Bad Behavior

Recently a friend shared with me how her boyfriend of nearly 8 months ditched her for a period time on their last date without saying anything to her.  It seems they were out with a crowd of people and he simply disappeared for a while with another one of the guys from the group.  My friend was not really left alone.  She was with other people she knew, but she was in a different city about 30 minutes away from her place  and dependent upon her boyfriend for a ride home.  He was not even in the same location with her for over an hour of the time they were out on their date.  When they met back up again, my friend, smart cookie that she is, ended the date and insisted that her boyfriend take her home.  He was surprised that she had had enough for the evening and was calling it a night a good two hours before the time they originally planned the date would end.

Surprised?   He was surprised that she was not going to put up with his bad behavior as if what he’d done was perfectly acceptable.

Another friend, recently met a man and went out with him for a first date.  He showed up dressed in an old tee shirt and a baseball cap. While on the date,  this man did not offer to buy her drinks but allowed her to buy his and did not say thank-you.  She never went out with him again.

Surprised?  Are you surprised that she was not going to put up with his bad behavior?

A third friend went out with a man who was attractive, intelligent, and paid without flinching for the drinks on their first meeting.  He went overboard to express his interest in her and to ask for a second date.  He told her he’d call her in two days.  He kept his word.  When he called he suggested they do something the next Saturday, she agreed.  He told her he’d call later that week to firm something up.  He called at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.  She saw the call ring in on her phone, recognized the number and let it go to voicemail.  She continued on with the plans she’d made for herself that evening after not having heard from him by midweek. What were those plans?  A home pedicure and a quiet evening in…alone.  When I spoke to her later about her thinking she said this, “I have better things to do that to waste time on someone who demonstrates such bad behavior.”   I asked her what she’d do if he called again?  She said, “He won’t, but if he does, it won’t matter.  He had his chance and he already blew it.” 

Surprised?  Was my friend playing games in the way she dealt with the man’s bad behavior?  Was she too harsh?

Bad behavior.  It happens.  Men behave badly toward women and women behave badly toward men.  It is not my intent here to point out or villify one sex over the other, but for the puposes of this article, I am speaking mostly of men and their bad behavior with women.  I do recognize however, that the relational road is a two way street and both sides get mistreated. 

We  put up with the bad behavior because we are so afraid of losing the relationship. This is something I have been guilty of more often than not in the past.  A guy says he’ll call, then doesn’t.  A guy calls at the last minute for a date that evening.  Worse, he pulls the typical 11:00 p.m. bootie call. (Now, that I’ve never put up with not even in my college days when it was normal for a date to start at 11:00!) A guy takes a woman out to a party then ignores her the entire evening.  A guy spends his time looking over every female that walks by while out on a date with you, his girlfriend, of a year.  A guy says he loves you and wants to get married, two years later a date is still not set and he is waffling.  The guy says he wants to move in.  The scheduled date for moving in comes and goes and he and all his things are still not in the same residence with you and yours.  Bad behavior.  We put up with it because the alternative in most cases is kicking the guy to the curb.  We don’t kick the guy to the curb because that means so many unpleasant things.

It could mean loss of the relationship.  If it does, then there go the dreams, the hopes the imaginary future you’d built in your head about all the possibilities you two could have had/done together.  It means you now do not get to check the “in a relationship” box on MySpace or Facebook.  If the relationship tubes, it means pain and loss and grief and anger.  It may mean some lonely nights in front of the t.v. with a box of Kleenex.  It could mean some self recrimination as you wonder, “Why on earth did I waste so much time hoping he cared about me the way I cared about him when it was so evident he did not?”  It could mean a complete change in living accommodations and lifestyle and standard of living.  It could mean so many things that are seemingly worse than just tolerating the bad behavior. 

But tolerating the bad behavior is damaging to us.  By tolerating bad behavior from anyone, we devalue ourselves and risk losing or crippling our confidence and our self-esteem.  No one needs to tolerate bad behavior on the part of a significant other.  We also don’t need to respond to the bad behavior with similarly bad behavior. 

Bad behavior happens.  So, what to do when it does? 

Well, to answer this question, one must first be very clear about what they want from relationship and what they will not tolerate.  Once one is clear about these things, the rest is fairly easy.  Simply do not tolerate the unacceptable behavior.  No need to get mad.  No need to get upset. No need to waste any time wondering if he’ll change or call or apologize.  Just don’t tolerate it. No explanation is needed. 

