The 5 Types of Friend That Emerge In The Aftermath of a Break-Up

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Some fool once told me that a break-up was probably the worst thing that had ever happened in my somewhat ‘privileged’ life.  And to be honest with you, the idiot had a point. That said, I don’t think we should really minimize the impact the end of a significant relationship can have on person’s life. Break-ups are traumatic. Sometimes they legitimately warrant a mental-health day, or heart-break leave as they call it Japan.I mean if people take sabbatical for the death of their pet goldfish, I think it’s fair to indulge in a bit of self-care when a part of your heart has been brutally ripped out.

As important as some me-time is, I also believe it’s important to have a solid support network. Spending too much time alone following such an upheaval can a) give you too much time to overthink everything resulting in even more mental torture and b) result in you seeking solace from the loneliness in the arms of someone familiar. And the whole story of letting an ex escalate into a FWB is a story for another post entirely. So, yes back to that support network who are basically required to become babysitters/therapists in a post-break up period. As there is such a lot to address in the aftermath of a epic break-up, you often find that each person reacts differently to the task at hand. Everyone brings their own unique perspective to the mix and serves their own (not necessarily equally important) purpose in your life.  Here is a basic breakdown of the different type of friend you’ll encounter following a break-up.

The I-Told-You-So Friend

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight. It’s nothing special. Having people who tell you after a decade long relationship that they knew you were doomed from the start isn’t really helpful. In some instances, they may even remind of a specific occasion in the early days where they called it and warned you of the risks and what was to come. While these folks aren’t necessarily all bad, they just seem to want to use your tough time  to make themselves feel like a smart and what they have to say isn’t particularly nice or useful. Listen to them if you want (maybe they have some insights into your patterns) but take everything they say with a pinch of salt. Remember that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be able to stand somewhat removed from another person’s romantic relationships and offer a critical eye. Furthermore, remind them that they you’ll only ever truly regret the risks you never took (and they good sex you never had!).

The Realist

Sigh. These are the friends you probably have a love/hate relationship with at times. These are the people that don’t beat around the bush. They call you out on shit. They won’t indulge your stupidity. They are basically your eyes when you’ve be blinded by  love.  They’ll SHOUT at you if they have to – online and even sometimes in public places. If you are weak human (like myself) they are likely to make you cry.  You might find yourself having to be on the defensive with them at times and finding new genius ways to justify your actions to them (not that they’ll fall for it). There are also probably going to be times when you question why you are friends with such a mean-spirited person. But once the dust settles, you’ll come to understand that the tough-love they dished out was just what was needed to make you see the error of your ways and that they actually always had your best interests at heart.

The Virgin Inactive/Hater of Men

An interesting one. And one which strangely happens to find its way into my life in a post-break up period. They may fight your corner but they do it in their own unique way. They’ll hate on your ex or screw that, they’ll hate on the male species entirely. Sometimes this ranting and raving about ALL men being lazy, dysfunctional, broke-ass cheaters may be tonic but it gets a bit tiring. Eventually, you’ll realise that they’ve had such bad experiences with relationships (or such little experience in the case of the 30-something virgins) that they’ve given up on happily-ever-after (and sex!). But that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a sexless existence. I personally find that these people are a reminder to get back on that horse a keep tinderingand  believing that Prince Charming (or at least some good experiences) are still on the cards ,and that a life void of amazing bedroom acrobatics doesn’t even bear thinking about! So with these ones, ignore their advice/hateful comments and enjoy the distraction they provide, and be glad you haven’t been out of the game as long as they have.

The Wing Woman

Now here is a fun one. Mine buggered off to Butt Fuck Nowhere and truly left a void in my life. The wing woman/man has no time for self-pity or over-analysis. They won’t necessarily give you a shoulder to cry on. But they’ll bring the wine, the gin and the PARTY. This is the person who tells you to snap out of it, put on your hottest dress because you guys are hitting the town. This is the buddy who shows you that no matter how much you’ve convinced yourself you’ll never get back to that happy place without YOUR person, there are in fact plenty of fish in sea.

The Cheerleader/Feeder

So, I saved the best till last. These people are your biggest fans. They’ll drop everything to be there for you in the immediate aftermath –  to pick up the pieces, debrief, cry and drink copious amounts of gin with you. They’ll also be there to reassure you that the whole relationship was not a farce but that you also did the right thing. Even if you relapse, and go back and forth with that SO forever and day, they won’t judge (well, they’ll at least try to conceal their judgement). They understand that we are all human and at times this requires us to do illogically insane things. Regardless, they’ll put aside their own agenda and do whatever if required to help you deal (which includes asking if you’ve eaten yet and ensuring that you are kept well fed and hydrated even when you think your entire universe is caving in).

There you have it. My little sentimental moment. Don’t stress – I’ll be back to my old bitching and moaning ways soon. Clearly, folks will approach a break-up differently depending on their own experiences and perspectives. Some will bitch and moan, others will hate on your ex and get angry on your behalf, some will scream at you until you get your thick skull around some basic facts, while others will assist you in finding your next conquest. Whatever the case, each babysitter will do their shift and serve their purpose and together somehow all these different approaches come together and things eventually start to make sense.

P.S. Boxing people is very bad and it is possible for a person to be in more that one of the above categories. 

So Rinsers, tell me is there a type of friend who assists you on the road to recovery after a break-up that I’ve missed? Do you think some perspectives that are most useful than others? Or do they all have a part to play. Holler in the comments below.

