GENDER FRIENDSHIPS: CAN MEN AND WOMEN REALLY JUST BE FRIENDS

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“Friendzone is a hard zone.”


I was contributing to a discussion on a Facebook page of a woman I know who was having a hard time regarding finding male friends. And she was saying how it’s hard to have male friends because there is always some way of bringing the situation back to him liking and pursuing her. And I started to think about that, can men and women truly be friends, given the two are heterosexual. Because it’s obvious they can be friends when one or both of them are gay. But what happens when both are attracted to the opposite sex, but also are physically attractive. Can two people find each other attractive and still be friends? Because men and women are biologically on this Earth to procreate, but socially we are expected to behave a certain way in certain situations.

That’s what is interesting about both genders, is that there is this scientific piece, then there is the societal element. Society says, you are supposed to give the other person space when they just want to be friends and respect that space. Science dictates that I am attracted to this person, and want to intimate with his person. So what happens is that the friendship sometimes degrades when one person is trying to date the other person, while the one being pursued just wants to be friends.So how do you get across to the person that you just want a friendship, yet you know how we are designed as men and women?

This is all the reasons above why so many women have their gay friends. This is so they don’t have to deal with the stress of having a guy every single second of the day trying to create means of getting with her. She can also go to the night spots that this guy frequent and have a good time as well. But on top of this, she can also have the comfort of being able to hang with her guy friend and receive man advice with no pretense. Now, on the other hand, be careful if you want someone to just be your friend and they are fine, but then you turn around and change up the contract. This is also known to happen as well. You can’t hold someone to a friendship and then you don’t hold up your end of the bargain.

In the end, men and women can ultimately be friends, but I think that happens with time and maturity. Your objective when you are a young man is to meet women and date. So when you come across a woman that you find attractive, the last thing you’re thinking is let’s hang out. You would almost sound phony in situations trying to act as if you do want to be friends as a means of getting close to her. But once people do age, they take on certain viewpoints making it easier to have opposite sex friends.


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PEER PRESSURE: WHY SO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE DON’T FIGHT IT

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“A time in life without a sense of self.”


When you’re growing up in school, you seek to fit into the environment of that academic space. And coincidentally enough, that space is not attaining the best grades, but more so trying to wear the latest fashion, and hang out with what is perceived to be the cool kids. And that word perception sticks out the most because your perception of each other is what’s the strongest, not the real person. Why is perception the most important, well it has to do with lack of facts. The facts that lead you into the inner workings of the real person. But who cares about facts, when you can easily makeup a perception that suits you just fine. And that is what we live by all growing up until we become adults and take on our own identities. That keeping your image together for what people think you is known as your reputation.

Now, considering your reputation proceeds you wherever you go, you work hard to keep that image in tack. But what if your image is not the image of what your peers think is acceptable for you to have in life. See, it’s easy as an adult to say, screw that, this is such a small window into the outside world, but kids don’t understand your advice. We can look at life from such a rational perspective, once you step out into the world. You have realized as an adult that no one truly cares how much swagger you have in life. You have to be able to be productive, but that built in understanding is not present in kids and teens. You can’t fully expect children to have that level of self-awareness, or that built in rejection mechanism that you get once you become adults. To them, this is your circle of friends for life. As adults we understand you may never see these individuals ever again once you graduate high school.

And not because you think you’re better than your friends, but more so, you start to out grow people’s mind frames. So the kids who were once your adversaries, eventually become people you have as associates. Now, there are those exceptions to the rule; such as the kids you just walk to the beat of their own drum. These kids are very few and far between, but they do exist. I took on the walk to my own beat after getting injured in sports. You go from, “Who is that boy that runs track and plays football so well,” to “He use to fly playing sports, oh well.” That’s when I learned people like you for what you’re doing, not necessarily because of you. So they generally gravitate toward that because we all want to be attached to something we perceive to be great, even if it’s for a short stint. Yet again, there goes that word perception; people perceived me to be great.

And in the end, that’s why fighting peer pressure is so difficult for so many young people. It’s not just the idea of wanting to not be the odd one out, but you want to be attached to something you perceive to be better than yourself. We all have this time in our lives where we want to be something other than ourselves. And once we see someone who appears to be doing anything remotely better than us, it looks appealing to us. So if the kid who has the latest sneakers growing up walks into school, we seek to be close and attach ourselves to that person. That person could potentially have a trouble home life, but they are perceived to be better because they are in a social class outside of where we see ourselves.


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WHEN BLOOD AINT BLOOD NO MORE: WHEN IT’S TIME TO CUT OFF FAMILY

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“Sometimes they’re worse than enemies.”


We are connected by blood, grew up with each other, and as you age you may have to cut them off: family. I have not had to make this decision, but there are people who have had to do so. I was listening to the radio when I heard a hip hop artist talk about having to cut off his own brother for stealing money from him. His brother stole $300,000 and now that relationship has to be severed. Because it’s not really about the money as it is about the idea of him ripping off his own family. How do you steal from someone so close to you? But that is when you see people’s real motives, and how far they are willing to go when they want something. So what are other reasons that one must cut off family from their lives? Well, what about the entitlement aspect of being related to someone.

