Speaking Up

Recently, I was out with a group of coworkers. One of the girls called out a guy that she’s really good friends with over some sexist comments he had made about girls he’s been into. This, of course, was completely necessary and it was super badass that she didn’t just let it slide because they are close friends and that, generally speaking, he's a good guy. This experience made me recall moments, though, where I let things like that go by the wayside. Why? For the fear of rocking the boat too much, of being in a situation where I could face consequences, of people thinking I’m crazy... I didn't want to be confrontational or put a relationship in jeopardy. None of these are good reasons to not stand up for what’s right, but, in the moment, it can be easier said than done.

I don’t regret many things, but there’s one moment from my younger adult years that I deeply do. I had a friend that I, at times, had a very volatile relationship with. We had been friends for over a decade. When we both got into dating apps, it became a competition in my head of who could nab the “hottest" or "most accomplished" guys. Dumb. She met a very attractive man who lived in a different state, but he was willing to travel to meet her. She set up a date to meet him at a bar and invited me and a few other friends to come with her, to be on the safe side. He got there, and we were all having a great time, but my friend was a bit anxious, kind of shut down, and didn’t really talk to him. I’m extremely outgoing and wanted to make him feel comfortable in this bizarre situation. I wanted to be a catalyst in what could be a budding relationship between this guy and my friend. When bar close hit, we all left, and the two of them went home together. I was super happy that things went well enough for him to stay the night and not immediately head back home like he had said he was going to when he arrived.

About an hour later, my friend texted me and said that the guy seemed disinterested in her when they got to her place and that he'd asked her for my number. She gave it to him, obviously not going to be invested in someone who wasn’t invested in her. When he texted me the next day, I was giddy. We met up the next weekend and many weekends following that. The last time he and I hung out, he told me how he was happy that we met and that I was “more attractive and interesting than my friend". Then and there, I had a decision to make. I could be a good friend – a good person in general – and defend her, and say fuck you to that guy, but I simply said thanks and the conversation moved on. Feeling grimy about the situation, I did tell her. She wasn’t super upset by the comment itself, rather how I had continued to hang out with him. She eventually maintained that I shouldn’t have hung out with him at all, but I used the fact that she was the one that gave him my number as an excuse to justify my bad behavior and try to make it out like I hadn’t done the shitty things that I did.

I was anxious to tell this story. I can’t always escape my fears of being judged or rejected, even though I know this is a huge opportunity to learn from my mistakes and evolve. It was with the support of fellow Ethereal girls that I put this out there . I hope it makes people think, and maybe reflect on a time when they should’ve spoken up and didn’t. Keep growing, keep learning. Do what you can every day, to be better.

Post by: Juliana Edelen

#friendship #dating #boyfriend #feminism #feminist

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