Nice Guy Syndrome, The Friendzone, and Entitlement Mentality

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Whenever I scroll through my dashboard on Tumblr, one thing that keeps popping up is this thing called “Nice Guy Syndrome.” “Nice Guy Syndrome” is (according to the Tumblr hive mind) when your average guy complains about his lack of relationships even though he acts nice to women. Most guys with “nice guy syndrome” complain about being stuck in the friendzone.

A good example of “Nice Guy Syndrome” or being stuck in the friendzone can be seen in “Prophecy Girl” (Buffy season 1, episode 12). Ian AKA Passion of the Nerd analyzes this scene in his Buffy Episode Guide. The scene I’m talking about starts at the 2:23 mark and the analysis of said scene ends at 4:17 so if you haven’t seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I recommend you stop the video at that point to avoid spoilers.

I totally get Xander wanting to ask Buffy out, but at the same time, I understand why Buffy turns Xander down, too. It’s not even that she has a crush on Angel, which Xander complains about later, but she sees him as a friend, plain and simple. (Also, kudos to Willow for refusing to be Xander’s rebound.) Xander thinks with his passion, but he lacks clear judgment and empathy, an issue that continues on for the rest of the series. One major thing I hated about the show is that they never showed Xander getting over Buffy. Even when he moved onto relationships with other girls, Xander still interferes in Buffy’s life, namely pushing her to stay in a relationship with a guy named Riley even though they’re all wrong for each other. (Not to mention the crap that went down in Season 6 but that is a completely different blog post.)

Now while it’s true girls fantasize about bad boys (I’ve mentioned my drooling over Spike on here, right?), they also fantasize about having the perfect gentleman as a husband as well. (Exhibit A: Mister Darcy from Pride and Prejudice) I don’t like guys who only act nice just so they can get a girlfriend. Guys should be nice to girls because you should love your neighbor as yourself, not as a means to an end.

But unfortunately, girls are just as guilty of acting bitter over guys they can’t have. Trust me when I say I’ve been there and done that. My boy-crazy phase was basically like Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” I would see this cute guy and immediately think that I’ve fallen in love with him. I’d act all nice to him, doing my best to flirt (usually with spectacularly awkward failure), but the minute something goes wrong, I start panicking. I start seeing any girl he’s friends with as a rival. And yeah, I’d eventually write the guy off as all wrong for me, spend some time single and then boom, onto the next guy.

Things have thankfully changed since then. I hang out with my friends, which consist of both guys and girls, but I don’t expect anything out of the guys. Even the cute ones. This is because I’ve accepted my life as a single person and don’t feel entitled to having a relationship just because I want one. Believe me when I say that I get lonely and I miss being in a relationship sometimes and I hope to have a good relationship sometime in the near future. The difference between now and then is that I recognize that the guys in my life are people too, not just means to an end.

The thing about the friendzone is that it comes from an entitlement mentality. People act nice as a means and think that they can have the perfect guy or girl if they act a certain way. But a relationship built on the expectations of getting everything you want isn’t healthy. A good example of that can be seen in Buffy and Riley’s relationship during Season 5.

 

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Buffy is the Slayer, which means that she has super strength and speed and can kick a normal guy up and down the curb without breaking a sweat. Riley, being a normal guy, felt emasculated by the relationship. It eventually led to him seeking pleasure from prostitutes and giving Buffy an ultimatum when she finds out. Riley was never considerate of Buffy’s real life issues and constantly made her feel like she had to carry the weight of their relationship. In other words, he felt entitled to having a certain kind of relationship with Buffy that she couldn’t give him. He decided to return to the army and left Buffy picking up the pieces, thinking that his leaving was her fault.

America tends to have a major entitlement mentality when it comes to things. You can see that in prosperity gospel or in the Law of Attraction. But as the Rolling Stones said “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you find you get what you need.” I think if people realize that love isn’t something you’re entitled to, we can start treating each other with more respect.