In family, you are supposed to pull your weight and aid those in need when they do from themselves. But what happens when the person has this give me because we’re blood mentality. You are not entitled to have just because you’re blood. You’re also not obligated to care for family like a child or children, especially if the person/s are able-bodied adults. My grandmother told me about life growing up in the state of Mississippi. She said that every family had a plot of land, no matter how big or small. And it was very important you tended to that land everyday. Because if you didn’t tend to your land everyday, then you and family didn’t eat when crop came through for everyone else. Hopefully, a neighbor and/or family nearby had some leftover crop, otherwise you were screwed. And it was that thought process which kept people together. Kept people strong as one. You had to get up when everyone else was getting up and sleep as well.

But today, there is this built in ideology that since we have the same blood flowing through our veins we are indebted to each other. And what’s crazy is that we are not part of the architectural design of each other. You have to not only be there in good, but in bad as well. You have to expect to give as well as asking for something. And as my mother raised my sisters and myself, “If you don’t call that person on a consistent basis, then don’t call them when you need something.” She was telling us that you are supposed to deal on the basis of sentiment, not cents. Call them to say hello, not just because you see some benefit in it for you. And once it becomes a relationship built on I need, and give me, then you have to disconnect. Because now, the person/people don’t respect you anymore. Because it’s easy to make a demand when you have not done anything to get what you are asking for form the person.

In the end, it’s all about respect and boundaries. They have to understand you have a life and they have a life. There is nothing wrong with under-girding those that are close to you. But once the relationship comes to the point of me, me, me, and you’re sacrificing your own piece of mind, then you have to disconnect. Because you never love anyone more than you love yourself. Even if the it comes at the cost of losing people. You only have one obligation to one person in this world, and that is you. Help those around you, but understand that help is purely voluntary and not owed.


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DATING ALLEGATIONS: WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU ABOUT A CHEATING PARTNER

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“To talk or not to talk.”


Having a friend in a relationship can be a new adjustment if you guys have both been single for so long. Now this new person comes in the mix and everything is different. But that is not the topic of today; the topic of today is sharing information with your friend regarding their significant other. What if you had proof that your friend’s significant other was talking to someone else on the side? Would you inform your friend that this person was out talking to someone else? Or would you keep the information to yourself? Telling your friend could mean an argument depending on how they felt about the person. But keeping it a secret could mean jeopardizing the friendship as well.

Let’s observe the outcomes of telling your friend. See, if you tell your friend it could go a few ways. The first is that your friend is proud that you would bring the information to them. Allowing them the access into what is going on behind their backs is really important. But there is another outcome from telling them. That is that they might lash out at you for telling them. You don’t know how they feel and it could backfire ending a friendship. So, so many people tend to not say anything and leave the situation alone. But even that has repercussions to it. What are the repercussions for not telling your friend about their significant other?

That’s right, there is the other side of the coin. And that is not telling your friend what happened. This could have its own set of problems by not speaking. Because once your friend finds out what happened and you knew, now what comes of the friendship. When they found out you know, it will put a serious damper on the relationship. Especially if you are their best friend, they expect you to say something before anyone says something. So then if they are mad for you not saying anything, and mad for you saying anything, then what? And it all boils down to the friendship that you and this other person have together.

In the end, friends usually have an understanding whether they would want someone to say something. If you don’t have an understanding with your friend, then it can go good or bad. With no communication, it can go in any direction.



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RELATIONSHIP CURRENCY: WHAT DO YOU VALUE IN RELATIONSHIPS

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“If cash is king, where do relationships stand?”


Relationships throughout history have always taken on different forms as time progressed. But in today’s society there are so many meanings for what relationship currency stand for. How do you define what it means to have relationship currency? Now when I say relationships it can mean marriage or even a friendship. Currency can mean something of monetary value or it can mean something of mental/emotional value. I am here to ask which one is important to you. A lot of people say money and others say what someone has to offer. Some people want a monogamous relationship others don’t. So which is important to you?

The majority of people in society hear relationship and automatically think it has to do with dating or marriage. But what about friendships; how important is friendships and what is their currency. We usually dictate friendship by what the person has to bring emotionally to the table. Because what is the use in hanging around people who are not in your best interest. And what I mean by that, it’s heading in the same direction as you. This doesn’t mean you want to be a physician they should be doctors. No, it should mean that they have some type of goal in life. If they don’t and you do, you guys will fall apart from each other. So relationship currency in friendships should be pushing each other to do better which translate into non-monetary currency.

