I Can Handle That.

There is something about being honest with yourself. Sometimes I think we are more honest with other people than we are with ourselves. But then again, there are those of us that just hear whatever we want to hear regardless of what is actually being said. Generally speaking, there are a few phrases that tend to be confusing for many people. These phrases are “I just want to be friends” and “I can handle that.”

“I just want to be friends” is a phrase often uttered by a male to a female. What the guy is really trying to convey to the girl in this situation is “I just want to be friends.” But in many cases, what the female hears is “I just want to be friends with you right now, but I bet if we were to continue to hang out together, like all the time, and you did a bunch of nice stuff for me like my laundry or cook things for me or have sex with me a lot; I bet I would wake up one day and realize that I’m actually in love with you and that nothing would make me happier than making you my wife.”

Similarly, when a woman is in a conversation with a man and he says something like “I just want to be friends,” she may reply with the phrase “I can handle that.”  Now what the female really means in this instance is “I can tell myself that I can handle that and I can do my best to constantly suppress my true feelings for you while falling deeper and deeper in love with you, and then I will beat myself up over the fact that you were honest with me from the start and I was really the stupid one to think I could handle it even though I can’t so it’s really my fault and not your fault at all; and now the only real question is whether I should totally loose it emotionally and go off the deep end in a public place, preferably in front of your new girlfriend and your coworkers, or if I should eat nothing but Ben and Jerry’s until I’ve gained fifty pounds and only leave the house when I absolutely must go to the grocery to buy food for the seven cats I’ve adopted from the local shelter, most of which are mange ridden and unlovable – just like me, or if maybe I should just start using meth and become a back alley hooker.” Although this seems implied, many men do not actually take this away from that simple phrase. What they incorrectly hear and understand is, “She can handle that.”

So is it that we are not honest with each other? Or is it that we seem to just hear what we want to hear and say what we think people want us to say? I think guys and girls do this equally. Or maybe girls do it a little more than guys do. I’m not sure where I’m going with this except maybe this: If you love someone and they tell you they just want to be friends, just be honest with yourself. You can’t handle that. Just walk away. If you haven’t really changed, but you want to; don’t say you’ve changed. Say that you haven’t changed, but that you want to. I’m all for that “if you can believe it you can achieve it” bull-crap, but you know what? Saying it doesn’t make it so. If it did, I’d be a size two, tan person living off my monthly interest payments on my vast fortune amassed from sales of my best-selling novels.

3 responses to “I Can Handle That.

  1. I think we hear what we want to hear and are deaf to what’s between the lines

  2. You are totally right on this one. In fact the majority of the miscommunication in many of these situations is generally from the women. I have yet to understand why most switch to “auto response” instead of saying what they think . . it’s some ingrained idea that they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings (or in your case, make themselves look weak) . . .
    The irony of your posting is that I just had a friend last week who went through this EXACT thing. She had been friends with the guy for several years. It recently turned physical and when she started asking questions as to “where they were headed” he said he thought they should “go back to just being friends” . . . and that he “wasn’t ready to get serious” . . . She asked me if I thought this meant maybe in the future he would be more ready. I told her he probably WAS ready to be serious now, but that she wasn’t on the list of people he was ready to be serious with.
    I was met with a bit of silence. And then the subject was quickly changed by her . . . I think she was afraid of me telling her exactly what he did.
    Generally speaking, men are kind of notorious for saying what they think, whether or not it’s sugar coated. The exception to this is when women ask them a direct question about something that may lead to either:
    a) them being scolded
    b) them having to endure a 40 minute discussion on the topic.
    So if a man randomly comes out with a statement like “I just want to be friends” . . . he probably actually means it.
    However, if a woman asks him a direct question like “Hey do you ever fantasize over my hot friend Jane?” he will say “No”, regardless of the actual truth. Unless of course you happen to be MY husband who knows its easier to tell the truth in all situations for fear he will be busted with actual evidence to the contrary at some point. . . so in this case he would say “Maybe once in a while” to which I will scowl and say “You better keep it at fantasizing buddy” and walk away.
    So it’s simple girls . . all you need to remember is not ever ask any direct questions which may force an unreliable answer. Just be patient and listen to what naturally comes out unprovoked. Chances are you will get all the info you need with that. . .. and if that doesn’t work, you can always call up one of your girlfriends and ask them what they think . . . because chances are they will tell you exactly what you want to hear. 🙂

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