Thursday, July 29, 2010

Falling For the Future

"I like the person you are, but I'm in love with person you have the potential to be.."

Wale, “Ambitious Girl”

Cheers to ambition.  Toast to aspiration. Standing ovation for the attainment of one’s goals.  Let’s try a little something.  Form an image of yourself in your mind.  Next, write down three adjectives you use to characterize yourself.  Now, write down three adjectives OTHER people would use to describe you, and compare the lists.  Do they match up? Are you giving off the impression you want those with whom you interact to have of you?

That exercise derived from a lecture I attended entitled “10 K’s of Personal Branding” by Kaplan Mobray, U.S. diversity recruiting leader for Deloitte & Touche USA, LLP (Check him out on YouTube).  To clarify, the point at which Mr. Mobray, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, drove was simple… consistency; consistency in the perception of self by all parties. 

Now let me take you back to grade school; the playground at recess.   You are the one of two captains, and you have the first pick.  What attributes are you looking for in that first pick?  You want to pick the best teammate possible to help you win, making you and your team better in the process, correct?  What would you think if the other captain selected a lower end player who had limited potential to succeed and help the team accomplish its goal of winning? Not so smart, right?

So I pose this question to you, when building YOUR team in a relationship, why do you select a person worthy of the last pick, first?  Societal influences often bestow the tag, “golddigger”, on people who leach onto others following their path to success, and because of that people, sometimes, feel shallow by identifying ambition as one of their primary requirements for their mate.  The ONLY way that title becomes accurately associated is when one person contributes to the dream in an obviously abbreviated fashion.  Waiting for your mate’s success is NOT an acceptable occupation! 

Jordan and Pippen.  Batman and Robin.  Kid and Play, even.  Friendships, relationships, rocket ships, WHATEVER should be complimentary by nature (well, not rocket! Select someone who compliments your grind, your ambition, and your direction in ALL facets (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, etc.)!  The captains who select moochers (often for the wrong reasons) will find themselves dragging dead weight, giving unevenly, and ultimately falling short of reaching their maximum potential.  So be shameless in your demand of someone who strives to be a BETTER him/her because as they strive, you strive, and as they reach, you reach!

The majority of the issues I hear people experiencing in the selection process tend to be standards-based.  Know what you want and don’t settle until you find it because only then is not settling.

Thank you for checking in the GAME with the gentleman.  I appreciate your continued support.  Keep the questions and comments coming as I love reading and hearing them.  As always God Bless!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Was Just Frontin'!

First things first! My apologies for my absence, but no worries because we are back and rolling!  Whether you are a loyal, frequent reader or first timer, follow the Just GQ blog for updates!  Feel free to post questions/comments on the blog or e-mail  Ok.. NOW LET’S CHECK IN THE GAME!

Fronting.  The act of presenting less than the whole truth; the hiding of true feelings and/or views.  Arguably the most commonly used defense mechanism, fronting allows for the disguising of one’s true thoughts, enabling separation of emotions from situations.  It is no secret that, as I stated in “Emotional Maintenance”, no one enjoys pursuing more than they are pursued, so more often than not, the person in pursuit will extend to a certain point to gauge the receptiveness of the pursued before backing off.  

While a seemingly harmless strategy to avoid getting hurt, fronting blurs the line between actuality and assumption.  For clarity, I will utilize the following two scenarios.

Seth and Sally have been good friends for about a year.  They spend a considerable amount of time with each other enjoying midday meals, sporting competitions (bowling, tennis), and general chill time.  The more time they spend with one another, the more evident the chemistry becomes between them.  The subject of whether or not they would work in a relationship has been tossed up for discussion multiple times, and in those discussions, both have reiterated the presence of the apparent chemistry which they share. 

