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Cuffing Season 103: Cordial vs. Courting

Hey Readers, guess what?!? If you're reading this, we made it through yet another cuffing season! Yay us!! ***Insert happy dance!

How did it go? Did you find yourself watching Hallmark Channel marathons with Kleenex and popcorn at hand? Did you get together with your girls for an epic "Gal-entine's Day" of dinner and mani-pedi's? I had my usual heart-shaped pizza and spent the evening with people I hold close to me, laughing and dancing up a storm. 

Of course, no cuffing season would be complete without those random texts from people I hadn't spoken to in months (one person even from more than a year ago) and then that in turn led to another exciting round of hitting that oh-so-powerful "block" button. One thing was different this year though, one text that stuck out more than the others. This one was from a current potential suitor who said, "I have a Valentine gift for you, when can I bring it by?"  This was quite a change from the last few years. Usually it's ME agonizing over The Great Present Puzzle: Not just, what do I get this current potential suitor but, gasp, the painfully pondering of whether or not we are even on the gift giving level.

Has anyone else ever been there? Where you've been hanging out consistently for a nice period of time, maybe there was some hand holding. There were definitely late night phone calls and early morning "hey beautiful" texts. He tells you you're special. You can see yourself with him, but yet there has never been an actual adult conversation that defines, "Hey, what are we?" I mean there's even a song that plays frequently on the radio these days where a guy passionately raps and says:

"She asked me what we are, I told her, we're just cordial," the lyrics implying that the young lady thought they were more than just friends and the gentleman clearly felt otherwise. If we aren't carefully intentional when we are building new connections, cuffing season can sneak up on you and have you in one of those awkward, "Things that make you go, 'hmmmm'" moments that  I found myself in this year. I mean seriously, without an adult conversation discussing intent and boundaries, you may find yourself in one of these categories:

  • One person naturally assumes you are in a relationship (or on the verge of one) and the other is sadly fine with you both living in the land of Friend Zone or has no idea that you think that the two of you are in a relationship/dating.

  • You both want to leave the friend zone but get too comfortable floating along as is OR are too afraid to "ruin a good thing," and pursue more with each other.

  • You cross the friendship boundaries and somehow roll into friends with benefits, and this isn't limited to physical benefits (if he is over every other week cutting your grass or if you're constantly cooking home cooked meals or he pays for every outing (because for whatever reason you guys haven't defined whether or not it's a date---all benefits that don't even require skin to touch). And all of this is DEFINITELY more complicated if you guys are actually physical.

This is the part where I was going to present a long list of signs that you MAY want to double check your status to determine whether you're just cordial or courting but based on recent uprisings in my own life, I don't think there's really a clear back and white, check-this-box-for-yes or this-box-for-no-list.

So instead, since we are adults I'll close with these two thoughts: clear conversation and boundaries, because after all, who has time for confusion in 2018?

  • Clear conversation - We are grown. TALK TO EACH OTHER. Ask "what are we," and clearly state your intentions for the present and for the future. Does this train have a direction? Do we like where it's sitting? Do we like where it's going. And be prepared for the answer either way. Ever tried walking in a 3-legged race and you're going left, and your partner is going right? Two can't walk in the same direction unless they agree. And talking isn't a one time encapsulating event. If you're ever in doubt, ask again and talk again.

  • Boundaries - A person can only treat you how you allow them to. So, if you guys decide you are just friends, you get the beautiful opportunity to define what friendship means to you. For me, if we're just friends, we aren't holding hands, we aren't cuddling, we DEFINITELY aren't...fill in the blank...and IF we are exchanging gifts, let's set a $10 limit. You don't get the boyfriend perks if we are just friends. If he says, you guys are dating, define those parameters too. Are we dating exclusively? Or are we two people who care about each other who occasionally go on dates? (I just found out from a guy friend that "dating" and going on "dates" mean different things. Who knew?).

I wish I could say dear reader that this a test I've always passed. Even recently I learned that the conversation part means nothing if words don't match actions, which I'm sure is another blog post for another day (teeheehee stay tuned). But I WILL say this....

  • I was able to subdue the awkwardness of this year's inquiry by telling him he can be my "palentine" instead of valentine (get it, cause he's my pal, my friend) and told him to keep the gift til my birthday

  • Setbacks are ONLY failures if you didn't learn from them. I'm grateful that I'm willing to keep trying and learning; how about you?

  • Keep your intuition ignited and your wise counsel welcome. Have people around you to hold you accountable to the boundaries you set and help you steer clear of confusion.

  • I'm nowhere near the woman I used to be. Can we give ourselves a pat on the back for growth?

Can we agree to leaving the wonder in 2017 and make this a year of clarity? I'm wishing you a great year of healthy boundaries, open and honest conversations and positive, fruitful relationships!

See you soon! Lexi

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