 

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Making Friends as an Adult is a Lot Like Dating

friendsIt bloody is! So you said “yes” (or “I do” or other affirmative utterance) and you’re living your happily ever after. Of course you thought that dating is a chapter that belongs in your past. You were WRONG! Unless you’re one of the parasite people who believe that you should spend 100% of your time with your partner or you’re happy with the friends you made in primary school that you have very little in common with (a lot of Cape Town seems to be!), you’ll still experience something very similar to dating, namely, making friends as an adult.

1. “Clicking”

If you need a breeze of novelty in your circle of friends, going to different events with an open mind is an important factor of success. Unfortunately, in the ocean of humans, only from time to time you’ll seemingly “click” with someone. Most conversations will end up being short-term distractions with no long-term potential and you’re lucky if they’re more or less pleasant. Part of the trick is to realize that seeing someone you don’t really click with often, may make you have some warm feelings towards them. This is familiarity and it isn’t what friendship is about.

2. Asking out

So you clicked with someone and you’d like to see them again? Well, easier said than done! Asking someone out for a coffee has similar associations like actual dating and rejection is a part of it. Let me share a personal example with you: just after I arrived in Cape Town I bumped into a girl in a shop whom I met before at a party. She was very excited to see me (or so she said) and insisted on swapping numbers as she worked in the area I lived in. Few days later I felt like meeting someone for lunch and texted her. She didn’t reply for three days and then said something like “Sorry for the late reply. Super busy. Sure will see you soon” as if I was some crazy stalker. Just like with dating, you should judge people by their behavior not by their words. They TOTALLY want to hang out and you’re SO funny but when you try to organize something it seems like only never is convenient for them (just like in this New Yorker cartoon).

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3. The meet-up

There are millions of ways in which you may end up finally meeting up with someone, but one thing is certain: a one-on-one will leave you no doubts about whether you guys have enough in common to keep hanging out. Just like with romantic situations, sometimes one side doesn’t seem to feel the same way about things, but let’s be honest, life’s just too short to be around people whose company you’re not particularly enjoying. Between work, partners and passions there’s just not enough time to see everyone, so choose wisely. Your friends, just like your partner, may make you be a better person or just become a source of frustration and rage.

4. Will he/she text or should I?

Let’s say that you did enjoy the meet up and you think you can have some more fun in life with this person. Perhaps you’ll have it easy and someone will let you know that it was “great to hang out” or will send you a message about something you spoke about. Sometimes all you get is silence, though. “Did they not have fun? Should I text them?” you think. Taking initiative can be tough and it feels shit when you receive a lukewarm or openly dismissive reply but there’s no point in exchanging empty pleasantries.

5. Do I really like them or am I just bored?

Loneliness and boredom are your enemy and you can perceive a meet-up as cool just because you did something. I had a very good example of that when my three close girlfriends left the country, one after another, in a short space of time. As my husband travels from time to time, after they were gone and when he was away I honestly felt just lonely. It sucks when a good friend leaves your day-to-day existence and three of them leaving almost at the same time is a huge shock for even the most vibrant social life. At the same time, sometimes it’s better to read a book or dive into a hobby than spend time with people just because you’re lonely. You also can’t force friendships so in such situations it’s better to take a step back and focus on yourself. You’ll meet the people worth your time sooner or later so keep going out and socializing but don’t obsess.

6. Slow and steady wins the race

Clicking is important but adults have lives: careers, partners and other friends. Making time for new people you like is important but you don’t have to see them all the time and be BFs immediately. Keeping in touch is important, but I do get weirded out if a newly made acquaintance sends me messages, telling me about their days. Real bonding takes time and it can’t be done overnight. Besides who has time like in your teenage years to hang out every day?

7. The break-up

Your friends are an important part of your life. People with similar interests and goals, those who inspire you but also those with whom you just have fun are those worth keeping. As people do change, sometimes a shift from a BFF to a coffee friend is necessary. It’s just a natural part of life and it should be embraced. What is more, like with dating, you also need two to tango here. In other words, if you’re always inviting someone places, even if they come but never initiate anything themselves, it’s not good enough. Your objective is give and take situation. This brings me my next point which is: people who are just bad for you. Perhaps, like me, you’ve discovered that a frenemy seems to have a liking for the men you date? Maybe your friend, like mine, will tell you that you can’t hang out together because you’re a girl and now he has a girlfriend and it’s just not appropriate and you should always hang out in a group? Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter how many beautiful moments you’ve spent together and how much you’ll miss them. An unhealthy friendship has to be dealt with like a bad relationship – with a break up. You may choose a quiet withdrawal or a confrontation (which I only recommend if you think that change is possible). Choose your poison and remember that when it’s time to say goodbye, it’s for good.

8. Happily ever after

Some friendships never end, even though they may change and grow with us. I left my mother land six years ago and I still keep in touch with my Best Friend For The Polish Territory since high school. In this particular case we really have a lot in common in terms of intellectual understanding and this is something that living in different countries won’t change. I’m also in touch with another friend from high school, who is very different from me but somehow we always really understood one another. Even now in South Africa I have friends whom I’ve known since week one of my arrival in Cape Town. Sometimes I don’t see them for a long time but they’re still there and I know I can count on them if I need to. The big plus of friendships is that you can be polyfriendulous and no one will take offense in you having numerous friends.

