How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks about love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
Two can play in the game called love and this couple won the jackpot. 10 years ago, Tiffany and Rhamel met each other their freshman year in college. They instantly became best friends and have been inseparable ever since. It wasn't until one Sunday afternoon of frozen drinks and games with friends, that Tiffany would go from girlfriend status to a fiance. Rhamel states "Tiffany is a really hard person to surprise. So I wanted her to be in her most natural element when I proposed to her." That day, Rhamel planned to trick Tiffany with a game of Heads Up to pop the big question. As Tiffany was going through each topic, her friends helped her get to the "winning answers" stating, "Will You Marry Me?". As you can imagine, Tiffany was completely confused to see that none of her answers were listed at the end of the game to win her points. But it wasn't until the moment she saw Rhamel on one knee behind that she realized she did win the game after all.
While being engaged is a huge next step for Tiffany and Rhamel, this couple truly values the foundation of their friendship. They both understand that dating your best friend is a blessing. You are able to be vulnerable with one another and support each other through hard times. You are able to see each other's imperfections and still see them perfect in your eyes with zero judgement or expectations. For my people out there, if you do have a person that you consider your best friend, it's important to keep them around for the long haul. There are many possibilities of what that friendship could blossom into.
Tiffany and Rhamel believe in taking that leap of faith from friendship to dating because at the end of the day, you have someone to venture through life with and there is no better feeling. Rhamel mentions, "You really have to decide if this person is someone you just can't live without. You can't let fear get in the way of something potentially happening for the better."
Courtesy of Tiffany Goodwin
In this installment of xoNecole's How We Met, the marketing manager and professional basketball player shares how their love grew from friendship and the lessons they have learned along the way.
How We Met
Rhamel: We actually met in college on the first day of school. I remember seeing her walking towards the elevator. I was excited because she was a girl that wasn't on the basketball team, so I thought it was cool to see more black people on campus that weren't in sports that I could possibly get to know. Growing up, I was very shy, but I wanted to walk up to her and introduce myself. Once we started talking, we became really cool from there and the rest is history.
Tiffany: Yeah, it was the first day of school and I was walking towards the elevator when Rhamel stopped me. I thought to myself, this guy is probably one of the tallest people I have ever met (laughs). When we met, I noticed that Rhamel was a little shyer than his other friends, but still really nice. It wasn't until the first Monday of classes when I walked into Sociology class, I saw Rhamel sitting right there. I was surprised to see him (laughs). So I sat right behind him and joked that he was going to be my new best friend (smiles).
Rhamel: We never really established when our first date was. I just remember it was our senior year and I started to notice things were changing between us. I was kind of hesitant at first because we were best friends and I didn't want to mess that up. But I remember that year on December 23, I made my move and I kissed her.
Tiffany: We were really best friends to the point where I was attached to his hip (laughs). So our senior year, I think God and the Universe just sent the sign to us to take things to the next level. So that day in December, we were out having drinks and Rhamel looked me in my eyes and said, "I have something to tell you." I was a little nervous about what he was going to say. But then he said, "I can show you better than I can tell you," and he just kissed me. I was shocked. Everything started to transition after that, but we really wanted to make sure what that looked like without ruining the foundation of our friendship.
"I think God and the Universe just sent the sign to us to take things to the next level. That day in December, we were out having drinks and Rhamel looked me in my eyes and said, 'I have something to tell you.' I was a little nervous about what he was going to say. But then he said, 'I can show you better than I can tell you,' and he just kissed me."
Courtesy of Tiffany Goodwin
Rhamel: Tiffany is a really hard person to surprise. So I wanted her to be in her most natural element when I proposed to her. I thought about what we always do at home. We aren't usually up under each other all day. We like to hang out with our friends and stuff. I figured the best way to do it was to act like it was just another day with our friends. We could play a game and then sneak a few things in. I chose the game Heads Up because it's a good way where our friends could tell her anything and she would have no clue. Tiffany is super competitive too, so she would just be focusing on winning (laughs).
