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What If Your Guy Friend's Girlfriend Isn't Feelin' You?

How should you handle it if the male friend in your life has a woman he loves who couldn't care less about you?

What About Your Friends?

Life is a funny thing. As I came to the close of my first premarital session with a male friend of mine and his fiancée, my thoughts went back to the first day that I met her. Her side-eyes. Her flippant attitude. Her overall dismissive energy. I mean, to an extent I get it. It's no secret that her man is fine. Anyway, I guess it was an indirect shout-out to my genes that, once she found out my age (her man will be 30 this year; I'll be 46. She assumed I was younger than that), she toned down a bit. But, it still took about six months before she made real eye contact and even longer before I stopped getting "the church hug" (you know, that to-the-side stuff that pastors and deacons do) and her embrace was more heartfelt and genuine.

Now? Now she trusts me enough to, not only remain friends with her man, but provide counsel for their future union. That's how I know that it is indeed possible for a man, who is in a relationship, to be able to keep his female friends around; at least, the truly platonic ones (check out "The Word 'Platonic' Is Sacred. Literally."). At the same time, that doesn't mean it doesn't require some finessing and big-time maturity on everyone's part in order to make it work.

But what if you've tried to be nice—I mean, genuinely nice, not nice-nasty or, as Michel'le used to put it, "Nicety"—and it still doesn't seem to break the ice with ole' girl? Is that a precursor to you throwing your entire relationship with your male friend away? Nah. I wouldn't do that just yet. First, take a moment to process the following questions. If you do that—and perhaps run a few of them by your friend as well—you might discover that there is a way for all three of you to co-exist in harmony. At least, to some extent.

How Long Have They Been Together?

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At this point and stage in my life, I try and avoid as much drama as possible. That said, while it might sound a little "well damn", one way I do that is I don't do a ton of emotional investing in my friends' relationships unless they think that it's going to become serious. And since a fair share of my male friends are casual daters, there's no point in trying to get close to women who may or may not be around in the next couple of months.

If you're already at the point of meeting a male friend's "new interest", then it's too late to apply this rule (and boundary). But what I will say is if they've only been seeing each other for three months or less and she's giving you the cold shoulder, I wouldn't put too much time or energy into it.

Chances are, it's not so much about you as the fact that she knows that you and the man she is seeing have something that they don't yet—the foundation of time and intimacy. She's probably more uncomfortable and insecure more than anything else.

On the other hand, if it's been a hot minute and she's not a fan, it's important to figure out what you want. Do you want to be besties with her? Do you simply want to be treated with respect? Do you want to kind of "agree to disagree" but her not push your male friend to the point of having to choose between you and her? Whatever it is that you desire, what I will say is this—don't let the tension linger. If it remains and he does decide to marry her, it could come to the point where he will have to make a choice. And if he's going to be a responsible husband, I bet you can guess who will get "cut". Not because he doesn't love you but because his wife takes top rank. As she should. (If you put yourself in her shoes, I think you would totally agree.)

What Do You Think the Issues Are?

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Some women are just petty. They don't even know why they don't like someone; they simply choose not to and there's nothing that you can do about people like that other than pray for them. But if she's not feelin' you because you and her guy have a past; the first (or second or third) interaction was hella awkward; he's told her some things that you've said about her or their relationship; she knows that he once had feelings for you and/or she feels like the two of you are too close for her comfort—well, to a certain extent, that is understandable.

The only way to know for sure is to ask her. What? You thought I was gonna say ask him? He may or may not know. Besides, even if he does, I wouldn't be shocked in the least if, the way he relays it ends up making matters worse instead of better. So yeah, the only way to get to the root of the issue is to go to the horse's mouth, so to speak. Not to "confront" her (that will put her on the defensive) but to address her feelings as well as yours. Just make sure that you do it in a productive way. This brings us to the next point.

Have You and Her Spent Any Time Together?

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It's amazing, the kind of potential issues that can be put to rest when two people spend time alone. I can personally attest to this because, pretty much every time that I've spent time with a male friend's significant other, without him present, she's been more relaxed, we've gotten to know each other better, and it's been all good.

Pretty much all of us are designed to respond to energy; therefore, I totally get it if your friend's girlfriend's bad vibes cause you to put up a bit of a wall. But a sign of being a self-assured woman is when you don't let someone else's issues determine if you have the same ones.

