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5 Things Men Say That You Should Take At Face Value (98.9 Percent Of The Time)

Love & Relationships

I don't have any children, but I do have a seven-year-old goddaughter. When she becomes a preteen, something I plan on telling her, on repeat, is one of the best things she could ever do is have a set of male friends. Not boyfriends, mind you. I mean, platonic male friends. They're the next best thing to having a really great brother. They're protective. They're honest. And they'll help to drive home the point I'm about to make.

Besides being a writer, something else that I am is a marriage life coach. Both professions mean that I spend quite a bit of time delving out advice. If there's one thing I find myself asking quite a bit to brokenhearted women is, "Why didn't you take what he said at face value?"

Not to say that men, as a whole, are the greatest communicators in the world. At the same time, though, I'm on the fence about how many of us, as women, deserve an award for being the best listeners. Is it just me or does it seem like a lot of times we get into more uncomfortable situations than necessary simply because we would rather interpret what a man is saying rather than accept what has already been said?

Just in case you're tempted to give me some pushback on this, here are five examples of what I mean when I say take your guy's word at face value.

“I’m not ready for a relationship.”

He likes you. You like him. You spend time together. You might have even had sex. In your mind, this all may emotionally translate into you being in a relationship (or heading there). But if this is what you're doing with someone and he tells you that he's not ready for a relationship, clearly this is evidence that not everyone defines a relationship the same way.

If you don't listen to him and decide to give him even more of yourself—mind, body and spirit—all the while hoping to change his mind, how does that make him a bad person if he decides to see other people or end things completely?

"Ready" literally means "completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use". If a man is telling you he is not prepared to make a commitment or more importantly, that he's not FIT for one, he's basically giving you a forecast of how things will turn out if you keep pushing forward.

Choose wisely.

“The timing isn’t right.”

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Chances are, if a man isn't ready for a relationship, one of the main reasons might be because it's not the right time for him. Please don't take that to mean that you can "love him into" the right time because (and please get this) him needing more time probably has very little to do with you.

In fact, there are probably life experiences that he needs to have outside of you in order for him to come to the conclusion that he's ready for a relationship.

What should be your response to this one? Either chill out and be his friend (just his friend) or let him go so that you can find your "right timing."

Who knows? Maybe in time, life will bring you both around to each other. Sometimes timing has a way of doing that.

“I love you but I’m not in love with you.”

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If there's any sentence that is the cause of a lot of emotional upheaval and confusion, it would have to be this one. What does it really mean if a man says that he loves you but isn't in love?

Honestly, a lot of it depends on the guy, but I'll tell you what I immediately compare this to. I once heard a life coach say that one of the biggest mistakes we make in relationships is getting in too deep with someone who likes the qualities that we have but doesn't truly value us as a person. The first one means they admire us while the second one means they will do the work required to keep us in their lives.

If you've ever known a man who's truly in love with a woman, it's mind-blowing how far he'll go to keep her around. A man who simply "loves" may not even put a quarter of that effort in. Because he likes, not necessarily values what he sees in you. Make sense?

“I’m fine with how things are.”

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Some people's values are more conservative than others. However, when grandma said, "Why buy the cow when you can half the milk for free?", at the very least, it's something to think long and hard about. Not just when it comes to the sexual decisions you make, but when it comes to all that you're doing with/for a man.

If you're basically being a "wife" to him—emotionally, sexually, relationally and otherwise—without requiring much in return and then you roll up asking what's up and he says "What? Things are just fine," while you may be disappointed, how surprised can you actually be?

You're doing most of the work while he sits back and benefits without having to take on any responsibilities. Why wouldn't he be fine?

“I want to be friends.”

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What's sad about this one is it doesn't have to translate into you getting the brush off. I talk to a lot of guys and one thing they wish they had more of is friendships with women—non-dramatic, supportive, strictly-platonic ones.

The problem is a lot of us think that because a man thinks we're attractive and enjoys our company, somehow, he must be in denial when he makes this sort of declaration.

Listen, I think my brother is a cutie and he's one of my favorite people on the planet. I do not want a romantic connection with him though (eww). And that's just how a lot of men process women that they like us but still aren't into us.

If a man tells you he just wants to be friends with you, please don't take that to mean anything other than that. If you are tempted to, then translate what he said to mean, "I see you like a sister, sis," and hopefully that will keep things in perspective.

That way, you can move on to a man who doesn't want to emotionally "family zone" you.

That way, you can get with a man who says, "I dig you and I want to build a future."

That way, you can end up with a man who speaks in a way that you don't have to try and figure out what he really means. Everything will line up. 100 percent of the time.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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