I hate to sound so callous, but seriously?  If he’s treating you that badly before you’re in a “committed relationship”, what will he treat you like after?  It generally doesn’t improve. Further, why waste any more time in relationship that is mediocre, unsatisfactory, disappointing or just not working?  Life is too short and there are plenty of decent men out there ready, willing and able to treat a woman they care about with dignity, respect and integrity.

So, how would I have done each of those scenarios if I were taking my “No Tolerance” approach? 

In the case of  the first friend whose boyfriend took off for an hour without saying anything to her, I wouldn’t have waited out the hour to find out that he was gone for over an hour.  I’d have either asked a friend to take me home or called a cab the minute I found out he was nowhere around.  I would not go out with him again.  If he called and offered some lame-ass excuse for his behavior (which is the only kind he could offer in such a circumstance) I would politely listen.  I would not offer an explanation for my behavior other than possibly to say, “There’s just not much about that entire episode that interested me that much.”  No need to discuss.  End of call.  I would screen any further calls.  No tears, no drama, no need.  I’m worth being treated better than that.  At minimum, I’m worth an explanation and the opportunity to say I want to go home if the plans have changed.  Further, I would not have done that to him. 

In the case of  my friend who’s date showed up for the first date dressed carelessly and who behaved carelessly, I would have ended the date within an hour.  Fortunately for her, they arrived in separate vehicles and she was free to leave when she wanted without having to depend upon him for a ride.  (I’m a big advocate of doing this if the date is a first date with someone you don’t know very well or if it is someone you are meeting from online.)  I would not go out with this person again and I would screen all calls as well. If it doesn’t matter to you how a man dresses or presents himself publicly and if you don’t mind being his bankroll then this behavior might not bother you.  It goes back to being very clear about what you want and what you don’t want.  The direction I am steering my life, has no room for someone who cannot move fluidly from a nice formal occasion to a tee-shirt and jeans and back again as needed depending upon the occasion.  Knowing this about myself, helps me eliminate the would be contenders for my affection that aren’t a good fit, no matter how nice they seem to be.  And, no, there’s not much about being someone else’s bankroll that interests me all that much. That’s what I do for my children, not for my lover.  I’m not opposed to bringing what I can to the financial table, but he needs to be willing to contribute too.

In the case of the third friend whose date didn’t call until the night of the date, I’d have done exactly what she did and I have on several occasions.   I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again:  when a man is crazy about a woman, he doesn’t let her phone grow cold.  He doesn’t wait until the last minute to call.  He doesn’t give her his number and hope she’ll call him.  Again, I know what I want and what I will not tolerate.  I want a guy who is crazy about me and a guy who doesn’t call simply is not.  He’s not shy, he’s not busy, he’s not unable to call, he’s simply not interested.  That doesn’t work for me. 

It’s just bad behavior and I have already used up all my bad behavior moments in this life.  They’ve all been spent on past relationships, enduring very bad behavior when I should have been moving on and enjoying my life.  Instead, I allowed myself to experience a great deal of misery and pain which I could have avoided by recognizing the bad behavior from the start instead of overlooking, ignoring or excusing it. I only have time and energy left in my life to spend on giving the best of me (which is my time and energy) to those who are really truly going to appreciate it.

First Dates and Moonlight–More From The Friendship Files

I finally wheedled the story about Mexico Friend’s First Date with her Husband out of her.  Here it is:

Mexico Friend and her husband had quite the chemistry in the early years of their relationship.  Of course, Husband was irreversibly smitten the minute he saw her.  (We are all irreversibly smitten the minute we see her.  She really is an attractive woman. And she’s really nice.  In fact, she’s in the Makes Me Sick category.  I had to video tape her this week and as I was reviewing the tapes I was reminded just how much she Makes Me Sick.  The rule about the camera adding 10 pounds did not apply to her!  On the other hand the rule about the camera adding 10 pounds tripled with me. How fair is that?  See?  Makes Me Sick. But, I’m doing the ADD thing again.)

Husband knew what he wanted the minute he saw Mexico Friend.  He never let her phone grow cold and it wasn’t long after they met that they were on their first date.  It was a cold winter’s eve with snow on the ground.  The two of them went out for a nice dinner.  Great food, good wine, wonderful time together with chemistry catching the place on fire between them. 