Following heavy consideration, Seth reluctantly asks Sally to take a walk with him so he may more directly express his desire to act on the mutually communicated attraction.  Seth candidly speaks to his recognition of the qualities Sally possesses as vital traits for which he searches.  He attempts to ease Sally’s propensity to feel weird about the possibility of negatively affecting their friendship by offering to remain completely open and handle situations maturely acknowledging their friendship as his premier concern.

After using his thorough understanding of the nuances contained within Sally’s personality, addressing every concern he knows she has, he pauses and eagerly awaits her reply.  Despite Seth’s willingness to be transparent with his feelings for Sally, she fights the urge to display her true feelings for Seth and activates her front.  She denies her desire to pursue an actual relationship, and in the process, pushes Seth away, forcing him to pack away his emotions and return to the platonically dressed friendship for which they have settled.

Let’s take a more intricate look at Seth and Sally.  Seth sincerely professed his honest feelings for Sally, expecting an equally truthful reply from his female counterpart.  Sally, on the other hand, knew what she wanted but decided to remain guarded, hiding her actual view on the topic of a relationship with Seth.  Fronting is a clear selfish act, as it promotes a personal interest in keeping one’s feelings in a safety zone.  Sally could have EASILY admitted to Seth that she, indeed, wanted to pursue a relationship with him even if not right at that moment.  They could have maturely discussed apprehensions both parties acquired over the course of their friendship and come to a COMPROMISE in order to work toward what they BOTH wanted—a relationship—while coddling Sally’s concerns and increasing her comfort level.  Instead, Sally just allowed her friend to divulge his true feelings for her, and while she held the same feelings for him, she left him hanging…feeling dumb.

But friendships are NOT the sole arena in which people front.  Meet Keith and Kim.

Keith and Kim had been dating (non-exclusively) for about three months, and their friendship had grown, primarily, in their attraction to one another.  Both of them had been hurt in previous relationships, which caused a series of yellow lights as they maneuvered in their interaction with one another.  After a few open conversations, through which their connection grew, they decided to keep things open and honest because they read “Just GQ”, and they knew that “Clarity lives in simplicity” (Just GQ quote & PLUG!).  BUT as Keith’s level of affection for Kim increased, and he found himself in the familiar territory of “overextending” (going beyond one’s comfort zone in a relationship). Keith fought his inclination to retreat in his feelings for Kim, fully acknowledging his desired intentions.  Kim held an alternate perspective on the situation.  While she undeniably felt strongly for Keith, her associated emotions and readiness for commitment progressed more slowly than our friend Keith’s had.

So, Kim began a conversation with Keith citing that she possessed strong feelings for him but that she wished to take things slowly in order to avoid rushing into a relationship because she valued what they had and could have in the future.  Keith, while clearly nursing a 180-degree view on his end, activated his front and did not share his honest sentiments with Kim.  He replied, “It’s whatever.  I am cool with whatever you want to do.”

Kim took Keith at his word, and they continued dating non-exclusively until Keith’s moods began to change.  Keith became irritable more often, and this change in his temperament surprised Kim, though we know that Keith was agitated by the perceived lack of reciprocation.  Keith’s attitude caused he and Kim constant conflict, which in the end proved to affect the relationship so much that the affair ended with no friendship remaining.

Time for the analysis.  Kim acted in a responsible and considerate manner; she was upfront and honest about her feelings.  She shared her care and desire for an eventual relationship with Keith in a candid fashion, one that Keith should have mimicked in his reply, but instead, Keith fronted.  He downplayed his feelings for her going against the aforementioned agreement to keep things open and honest.  Kim proceeded onward thinking that an understanding had been reached when, in fact, Keith felt an entirely different way. 


In most cases, the fronter ends up hurt, which defeats the purpose of putting up a front in the first place.  Seth reached out to Sally, but Sally hid what she actually thought and felt for Seth, pushing Seth away.  Now on the one hand, Seth could wait a little while and try again, BUT make no mistake about it.  No one is going to run into a roadblock forever!  If you continue to push someone away, sooner or later, they will go away. 