What sort of friend-maker are you, Dear Reader? Have you not changed your circle of friends since you were still wearing nappies or are you a seeker? Do you find making friends as adults is more difficult? Tell me, tell me, please!

 

 

 

 

 

Dating Billy No Mates

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Have you ever noticed how many guys have dating profile pictures of themselves giving a Best Man’s speech at a friends wedding? Well, once upon a time I used to snigger at those guys. Not anymore. You see (unless of course the photos are totally staged or the profile a complete fake altogether) the fact that a person has been chosen to be someone’s Best Man/ Maid of Honour (thanks, #zlotybaby) means that there is at least one person who rates you pretty highly among their circle of friends (well, that or they just flipped a coin between you and their ugly cousin). And that’s important.

So, what the hell is #englishrosiee ‘forever the bridesmaid, never the bride’ wittering on about now? Simple, dear Rinser, today I want to talk about the importance of having friends and more importantly, why a red flag should be raised when you are dating someone without any. Surely, even the most introvert person out there would have at least a few friends, right? WRONG! And why should it even matter if the person you dating has friends? Surely, a relationship should be between you and your Significant Other and nothing to do with the rest of the world? Time for the reality check!

I’ve always believed that a person’s closest friends are a reflection of themselves. Of course, we are all individuals but there are always aspects of our personality that are mirrored in our friends – maybe it’s just an un-PC sense of humour, a particularly bleak outlook on life or simply the fact that you both love a good old bitching and moaning session at your local sushi joint. Because a person’s friends give us a unique insight into them, their personality and certain quirks we may not otherwise be privy to I think it’s paramount to meet the social circle of anyone you are dating asap (and vice versa). I would actually go as far as saying that meeting someone’s friends is probably more important than that nerve-wracking meeting the parents moment. Just think about it. None of us have any choice about the people that decide to procreate in order to bring us into the world but we do have free rein when it comes to who we choose to be friends with, and those choices say a lot about us.

The fact is if you or your significant other don’t get along with each others closet friends (or simply think they are all a bunch of brain dead spoilt little rich kids) then the alarm bells should start ringing! OK, so it may not be the end of the world. After all, some people (yours truly is totally guilty of this) go through friends as fast as they swipe through those Tinderees and sure we can change our associations as we develop and go through life but regardless the people we choose to surround ourselves with say a lot about us.

If you find yourself hooking up with a guy who hangs our with a bunch of immature racist douche bags, he is probably at least a little bit of racist himself (if not a card-carrying member of the KKK). Similarly, if you’ve taken the step of introducing you latest squeeze to your group of somewhat eclectic weirdos and they come away from that meeting with a look of horror on their ugly mug, the fact is there is some aspect of your personality that they are not favourable towards. Seeing a person interacting with their buddies is when we finally see the facade being dropped and if you can’t deal with someone in their natural habitat then if is likely to pose significant issues for the relationship further down line.

Well, not liking a partner’s friends is one thing (because at least they have some). But how about when a person doesn’t have any buddies whatsoever? Now this is where the real problems begin. When someone we date doesn’t seem to have any true friendships we lose a window into finding out more about who they are. It may also raise concerns about them being a serial killer (did Norman Bates have any friends bar his good ol’ mama dearest?! Just saying!). If you find that you’ve been dating someone a while and you are yet to cross paths/be introduced to any of their friends – well I hate to break it to you but this either means you are a dirty little secret OR there aren’t any friends to be introduced to. If it is the latter, then it will only be a matter of time before that special someone reveals him/herself as a Billie No Mates. Perhaps, it’ll be when they reserve a table for 12 people at a restaurant and despite it being a milestone b’day (and a bunch of frantic phone) not one of the ‘friends’ pitch and the night declines from a what was supposed to a wild, raucous night out into a slightly sad romantic dinner for two!

Sure, I’m being a little bit bitchy here. Not everyone can be a social butterfly. But ask yourself why a person would have no friends (apart from possibly their mummy) around? Perhaps they have a strong personality that doesn’t go down well with most people (hmmm…but seriously, noone at all???), maybe they are a workoholic with no time to nurture anything that doesn’t lead to big bucks (it’s fine if you are just after a rinse, I guess) or maybe it’s just a case that they are truly a mean and obnoxious person who picks on everyone elses insecurities to mask the fact that they are not quite where they’d like to be in life. Whatever the case is, someone who lacks the ability to form solid friendships probably has some sort of personality disorder and may not be the easiest person to date so do be sure to do some further investigations before you become too emotionally involved with a such a loner.

Alright rinsers. Over to you. How important is it for someone you are dating to a) have friends and b) have friends that click with their partner? Have you ever encountered a Billy No Mates and what was the end result? Share your experiences in the comments section below. 

Losing My Speed Dating Virginity (And Cape Town’s Man Deficit)

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Today marks the 2 year anniversary of me waking up in #zlotybaby’s bed (during our 2 broke girls phase) and deciding that it was time to bite the bullet, join the world of online dating and start swiping. While a lot has changed since then one thing that hasn’t is my single status. It seems like the technologically savvy way of doing things doesn’t really work for an old-fashioned girl like me. Look to be honest, while I haven’t found my Prince Charming I certainly have had my fair share of adventures and found a few gems along the way. Anyway, I decided it was time to change things up a little – get off the world wide web and back to reality so just last night I decided to give speed dating a shot.