After dinner, they decided to go for a drive in the snow.  Somewhere out in the country they pulled off on a lonely little unpaved side road.  In fact, it was probably more like a path.  There they were, alone, secluded, nature’s beauty all around and their young 20-something hormone’s raging, fed pretty well by the wine and the chemistry.  They decided to get to know each other even better.

Before long, they were in horizontal hold and things had heated up making it impossible to see out the windows of the vehicle.  That didn’t matter, because the sights they both wanted to explore were inside the vehicle. They were both thoroughly enjoying this Getting To Know All About You Game and they were just really getting in touch when  Mexico Friend opened her eyes for just a moment then opened them again. “There’s something shining in the window,” she commented. 

“It’s probably just the moonlight shining in,” her date responded in muffled short amorous breaths. Clearly, he wasn’t interested in anything but continuing the Getting to Know You game.

Mexico Friend glanced at the extremely fogged up window again, “I think that’ s either a really large moon or it is very, very close.” Relunctantly, Mexico Friend’s Husband slowed himself down and looked up.  He wiped off the window and jumped in shock.  There staring back at him was the face of a woman in her 50’s.  Apparently neither of them heard the woman drive up, turn off her headlights, get out of her car and tromp through the snow to the side of the vehicle where she stood staring in at them in their mostly nude state enjoying each other. How long she’d been there neither of them dared guess, but they knew what she’d seen was definitely the rated R version.

They scrambled to pull on their clothes as quickly as they could, and after dealing briefly with the strange woman who claimed this deserted path led to her house, they got out of there fast.  

As I listened to Mexico Friend retell this story, I noted that she broke one of the cardinal dating rules which is No Sex On The First Date.  When I questioned her about this she said, “Yeah, we did.  Two weeks later we moved in and six months later we were married and we’ve been going like that ever since.  We’re still like that today after 15 years of marriage and two children.” 

As I sat briefly pondering these words, she continued, “When you know, you know.  There’s just no question.” 

In looking at these two, I have to give them a spot on my Happily Ever After List.  These two have fun, humor, friendship and chemistry and they’ve kept it alive through the stresses of having children, job changes, job losses and tight finances and home remodeling projects.  In spite of it all, they are as in love as they’ve ever been.  I love these two because they provide for me a real life model of  many aspects of the kind of relationship I want.  These two have been able to weather life’s marital and financial storms for a decade and a half.  They’re doing more than just staying married, they really enjoy each other and they nurture their relationship by doing the fun stuff and staying in touch with each other as often as possible.

A 1 Reisling Day

Random thoughts today with no time or energy to develop any of them.

I got the scoop from Mexico Friend on the moonlit first date.  Wow!  It’s a steamy one.  Watch for it in the next week.  I’m going to take time with that to make sure I get that just right. 

Mexico Friend and Husband showed me their pictures. Of course, they look like they are models for some travel magazine or something. And, yes, it was paradise.  It’s not fair that two people can be married that long and just as cute and as in love as when they had the moonlit first date.  I want that.  Is it too late for me.  I think it might be.  But I’ll write their story anyway and love every minute of it because it is such a happy story…and because they promised to have me over for Becks beer so they could tell me more stories. 

ReGifting Friend came to work really under the weather.  She is also very cute.  Makes me sick, even when she’s sick as a dog she looks great.  I hope she feels better.  She really is a trouper…and such a great friend…even though I’ve only known her a short time…she’s in my Friendship Hall of Fame for sure.

Good Company this weekend was great company, but I suspect he’s still searching.  It’s not anything he’s said, it is just that I get this vibe that well, maybe he’s only kinda sorta into me, but if something better came along then….sigh….

Taught a really crap lesson in math today and had a somewhat disrupted reading time today.  It exhausted me.  Not horrible in these areas today, but not my best performances ever either.

The plumbing in the kid’s bathroom is not only not repaired, it is now running like a small, steady steam.  Okay, here comes one more expense.  I sure hope not.

The kids left the dogs in the house today which always spells disaster and smells like it too.  I was not happy.  In addition, after millions of sessions explaining exactly what I expect from them each morning (pick up after yourself, specifically, do your own effing dishes) I came home to a sink full of dishes and dog disaster greeting my eyes and burning my nostrils.  I was not a happy camper when I arrived home.

On an up note, the entire bottle of Reisling that I downed tonight was absolutely delicious!

Yep, that’s how my day was…a one bottle Reisling day. 

Hey, all’s well that ends well right?