What I mean by that is, you are making boss moves if, your male friend's lady is cuttin' up and you're still like, "Hey, let's meet for lunch or drinks after work. I'd like to get to know you better." Giving both of you time to feel each other out will bring some sort of clarity so that either you can 1) get along, moving forward; 2) figure out how both of you can peacefully co-exist in his life (even if you don't really want to be in each other's) or 3) come to the conclusion that a discussion does need to be had with him. Perhaps with all three of you.

How Does He Feel About It?

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How your male friend feels is definitely valid. The reason why I say that is because, if he values having both of you in his life, he's not gonna leave you out here trying to figure out a solution alone. Matter of fact, most of the mature men that I know tend to find it to be a red flag when their girl can't get along with his friends because it can indicate some not-so-subtle signs of jealousy, control or some other toxic emotion or agenda.

Now, I will say that he may not be as sensitive to what's happening as you are. In other words, he might be like, "So long as the two of you are cordial and I don't have to hear either one of you insult the other, I'm fine." But if the vibes that she's sending you are making you feel some type of way to the point where it is putting stress on your relationship with your male friend, you are well within your rights to bring that to his attention. The venting about ole' girl? Save that for a friend who has absolutely no ties to your lil' "threesome". But the bottom line of you wanting to feel more at peace about the situation? Like I said, a mature man who wants to keep you in his life is going to find the best possible way to handle that.

Is the Issue “Dislike” or DISRESPECT?

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I was once really close to a guy whose wife turned out to be pretty cray-cray. I'd like to say I was shocked, but when he told me that he was going to propose and I asked him what her flaws were, he said, "I mean, she's got a jealous streak but…" Fast forward to pretty much the first couple of months of them being husband and wife, and—surprise, surprise—she was driving him crazy with her jealousy and control issues. Who did he call about it, often? Me. Matter of fact, for a while there, our friendship turned into more of a coach/client kind of thing. That is, until one day, she hacked into his email account, saw some of my friend and I's correspondence and decided to confront me directly, even though we had never formally met and without her husband's knowledge. She did that, even though the emails were really all about trying to help him figure out how to make his marriage work.

My friend? He gets credit for addressing us both (in an email; he lived out of state) and actually correcting her in some areas where she came at me. But once I knew that his wife was an online hacker, I pretty much knew that he and I's relationships was a wrap. When you love someone, sometimes you've got to let them go. And me? I fully get that once a friend gets married, their spouse is their top priority. Besides, for several years following that, I only heard about more drama that she was bringing into his life; so much that there really wasn't much time or space for he and I to remain friends. Besides 2.0—what she did was about more than disliking me. We all don't have to like each other in this world. How she came at me was straight up disrespectful, she seemed like she had no plans on stopping and, to tolerate a lot of that was only going to piss me off and put strain on my friend and I's friendship…possibly to the point of us falling out too. (He and I don't really talk anymore but things faded out pretty peacefully.)

That's why, it is also important to ponder if you and your guy friend's girlfriend (or even wife) don't like each other (in the sense of you simply have no desire to be homies) or if she is disrespecting you or even you are disrespecting her. If the latter is the case, there is probably an expiration date on your friendship. You should probably brace yourself for that.

What Boundaries Are Your Friend Prepared to Put into Place?

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If your male friend's significant other is mature in her own right, I'm thinking that she will be on the tip of, "Your homegirl ain't really my cup of tea but I trust you. So, as long as you both are on the up and up with your friendship and she treats me with courtesy and respect whenever we do run into each other, I'm fine." Basically, what I just displayed is a boundary and honestly, if you were going to try and keep your friendship going while he has a lady in his life, boundaries were going to be needed anyway; even if she absolutely adored you (because then you would have to be careful to not overshare or violate the sacredness of your relationship with your male friend).

Boundaries are limits and when our friends of the opposite sex are in relationship, those are needed, just so everyone can be at peace. Again, if your male friend's girlfriend ain't thrilled about you, she doesn't really have to be. Just so long as you respect what they've got goin' on and she does the same for your friendship, everyone can co-exist. Everyone doesn't have to be friends. Everyone just needs to honor the connections. Grown folks know this. Hopefully your male friend wouldn't settle for anything less than a grown ass woman. Real talk.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Unpopular Opinion: Men And Women CAN Really Be "Just Friends"

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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
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