Well. you’d think that by now with +/- 50 dates under my belt, I’d have enough experience to have gotten over that social anxiety that people get when it comes to first dates but alas it’s always good to have a wingman to hold your hand. So a couple of weeks ago I signed myself and a male friend of mine up for a speed-dating event organised by SMARTDate at Slug and Lettuce  River Club in Observatory. Sadly, the first event we booked for got cancelled due to lack of men (a harsh reminder of that man deficit that exists in the Mother City – where there are 7 women to every man or something along those lines!)

I think we’ve all watched enough movies to understand the concept of speed dating – 5- minute dates with a bunch of random guys/girls. Most tend to be somewhat comical and then maybe there is one that you can’t tear away yourself from when that bell rings. Hopefully, he/she feels the same and details are swapped and BOOM! Happily-Ever-After. Well, I’m not sure if things worked out quite that way for any of the participants at the SMARTdate event but who knows…

So in reality what happened was that three guys arrived late (typical Cape Town vibes!) which meant I was one of the three chicks that were sat out and reminded once again that the dudes held the all-important power card when it comes to the numbers game that is modern dating. Thankfully, the three latecomers did eventually pitch so we weren’t sat there balling our eyes out for too long.

Unless you are a socially awkward hermit (in which case I have no clue why you’d sign up for such a public dating event) having a 5-minute conversation with a fellow human isn’t usually too arduous, especially when there are a couple of glasses of bubbles involved. But obviously, some conversations just flowed better than other. Of course, there were the very predictable Cape Town conversations about where you lived, what job you did, etc. Oh, and did you know that everyone and his dog is a runner? Lols! But there were also some more memorable conversations. A bit of Brit banter is always appreciated. And then there was the guy that asked if I could be an animal what would I be?  A unicorn. Obviously! All in all, I would say 6 out of 8 ‘dates’ were pleasant enough. 1 was slightly awkward so 5 minutes felt like an eternity and I can’t really count the mid-event debrief with my wingman as a ‘date’ as such.

At the end of the event, there is a little card where you jot down the names of all your victims and you can state whether there is potential for them romantically (R), for friendship (F) or business (B). I was (un)reliably informed that I was not to tick B. Go figure. Anyway the next day you upload this information onto the SMARTdate system and if both parties went for the same option you have access to each other’s information. Or if you happen to be Cape Town’s favourite pick-up artist. aka my wingman, then you can just go ahead and ask for every chicks number at the bar once the event has ended. Don’t ask me how he does it. Just don’t.

It’s still early days but I can tell you that so far I have 3 matches on the system. In which category? Well, that I’ll let you work out for yourself. All in all, I’ll say that my first experience with speed dating was pretty positive. It requires a lot less effort than Tinder, doesn’t require you to have to trawl through lots of deadwood and waste half your life having intense WhatsApp conversations with people who have little potential romantically. The guys, and the conversations, in general, were all very respectable. At least you can rest assured that when you remove the cellphone/computer from the equation people are more likely to treat each other better and not begin conversations with things like DTF? and the like. And the other part that was pretty cool was swapping notes with the other chicks at the end of the night. So while I may not have met my Prince Charming this time round, I certainly had a good night out and I’m pretty sure I’ll give it another shot sometime soon.

So Rinsers… Have you ever tried speed dating? Are you a fan? Or do you think expecting to find a connection with someone during a 5-minute conversation is a little unrealistic? Please give us your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

The Opinions That Matter (And Those You Can Take With A Pinch of Salt)

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In an age dominated by social media, where everyone is an award-winning journalist or YouTube sensation, it’s easy for people to convince themselves that their opinion matters and needs to be heard. But as I always say there is an appropriate time and place for everything. Sure, an informed opinion on the state of global politics should be welcomed even if it stands in opposition to our personal beliefs. There is nothing better than a good INTELLECTUAL debate. Then there are those issues that not everyone and his dog needs to have a say on. One such place is when it comes to another individual’s romantic life and general lifestyle choices. This brings me to the topic of today’s post, when we are inundated with advice on how we are conducting our personal lives, how does one differentiate between the opinions that matter and those which are a totally waste of time.

As a 30-something chick who hasn’t ever been married or knocked up, one gets used to comments including but not limited to the following : ‘ Still single? Are you a lesbian? ‘, ‘Beggars can’t be choosers. You aren’t getting any younger, you know !’, ‘ Maybe you’d get more attention if you lost a couple of pounds!’, ‘Ooooo have you heard so-so just got divorced so he’s on the market again! Shall I set up a meeting for you guys ?’. Whether it’s your best friend who just wants you coupled up so you can double date with her and her other half or THAT aunty who is no beauty queen herself but is ever so concerned about your BMI that she’d offer to pay for you to see a dietician if only her hubby hadn’t spent their pension fund on hookers, people these days really need to take a lesson in keeping their noses out of it.

As much as we may like to tell our friends, family members, neighbours and randoms on the bus where to stick their opinions on out love life, the truth is relationships don’t exist in a bubble. At some point couples need to surface from beneath the bed covers, face the light of day and interact with other members of the human species. And while we may not be able to stop people voicing their opinions, we certainly have the power to choose whose advice we take heed of and how we let these comments affect us and our subsequent relationship choices. Here are a few factors you may want to consider when deciding who to take seriously and who to ignore:

Who are they? How well do they know you?

