Girl Talk

Earlier this week, I had a conversation with someone, let’s call her Abena. Abena is seeing someone new, and I asked how it was going. She said she was confused. She likes the guy very much, but people keep telling her things about him which is confusing her. She said she’s realized she’s quite gullible, and usually influenced by talk, and once again, she doesn’t know what to think. 

She isn’t the first.

True scenario, names changed:

Joyce starts to date a new guy. Ajoa finds out Joyce’s man is a cheat. It takes Ajoa a while, but she witnesses a clear act of indiscretion and tells Joyce. Joyce says, ‘Hey, it’s my situation, I love him, no one is perfect, I’m staying.’ 

A short while later, Ajoa gets involved with someone. Based on my observations, and what I know, I tell her, I don’t think this guy is treating you right, take it easy. Ajoa tells me, ‘When you get yours, play cha-cha with it. This is my situation; there is no perfect man out there.’

Less than a year later, Babs starts to date someone new, someone Ajoa has dated. Ajoa tells Babs her man is no good. Babs says, ‘I know what I’m doing, thanks for the advice. No one is perfect.’

Get the picture? Should women even try to tell another woman her man is no good? Has anyone ever listened to a friend and actually left a relationship because of that? Is it a completely useless, fruitless and thankless action? I can’t count how many friends I’ve given advice to. But not a single one ever listened. Are any of them with those men right now? Nope. Did my advice have anything to do with it? Nope. Last year, after the ‘when you get yours, play cha-cha with it’ comment, I have put an end to it all. To be completely biased in my favor, I’ve never stated outright leave your man, he’s no good. My advice has always been, ‘set your own standards, your own principles, decide what you can accept, and what you can’t, determine how you want to be treated.’ But no matter how you phrase it, the advice is interpreted the same way, ‘you’re basically telling me my man is no good.’

Those who give the ‘advice’ get upset when their dear friends don’t listen. It becomes an issue, a sore topic, and friendships can be permanently damaged. But interestingly and ironically, the advice givers have often been on the receiving end before and never listened! Is it that women have short memories or believe every single situation is different? The typical ‘I am not like her’ or ‘my boyfriend is nothing like him’ syndrome. We can see others’ situations but are blinded to our own. Another problem is when you’re single and you’re the one providing the advice. That’s the worst isn’t it? Your friend will think it’s because you don’t have a man of your own. Of course admittedly, some women do it out of spite, others its true concern.

What’s the best way to look out for each other then? Because honestly there are men who are no good, there are men who are cheats and there are men who will tear your friends’ hearts apart.  Do you just watch, listen, and let it happen? I think you should say something, and you should say it once and leave it. As you say it, remember, your friend will not listen. But you must say it at least once, just for the record, that’s all, nothing more. Don’t have expectations. Don’t force or push or coerce her into leaving. She won’t. She’ll show you the door. So just say it once, as nicely but honestly as you can, and tell her you’re there for her. Don’t push your agenda, because it is an agenda, pure and simple. She can never see him with your eyes. Is he a cheating disrespectful idiot? Maybe, but she has to figure that out for herself.  And perhaps she already knows.

Should we try a mini poll? Women who’ve been told by friends your man no good, how did you feel when you heard it? What actions did you take? Did you think your friend did it out of genuine concern or it was laced with jealousy? And those who’ve been on both the receiving and giving ends (the Ajoa’s of this world); did you listen to your own friends? Why not? What makes the time you heard it and the time you’re saying it different?

Just tonight a friend told me about her new man. And I think it was a pretty good conversation. I’ve dated him before, a lifetime ago. He was an idiot then, but I don’t know who he is now. So I said, ‘he was lousy when I was with him, but this is you. Be careful, be open minded, be cautious, and figure it out as you go, that’s all.’  We had an open good conversation and I gave her respect and trust. It’s really up to her. And I believe she’s smart, she’ll be fine, even if she’s isn’t, she’ll learn.

What more can I say?