Archive | October, 2011

Well Tina Turner, Actually Love’s Got EVERYTHING To Do With It, (“It” Being Dating)

16 Oct

“Love does not dishonor others.” I was listening to a talk that a friend recommended by Andy Stanley at North Point Community Church in Atlanta on “The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating” when I re-read that verse again. Sure, I’ve seen it a thousand times. It’s from 1 Corinthians 13, the most oft read chapter of the Bible at weddings.  And I wonder what that means. Actually, I wonder what the whole love chapter actually means in the first place…

In my life, in this context for me, I think it means not spreading gossip about people. It means keeping things confidential that need to stay confidential. It looks like not talking badly about someone after I’ve dated them. It is trying to pray about how God sees a person, even if I don’t see them that way and trusting that God is right and I’m not. It’s giving people grace and realizing that they are a work in progress just like I am. It is not trying to return pain that someone might have inflicted on me, but instead forgiving them. Letting go.

Stanley laid out several key concepts for me and for a lot of people I know who are struggling with the confusing thing that is dating.  He asked a great question: “Are you becoming the person that the person you’re looking for is?” A lot of us think that we will just magically understand how to love when we meet the “right person.” But what are we doing today to try to become the person THEY want? The person THEY need? Isn’t that more loving than just expecting that the other person will know how to love? How to cherish? How to fulfill vows? How to love us exactly the way that we need? What about me? What’s my responsibility? How do I love them?

I spoke to one of my friends who recently got married. He told me about how hard it had been for him throughout the engagement process to continually “love”. He said it was a lot of work trying to learn how to do this. He is a great and solid guy, so this surprised me. He and his wife are so perfectly matched, it’s amazing. I suppose as a single person, I thought that the “right” relationship would mean that I would have to work less in order to make it work. Maybe it’s not about working less, but working differently.

If, before I meet someone, I’m busy just looking for them, I might miss out. If I am not trying to become healthy and I stop learning how to actually honor people, if I’m not learning how to be kind and compassionate, and instead  trying to one up my date with stories about how great I am, if I’m just looking for my needs to be met, I will more than miss the person I truly want to be with. Because the reality is, I want someone who is doing all of those things!

To learn how to love is to continually check myself against what God says love is. And I ask myself how I’m doing with those things. Not in a guilty condemning way. And sometimes my friends have to check me on it, too, because we all need help. Stanley said and I agree, this does not come natural to us. It is sometimes hard work. We definitely need God’s help with it. But I’m becoming more and more convinced that to follow Christ (which is what I want to do) is to learn how to love. In every area of my life. In my family relationships, in friendships, at my job,  in conversations with strangers, at my apartment, in LA traffic, at church, after church, everywhere.

My Best Friend Got Brocoded…Let Me Explain

2 Oct

You decide to date someone. Maybe not exclusively, but still, you’re becoming a “known” entity around your community. Things are looking good. You’re friends with all of his friends and vice versa. After a few dates or maybe even months you realize that things just aren’t going to happen the way you had hoped. You decide to part ways, amicably and (hopefully) maturely. A few weeks later, you start hanging out with your friends (co-ed group) who were also his friends at one point. One of them shows an interest in you and you two click. You think things are really going somewhere and there are definitely sparks and potential but alas, he doesn’t want to “step on his friend’s toes” by dating you. Wait, what?! You’ve just been brocoded.

Brocoding is kind of like boycotting except that you’re the one getting boycotted. Someone somewhere decided that we’re allowed to “claim” our property AKA the people we used to date and blacklist them from any other dating experiences. This means that no one else in our “inner circle” is allowed to date them. Well wait a minute. What if our inner circle happens to be our 60 closest friends? Where does it stop? I’m not just pointing out that it’s guys that do this. I don’t quite have a term as awesome as “brocoding” to describe what girls do to one another. It’s like claiming our crush. If everyone knows who our crush is, we think that will be enough to prevent our girl friends from dating him. Um, what if he doesn’t like you back? Then what? No girl ever can date him again? Surely in our minds this would be ideal but how is that fair for him or for our other friends? Assuming we have awesome taste (which, let’s be honest, we do), this guy isn’t going to be single for very long. So maybe he doesn’t like us? Let’s take just a minute to get over ourselves and realize that there will be other people.

If we can’t quite comprehend that, we need to find a good friend to remind us that we are being a little crazy, to love us anyway, and to remind us that there will be others. I say this from personal experience. Once two of my best friends found out that a guy I was totally interested in did not like me back. They had a reliable source. I had spent so much energy and time having a crush on this guy that it didn’t seem possible that he couldn’t like me back. But the reality was, he didn’t. I had to face the truth. My friends helped me walk through it. They didn’t even think I was pathetic for crying over it. They just kept telling me that there would be others. And there were.

As for brocoding and as one of my pastors calls it, “peeing on people” (like a dog pees on its favorite spot to claim it), I’m really sick and tired of seeing this happen. I get it. It’s hard to watch your friends date the guy you’ve dated. Trust me, it’s happened to me and it’s really really hard. I am not undermining it and you’d better not tell me that I’m stronger than you are, because I’m not. I just had to train myself to be based on the truth of the situation, not my feelings. Trust me, I’ve had a lot of nights where I cried about this and had to give it up to God. It took me awhile to understand why I had to let go of the guy that I dated (not for months, but for over a year) and let him move on even though I wasn’t feeling like it. (More on why we do this in other blogs). But the reality is, my friends are awesome. Of course he would like them and want to see if something would work with one of them. I had to let him do that. I had to encourage her to go out with him to see. I didn’t want to be the reason that two great people wouldn’t work out.

Granted, there are plenty of people in the world. But in a small community where you’ve made your home, it just makes sense that it would be easier to find someone within that community that gets the culture, loves what you love, and where you won’t have to choose between your community and a guy. I’m advocating that we stop the brocoding and the claiming people for ourselves. I’m up for a conversation about this. Always. I would love to talk to you more about why I think this way and why I’ve come to this conclusion.

And as an anecdote, I’ve lived this out. A friend of mine dated a guy a couple of times and didn’t think they were a good fit but totally thought he was a great guy. They became friends and she sent him pictures of four girls that she thought he would be great with. And guess what? I was on the list and had a great date as a result. Because my friend decided to want the best for her friends and for this great guy, other people are going to get to benefit. Of course no one is sure where this is going to go, but she did the single girls in our community a service by passing on our names to him. We need more people advocating, not brocoding. Surely we’re called to a higher level of maturity. It’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s just plain awkward. But I’d rather be dating than sitting home knowing that great guys in my community aren’t asking me out because I’ve been blacklisted…

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