Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Some Relationship Rules (That Are Silly)

Now that the character limit on Facebook statuses has disappeared, the terrible sappy stories and lists of cutesy sayings that used to show up in email forwards and MySpace bulletins have started reappearing. I used to mock them all the time, but then they started disappearing, and now they're back, and I'm getting oh so very tired of them. So they just might show up in my blog from time to time.

Here is one that I've seen three times over the past week and a half. Original is in bold, my comments are in... um... not bold.

I used to wonder if when I was actually in a relationship, I'd become less snarky about these forwards and start thinking, "Aww, that's actually pretty sweet." Answer: Nope. Not at all. Good to know.

‎(written by a girl)

(critiqued by a girl)

There, mine has the same amount of credibility now.

Guys, when she pulls away pull her back.

See, right away, we have a problem. I suppose I'm kind of okay with that as an occasional jokey thing, but if that became a regular thing, that would seriously tick me off. If I'm pulling away from someone, it's because I want/need to be away from them. For whatever reason. And I'd rather that person respect that. And, admittedly, I'm a little touchy about physical boundaries, but so are a lot of girls I know, so offering this as general romance statement is a really bad idea.

This will turn out to be a regular theme throughout this list of advice - assuming all girls think and act the same way leads to really awkward moments with real life people who, surprise, may have different responses to things.

When you see her start crying hold her and don't say a word.

Now that's probably better advice for most people, but, once again, this is the danger of pretending generic relationship advice is applicable for everyone: I don't generally like to be touched when I'm crying, and I like to be talked to. So this is pretty much the opposite of what would be encouraging for me.

When you see her walking sneak up and hug her waist from behind.

Again, I'm not the only one I know who would not care for that. Not all of us like surprise hug attacks.

When she steals your favorite hoodie let her wear it.

Uh, OK. I mean, I'm not planning on ever stealing my boyfriend's favorite hoodie, but I suppose if I did and he snarled at me that I couldn't wear it, that might be a problem? This is just a really specific one that assumes that this is the kind of thing I do all the time, and I'm really having trouble imagining it ever being something I run into.

When she says she loves you she really does mean it.

This one isn't bad, except for one that it's contrasted with later. But I'll get to that one when it comes up.

When she grabs your hands hold hers and play with her fingers.

*shrug* This is OK, I guess... but all I have is mental images of a girl going, "STOP! No! Stop playing with my fingers! Just let me HOLD YOUR HAND, DANG IT!"

When she tells you a secret keep it safe and untold.

Safe and untold. Not just one or the other. (Obviously I agree, though, keeping secrets is a good thing unless they're secrets that are going to hurt other people.)

Make sure she knows your hers and no one elses.

OK, I think that's supposed to come across as an "I love you more than everyone else, let me be the main person in your life" kind of thing but it just comes across as "You're my property, I will possess you" and makes it a little creepy. There's a fine line there.

When she looks at you in your eyes dont look away until she does.

No, no, no. That's one of those ridiculous cutesy things that I would deliberately avoid doing. It's right up there with, "You hang up first." "No, YOU hang up first."

When she's mad hug her tight and don't let go.


Anybody who did this to me would immediately lose so much of my respect. It would mean they had absolutely no sense of who I was as a person and what was important to me. I've already ranted on this blog about people who think it's cute or endearing to hug me after I've politely asked them not to. If I want a hug, I'll ask for or initiate a hug. If I don't, I won't. And if you try to hug me when I'm upset, and, worse yet, don't let me go, that is just going to redirect my frustration right back at you. There are people in my life I no longer share actual feelings with because they react this way. My significant other should not be one of them.

When she says she's okay don't believe it.

This one makes me mad (I can say that because none of you blog readers are able to hold me and not let me go while reading this). This especially makes me mad in contrast to the last one about believing the girl - the message here is that girls always tell the truth about their boyfriends, but always lie about themselves? What?

Sometimes people do lie about how they're doing, and say they're OK when they're not... but sometimes they are OK, and they say they're OK, and people don't believe them, and that is awful. It's very annoying when people assume that I'm either lying to them or that I don't know myself well enough to know if I'm really okay.

And, honestly, if I'm lying about how I'm doing, it'll be for one of two reasons: either I don't trust you enough yet to be honest about my feelings (in which case your prying is going to make it even more difficult for me to do so), or I'm frustrated/scared/sad/whatever but know if I talk about it, it'll just make it worse, so it's safer to dismiss it until I can properly deal with it (in which case your prying is unhelpfully dredging up something I'm trying to get past).

This assumes that girls are all either stupid about their own emotions or like to play mind games with you. And neither is true of me, or of most of the girls I am close friends with. Not all of us are crazy like that.

Call her at 12:00am on her birthday just to tell her you love her.

Again, this one is so specific. It's a nice idea, I guess, but there are so many factors involved. Is she going to be up that late? Does she like talking on the phone? Would she much rather be told this in person? Does she like celebrating her birthday? If you just say you love her, would she want you to say happy birthday instead? Would a text or Facebook message be more meaningful? It just doesn't seem to belong in a list along with things like "Don't tell other people her secrets," which is obvious common sense advice for everyone all the time.

(My answers: Yes, no, yes, sometimes, maybe, maybe.)

Treat her like she's all that matters to you.

Nope, I don't like this one either. I don't want me to be the only thing that matters to someone. For one, from a Christian standpoint, I'd like God to matter to him. I'd also like his friends to matter to him. And his family. And his work. And his hobbies. I do not want to be the sole thing responsible for happiness and meaning in his life. That's a lot of pressure, and it can't be a healthy way to function. Besides, if that's how he treats me, how am I ever going to get introvert alone time?

Watch her favorite movies with her even if you think they are stupid.

Actually, I'm quite comfortable watching movies on my own, and I get self-conscious when people watch movies with me that I like but think they'll probably dislike, and I can't enjoy it anymore. If you don't want to watch a movie with me, don't, and just let me do it by myself. We'll find a movie we both like later and we can watch that together and have a much better shared experience.

Don't talk about other girls around her.

Uh, in what capacity? I'm perfectly comfortable talking about close opposite-sex friends with my boyfriend. This message might be specifically referring to comments like, "Your best friend is super hot," which would indeed be a really awkward comment and shouldn't be said. Or maybe discussion of exes or something. I don't know. This is one of the few that isn't specific enough.

Kiss her in the pouring rain.

A nice gesture, but couldn't that be done without the pouring rain part?

Make her know she's loved and wanted.

Yup, I completely agree with that one. That's 2 out of 18.

When she reposts this bulletin she wants you to read it.

Does snarking it on my blog count as reposting this? Because that is so not why I'm doing it.

Guys; repost this if you'd do it. Girls; repost this if you would love a guy like this.♥

Would I love a guy who paid absolutely no attention to my personal preferences, assumed that all girls functioned the way they do in movies and TV shows, and was always trying to get past the sneaky mind games I'm not actually playing?

Yeeeeah, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't.

(I'm wondering now if Edward Cullen fits all the criteria... Probably not the crying one. I mean, he likes to watch sad movies so he can watch Bella cry. If he was holding her, he wouldn't be able to do that.)

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