But why the onslaught of friends calling me to say that they're breaking up with someone before the relationship is even...well...A Relationship?!?
he: I'm just not sure I want to start a long-distance thing.
me: Have you even gone out with her yet?
he: I just met her yesterday. But she lives out of state. I don't even know if I want to bother putting forth effort into that kind of distance.
me: (laughing) Well...maybe you should call her first to see if there's any reason to keep in touch at all.
Another real conversation:
she: I just got this email from (a guy I went out once with 3 months ago). I think he's breaking up with me.
me: Wait, who? You aren't dating anyone, though, are you?
she: Well...we went out three months ago and I emailed him to tell him I had a good time and it was nice talking to him and then I never heard from him again. And now I just got this email- three months later- where he says that he just didn't want to pursue things with me because he didn't have feelings for me like that, but he would still like to be friends.
me: (stunned silence.) Are you sure he wasn't just kidding?
It seems like lately there's a lot of breaking up with people we haven't even started dating yet. This worries me. Why are we eliminating people from our lives before we even have time to consider them as friends, let alone romantic possibilities? Considering that we only have time and patience for so much shallow conversation, why is it we're limiting ourselves from the only kind of connection that really matters- a genuine one. And even then, why do we rush to the conclusion that a genuine connection must result in a terminal relationship? Whatever happened to all those glorious, fun, enjoyable levels of relationships in-between? Can't we just enjoy being FRIENDS for a while? Especially in a world so lacking in Real, True Friendship and caring, I think there's something to be said for knowing when you have someone in your corner, wanting the best for you- even when that doesn't mean having them.
To all of you who may be jumping the gun on breaking up before you've gotten to know someone, I'm going to share my relationship ladder with you. I hope it will ease your pain and soothe your freaked-out hearts.
Best of luck.
The Relationship Ladder:
What it takes to get to know someone. And then date them. And THEN marry them.
2. Friendly Conversation
3. Occasional mixed-gatherings
4. Occasional one-on-one conversation
5. Occasional one-on-one quality time
6. Frequent one-on-one time
7. Expected/Assumed one-on-one time
(You may add "with steps 1-3," involving other people to this, too.)
8. One-on-one time with the goal of commitment
9. One-on-one time with the express intent of commitment
10. Exclusive, committed time
If you ask me, that's a lot of steps and a lot to progress through. If at any point in time, you feel burdened, just ask yourself: Do I want to see this person again? If the answer is no- you can stop seeing them. If the answer is yes, you can move forward. It's a fairly simple process, really. If you're still contemplating breaking up with that person, ask yourself: Do I want to see them for the next 2 hours? If the answer is no, go ahead and stop seeing them. But unless the reason you don't want to see someone again is because you just plain don't want them in your life- don't WORRY about it.
Remember, "Cart-Before-the-Horse" friends, there are two sides of every coin to deal with. As much as you might worry they're getting too attached to you, there's a whole other party involved who just might feel like YOU are the one getting way too fond of them.