Screenshots from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are copyright to Fox and Mutant Enemy and are used for editorial purposes only.

Lent Day 5: Sundays are NOT Cheat Days!

According to Americancatholic.org:

Technically, Sundays are not part of Lent. Although we celebrate them liturgically as part of Lent, the Lord’s Day cannot be a day of fast and abstinence. Six weeks of Monday through Saturday gives you 36 days. If you add to them Ash Wednesday and the three days after it, you get the 40 days of Lent.

Some people may find it easier to “give up” something for the entire time between Ash Wednesday and Easter, but you are correct in saying that Sundays are not part of the 40 days.

If you’re thinking of having whatever you gave up for Lent on Sundays, I only have one thing to say to that…

Cue Phoenix Wright Music!

The Sundays may not be part of Lent, but Jesus stayed in the desert for 40 days straight. And even after he finished those 40 days, he was still tempted by the devil.

I know you’re probably missing whatever you gave up for Lent by this point. I understand that, believe me.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve given up selfies for Lent. But I think I also mentioned in a previous post that I’m “giving up my crush for Lent.”

What exactly does that mean, you ask?

I’m not gonna make the first move. Or any move, really. If he calls me or makes the first move, I’ll be open to conversation, but I’m not gonna go out of my way to show him how I feel. And it’s not because “the patriarchy says so” or because I’m like my mom and think in this old-fashioned way. It’s because I need a break from all the insanity that comes with having this crush. I don’t want to obsess or overanalyze his every move and word and wonder if he’s thinking about me. I want to be able to use Lent to focus on what God wants. So for Lent, I’m giving God my heart and asking Him to take care of it.

And yet, I still miss my crush. I miss him ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-d.

Marianne from Sense and Sensibility By Chris Hammond (1860-1900) (Lilly Library, Indiana University) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Marianne from Sense and Sensibility
By Chris Hammond (1860-1900) (Lilly Library, Indiana University) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So you know what I do?

To use a phrase known amongst many Cradle Catholics, I offer it up.

Why? I’ll let Rachel and Kateri explain:

And if you’re still wondering if I’m gonna regret doing this later…

A friend of mine told me that she was going on the Paleo diet for Lent. She said that over time, the body adjusts to not having that processed food and all that sugar. By the time a person on the Paleo diet eats cake again, the cake tastes overly sweet because the body didn’t really need all that sugar. And right now, I really want some emotional distance. Or at least the patience and serenity to wait and see what happens next.

I’m also going to share with you this quote from St. Francis of Assisi:

Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves so that He who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally.

So no, I am not gonna “cheat.” Because I like keeping myself accountable and I don’t like loopholes.

I hope y’all understand. And I’ll pray for you, even if you don’t.

How to Handle Crushes and Relationships in 8 Easy Steps

You know what’s worse than being a hopeless romantic? Being a hopeless romantic who can’t figure out social cues and has relationship drama worthy of a Taylor Swift song.

Back when I was in college, I had a crush on a different guy every year. Before that, I had a couple of boyfriends in high school. Sadly, my relationships ended badly and my feelings for the crushes were unrequited. The good news is that I learned a lot of things from having these crushes and relationships. So in no particular order, here are 8 steps for handling having a crush and building a better relationship.

1) Acknowledge what you are feeling, but don’t dwell on it

Whenever I had a crush, I would go between two extremes: 1) I would be in total denial about what was going on or 2) I would let the feelings I have overwhelm me to the point that I couldn’t think about anything else. Childhood television taught me that it’s good to acknowledge whatever you’re feeling and find a way to deal with it. My way of dealing with a crush nowadays is to write poetry about it.

2) Figure out the best way to communicate.

Some Aspies have problems expressing how they feel, either verbally or nonverbally. Others, like me, struggle with understanding what other people express and what that means.  Honesty is the best policy in this case. Whenever I meet somebody, I always ask them what their preferred method of communication is. If I forget to ask that question, I usually try very neutral methods such as e-mail or social networking. However, face-to-face interaction is still the most preferred method for non-Aspies.

