Valentines Day

Hitting Pause on Romance for Friendship

Last week, while watching Grey's Anatomy (am I the only one still watching?!?), I had a bit of a "hmmmm.... I don't know if I agree with that friendship rule" moment. Meredith and Alex, platonic friends on Grey's Anatomy, as they keep practicing what friendship is supposed to look like between them.

Meredith was explaining to Alex (who is supposed to be trying to be her new best friend since Christina moved away) that his job was to answer every text from her, even if he was in the middle of having sex. Which he had been.

She said that "The Pause" is one of the rules of friendship.  Real friends will stop whatever they are doing--and spouses and lovers just need to get used to it--to respond and be present. The text wasn't even an SOS text.. it had simply said something along the lines of "What are you up to?"

I wondered if, as an advocate for friendship, I was supposed to agree with her rule that gave such priority to friendship?

But I don't.  I definitely don't. Our marriages/family are a priority and bonding time should never be interrupted. But even if we don't interrupt "moments" that doesn't mean we shouldn't interrupt our lives for each other.

With that said, there are a few more times I do think women, in general, should be willing to hit pause on romance/family for the sake of our friendships.

The Rules for "Pausing" Romance for our Friendship

Our reputations precede us when it comes to how much more important we think romance is than friendship. We have left a wake of broken and missed friendships in our past because we haven't practiced pausing the love in our homes to keep up the love in our circle of friends.  Here are a few places I think we can afford to pause romance in order to maintain friendships:

  1. Hit pause on romance when you're on a girls weekend: I had someone write me last week and describe how thrilled she was to finally go on a weekend-away with a friend she hadn't seen in years, but then felt disappointed by her friend who called to talk with her husband throughout every day. It left her walking beside a friend who was on the phone a lot feeling like even when she had her friend, she wasn't really with her. I love my husband and could talk to him all day long and want to tell him everything... but GirlFriends, come on, we can go a day or two without having to catch him up on everything in real-time. On a girls weekend? Then tell your lover you'll see him when you get home or call only when it doesn't leave your friend out. On a romantic weekend? Same thing! Tell your friend/sister/mother you won't be calling for a few days and gift your lover with your undivided attention. In other words-- give your undivided attention to whomever you're with.
  2. Hit pause on romance when it's new to make sure your friends still feel their importance I've seen and heard A LOT about women ignoring their friends for new love. Even if what we think we want is 24/7 with some new romantic interest, we will tell him/her "As much as I'd love to spend the whole weekend with you, I have a standing date with my friend on Sunday mornings so I can't get together until after that." Communicating you have a life and good friends can only improve a healthy relationship!
  3. Hit pause on romance/family when you're busy and time is limited. Yes life is full, no one is minimizing that.  But if having friendships is important then the intimacy has to be maintained with ongoing love and connection.  We will not go MIA on consequential relationships just because we're distracted with a busy life.  We will fit in the important people, including our friends, even if it takes time we could give to family/romance. We will find creative ways to make sure that
  4. Hit pause on romance even if he doesn't go out with his friends.  Many a couple, myself included, feel like they get almost all their needs met in each other, being married to their best friend.  It can be hard to give up time with him-- I love being with him. But we have to carve out the time and perhaps say, "If left to my own tendencies, I'd probably just spend every moment with you, but it's important for me to make/keep my friendships so please don't take it personally that I need to go out at least once a week to maintain my friendships." We HAVE to peel ourselves away from family to give time to our friendships... the more we do it, the more meaningful those times with them will be. Our goal is to have a wide support circle made up of many different kinds of love and connection in our lives.
  5. Hit pause on romance even in the midst of engagement and wedding euphoria.  With many women getting engaged this month and lots of weddings being planned this spring, it makes sense that woman are rightfully caught up in their love stories.  No need to feel guilt about that!  But we do need to hit pause to not only still make time for our friends, but also to make time for their lives when we are together.  We don't need to only talk about the wedding. We can hit pause and ask them about their lives, being intentional to make sure we're thoughtful of what they are feeling and experiencing.

I'm all for love.  Lots of it!  So no need to choose one or the other-- all love is important!

This Valentines weekend, even if we're caught up in romantic love, we can still pause in some way, to remind our friends that we love them and can't wait until our next get-together.  That's what friends do.

With love,

Shasta

p.s.  What rules so you wish you could set? What hurts you the most that your friends do when they're dating? Do you find it hard to go out with friends when your lover doesn't? Share with us!  :)

Celebrating All Love, Not Just the Romantic Kind!

