Stop Pretending You’re Not Competitive With Other Women

Name: Lucywomaneer-flirting
Comment: I’m generally slightly flirtatious and am so without even trying. However I know about boundaries and would never have designs on anyone else’s man or chase after anyone who is clearly taken. I find this slightly distressing as on previous occasions, I have been accused of stepping over the line but that would never enter my head as it goes against any idea I have of common decency. The fact that people have said this makes me slightly ashamed.

To give you more information, the type of flirting I might fall into is very low key. For example I might make some silly joke about something. But I have never tried to get physically close to another woman’s boyfriend, initiated contact, tried to get alone with him or anything like that. I do not try to become friends with men and I stick to an all female group. Sometimes I might not even be flirting at all and the man or woman involved will tell me that I am.

I would like to tone down my flirtatious nature because on previous occasions it has caused hurt to others. I now cut men off quickly so I don’t lead them on and I try not to flirt with men I am not interested in. But I want to feel free to be myself without it complicating how I get on with others.
Age: 23
City: Edinburgh
State: United Kingdom

 

Before we begin, I just want to call back your previous letter to me. People can read it here.

I’ll just throw this out there: the people I trust the least are the people who make public declarations of how honorable they are. A wise and mature person would know that they could never say, unequivocally,  that they wouldn’t do something. Impulses, emotions and circumstances all factor in to the decisions we make. When people insist that they would “never” do something, what they’re actually saying is, “I’m smarter/more restrained/more trustworthy than other people.” They’re bragging.

I got a whiff of competitiveness and jealousy in your first letter. Now the stench is undeniable. The underlying message in this letter is, “I can’t help it if men find me attractive. (blink blink) How do I fix that?”

What’s dangerous about people like you is that you actually believe what you’re saying. So here’s the first step for you recovery: stop lying to yourself about your altruistic intentions. They don’t exist. You like attention from men. Join the club. That aspect of your personality doesn’t pose the threat. What makes you suspect is that you also like the idea of pissing off other women.Nothing will get me to turn on my heels faster and walk away from a woman is hearing her talk about all the ways she’s committed to paving the way for other females. No, women like that are all about their own personal advancement. Show. Don’t tell.If you have to frequently remind other women how supportive you are, you’re not.

Equally questionable are women who go out of their way to piss off other women.  Niecy Nash was promoting her book on TV last night. In it, she advises women to always keep their man sexually satisfied. Ok. Fine. Agreed. But when she was asked about people who critiqued that particular piece of advice her response was, “Well..that’s why they don’t have a man.” Oooooh. Sick burn, Niecy. That sort of tripe is no different that the women and men who toss barbs my way about giving advice while being single, or who habitually have to trot out their relationship as proof that they’ve truly learned to love themselves or reached some magnificent level of awareness. Can we please stop that? That sort of talk is actually the opposite of empowered. All it does is reinforce the idea that what we achieved means nothing unless we have a man in our life to validate it.

While I think some level of competition is natural and maybe even healthy, I believe some people take that desire to be the victor a bit too far. If you don’t want other women to think you’re out to steal their boyfriends, then stop trying to steal their boyfriends. If you’d prefer that your female peers didn’t hate on you for being so confident, then stop trolling them.

OP, until you get past your need to compete with your female friends, this problem will exist. Going after or getting a guy just for bragging rights rarely ever ends well. Not only will you eventually repel any man that does give you a chance, but you will alienate all your friends and other women in the process. You don’t want to be that woman with no female friends. Men and women both will keep you at arm’s length.

 

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14 Responses to “Stop Pretending You’re Not Competitive With Other Women”

  1. Eliza Says:

    Very well written. In other words, ALL women are somewhat competitive with each other. It’s human nature. Very few women I have met are not. ESPECIALLY where there are men involved. And, so true–about those who speak the most about being so “honorable” are those very people (both men and women) – whom you have to watch out for. Let your actions speak volumes, not your words. Show me who you are, don’t want to hear YOUR version of who you think you are. There is always room for improvement too.

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    • Lucy Says:

      I stated that I have some kind of moral backbone in order to show that how those women have reacted to me is not always based on my behaviour. A couple of times I have flirted a bit too much with a kept man and have learnt better, however I have never made any physical move nor accepted any approach from a man with a girlfriend (which has never happened so I have no known point of reference for this). My point is that I do like to banter a lot with men in what I consider to be a friendly way and I just wanted to know where the line is drawn. I think this is important.

