Where does pride have a place with love? In my dating and love interest situations, I realized men are the most pride-ful people. Women play the game of pride too but men seem to ignore their feelings more loyally; as if to feel better about themselves for loving or caring about someone but not letting them know. “Give them an inch and they’ll want a mile,” some people say. Then it occurred to me, eventually, shouldn’t we seek more out of our jobs, families, friends, and the people we love?
I once shared a great friendship with a guy, Tommy. Everyone knew we were inseparable. The problem started when I began to notice we were on different levels and, in some aspects, needed what the other had. Tommy was nearly done with college. However, he didn’t know what he wanted to do professionally. We both worked at a supermarket but didn’t plan on being there forever. It was obvious to me that Tommy was getting comfortable working at the store.
I, on the other hand, did not have a degree but knew I wanted to make a name for myself as a writer/entertainer. Tommy’s mom and I would even have discussions of what we thought he should do. On numerous occasions, I suggested he start an entertainment blog. He was really into celebrity news and had a hilarious way of giving his opinions about them. He seemed uninterested in the suggestion. The internships and other work related ideas he talked about never seemed to come to light. Tommy was very involved in helping me when my first book was released. He supported me in traveling to book signings, conventions, and promotional events.
Suddenly, Tommy began to show me a different side of him; a side that noticed people were paying attention to me and my work. “Why does everyone blow you up?” he asked, a figure of speech that referred to the great attention I was receiving and him not getting what the fuss was all about. I didn’t get it then but later I thought,”Why is my best friend showing signs of jealousy?” Like a domino effect, suddenly, he didn’t want to share the same conversations anymore. He didn’t want to hear about men and the dating situations I was going through with them.
At the time, Tommy wasn’t dating. He wasn’t into it like I was. He liked men but basically believed they all were bull shit and be prepared to get hurt. He was very negative. Nevertheless, the guys I involved myself with ,time and time again, only seemed to prove his point. At times, I’d even find myself talking about the situations with Tommy after he told me not to. In my mind, I would think, “Oops, I’m doing it again,” but I couldn’t help but realize Tommy was joining in on the talk. Maybe because he was accustom to doing it but if it really bothered him, why were we still engaging in dating talks?
“What about me?” Tommy asked so vulnerably one afternoon at work, feeling as though all of our talks were about the who, what, when, and where of my life and he was just a supporting role. And when I found myself changing to better our friendship, I felt Tommy not changing with me. He was private about his other close friend and in some ways, making the two of us dislike each other for no reason. I had to respect that he wanted to keep his friendships separate but at the same time, Tommy was causing unnecessary tension between his best friend and me.
Months later, three years of one of the greatest friendships I’ve ever had, slipped through my fingers like water and evaporated like it never existed. I took to Twitter and said,”I feel like my best friend resents me,” forgetting I had an audience.
At this time, I had quit working at the supermarket but a former associate saw the tweet and told Tommy. The next morning, I woke up to a three page text message from Tommy explaining why he wanted to end our friendship. I attempted to call and mend what was broken but Tommy refused me. I felt bad but I told the truth. My best friendship-relationship felt casual; like something that had lost it’s fusion. One side was still a magnetic pull but the other side no longer embraced it. After a year now, I realized pride held Tommy back. To fault myself, I felt the pride in me too but I wasn’t willing to be that way permanently. I knew Tommy like the back of my hand. It was scary because within our friendship, I knew his every thought. He became easy to read but I missed the part of us breaking up. I use the term break up loosely because in a lot of ways, Tommy and I felt like a relationship minus sex.
“Maybe Tommy was in love with you,” my friends would say to me. Maybe he did have feelings for me; just maybe. We talked about being together before, laughing to play off the serious thought because in some ways, I knew Tommy would consider a relationship with me but that wasn’t what I wanted. I loved having a friendship with another man that was brotherly and strictly platonic. I didn’t want to destroy that, but inevitably, it did anyway.
In recent months, I noticed Tommy “like” a picture of me on Facebook. Was this his way of saying,”I want you back in my life?” I didn’t know and gradually I was growing not to care. The way I saw it, Tommy and I graduated from each other. Our friendship was meant to be but only for the time it lasted. Pride or no pride, friendship or not, I’d never forget our bond.
Written by: Langston John Blaze