Seedling Stories in Good Company

Ack!  What I really want to do is take my time.  I want jot the words down quickly then go back through slowly to edit and rewrite choosing each word carefully.  I want to think about ways to creatively portray the events and capture the sights, sounds, scents, emotions of the experiences of the last week.  There have been many. 

Last night out with friends listening to a local live band was one.  Hearing updates from both Mexico Friend and Chrismas Friend were others.  Another story is poking its way into my gray matter like a small bean sprout working its way out of the earth.  I don’t know whether to refer to this friend as the Bag Lady or Roadkill Jill?  I’m stumped on that one. Maybe she gets to be both.

But what I really don’t want to do is delay this wonderful day anymore.  I haven’t time this morning to meander here.  I’ve got plans.  I’ve usually got plans but these plans are going to absorb most of the next two days and I won’t be able to multitask like I do with housecleaning, laundry and home maintenance.  I’m going wine tasting and will have a wonderful dinner which I do not have to prepare for myself. There will be a movie and breakfast and who knows what else? Most importantly I will be in great company.

You know, the kind of company where the other person actually shows up and talks.  The kind of company where the either of you can begin the conversation and it can go any direction and there’s never a dull moment.  The kind of company where the humorous, dorky and silly moves seamlessly to deep, thoughtful, reflective and back again without so much as a break in the conversatonal tempo.  The kind of company you’ve known for a short while but feel so at ease with that it is as though you’ve known them for years.  The kind of company that makes you wonder why you didn’t meet earlier.

Yeah, that kind of company.

The where and what about my weekend isn’t so significant as the how…and I’m looking forward to it all. 

So, I can’t even edit this piece (I’ll have to do that later) nor can I savor the process of plunking out the new Friendship Stories bursting forth in the soil of my muddy mind. The stories can wait.  Company’s coming, and you don’t meet this kind of company every day.  After all, that could, quite possibly, be the most interesting story of all, well, at least to me.

The Wild Mind and her seedling stories will be in Good Company today!

The Friendship Files Are Born

The Friendship Files began with my story about Sleepovers and Regifting.  The humorous anecdote told to me by a friend, made its way onto my blog with full prior approval by those I was writing about.  The friends I  wrote about loved the retelling and asked for more.  The friends who read the story were entertained, amused, and inspired. Then came the Friends Who Pull Off A Great Bash,  Christmas Party Friend and Mr. Knows, and Mexico Friend and Husband.  I currently have Mr. Christmas Eve Party, Colorado, Single Girl, Gamblin’ Betty, Aspiring Writer Friend Back East (AWFBE), Semi-Professional Photographer Friend (SPPF) and others waiting for me to tell the story that reveals the way they’ve impacted me, inspired me and encouraged me by simply being my friends. Sometimes they’ve simply done nothing more than make me laugh at times when I thought I might sink into the quagmire of despair.  They rescued me, each and every one of them by just being them and by loving me in their own peculiar ways. I am beginning to have people line up to tell me their story and have me write it.  I love this!  Each story tells me something more about the way life is, we are, family can be.  Stay tuned.  There are so many ways my friends enrich my life and make me a far better person than I would be otherwise. 

There are also those friends who stopped in at a point in my  life when I needed whatever they had to offer, or maybe they needed what I had to give, but they didn’t stay long.  They all taught me something because I was willing to pay attention. This is what my friends and aquaintances do for me.  They move me toward being the best possible me I can be.  If you are blessed, your friends do this for you as well.  I only hope I am the kind of friend that returns the favor in this regard. Maybe in these vignettes that I’ve written and will be writing you’ve found something of life, of love, of hope, of the human condition we all partake in that resonates with you.  If so, I hope you’ll comment.  If not, I hope you’ll comment.  No matter what, I do hope that The Friendship Files bring you hope, encouragement, inspiration, laughter, and when needed that clear realization and assessment that only you can make for yourself when you realize you’ve bumped into an area of your life that you need to take control of and master so that it doesn’t master you anymore. 

May “Further Tales From The Friendship Files” encourage you and help you find the strength and determination that you need when you need it most, the humor to help you laugh at yourself and the desire to seek to be the very best you possible…after all…that’s what you were born for.   

P.S.  Mr. Christmas Eve Party don’t despair. Even though I haven’t written your story yet …your graciousness in inviting me in to your family’s inner circle at a time when I was most lonely meant so very much to me.  May your kind multiply and fill this earth rapidly.