We all have a tendency to be a bit blind when it comes to matters of the heart. Sometimes we want something to work out so badly that we ignore the glaring red flags. The people that know us well are probably going to have a good insight into what makes us tick and therefore do have some idea of who we’d be compatible with.

Being told that the smoking hot Adonis you are dating has nothing in common with you is likely to be a hard pill to swallow. However, it’s probably a message that is better coming from your BFF who knows you better than you know yourself rather than the cash cow that helps you pay off your bond each month!

What is their motivation?

Let’s admit we can all be selfish at times. So consider the motivation behind someone’s advice/opinion. What do they have to gain from sharing their pearls of wisdom? Is this friend being a Debbie Downer about your new beau because you are her only friend in the world so she is afraid of losing you? Or has she mopped up your tears enough in the past to spot your patterns and have the foresight to know that this will only end in disaster?

People who are unhappy about their own love lives (or lack thereof) are usually the first to pipe up about another person’s flaws. That witch who questions your relationship status everytime she sees you, well let’s be honest, her marriage is probably on the rocks and she just spotted her husband flirting with you from across the room so just shake if off.

Are they speaking from experience?

So, you think you’ve caught an STD? Whose expert opinion are you going to seek on the matter – that of a medically trained Doctor or your pet parrot? Exactly! People who offer advice should know what they are talking about.

Anyone who has had their heart horrifically broken would probably do just about anything to stop it happening to someone they care about. So, if in the past you’ve wasted half a decade of your life with a deadbeat that promised you that one day he’d make it big and contribute to helping you guys getting that house in the ‘burbs, when you see your bestie going to a similar track with some douche, you aren’t going to keep quiet about it now, are you?

Comments and advice from someone older (maybe) and wiser, who has been there and done that may save you a lot of heartache in the long run whereas listening to a sad spinster who last had a physical contact with the male species over a decade ago well, that’ll probably just lead to nothing more than a dry spell in the bedroom!

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The moral of the story here…we live in a world where everyone considers themselves to be an expert on life, so take everything you hear with a pinch of salt. Understand that everyone is shaped by their own experiences and situation so question the motivation behind a person’s words. The majority of what people tell you will be nothing more than unsubstantiated BS which just reflects their own unhappiness. But then there are also those people who are willing to take a risk and be unpopular because they have your best interests are heart. However harsh their words may seem and however much it is not what you want to hear, the fact is that the sentiment behind their advice comes from a good place.

Rinsers – share your thoughts on the matter. Are you tired of people interfering in your love life? Are there people you take more seriously than others? And how do you differentiate between advice/comments that are motivated by self-interest and that which is told with the best of intentions?

Two’s Company … – How To Be A Good Third Wheel

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Of course being single has its benefits. You get the whole double bed to yourself. You are free to waste a weekend dossing about in your PJs, eating ice cream and indulging in a SATC marathon with no judgement. Or just go wild and book yourself a trip of a lifetime without worrying about the logistics. The list is endless I suppose. But there are also times when being single simply sucks! Never more so than when you start to feel like you are the last single gal (or guy) left in a world full of couples. I’m sure there are many of us that can identify with that nightmare scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary where Bridget finds herself at a dinner party surrounded by smug married couples.  Ugh!  So this brings me to the topic of today’s post – The Third Wheel.

As much as singletons can try to avoid the coupleverse there are just some times you are going have to suck it up and go with it. Perhaps your bestie found herself a new man and really really really wants you guys to meet or maybe it’s just that you are a larry no mates on New Year’s Eve so you have no other option but to gate crash your parents’ Tinder date. Whatever the case here are a few tips to help you through the process of Third Wheeling.

Only go where you are wanted

First and foremost, a no brainer. Most people want to avoid the awkwardness of being a Third Wheel and then there are others that are…ummm lonely (or just plain annoying) I guess. It’s important to gauge where couples are open to your presence as a Third wheel. Perhaps it’s a meeting that none of you three particularly want to be at so it’s pretty much a matter of safety in numbers and you split a cronut in three as you wait (and wait and wait) for this torturously boring social obligation. Then there are those times when couples need their alone time (and no this doesn’t always have to be limited to in the bedroom). Say you see your brother from another mother wining and dining his missus … just know this is NOT the time gatecrash the party, ask him to fix your broken iPod and use it as an excuse to catch up on all the gossip! Really you aren’t doing yourself any favours here and you’ll end up looking like nothing more than a needy loser.

Know your place

As much as you may want sympathy and feel victimised, couples don’t invite singles out to coupleverse events to make you want to feel inferior and go home with thoughts of suicide.  Hopefully, these people are your friends. They may have invited you out to set you up with one of their single friends or simply to enjoy your good banter. While in most instances they do appreciate your presence it is important that the third wheel understands their purpose. Don’t use it as opportunity for one-upmanship, or to make yourself the centre of attention by flirting with your friend’s other half.

Calling it a night

Say you are out and about sarging on Kloof Street when you bump into your bestie and her beau. They politley invite you over for a drink. The chit chat is good and you are having fun, much more than you would on your lonesome, in fact. Whatever the situation and no matter how epic the conversation, learn when to call it a night. There are always subtle signs that’ll show you where you’ve outstayed your welcome. Whether it’s that you’ve got to attend some exclusive event in Camps Bay or just have a date with your kitty cat – just make your excuses and get out of there!

