Journaling this morning I came to this conclusion and I think it holds across the board with all the people who I share my life with: I don’t want to label us. I don’t want to limit what we have. I don’t want to steer it. I just want to let it grow and change and dictate to US what we are.
Are we friends? Are we dating? I have touched on this before. I still believe it doesn’t matter. I still can’t figure out the difference. Is it my style of dating? Maybe. Is it that I am non traditional and I can have varying types of intimacy with people while building friendships with them? I am certain that plays into it. I value friendships first. If we can be intimate then I am certainly open to adding that layer to our friendship, in which ever form works for both of us.
I meet a lot of people. I go on a lot of “first dates” and I move along most of the time. Many times I go into the first date as just another exercise in meeting new people. Occasionally I am really excited to meet someone because I see a potential in them to be a friend, hopefully with the added benefit of lover.
What are the general characteristics that create that kind of anticipation for me? Not long ago, I could have never built this list. That is why I date a lot. I built this list, from experience. These are general characteristics of a match for friendship:
- A curiosity for the world around them. Are they learning new things?
- Confidence in who they are. Do they live outside that box of normal and they own it? Talk about a draw for me.
- Change doesn’t scare them. Did they overcome a challenge with a better sense of self? Do they inspire change in others?
- Introspective. Do they self evaluate and own their shit? Life doesn’t have to be 100% positive but they strive to make their lives great…to them. They just want to be the best version of themselves that they can. That requires admitting your weaknesses, seeing where you want to make changes and doing something to move in that direction. Not just sitting still and waiting for something to change. It can also mean that you really dig into a perceived weakness and realize it is a strength and you choose to own it as a positive. (Read “How Your Greatest Insecurities Reveal Your Deepest Gifts“)
- Passionate about their life. They have something they get really excited about. Something that lights up their eyes when they talk about it.
- They get excited for others. Their eyes light up when I get excited about a project or an interest. They want to see other people happy and successful.
- An ability to communicate. Do they use their words? Are they comfortable sharing their feelings? I know I have struggled in this arena in my past. Lately I make myself have the possibly uncomfortable conversations, just to make sure I am practicing my communication skills. Plus I want to know that I feel comfortable enough to actually communicate my needs and feelings. I need to feel ok with sharing and being vulnerable.
And then they could move to lover if:
- Sexually open. Are they comfortable with their sexuality? Are they comfortable with my sexuality? Can we agree that sex is both a big deal yet not a big deal? With people I care about, it’s a big deal. But it’s also fun and maybe doesn’t always have to be with someone I care about. Can we agree on a style of non-monogamy that works for both of us? Do they understand that non-monogamy doesn’t mean I will have sex with anyone that offers? (This is a current issue I feel like I am running into. To me, this understanding shows sexual maturity.) Can we agree that “sex” has a very wide open definition? It is not limited to PIV (penis in vagina). Does anyone have flashbacks to Bill Clinton in the 90s here? Is it just me?
- Attractive. Yep, they have to be attractive to me. They don’t have to be tall, bald and athletic. Yes, that is my “type” if I had to name just one type. But when it comes right down to it, I don’t want to have a type. I want to be open to many types and I am.
I’m going to continue to resist the labels. I really don’t need them.