as a catalyst to end friendships with people that you really don’t want to hang around?
I say: keep the friends. It’s truly is bros before hoes.
Why should you feel compelled to give up your friends? Now, if they’ve done you harm or the friendship has become toxic (meaning that you have no good feelings when you’re around them), then yes, end the friendship (but that applies to any gender).
Otherwise, she has got to remember that she is dating YOU, not them. Stand your ground. Your boy had your back when you needed him. The Man Dem meet up once a week to play ball and talk shit. Is she going to replace these things in your life? No? Then what does it matter to her?
It matters to her because she feels (I feel this way too) that friends are a reflection of the person (birds of a feather, blah blah blah…), so if they act like assholes, then she (wrongly) assumes that you’re an asshole. When in reality, your boys are a reflection of a PART of you; just as how you are with her is a reflection of another part.
Life changes a person, and if you find yourself changing during the course of relationship, I’m going to say one important thing:
NEVER change for her darling boy. Change for yourself. Change because of her. Change because life has changed you. But never. EVER. Change for her. I knew a guy who did this once. It was not pretty. Of course the boys forgave his transgression and welcomed him back to the fold after I dumped him…
Mmmhmm. I tried to change a few things about a guy once and he let me and then he changed into someone I didn’t want to be with. In retrospect, I still want to bitch slap him for that…but some bitches ain’t worth the slap. But I learned my lesson.
A woman will fall in love with WHO a man is…she will fall more in love with the man he becomes. I strongly disagree with women who date “fixer uppers”, because they’ll spend more time looking for the faults to correct instead of the qualities to love. Your boys? They don’t change – for better or worse they don’t. They remind you of who you are and where you’ve come from…isn’t that a good definition of friendship? Don’t have much in common with them anymore? Get more friends… and go ahead and become the person you want to be.
I love change, I’m a big believer in it, but ONLY if it’s organic. Sure a woman can inspire you to change…but if those changes are only in effect for as long as you are with her, then you’ve made the wrong change.
You should’ve changed to a different woman.
(related post [sorta] “You vs. the BFF“)