And yes it is not always about the Third Wheel

Loved up people also have a responsibility to play when it comes to this Third Wheeling situation. Unless you are one of those Ivy Women that are literally jumping from one relationship to the next – we’ve always been single at some point in our lives so don’t make things awkward for your single friends by flaunting your happiness in their faces all the time. If you do find yourself with one of those annoying Third Wheels that don’t get a hint (you know those one who’d even volunteer to join you and your man for a weekend away even though they know you aren’t into threesomes!) then it’s also up to you to take charge of the situation. As kids we were all taught to be nice and more inclusive towards the weird kids/outcasts in the playground. Well we are all adults now and we no longer have to do what Mummy tells us. Don’t be a YES Wo(Man) all your life. If the Third Wheel doesn’t get the hint as unpopular as it may make you,  sometimes there is a need to tell a person straight. Believe me, your better half will probably thank you for it later 😉 (Thank me later!)

So, yup being a Third (Fifth or Seventh) Wheel is never an ideal (so just go get a life and find yourself plus one! JOKES!) but there probably has been/will be a time in our lives where we all have to play this role for whatever reason. There is an art to being a good Third Wheel, much of which centres around self-awareness, understanding social cues and assessing each situation properly.

Alrighty Rinsers, we’ve all been there so share your Third Wheeling experiences. What are your tips on being a Third Wheel or on how best to deal with an annoying one who doesn’t realise that two’s company? Tell us in the comments section below.

 

 

 

Burning Bridges – Is It Possible To Remain Friends With An Ex ?

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Regardless of whether it was a long-term thing, the one that got away or just a fleeting experience which despite some signs of great potential failed to get off the ground, break-ups are never easy. It’s easy for outsiders to preach and tell you that it is simply a case of deleting that person’s number, unfollowing them on social media and burning all the photos ever taken of the two of you. But in reality cutting all ties with an ex is far more complex. What happens if you’ve been together long enough to share friends? Just because he was a philandering scumbag should you cease contact with his family members who treated you so well? Or maybe the break-up itself wasn’t all the dramatic – you still think she is a lovely girl, just not YOUR lovely girl. This brings me to the topic of this weeks post. Does there come a point after a break-up when you need to sever all ties with the ex and completely start life over? Or is it possible for some ex couples to remain friends?

In the immediate aftermath of an epic break-up, I think it’s quite natural to maintain some sort of connection with your ex (although letting it slip into a boomerang relationship should be avoided). If it was a serious thing it is likely that your day-to-day affairs are somewhat intertwined. Despite that fact that these seem simple in theory, practical things – like moving house, settling outstanding bills or simply dividing up things the two of you purchased together or returning all those books you nicked from his collection – all take time. Obviously, as civilised human beings we will try to deal with these matters as quickly and painlessly as possible – after all once upon a time we did love this person. Beyond the bureaucracy, I think it’s fair to say that many of us are guilty of holding onto an emotional connection to an ex. Having spent a significant amount it is likely that your ex knows you pretty well and it’s easy to look for comfort in the familiar when you’ve simply had a bad day and need cheering up.

Naturally, if the relationship (and you weren’t just a dirty little secret) was at all healthy the two of you would be likely to have some common connections and similar social circles. This is where things get complicated.  With friends do you divide them up fairly? Is it OK to be immature and force people to choose between the two of you (in some cases this will happen organically anyway)? Or do you try to be mature adults and accept that there will be occasions when your paths are bound to cross? Perhaps at a mutual friend’s birthday party or a wedding? Of course in an ideal world, we’d all be emotionally strong enough to handle such things but the reality is different. I mean, how many of us can honestly say we could maintain our composure after being told by mutual friends that the ex has moved on? Hmm.

When it comes to family, you’d expect things to be more clear cut. His family is HIS and her’s is HER’s. Well in cases where you didn’t get on with you ex’s family and he spent the whole time trying to turn you into a younger version of his mother the solution is straightforward – it’s easy to cut the ties. But what about if you actually got on your ex’s tribe and actually formed solid relationships with them over time? And consider how you’d feel if the shoe was on the other foot and your mother was drinking tea with the ex or your brother and him went out sarging for chicks together?  I guess when it comes to both family and friends you have to deal with things on a case by case basis. You have to decide which relationships are worth maintaining and which ones are nice but not necessarily good for you in the long run. And sometimes you will have to burn bridges, cut all ties and simply whats best for yourself and accept that other people may feel somewhat hurt or judge you for being immature.

So to conclude, I would say having any sort of relationship with an ex, be it platonic or not so much, will likely make it more difficult for you to get on with your life. In more fickle cases where things between the two of you never really got started, it’s totally possible to be friends somewhere down the line but things are a little messier when real feelings for one another are involved. Honestly speaking, I’d say that any good romantic relationship should be based on a solid friendship and obviously over time our significant others get to know us in ways that other people in lives don’t (get your mind out of the gutter!!). Therefore I guess it would only be human to want to prolong the friendship even after romantic relations have long ended. However, whether it’s possible, or more importantly healthy, depends on the individuals involved, their emotional capacity and the nature of the situation. Of course, there are cases where people make things work but for most us staying friends with an ex is a recipe for disaster. So while keeping things civilised is always good remember that if you do choose to burn bridges for the sake of your own sanity it isn’t a crime so don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise. Because sometimes you just have to say screw everyone else and just do what’s best for No.1.

What do you think Rinsers? Can you maintain a healthy friendship with an ex? Are you proof that it is possible? Or do you think it’s best to sever all ties with the past and start afresh if one truly wants to move on with their lives? Answers in the comment section below. 