Well, what about monogamous relationships, currency is important here. But what type of currency? What type of currency is important to you in a relationship? Let’s observe from an emotional standpoint. When you’re looking at monogamy from an emotional standpoint, then you’re talking about how much meaning you bring into someones’ life. This means that when one of you are weak, how well does the other counteract that weakness with strength. And that in itself can be seen as sometimes and even greater form of currency than the monetary. But what about the monetary? There are people that look to this as a form of currency in relationships.

When in monogamous relationship, having an income coming into the house is very important. Maybe not when you’re in your early twenties, but what about once you hit your thirties. Once you get to this point, it’s the getting your life together point. The time where you need to really have it carved in stone where you would like to see yourself in the years to come. Now, money isn’t everything, but when you’re talking about settling down and having a family, you need to keep this in mind. Take into consideration the cost of buying a home, car, paying off any debts, and long term investments like retirement. This is where monetary currency is very important to your future success in a monogamous relationship.

In the end, the meaning of relationship currency can take on many different meanings. It’s up to the person/s interpreting what the currency means or even what the word relationship means. No matter how you look at it, know the currency you are looking for, but also know what your value is as well.

YOU CAN’T CHOOSE ‘EM; FAMILY!

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“We are not what we used to be.”


We can’t pick them, we can’t get rid of them; and that is our family. The problems we face in life are challenging enough, but what about trying to appease the people who are closest to you. How about trying to live your life while they stand on the sidelines and judge. Sad to say, but sometimes these are people who can become more of a burden on your life than complete strangers. But why, why are families so much more tougher than others in society? Why is that these are the main people who you should be able to depend on the most that are the ones you have to sometimes protect yourself from the most?

Well, for starters because people feel that since you and them carry the same bloodline that constitutes they have a say in your life. Yes we are connected biologically, but we mentally we are different people. Just because we are spawn from the same lineage does not mean you know everything there is to know about me. As a matter of fact one of the reasons why relationships last so long is not just because you admit when you’re wrong and love your significant other. It has a lot to do with the idea that when you two have problems in the household you don’t pick up that telephone to call your family. Because family members are going to give you advice based on their own personal situations not what is good for you in life.

Where does this entitlement that since we are related you’re owed to something come from? Because every family has that mind-frame, why? In my opinion, I think people have that mind-frame because the meaning of what family is, is a very ambiguous meaning. It all depends on the person who is interpreting what is family. To one person, family does whatever it takes to help each other, some believe tough love is the best method. I look at family as everyone pulls their weight. Meaning if I have milk, you have cereal, this person has bowls, and this person has utensils, then “WE” can eat breakfast. Family is not for a single person or few carrying the load of all. Because usually what happens is if that person is longer around, the family dynamics collapse.

See, in the end, your family are not something you choose, but it’s what you’re born into. But that doesn’t mean  just because we have the same bloodline we know everything about each other. In addition, you shouldn’t tell family everything as well. Some things are mean’t for them not to know and some things are mean’t for them to know.


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PUTTING YOURSELF FIRST: CARING ABOUT YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE

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“Are you always putting people before yourself?”


Are you a person who always think about the well-being of others before yourself? Do you tend to put the needs of others before the needs of yourself? Have you ever asked yourself where this feeling comes from to save people? Why do you think it’s your job to correct another human being? Could it be because it makes you feel good? Or is it because they genuinely need the help? There are so many of these people who exist in our world. You would think that’s admirable to be one of these people. And in theory, they are good-nature people. But everything you think is great is not always the great thing to do. Well why, why isn’t doing the right thing, doing the right thing.

For starters, you can’t always bend over backward to help people because you’ll cripple them. Just because you think you’re helping does not mean you are helping. Some people need to be put into the ocean and forced to swim or drown. By always throwing them a life raft, you become an enabler. Whereabout you start to stifle your own growth in the process. Then when it’s time for you to get something out of life, the people you helped have drained you so much, their is nothing to bring you up. This is why you must come first before anyone else in the world. Now, this becomes easy to say when you’re single and have no children. But even with kids, if children are always coming first before yourself, then what do you have to give you once they leave your house? Everyone has a hand out, and you suffer in the end.

Another downside of the hand out mentality is that you give and give and give. The moment you say no, you’re now the biggest piece of garbage in the world. You can give 99 times, the 100th time you say no, and that’s it. They don’t remember the 99 other times, just the one time. That’s why you must master the art of the word no. Tough when it’s family, but these are the main groups of people you have to say no to in life. They see you are up in spirits, and instead of using you as an example to propel themselves forward, they impose their misfortunes onto you. People love to welcome others into their own misery because they don’t want to cope with it in life alone.

So see, in the end, it’s not your job to make sure the world is OK. We all have to be responsible for the situations we create for ourselves. No one in this world is responsible for you as an adult. The only one with stake in interest in you being successful is you. In theory, it sounds good to care for others, yet when that care is not making progress in the person’s life, you have to leave them to their own devices. Because there is no nobility in holding down anyone not willing to take the appropriate steps in making their own lives better by way of you helping them. Cutting them furthermore when they are also clearly not willing to reciprocate when you need the help.


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