Things were slightly different with Keith and Kim.  Keith played it cool and went with the flow when, in actuality, he really wanted to be with Kim.  Had he been transparent with his feelings, they could have, perhaps, discussed a method in which they could BOTH get on the same page, but instead, Keith showed out when Kim thought that everything was cool between them.  In the end, Keith’s antics presented impedance to what could have been something great with Kim; if he had been straight up, conflict may have been avoided.

Fronting creates ambiguity, which, in turn, fosters confusion, and resolution becomes lost in confusion.  Transparency is the remedy for fronting.  Thanks for checking in the GAME with the Just GQ blog.  God Bless!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fighting For Control

I MUST start by giving ALL GLORY, HONOR, and PRAISE to my LORD and SAVIOR Jesus Christ!  Partial inspiration for this blog derived from a Bible study service I attended last week at St. Stephen Church in Louisville, KY (Check them out if you get a chance).

Control within relationships changes hands like a game of hot potato.  Particularly earlier in relationships, a subliminal, undeniable struggle for control/power exists because no one wants to desire someone more than they are.

Think of a familiar relationship in its fledging stages, the gaming phase.  Place your interest and yourself on either side in a tug of war with the rope being the control of the relationship and the mudpit being the emotions felt.  1, 2, 3; PULL!  Allow the power struggle to begin. Sound familiar?

Though normal, these antics are juvenile at their core, as well as avoidable, if desired.  Depending on how the players play the game, the stress involved with the period of time in which personalities mesh or repel one another does not have to sub in.  When manipulation is the player’s go-to move, that party uses the tricks to gain control and yield a sense of dependency from the other person involved.  Plain and simple: One plays with the other’s head to make themselves feel needed.

Comfort and trust serve as the cement holding the bricks of the relationship structure together, and without those two fundamental materials the structure will disintegrate.  Once a level of comfort is reached between people then trust may start to be generated between the two parties.  Now, at this point, I know some of you are asking, “How can that level of comfort even be reached, Just GQ?”

Well, as I stated in “Run, Forrest, Run”, “Avoid overcomplicating simple situations and understanding can be achieved. Clarity lives in simplicity…”.

I starkly stated, in my humble opinion that dodging the tendency to add unnecessary variables to the equation allows for easier arrival at the solution.  Identification of what BOTH parties desire not only allows for clear direction of the relationship, it minimizes game playing and thus the power struggle for control ceases because it loses its importance. Expectations may be discussed and rationalized as feasible or of another sort, enabling clear vision and compromise to commence.  The optimum grade for a relationship is when a both people establish a mutual care for one another with a comfort level that allows for cools to be taken off and natural interaction to exist without pressure. 

Allow for natural progression WITHOUT forcing the issue.  Live in the moment until the moment evolves to become more, and keep situations low stress for easier coexistence.  Thanks for checking in the GAME with the Just GQ blog!  Keep the questions and comments coming.  I love hearing from you all (  God Bless!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pride In My Duffle Bag

Men and women both have their proud moments, where you KNOW you are wrong or you KNOW what to do to make a situation improve, but instead of working towards what is important to you, you decide to be spiteful and further the feud.  Most of you have seen the blockbuster, “The Break-Up”, starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn.  For those of you who have never had the opportunity to check it out, allow me to briefly sum it up for you as the subject for today’s Just GQ blog derives from the lessons of this movie. 

Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn open up the movie as a happy couple, who lives together, but almost immediately, the arguments commence when the pair prepares a dinner party for their families.  Both parties enter the house exhausted from a long day’s work.  Vaughn picked up lemons at Aniston’s request, but the number of lemons purchased did not match the expected amount.  When Aniston complains, Vaughn minimizes her complaint, stating that he does not see the purpose in that many lemons for decoration, pegging it as a waste of money.  Following a rather weird dinner (“Gary, on the kickdrum, come, come on the kickdrum.” Lol.), a pile of dirty dishes, which Vaughn claimed he would help Aniston wash, sat in the sink, as Vaughn reclines on the couch to relax a little after dinner.  An IRATE Aniston intensely inquires as to why she is not receiving the aforementioned help with the dishes, citing that she wants Vaughn to want to do the dishes.  An argument is birthed from a lack of understanding between the two. 

