Friday, September 2, 2011

An Unintentional Compliment is Still a Compliment

Last night I hung out with BirthdayGuy.  For the record, I really wish I'd given him a better nickname because that one is just stupid, but I never thought he'd keep popping up like he has!

Anyway, Wednesday night we went on an un-date to see a movie together.  We had a good time and I feel very comfortable with him and he makes me laugh.  Last night he went to the Redskins game, and came over after.  We basically just hung out and talked, and we ended up having a really interesting discussion. 

Since we started hanging out more, BirthdayGuy has made a big point to tell me not to fall for him, don't like him, we aren't going to date, etc., etc.  It's become a running joke between us, but lately the continuing barrage of the same sentiment has grown old, so I mentioned it.  I then asked him, for the sake of curiosity, why he was so vehemently against dating me.  I noted that I wasn't asking because that's what I wanted, but because I was puzzled about why it was so important for him to make that point over and over.

After a lot of inarticulate blathering, which is interesting because he's very intelligent and well spoken generally, he told me that a) he likes the friendship we have and doesn't want to ruin it and b) he likes to date people he can see marrying, and he doesn't know if he would marry me.

I had to laugh.  I wasn't offended in the slightest, I was just intrigued.  I asked why.  The first thing he said was, "You are very strong-willed."  I asked him to elaborate, and he continued on to say that I am very stubborn, possibly more so than him.  (NOTE:  We'd just had a verbal sparring session that lasted probably 10 minutes over the pronunciation of a certain word.  I'd lobbied for my opinion intensely and told him that it must have been sad for him to be so wrong, LOL.) 

Since we were being honest, I told him that I understood, and that I couldn't probably ever date him because he'd made it very clear that he does not get the idea of being friends with exes.  He is very bothered by the fact that I'm friends with some of mine, and this is from the stance of someone whom I'm not even dating.  He agreed that this was true, and it would have been an issue for him.  However, he also understood my logic, which is that my last relationship was with someone who thought I could be just friends with no man, and wanted to isolate me from all the men I knew.  I'd explained to him that in the 6 months I've been single, I've re-embraced my own personal freedom of choice, and that I was not going to sacrifice that again just because someone tells me to.

So it was a very direct and honest and fascinating conversation, and I feel like I finally understand BirthdayGuy a little better now, and hopefully he will feel less inclined to repeatedly tell me not to fall in lvoe with him.  I also pointed out that I found it a little bit insulting that so many men assume that just because I flirt with them and enjoy spending time with them, that I have or will fall madly, illogically in love with them.  NOT TRUE!

I have to say, though, the best part of that whole conversation for me was something that didn't get a ton of specific discussion.  The fact that he identified me as strong-willed...I don't know why, but that felt like a glowing, awesome compliment.  Truly.  It makes me feel like he sees me as a strong individual in general, someone who sticks to her beliefs and opinions no matter what, and who advocates for herself. 

My relationship with the Ex made me so insecure, and I was at the lowest point I'd ever been by the end of it.  I had so little self-confidence, and no one in their right minds would have looked at me and described me as strong-willed.  I was a pushover.  Spineless.  Naive.  I got walked over routinely and basically asked for more by sticking around in spite of it.

Now I know that some people hear strong-willed and think it's a nice way of saying bitch, or bossy or demanding.  But the fact is that when I hear that characteristic attributed to me, from someone who sort of knows me, but doesn't know me completely, I feel proud.  I feel good.  I feel like I am finally putting out a healthier, better vibe into the universe.  I hope it sticks around, and I hope that it helps me attract the people and the energy that can appreciate my strength, and value the person it makes me.

Strong-willed, indeed.  :-)


  1. I don't know BlueMoon.... I think the guy sounds very arrogant with the " don't fall in love with me" bit.

    I took him calling you strong willed as a veiled insult. You say that you guys verbally sparred for 10 minutes over something. To me, it sounds like he is telling you that he thinks you are the kind of person who can never be wrong. When I think of strong willed, I think of a child who throws themselves on the floor and screams until they get their way whether they deserve to or not.

    This is not at all how I see you!! Do I think you are strong? Absolutely! I think you are brave and love yourself and respect yourself enough to stand up for what you feel is correct. I call that confidence and a great sense of self-esteem.

    You are a wonderful woman and it makes me sad that these guys lately are not appreciating you for all your great qualities.

    I hope I didn't overstep, but I care about you as a friend and it truly sounds like this guy is a narcissist.

  2. @gatorchica: I appreciate the concern, but I will assure you that the arrogance is all for show and is mostly done in jest now, and the strong willed comment was a compliment, not an insult. The verbal sparring match over the word was done in good humor,with both of us laughing the entire time, and the bottom line is that we're both just stubborn. :)

    You totally didn't overstep, and I'm sorry if I didn't explain things adequately, but B-Day Guy really wasn't insulting me at all.