by Elaine Sihera
How often do we hear the statement from single people looking for new dates: "I'm seeking friendship first" because they like to get to 'know' the person before delving into anything more intimate. Men in particular, who fear commitment, love to hide behind this condition, while never really achieving their aim. But is such 'friendship' possible? Isn't that putting the cart before the horse? Let's look at the evidence.
Just a B-u-d-d-y?
Once I got talking online to a seemingly kindly man who fancied me. I explained clearly on the phone that I liked his personality but not enough to take it any further and I didn't think it was a good idea to meet. He felt I was judging him from afar and that I should give him some chance to prove himself, especially when he was merely inviting me to lunch. He was sure that, if I was proved right, we could at least 'be friends'. I was not sure about that but felt I ought to give him the benefit of the doubt to meet up and allow the situation to unfold.
In the end he was old-fashioned in his views, stuck in the past wishing for the 'good old days' and rather mean in affirming people, while being quick with criticism. I didn't warm to him at all and the great personality didn't seem so great in close-up! He also kept grabbing my hand to hold it and I wasn't impressed as I dislike physical contact when I don't feel comfortable. I reminded him of what I had said on the phone and he left the date promising to be 'friends' but was noticeably peeved that I wasn't more amenable to his overtures. I never heard from him again, which did not really surprise me, because his desire for friendship was not genuine in the first place. It was a way to get nearer to me to help me change my mind about him. His ego was hurt and, as 'friendship' was not what he really sought, he didn't care to keep the connection, even though we had shared a very good rapport. And that's what happens in most instances like these. It is difficult to be friends when you fancy the person and wish to get closer to them but they are holding you at arms' length, or vice versa. It is a clear mismatch, and in any mismatch one person is losing out, so friendship isn't possible because it has an unequal and superficial foundation.
The Basis of Genuine Friendship
Genuine friendship originates from understanding another's needs and aspirations and appreciating their pain and joy. It comes out of being able to empathise with them, in both good and bad times. Such knowledge and response are not possible until one knows another for a while and feels comfortable with their presence. Thus true friendship is highly unlikely with anyone we do not know well. When it comes to members of the opposite sex, or instances where there is clear attraction, friendship is the last thing on the cards because the feelings of attraction will overwhelm all other platonic ones and get in the way of real friendship developing.
When we fancy someone we can always fool ourselves that should the fancying not prove mutual, it can then turn into friendship and everyone will be happy. But this seldom happens between two strangers seeking to be affirmed and valued by one another. In any failure to have mutual attraction, one person is bound to feel rejected and so friendship is unlikely in such a scenario because he/she will not feel motivated to get to know the other any better. Their sense of rejection will propel them elsewhere to get the affirmation they seek.
Another reason for seeking 'friendship' in the first instance is the desire for control. To prevent being 'hurt', some people believe that seeking friendship first keeps pain at bay. But if there is going to be hurt, no amount of having friendship at the beginning is going to stave off the pain. Such hurt usually comes when we are at the familiar stage in relationships; when we take each other for granted or when one or both parties begin to lose their appeal. Not at the start of the relationship. So seeking friendship first is really delaying the inevitable in a superficial way, especially where one fears commitment, and has little to do with the desire for real friendship. We cannot replace sexual feelings with friendship because friendship is enduring while fancying someone is likely to be fleeting. Putting the two together is a contradiction in itself, especially when true friendship is only possible when the heady feelings of romance have taken their course and we appreciate the person as someone truly valuable in our journey because we have grown to like/love them more.
Next time you are seeking friendship first, ask yourself why you need tons of 'friends' instead of lovers. You might be surprised by the answers you get. Not only that, look back at all the dates that have failed to live up to expectations and count up all the real friendships that emerged from them. You are likely to find that once there was any kind of rejection involved, friendship would be the last thing anyone wanted at the time!
About the Author...
ELAINE SIHERA (Ms Cyprah - http://www.myspace.com/elaineone) is a media contributor and columnist for Black Britain Online. The first Black graduate of the OU and a post-graduate of Cambridge University, Elaine is a CONSULTANT for Diversity Management, Personal Empowerment and Relationships. Dynamic extrovert with a passion for living and people. An intelligent, confident expert who enjoys every aspect of life. Author of: 10 Easy Steps to Growing Older Disgracefully; 10 Easy Steps to Finding Your Ideal Soulmate!; Money, Sex & Compromise and Managing the Diversity Maze, among others. Also the founder of the British Diversity Awards and the Windrush Achievement Awards. She describes herself as "Fit, Fabulous, Over-fifty and Ready to Fly!" QUOTE: "I do not wish to be any other age because my life at 25 was nowhere as exciting and enjoyable as my life at 50. One thing is certain: no genteel ageing for me - I'll be going there disgracefully and enjoying every minute!"
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Elaine_Sihera