“Sloppy” Seconds – Is It Okay to Date Your Friend’s Ex and Other Related Questions

image.jpegThe term sloppy seconds can have a very vulgar meaning of having sex with someone (usually a woman) who has just had sex with someone else. In the general dating terminology, however, it is used to describe a person you dated who someone else dates after you (usually a friend or an acquaintance). Inspired by the film “Miss Peregrine’s House for Peculiar Children” where a guy takes sloppy seconds after his grandfather (!), I decided to write a post about the matter.

You’d think that thanks to Internet dating the circle of people that are potential matches in the dating pool significantly increases. Maybe so, in a place like New York but Cape Town is a very small and divided world that despite its potential variety limits you to a finite number of possible partners. From my perspective of a married woman, it translates into bumping into into my husband’s and mine exes which is unpleasant as it is. Imagine, however, how annoying it would be to have someone in your immediate circle dating your ex and therefore taking sloppy seconds after you or to be a sloppy second yourself and be constantly around your ex. Doesn’t sound amazing!

The first question with dating someone who used to date someone close to us, is whether it’ll hurt our friend. I know that people these days love to pretend how MATURE they are and how much they don’t care about having their ex around or even are totally fine double dating (which can be true but from my experience only when the relationship didn’t end up in people being hurt and drama or when a long time has passed). I also know that most of these people prefer to cry in the pillow than to admit that something is hurting them. This is precisely why if we ask someone whether it’s okay if we go out with their ex, they may try to put a brave face on and say yes. In other words, even if someone tells us it’s okay, we should try to figure out whether it really is and not just conveniently accept the answer.

It’s up to a person that’s going after the sloppy seconds to weight the pros and cons. If we’re really into someone we may be prone to go for it and be willing to accept the consequences if our friend decided at some point he or she is actually not okay with us dating their ex. On the other hand, if we know that the person caused our friend a lot of pain and we’re just attracted to them, maybe a better idea is just to let it go. I’m referring here to a relationship which ended. What is the right thing to do if it’s still on and we’re into someone’s partner?

As a default, I don’t think it’s decent to show interest in a partner of our friend, be it a short or long relationship. If we’re interested in them before the break-up happens and showing it, less or more subconsciously trying to lure the person out of a relationship, we’re not being loyal to our friend and we become a frenemy. We cannot foresee where the relationship will go and a taken person is a taken person. We would like others to respect such boundaries so we should respect them ourselves. If a break-up does happen it’s also not the nicest thing to do to pat our heartbroken friend’s back with one hand and with the other stroke her ex’s hair (or something else wink wink) trying to start a relation with him or her. Even if the loyalty argument isn’t convincing, there’s always the self-preservation instinct one shouldn’t forget. Namely, a guy or girl just out of a serious relationship may not be the best dating material and we may end up losing a friend and respect for ourselves over a hook-up.

To sum up, there’s no good answer to a question on whether it’s okay to date your friend’s ex. I think they should be untouchable in principle but I’m aware that there are various situations. If a friend just had a fling with someone and we’re madly in love with the person, I don’t think it’s comparable to a scenario when someone is trying to destroy another person’s marriage. In the latter case, the chances are that the partner so easily lured out of one relationship will do the same to his next better half.

Dear Rinsers, what do you think? Is it okay to take sloppy seconds? Are our friends exes untouchable? The comments section is all yours!

 

 

 

 

Friendshifts : From BFFs to Coffee Friends

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Life is full of changes. While most of us may not be where we envisaged ourselves to be 10 years ago, I certainly hope that none of us is in the same place we were back then either. As we move forward with our lives – careers, travels, relationships, babies, etc – it is almost impossible to carry everything from your past with you (who wants all that baggage anyway?), including sadly some friendships. Maybe I’m a heartless little witch but in my post today I’m going to tell you why downgrading (or even completely letting go) of a friendship isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

As we grow up and life takes us on its various adventures maintaining friendships becomes difficult, NOT impossible, just difficult. Sometimes  it’s simply a matter of distance as one of you moves to deepest darkest Africa while the other decides to spends the 20s/30s/40s living at home with their folks. Then there are those cases where your interests diverge with one of you joining a hectic religious cult while the other spends every spare moment training for a marathon. We all get busy and while technology has certainly made communication a lot easier, sometimes the effort of dedicating hours to skype calls, etc just becomes too much too handle.

Living a somewhat transient lifestyle has taught me that if you work on your personality making friends shouldn’t be too difficult wherever you go in the world. However, I must say that native Capetonians are a rather odd bunch in that they insist on maintaining historic friendships with people they’ve known since kindergarten but no longer have anything in common with. Quite frankly it seems a little silly to waste precious time investing in something that brings you minimal joy (they always bitch and moan about it after the fact) and is based on something as arbitrary as your parents being besties with one another or you being placed in the same class at school or living in the same suburb (all things you have no power over).

Look I’m certainly in no position to talk. I probably do a complete overhaul of my friendship group once or twice a year and to some that makes me fickle. But to be completely honest life is short and I’d rather spend time expanding my social circle and finding people who add value to my life rather than holding on to something that no longer serves a purpose. I not advocating completely disposing of old friendships (unless of course the irreconcilable differences – like them becoming a member of the Klu Klux Klan) but just downgrading from forcing yourself to see them every week to maybe a catch up twice a year, if that. Just because your lives have taken different paths doesn’t mean that they are a bad person and meeting for a pleasant coffee (hence the term coffee friend) or the odd glass of wine once in a while isn’t going to kill you.

