I’ve been writing a lot about friends lately. I’ve told you about all the support I’ve gotten from my girls. It’s the various ladies in my life I call — IM or text or email — when I need to talk. Just today I called my sister and said, “I need to sort something out. Can you listen for a bit?” I also sought out two of my friends who I work with (not to be confused with “work friends.” These ones are friends first, co-workers second). I love them. I love how they listen, share their own stories and help me see things differently.
But I really want to talk about guy friends today. They are equally supportive, just in a different way. For example, I’m having a dispute with my property manager over my getting a cat. After talking to one of my girls (who gave me great advice and feedback based on her own experience), I wrote an email response to the wicked landlady, but I felt it just wasn’t worded strong enough. I asked my no-nonsense co-worker to take a look. He gave me his no-nonsense version.
But not just that, he gave me a dose of advice along with it. Candace, don’t let anyone push you around, he told me. There are plenty of property managers in Seattle. If this one isn’t willing to work with you, dozens of others are.
I appreciated the life lesson. It definitely gave me more confidence to be more assertive in my email. I don’t even care anymore if landlady says yes or no because at least I feel in control. I asked for what I want and I can walk if I don’t get it.
The real difference I see between guy friends and girls is time. My girlfriends will give me hours. Hours of talking or listening or just hanging out. And they give it week after week. And I give it back. Surely I’m not the only one with a crisis. And I don’t mean to say that isn’t quality. It is.
But I’d describe what I get from the boys as quality, not quantity. I don’t call upon them all the time, but when I do, I feel like it’s thoughtful and quick. Maybe we girls analyze and dissect too much. Guys seem to look at a problem, think, “This is how I see it” and spill it.
When my guy and I were in crisis and moving to separate places, it was his BFF (my phrase, not theirs) who pulled me aside, gave me a hug and said, “Candace, are you OK?” It was quick and thoughtful. I reached out to a lot of people during that time, but that is the response that sticks out in my mind the very most.
Similarly, my friend Chad shared some thoughtful words that I think I’ll carry with me all my life. He told me he’s seen good girlfriends and bad girlfriends in his life, and he knows I am a good girlfriend. He didn’t sugarcoat the issue. He just told me how he saw it, and it made me feel a lot better. He’s also the first to support in non-talk ways. “Hey Candace, do you want to come to brunch/see a show/come over for movie night?”
So thanks, guys, for teaching me your no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point way of living life.