At the conclusion of the spat, Aniston hastily breaks up with Vaughn, which she did NOT truly want, expecting Vaughn to grovel and feel remorse for his actions or lack there of.  Instead, Vaughn, puzzled by her reaction to a moderate fight, does the opposite and embraces the break up.  At this point, the subsequent events include an exchange of “I’m going to show him/her” actions which only drive the couple further apart until apologies are exchanged, but the damage is insurmountable and the couple finalizes the break-up with the sale of their jointly owned condominium.

Sound the horn. Time to CHECK IN!

While the movie exaggerated certain actions of the couple for entertainment purposes, the premise and purpose for the movie mirrors relationship dynamics encountered daily.  Man does small things to agitate woman, woman gets mad and overreacts, man does not know why she acts in such a way and retaliates by being spiteful, and the cycle starts.  At the core of the problem lies the cause, a difference in perception between males and females.  Are men inconsiderate? Yes.  Do women overreact about things? Yes.  Since both sexes play a role let’s work towards the solution…TOGETHER!

And thus, I present to you…


Communication: Communication finds itself at the root of problems and solutions; a lack of it where problems exist and an increase where the solution lies.  Drawing from the example above, Vaughn performed a number of inconsiderate acts of which he may or may not have been aware.  More than likely, he did not behave inconsiderately on purpose because what is a big deal to women does not always hold true with men, so if something bothers her and he seems unaffected, it is probably because he is unaware of the effect it has on her.  A man who truly cares about a woman does not want to hurt her.  All to often, women will allow things to slide in hopes they will not be perceived as the “crazy girlfriend”, only to have the acts they hate persist, bringing them to a boiling point at which they blow up and fulfill role anyway.  And when women blow up, the explosion usually includes an OVER THE TOP threat of some sort, which causes defenses to go up and fighting to ensue.  However, if the FIRST time something occurs that she knows she does not like, she brings it to his attention and says, “This is kind of a big deal for me, and I would appreciate it if you did not do that anymore”, he should respect her request, squashing the problem in the process.  This brings me to…

Consideration: Consideration for AND from BOTH parties exemplifies an effort of understanding.  If you have communicated to the other party what is important to you, then, if that person cares about you, consideration will be had for your feelings, BUT on the other hand, NO ONE likes a miserable person who has a problem with EVERYTHING.  Consideration must be given on the other side as well.  Communication, while a great practice to add to your relationship, should not be abused as an avenue to make the other party feel as though they can do NOTHING satisfactory for you.  When complaints become too plentiful and erroneous, they WILL be ignored. Communicate the BIG things for you, the “deal breakers” (everything is NOT a big thing).  If it is important to make your relationship work, you must be willing to…

Compromise: The third “C” embodies the final piece of the puzzle.  Once everything has been placed on the proverbial table, a meeting point must be decided upon.  Just as in a long distance friendship, where two people will come together at the midpoint because neither wants the other to have to drive the full distance, two parties MUST meet at the Compromise City so that both parties know the levels of effort and care of the other.  A feeling of camaraderie should be present as both parties know they are in it together BOTH attempting to make the relationship work.  Understand that you need recognize when someone is trying to understand you & meet you halfway.  If you push them away for too long, the desire will subside.

Rarely, will people ALWAYS see eye to eye, so in order to make a friendship or relationship work you must be willing and able to talk about what is important to you (communication), think about what is important to the other person (consideration), and find a middle ground at which both people involved can coexist happily (compromise).

Thanks for checking in the GAME once again! I hope this blog has been entertaining and educational!  Continue to leave questions and comments, and I will continue writing about what you want!  God Bless!