When it comes to face-to-face interaction, work on maintaining eye contact and read up on body language. During college, I took classes that put me in situations that involved a lot of face-to-face interaction such as presenting a speech or learning how to act for a play. These classes helped me to express myself better in the day-to-day conversations.

3) Don’t talk about your feelings/relationship with everyone.

This is something I learned the hard way. I wasn’t the kind of girl who whined on social media about how perpetually single I was…but I whined about it to pretty much everyone I interacted with in real life. I’m pretty sure I annoyed a lot of people, but they were way too nice to tell me otherwise.

When it comes to asking for advice, I suggest talking things over with someone you can really trust. It might be a relative or a friend or even a counselor. It’s better to confide in a handful of people rather than your entire of circle of friends because if/when said crush/relationship doesn’t work out, you don’t have to tell everyone about said fallout.

4) Remember to love yourself

One major problem I had was that I entered into my relationships with the idea that I would find my sense of self-worth with them. I realize now that the men I liked weren’t going to give me love if I didn’t love myself first. I still struggle with self-esteem issues, but I’ve found things about myself that I love and try to be the best version of myself on a daily basis.

If you’re having problems with having a good sense of self-worth, I have a Bible verse for you:

“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you. When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.” Psalm 139: 13-16.

No, you are not a Special Snowflake entitled to everything you want, but you were created with love and are loved just for who you are.

5) Take it slow

Most dating advice articles say that it’s good to start off as friends. While I also advise to start out as friends, don’t obsess over how you’re “stuck in the friendzone” with said crush. Again, you are created with love, but you are not entitled to everything you want. It’s a slow process, but good things take time. Get to know your significant other and enjoy the time you spend with them. If you play your cards right, you’ll either end up with a good friend or a significant other. Worst case scenario, you’ll learn something from said relationship.

6) Treat the person as a person, not as an object

Something I learned from my crushing was that I was more often caught up in the idea of having a relationship rather than falling in love with the person I crushed on in question. Don’t get obsessed over a person’s physical features and DO NOT push things too far with too much physical contact. No matter what your views on casual sex may be, relationships tend to be better with delayed gratification.

Ask them about how their day went, things they like to do in their spare time, hobbies they enjoy, etc. It helps you find out more about them and it makes them feel more comfortable. It also leads to them asking questions about you. Just remember that both parties have to hold up the conversation.

7) If a crush ends up being unrequited or a relationship fizzles out, it’s not the end of the world

A common problem Aspies face is anxiety especially when it comes to frequent change or facing disappointments. Don’t stay in a bad relationship just because you hate the idea of changing your life. It’s better to let go of bad influences than to stay with them and watch your life slowly get worse and worse.

Whenever I found out that a crush didn’t return my feelings, I would often blame myself and then blame the other person. In reality, relationships end for a lot of reasons and both parties are responsible. Take responsibility for whatever mistakes you may have made, learn from them, and move on.

8) Don’t compare your relationship to anyone else’s!

No two relationships are the same. Teenage girls will usually crush on a boy their parents don’t approve of and compare their relationship to Romeo and Juliet, completely missing the point that Romeo and Juliet died at the end of the play. However, the best love stories are ones that are unique. While one might compare relationships to stories such as Beauty and the Beast and other fairy tales, the people in the relationships will always be different from the characters in said stories.

It’s not easy for an Aspie to not compare things because most Aspies like to gather facts and analyze them. Relationships, however, are a bit messier than that. Each relationship and each crush will be a new and unique experience. You can use what you learned in past relationships to better yourself going into a new one, but don’t compare the new loves to old flames. Instead, find what you love about them that is unique only to them.

There are definitely some more tips out there, but this is just a starter for handling the always-new situation of falling in love. I hope these tips help you out!