      I like to emotionally distance myself as much as I can so I don’t cling to every man who talks to me. I like male attention but I hate it at the same time. I don’t like being singled out. I think back to very vulnerable situations I’ve been in which I have had to extricate myself from (but nothing criminally serious). I think about situations where I have been scared. I do sometimes have an issue with trusting men and sometimes I hate the way in which my thoughts are too often occupied with sexual desire and not emotional connection. I feel bad about the fact that I cheated on a guy and the fact that I had a mildly abusive boyfriend because of my part in my own destiny and the fact that I hurt another person in a powerful way. Ever since I cheated, I’ve wonder how much of my personality is pathologically bad, whether or not I’m a bad person, what’s real about me and what is mine or another person’s perception of reality. I don’t even know who I am any more.I valued myself so much on living up to ‘being a good person’ that I have to reform my identity.

      I don’t know men. I really don’t. I didn’t have a close relationship with my father growing up and felt rejected by him. I put men on a pedestal.I hated myself. Now I don’t want to be ‘people pleaser’ any more. At the same time, how do I find a balance? How do I remain humble with a healthy sense of self-worth and not turn into an arrogant git?

      I wouldn’t say that male attention gives me all the validation I need because I have managed to shift that a bit. I would say that I sought it out too much in the past, and I still enjoy it but I’m able to not look for it any more. But it’s hard to reverse my past behaviour and I need help to turn around my inclinations. For a while it felt nice to hear a compliment because I didn’t hear any praise growing up. Then one bloke dumped me, explaining to me, “I can’t give you the love and attention that your father didn’t give you”. It started off a pattern change which has now (5 years later) got to the point of an acknowledgement of my flaws, that I’d deny before. I cringe at how I was but learning to relate to men is difficult when I have never been able to relate so well to my dad.

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      • Lucy Says:

        I should say that coming up with my best pitch, is not something I ever do on a date. I feel ashamed, which is why I’m trying to state my good intentions in my letter. I feel guilty. I sometimes feel somehow deep down that I won’t know a healthy relationship or that I don’t deserve love. I feel that there is a gap between myself and the rest of the world, that they don’t see who I really am, that I am always being judged pejoratively. So yes maybe I try too hard to set the record straight. I am trying to regain some confidence and control around men because of the fact I’ve been taken advantage of in the past (when I was young and vulnerable). Putting on some bravado (which I hope is only a veneer) is a good way for me to put that protective wall up.

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  2. LostSailor Says:

    Interesting. The behavior Lucy says she’s being accused of in this letter is the same behavior she was complaining about in her “friend” in her last letter: being overly flirtatious. For example: She [Lucy’s friend] is very sweet and often believes that she is having innocent interactions with these guys.

    And then there are the inconsistencies. In this letter, Lucy describes herself as naturally flirtatious with men to the point where she’s called out on it. But in comments to the previous letter, she describes herself thus: I often feel awkward and self-conscious around men even though friends have told me I’m pretty… I’m comfortable in most situations but get a bit freaked out around attractive men and I’ve spent this time deliberately single so I could work through some old issues…Now I am at the point where I can walk past a man without feeling vulnerable.

    So I’m a little unsure which Lucy we’re dealing with here. I do detect a certain level of passive-aggressive bragging in both letters. And given the fact that with the previous letter Lucy posted long replies to every single comment (including her own) but one, and I think I’m going to have to go with the idea that there really isn’t a problem here. She just likes the attention.

    And
    the people I trust the least are the people who make public declarations of how honorable they are….When people insist that they would “never” do something, what they’re actually saying is…They’re bragging.

    For the record, I would never make public declarations of how honorable I am. Even though I am…

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    • Nadia Says:

      Yeah, the previous vs. current letter confused me. Also, there is the so-called humble bragging going on, which is never an attractive quality. She sounds immature, but then again she’s only 23.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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      • Lucy Says:

        @LostSailor and Nadia

        I’m not bragging although I understand why you would think that’s the case. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about me. I hate that. I know I would never chase another woman’s man. I once cheated on a boyfriend and will regret this until the end of time. It’s a mistake which taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. I don’t consider this public bragging because I have guarded my real identity. I appreciate the response and I deliberately wrote in again because I knew the reply would challenge me, which is important to my personal growth. In a way I know there is some truth to it. But I get confused because I have social anxiety and sometimes misinterpret situations.I often feel socially guilty and keep trying to become a ‘perfect’ person, wondering where I fail. Now I see how social anxiety can translate to self-absorbed behaviour.

        I won’t pretend I’m mature but I disagree with your assumption that I’m immature. I’ve had some terribly humbling experiences in the past five years. I’ve been in bad relationships and accept my complicity in them in order to become a better person. As I do this, I’m taking into account where I go wrong myself and try my best to see it objectively. Whilst I don’t agree with your assertions, which are based on the reply to my letter rather than any knowledge about my actual life, your comments are interesting.

