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Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Friend Zone...

Mose says " Dont forget to enjoy the view"

It's just about connecting. Not romance. 
I'm pretty sure that was not the intention of the online sites (although, to be fair, "friendship" is one of the status options) but it happens. 
Well, it happens for ME. 

I believe, contrary to the belief of many, that heterosexual men and women can be friends.
It takes transparency and honesty from both parties. 

Transparency to any  significant others involved  (if its really a friendship then you should have no problem talking about it) , and honesty that you are being true to your feelings (are you REALLY only interested in being friends?). 

I see lots of funny, bright, well thought out profiles online. People obviously putting some thought and effort into the process. These are the ones that I may send a note to, even if they are too far away, to just say "hey, nice job! You made me laugh, points were scored, have a nice day." These are the men I could see having a "friend connection" with. 

But those profiles are rare. Many profiles read like a resume, or merely a list of ACTIVITIES.

People who like to:
Ride mountain bike
Cross country ski
Downhill ski
Hang glide
Trail run
Ride motocross
Bungie jump
Ball room dance ( really?!?)
Kayak/canoe/paddle board
Did I miss anything? 
Oh wait, yes, wine and beer tours........

The really interesting thing? I have seen MANY of these on the same profile....
My reaction? These people are nuts. 
Or really really busy. 
They are NOT going to be happy with me. 
Not that I'm a slug,,,but I just, you know, like to be home ,,,,occasionally. I'm a great.."putterer". I hang around the house. I hang out in town, drinking coffee, chatting with friends, reading, RELAXING. 
When I see a laundry list of ACTIVITIES like this I think " Does this man even WORK?"

I have been approached by these men and, after reading their interests /hobbies list I usually say something like " Buddy, You will not be happy hanging out with me". 
And, many times they respond with " but wouldn't you like to LEARN skiing /cycling/ bowling/shooting/golf / blah blah blah...

I would not. 
Full disclosure: I DO kayak, just not for hours or days or on white water. 
And I DO  hike, just not on trails that require special training and rations and safety equipment. 
And I prefer it if I can bring my dog. Please. 
And I'll GO fishing ...if I can bring a book and a chair to park my butt in. Go fish your little heart out pal, I'll be here with the cooler and my book. 

So, reading through the profiles with a discerning eye for one that perhaps shows a person worth exploring is ...let's say, challenging. And I try to remember that not everyone is comfortable writing, Or talking about themselves. Or speaking in full sentences apparently.

How do you know when one is worth a little more effort on YOUR part? How to find that diamond in the rough, or even find that potential friend connection?

I get a note from this guy:
"Hi. Let's connect. Ron"
My first impulse is to delete and move on. I mean seriously? 
 I take a quick look at his profile and he's...cute. But the profile is, let's say, sparse. 
There's just really not much there. 
At this point dear reader, depending on the day  and my level of loneliness or boredom, is when I may start to fabricate. It's a tempting part of the online experience. 
"Maybe his profile is new and he hasn't had time to fill it in"
"Maybe he's super busy at his high-powered job and just wants to see if anyone is interested"
Whatever the reason, I don't hit delete.
 I respond:
"Hi Ron 
thanks for the note. I would need to know a lot more about you before we "connect". Your profile is pretty sparse. Hope you have a good day!

That response, for me, is pretty ..polite. 
For me. 
And I assumed that he, like so many others, would abort the mission when realizing that he had a live, thinking female on the other end. 
But he didn't.
 He stepped up and sent a thoughtful, informative and witty response. 
Let the conversation begin. 
And it DID! 
We chatted online. Then exchanged phone numbers. And, ohmygod, did we ever TALK!
For hours, about all kinds of things. 
I give good's my "thing"...
But, even for me, this was good. He and I connected all right. 
Both having fun, both sharing and interested. 
We made a plan to meet.
Big anticipation. 
Nope. It just wasn't there face to face. For either of us I think, but definitely for me. 
yes, yes, yes,,,I can hear you all screaming "It was only one date, give it a chance!"
But you know what? I've been doing this awhile. And I HAVE given others longer, because I felt I "should" ( I hate that word,,should)...and that just doesn't work. 
Not only does it not work, 
it makes me hella cranky. 
I would rather be home with the dog...

The problem was with this guy, is we that liked each other in lots of other ways. I didn't want to lose someone completely that I felt a connection with.
we are friends. We check in with each other and still have long phone conversations, although not as much since he met a lovely woman who he DID feel something for face to face. He has told her about this friendship ( transparency) and maybe she and I will even meet one day and become friends too. 

So, unique and isolated incident?

As of today, I have at least 4 (not counting Swannydude, who is my cosmic twin and family) 
male friends. Buddies. Bros as one of them calls me. 

There's Ron, who is a therapist, a really GOOD one I would say judging from our hours long chats, who is so much fun to laugh with. And get real with. We both are good at exploring the dark side of who we are and accepting it about ourselves and each other. 

There's the Santa guy ( don't ask) who I met years ago online, we dated for a month and then realized that wasn't going to work. But he's fun, and funny and kind so we stay in touch. Some periods we talk every day and others we go for weeks. But I know he's there. 

There's my sweet friend who lives right in town, he is not an online connection. I love both he and his wife, but he and I are chums and I cherish that friendship. He checks in with me to make sure I'm "ok"'s so comforting. 

And then there's "B"...who I adore. He's an artist, and dark and a bit broody. He and I click on many many levels, but I knew right away that being in a relationship with him was not something that would, let's say, enhance my life. I think we would end up hating each other and I love him too much to want that to happen. We connect almost every day and it feels like a gift. He is not afraid to tease me and I am not afraid to give him a kick in the pants when needed. He is my truest supporter. I can tell him my deepest darkest and he can tell me his. 
B is in a relationship with a wonderful woman who he actually met around the same time as me, and who is perfect for him in many ways. Except she is threatened a bit by our friendship, which is definitely the fly in the ointment. I hope we meet, so she can love me too. I'll bring cookies. 
In the meantime all I can do is be honest about my feelings and enjoy the friendship we have. 

So while I keep checking and exploring and hanging out with the dog, I'll soak up the treasure that friendship brings. 
S'all good.