Tiffany: That day was such a beautiful day. For some background, we are from New York originally, but moved to New Jersey for my job, so we would visit my family in New York to spend time with my mom, sister, and best friend. So I just thought that that day was just another Sunday. To throw me off a little bit, they kept making drinks (laughs) because I am usually really good at sensing little things here and there. Another thing that threw me off was I thought my mom wasn't in town.
Rhamel knows that if I would want anyone in the world to be present at a moment like this, it would be my mom. So my mom was in the Hamptons that weekend, but little did I know, she drove back for the proposal one or two hours before it happened and hid at my best friend's house. When he proposed I was so thrown off, but it was absolutely perfect. He told me, "I told you I was gonna get you." And he really did get me (laughs).
Rhamel: My favorite thing about Tiffany is her heart. She is one of the few people that you meet in your lifetime that is sweet and truly genuine. Some people who don't know Tiffany misunderstand her because she comes off strong. But honestly, I love that about her because I never have to second-guess the type of person she is or what her intentions are. You don't find a person like that all the time. I'm down for her 100 percent.
Tiffany: From day one, I have admired Rhamel's strength. With the things he has been through, other people wouldn't have been able to handle those situations with the grace and style like he did. He has a way of overcoming adversity and that is so powerful. He really encourages me to keep fighting and to keep going. Rhamel has really shaped what strong really means for me.
"My favorite thing about Tiffany is her heart. She is one of the few people that you meet in your lifetime that is sweet and truly genuine. I never have to second-guess the type of person she is or what her intentions are. You don't find a person like that all the time. I'm down for her 100 percent."
Rhamel: The biggest challenge was the timing when we were transitioning from friendship to partners. We were about to graduate college and see what was going to happen next for us. With me being a basketball player, I didn't know what "next" meant at that point. Career-wise, being a basketball player, especially overseas, is very unstable. So with that, Tiffany and I weren't able to connect the way we wanted to when school was over because of the distance and everything.
Tiffany: I'll admit it was difficult. At the time, we probably didn't realize it, but the circumstances were exactly what we needed for us to recognize that we had the tools and resources already to really make this work. We didn't see each other for eight months after college since he was overseas and I was still trying to figure my life out. But we overcame that by being very adamant on consistent communication and being intentional about scheduling that time with each other.
Courtesy of Tiffany Goodwin
Tiffany: In 2013, I was clinically diagnosed with depression. To say that I have a rock is an understatement when it comes to being with Rhamel. Earlier on, it was very rough trying to recognize my triggers and figure out positive coping mechanisms. Just trying to find what could help me live with my diagnosis was a lot. But Rhamel has helped me to not view my diagnosis as a curse, but a gift to help others who also deal with depression. Other people may view me as flawed or broken, but Rhamel makes sure that I am seen and heard. If God meant to place someone in my life to be on this journey with me, He placed the most perfect person when he brought me Rhamel. So the biggest lesson I've learned from him is that who I am authentically is very beautiful.
Rhamel: Similar to Tiffany, I've learned to be authentically myself because of her. Growing up, it was hard to truly be myself and to feel accepted. I didn't know how much that affected me when I got older and Tiffany helped me with that. Tiffany and I wouldn't have been able to grow and love each other the way we do now, if we weren't able to fully be ourselves with one another. Nobody is perfect and there is no reason to pretend to be perfect with someone you love. Be who you are and be the best version of it.
"Rhamel has helped me to not view my diagnosis as a curse, but a gift to help others who also deal with depression. Other people may view me as flawed or broken, but Rhamel makes sure that I am seen and heard. If God meant to place someone in my life to be on this journey with me, He placed the most perfect person when he brought me Rhamel."
Rhamel: Our shared values are honesty, openness, and supporting each other. As long as we are there for each other, we can figure anything out. It's all about having the right person by your side through the good and bad times. Life is an impossible battle to get through on your own and I think I have the best possible partner to get through life with.
Tiffany: Another value we have is to keep each other laughing. When you are dating your best friend, it's really just a competition on who's funnier (laughs). I'm getting there, but Rhamel is the true comedian.
Read more black love stories in xoNecole's "How We Met" series here.
Featured image courtesy of Tiffany Goodwin