        Lucy

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        • Lucy Says:

          Also I did not have an issue with my friend being flirtatious. It was the fact that I could see that she was open to vulnerability in the way I once was, the seeking of validation that I used to have and to some extent still do, the need to be thought of as attractive by many people, basically the sort of stuff which feeds into the techniques of people who know how to exploit that. She hasn’t and would never inappropriately flirt with someone. However she is not good at saying no to advances even if she has a boyfriend. I don’t think her boyfriend is perfect and I’m there for her, not him. I have kept this information to myself. However I’m pretty sure he’d be upset about the fact these guys get so close when he’s not there. I don’t question her loyalty to her boyfriend though.

          What I learnt from the response to my first letter was that a lot of this was not out of concern for her but projection of my own issues, which is something I humbly accept. I hadn’t said anything at this point and after reading the letter, decided to continue not to. In the situation I referred to above, in which I cheated on my long-distance partner, it came from something I let get out of hand. I thought I was blithely enjoying the attention of this attractive stranger I met. But despite my moral claims, I didn’t have the strength of my convictions to let go of my impulsive desires. So ever since I’ve been trying to improve myself. Now I try to follow up my words with action. I don’t think my friend is likely to cheat but I thought I would never cheat as well. And then I did cheat. I didn’t set out to cheat but I won’t deny that it was a decision that I made without making alcohol into an excuse.

          I just couldn’t stop being impulsive, sexually and otherwise. I don’t want my friend to experience too much of that. She has similar problems to me in acting impulsively, as has another friend of mine, and I can see now that we mirror each other.

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          • Nadia Says:

            Thanks for the clarification. Now that you mention social anxiety, I see more where you’re coming from in terms of wondering how you’re being perceived and not being sure if you’re doing the right thing. But I think you should be concerned about yourself only and not micromanage or hold your friends’ hands. You’re all adults and you can make your own decisions. If they asked you your opinion that’s one thing, but don’t volunteer your advice.

            “I don’t want my friend to experience too much of that. She has similar problems to me in acting impulsively, as has another friend of mine, and I can see now that we mirror each other.”

            That’s what I was referring to- not your problem unless she asks you for help.

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  3. AnnieNonymous Says:

    Lucy is bragging about something that she thinks makes her unique. Every woman has been hit on by scads of guys who have girlfriends. It’s a gross, sleazy experience. Most women don’t talk about it because all it does is make your friends mad when you tell them that their boyfriends are hitting on you. And that’s only how it plays out if it’s true. Lucy might be among the worst offenders in this “genre” of behavior, which is when a woman thinks that every man she comes across is hitting on her when they’re really just having normal conversations.

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    • LostSailor Says:

      So which is it with you, Annie?

      Every woman has been hit on by scads of guys who have girlfriends. It’s a gross, sleazy experience.

      or

      this “genre” of behavior, which is when a woman thinks that every man she comes across is hitting on her when they’re really just having normal conversations.

      I’m going to guess you experience the latter.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11

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      • AnnieNonymous Says:

        My comment makes perfect sense. Yes, it often does happen that non-single guys hit on girls, and it’s not a pleasant experience if you have your priorities in check. But on the other hand, some women interpret all interactions with men as being flirtatious. I was explaining the normal response to the statements in the email, and then going a step further to analyze what I feel Lucy is really experiencing.

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        • LostSailor Says:

          The comment may make perfect sense…to you.

          There’s a difference between playful flirting and hitting on someone. The difference is intention: if the guy actually wants to get with you, he’s hitting on you, but most of those non-single guys probably don’t have that intention.

          From the other side, the difference is perception. And your perception of of a guy’s intention is probably far different from his actual intention, especially if he’s not single.

          Which is why I found the comment a little silly and contradictory…

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        • Joey Giraud Says:

          non-single guys hit on girls, and it’s not a pleasant experience if you have your priorities in check

          You mean it’s not a pleasant experience if the guys aren’t good at it.

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    • Lucy Says:

      @Annie – Nope, I don’t assume all men are hitting on me. I’m perfectly happy in myself and do not chase male attention. I’ve never been hit on by a friend’s boyfriend. In fact I get mild attention from the opposite sex. I have absolutely no desire to win the competition of getting every man or whatever that is. I usually get on with men well (and I’m not implying anything) and have a few male friends. I do know the difference between a ‘friend’ vibe or otherwise. I often assume men are not hitting on me because to assume otherwise would be far too presumptuous.

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