Of course, there are some friendships that will stand the test of time but quality friendships aren’t always about the people you’ve known the longest. And while you shouldn’t forget the good times, now that you’ve moved on clinging onto something through obligation isn’t healthy. Nor is asking for all or nothing . Don’t hate on people for making new friends – that’ll only make you come across as bitter and jealous. If someone is drifting away just let them go. It really isn’t the end of the world.

To conclude, as we transition through each chapter of our lives we are bound to meet lots of weird and wonderful people. While some are there for the long haul others might only feature momentarily but leave you with some good memories. We are no longer in high school and there really doesn’t have to be a competition for the BFF badge. In fact, the coffee friend status will likely mean less stress in the long term anyway. The best thing though when it comes to friendship is that the concept is so flexible. In a romantic relationship when the two parties drift apart, cracks appear and chances are a break-up is in sight but with friends, if we are mature enough, it is possible to simply engineer a friendshift instead of completely terminating the arrangement.

So enough of my wittering Rinsers. What are your thoughts about the changing nature of friendships? Are you forever jumping from one squad to the next or do you believe in holding onto historic friendships at any cost? Share some of your stories in the comments below. 

 

 

 

 

 

Emotional Vampires – The ‘Friends’ That Break Your Spirit

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Dating is a difficult. Not everyone ends up their first love and lives happily ever after. Most of us experience various setbacks, life lessons and heartbreaks along that path that (hopefully) eventually leads to Prince Charming. Sure, we all have 20/20 hindsight when it comes to relationships and a basic level of introspection allows us to see what we could have done differently or how easily we have spotted those red flags.

As we experience both the highs and lows in our quest for love, we will turn to our friends for advice (which we frustratingly go and ignore), a high five (when we get lucky) and a shoulder to cry on (when that douche bag inevitably breaks our heart). The way I see it a good friend calls us out when we do something wrong (like dragging out a ‘relationship’ just so you can drive around in Porsche), they big you up when you (finally!) do something right, they celebrate your happiness and wipe away your tears, tell you that you’re pretty and generally put things into perspective  when things aren’t going your way.

But we are not here to talk about those people. They know who they are and don’t require a blog post to validate their existence. Instead, today we’ll shift our attention to a breed of ‘friend’ known as the Emotional Vampire. Describing the Emotional Vampire isn’t easy. Let me start by saying that an Emotional Vampire is not necessarily a bad person with ulterior motives (aka Frenemy). These people don’t secretly wish ill upon you or revel in your failure, they are simply negative people who always put a dampener on things.

Time for an example.I think it’s safe to say the we have all come across THAT friend. You catch up with her for  a gossip and spill the beans about the new bloke you’ve being seeing. You show her a picture of your new beau and her reaction : ‘Ewww. Rancid. Disgusting. Tfu Tfu Tfu’. Next she quizzes you on his vital stats and it goes something like this : ‘Does this one have a job? education? a wife, perhaps?’ and then the focus shifts to you : ‘What does he want from you anyway? He is certainly not with you for your supermodel good looks so maybe he wants to RINSE you for a free coffee or use you as a sex toy‘. The convo ends with advice on how you should aim higher. You leave feeling broken-spirited, doubting your own judgement and wondering whether there is any hope for happily ever after.

Suddenly you get a sense of deja vu – her words, they seem familiar. Didn’t she make the same negative comments about your ex? and the ex before him? And wait a minute… didn’t she say similar things about EVERY guy you or other squad members  ever dated?! The fact is that it wouldn’t matter if your new love interest was a cross between Ryan Gosling and Albert Einstein with Leonardo DiCaprio’s moral compass – THAT friend of yours would still have nothing nice to say. Despite the fact that she has NEVER dated in her life (clearly, no man on earth is good enough), she will constantly criticise your decisions and be the first person to roll their eyes and say I TOLD YOU SO when things go pear-shaped.

This, dear Rinsers, is an Emotional Vampire! Oh, and their negativity goes beyond the realm of dating and relationships. That new job you’ve been offered? ‘Forget it! You’ll be redundant in a month!’ Considering an adventure in Ethiopia? ‘Why the hell would you do that? For God’s sake, don’t you know there is no food there. You’ll starve to death if they don’t kill you first. ‘ The negativity of the Emotional Vampire knows no bounds.

Now for the million dollar question. How does one handle an Emotional Vampire? It would be easy to say sever all ties with them and run for the hills. But life is never that simple. While encounters with an Emotional Vampire always leave you feeling like you’ve had the zest for life sucked out of you, you know they are not necessarily a bad human. Maybe its a historic friendship and you are still nostalgic about the good times or maybe they had some bad childhood experiences that made them this way? Regardless, it’s best to create some distance and limit ones contact with Emotional Vampires.

Life is hard enough without having someone finding fault and constantly reminding us of all the mistakes we’ve made.As you manouver your way through this treacherous world in the quest for love surround yourself with positive people that keep you in good spirits and makes those blows you experience along the way a little easier to handle. Even if you can’t completely remove the Emotional Vampires from your life, at least downgrade them to ‘Coffee Friend’ status.

Rinsers, its your turn now. Have you met any Emotional Vampires?  How did you deal with the negativity? Share your stories in the comments below.