I am a big fan of romantic love.  A very big fan. And I'm all for having a day where we can celebrate those loving feelings. But... every Valentines I find myself worrying more about all the women who are so obsessed about being chosen by some dream man (or woman, as the case may be) that they forget that love comes from so many other places!  Today isn't just about whether we are "in love," but rather about whether we are living loving lives.  What a huge difference!

Anne Lamott (a popular author who writes spiritual memoirs such as her latest, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers) wrote this on her Facebook page this last week:

"I would estimate that approximately 17% of people enjoy Valentine's day. Mostly, women will be given boxes of chocolates that they don't want and can't resist, and will be really mad at themselves for inhaling. Many people will be filled with resentment, anxiety, and guilt at having forgotten, or having shown up late, or having accidentally been having affairs with other people. Many people will feel a sheet-metal sense of loneliness and rejection. They will be comparing their insides with other people's outsides, especially those happy valentines actors in advertisements and commercials. Most of the day, except for the lucky few, will be a nightmare."

That's a pretty depressing view.  And I so hope the number is higher than 17% of people who step into today with joy, contentment, and gratitude.  But it illustrates my point that for many, today has the potential to be depressing or disappointing.

Lamott is calling for an Occupy Valentines Day where women focus today on radical self-care instead of looking for external validation.  That is certainly in alignment with my friend Christine Arylo, the Queen of Self-Love and author of Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of Becoming Your Own Best Friend who has declared every Feb. 13 as the International Day of Self-Love.  The message that I am so glad is entering our consciousness is the reminder that love has to start with us.

Let's Choose All Love Today!

I invite all of us to decide today that we are going to choose to remember that we are loved. That means recognizing that whether we are in a romantic relationship or not, that we are valuable, worthy, loveable, and amazing.  We are no less so, no matter what our relationship status.  That means that we're going to pry our little fingers open and let go of any set expectation of what someone has to do for us today to make us feel good.  We can choose to feel loved all by ourselves.  Yes, we can.

Choosing to celebrate our own worthiness can take on many different forms. Whether it's planning this evening to be filled with the things that bring us personal joy, scheduling some 30 minutes of self-care that we give ourselves, or setting aside time to journal and ground ourselves in what we know is lovingly true about us, we can decide if we want to choose love or fear today.

Choosing love is an inside job.

Proof of that is that we have all been in relationship before and still not felt like we were "enough."  A relationship doesn't mean we're in anymore loved or able to receive love any easier.  So let's not fall for the delusion that we need someone else before we can feel it.

And then, after accepting our own personal love, let's also commit to reach out to others we love.  So for some of us it may include a romantic partner, but for all of us it also includes family members, co-workers, and friends.  It means showing up in ways that remind others that they are loved.  Let's make sure our very presence invites others to feel good about themselves.

This can include such things as:

  • Leaving a voice mail for a girlfriend telling her 5 things we love about her.
  • Taking 2 minutes to write an email (or send an e-card) to any of our friends who have recently gone through a break-up or divorce and reminding them,"Just in case you are tempted to doubt your amazing-ness today-- I just wanted to jump in your inbox and tell you how absolutely love-able, wonderful, and beautiful you are. You are so loved and thought of on this Valentines Day!"
  • Calling your parents and thanking them for showing you so much love over the years.
  • Scheduling an impromptu Valentines happy hour at your apartment after work and inviting anyone you think of or see throughout the day!
  • Give hugs everywhere you go.  Few of us get too much healthy and loving touch in our lives.
  • And commit to just really listen and see people tomorrow.  Everyone you encounter in meetings, during sales calls, and in the break room is fighting their own battles-- be sure they know you saw them and valued them.

There is a very real spiritual truth and it is that love goes every direction; meaning that it's impossible for you to give love and have any less of it yourself.  As we give, we receive.  As we hug, we get hugged. As we smile at others, we feel happier.  As we remind others of their inherent worth, we remember our own.

Today, let's be a community of women that loves.  May we exude the love we crave.  May we be the love this world needs.

With love and hope,

Shasta

p.s.  Want to buy a gift for a girlfriend, sister, or mother? Send a note telling them you just purchased "Friendships Don't Just Happen!" and are having it sent to them as a thank you for how much love they have shown you over the years!

p.s.s.  Just went through a recent break-up or feeling bad about being alone this year? My friend, Ellen Smoak of Break-ups are a Bitch has begun a free 1-month Cupid's Roast filled with interviews with all kinds of sex, dating, relationship, and love coaches to help inspire and heal you.  (I'll be featured toward the end!)