Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sep/ Chapter 6: Trading up

I was at a barbecue the other night and got into a discussion with a couple of people about an interesting topic. At the beginning one person brought up a really messed up story about some guy that slept with his best friend's wife.

The topic then changed to a hypothetical situation. What happens if your friend and his/her ex had a bad break up, and you knew your friend would not want you to date his or her ex. It's off limit territory and by dating your friend's ex, you would lose your friend. What would you do?

For me personally, I wouldn't even go near my friend's ex, I wouldn't get close enough in the first place to even get emotionally attached. That's because there are plenty of girls out there, why would I want to go hitting on a girl that's going to lose me a friend?

I thought the answer was obvious and everyone would naturally pick to avoid a relationship with the friend's ex, and preserve the friendship. But two people (one guy, one girl) in the discussion said, their natural choice would be to date the friend's ex, even if it meant losing the friend. This came as some what of a shock to me, since I thought their choice was so blatantly wrong.

So I said that didn't make sense. First of all the there wasn't even a guarantee that the friend's ex was going to be "the one". It might just be like every other relationship that didn't work, but the friendship would be ruined. I said it made no sense to trade something that was certain (the friendship) for something which was very uncertain (finding the one).

The guy I was debating with then said he still stuck with his choice, because it was like investing and taking risk. He said many people would rather buy stocks which had the risk of falling in value, but had a much bigger upside, than buying US treasury (government) bonds which had a fixed low rate of return but had no downside risk. The friend was meant to be like government bonds, provided a low rate of return, whilst the friend's ex, whilst not guaranteed to be "the one" might turn out to be the love he's been looking for all his life. (The guy was a banker)

Ok fine, but what about the fact that there were so many people out there in the first place? Every guy or girl out there could be the one! Why go for someone that would mean losing a friend? Both the guy and the girl then argued that friends come and go as well. I wasn't surprised they made this comment since Hong Kong was full of transient people that moved a lot and were very mobile.

I left the debate at that, but I thought, well I definitely wouldn't want to be their friend. If my friendship and the value of it was simply based on what type of returns I could provide for them, then that's not real friendship.

I also didn't tell them that their approach was going to hurt them in the long run as well, because it was selfish, and whilst they had justified it in their mind, it was the very same mentality which would prevent them from finding "the one". See, if they were so pre-occupied with finding the one and trading up, and willing to sacrifice a friendship for something that wasn't even certain, if they were in a relationship and problems developed they would do the same. They would find someone new that wasn't guaranteed to be better but might just provide better returns.

But in the long run there was only one thing they was certain. They were actually increasing the chance that they will never be satisfied, constantly looking to trade up, and ultimately single or lonely.


Anonymous said...

But what if you really have very strong feeling about this person and really think that she might be the one and you are very much attracted to her?? If your friend is a true friend he should not be jealous of his friend finding someone special especially someone he doesn't want anymore.

I am not saying here that we all should go out with our friends'exs but it can happen. I broke up with my boyfriend one year ago and I know that one of his close friends likes me a lot but he keeps avoiding me in all social occasions since our breakup. I only can see him in a distance then he disappears. Isn't that a bit extreme? Of course, I don't knopw if he will be the one, but it kept me thinking for a while because of his strange behaviour.

Carlton Bradshaw said...

Sure your ex's friend wasn't just stalking you?!

Just kidding =P.

Ok, first of all how do you know your ex's friend likes you a lot? Did he tell a third party and that third party told you?

Thing is, strong feelings only develop after spending some time with someone. I'll rather just go find someone else, than create a messy situation.

Maybe your ex's friend shares the same opinion as me?

MenAreWeird said...

It seems likely that the scenarios in the others' minds were probably different from yours, hence their conclusions.

Irregardless of that, it seems quite a common situation that people fall for their friend's exs. It reminds me of this real life situation:

Way back in 2004 in UK, D (guy) was going out with K (girl). D and B (another guy) were very good friends and had been since young. D, B and K all hung out together along with others in their group (They were all at uni at the time - London/HK crew). Eventually D had to come back HK to live and so broke up with K (other reasons too). D and K remained friends and K still hung out with B and the gang in London.

Roll on 2006, D was based in HK and had a new gf. B meanwhile had come to quite fancy K and actually called up D to ask him if it would be alright if he went out with K. D blasted B down the phone and refused to speak to him.

WHY? is this a territorial thing that guys have? There was absolutely no reason for D to behave like that.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite sure that he shares the same opinion as you, otherwise there is no point to keep 10 metres away from me. We used to talk about many things like books, life, relationships etc. Now he doesn't even say hello and it's not that I had a bad break up, I still talk to my ex and see him occasionally. Yes, since they are good friends so he knows that my ex has a lot of hang-ups about me and was hurt that we broke up, but we really didn't get along, we are so different, staying together was a lot of effort for both of us and a lot of strain on me and I am happy that I did it.

Carlton Bradshaw said...

Yeah, guys are territorial even when it comes to ex's. Strangely not with strangers, but with their own friends.

I think in the case of B, D , and K though it's acceptable. The guy's been out of town for 2 frigging years and has a new girlfriend.

I guess it depends on the situation. Obviously if a guy broke up with his gf, and the following week his friend is grinding with her on the dancefloor, it's going to lead to a fight.

Time and the situation requires different responses. Interesting topic.

xania said...

i'm asking this on behalf of a friend. what's with guys who blow hot and cold? and i'm talking about extremes here. one moment he is the sweetest man on earth, saying the sweetest stuff and talking about the future, then suddenly he tells you he needs space and he says really nasty, hurtful stuff and refuses to answer your calls. there was once she was hospitalized and he refused to take her calls - he accused her of faking it to get his attention. a few weeks later, he then calls her and asks after her, and "apologizes" by saying that's the way he is without giving any other explanation.

also, this guy actually has another GF whom he claims he cannot break up with because she is mentally unstable and has threatened to commit suicide. this psycho gf of his visits his family pretty often and he doesn't want things to get messy. so my friend, loving him so much, tells him she doesn't mind so she's sort of his "mistress". isn't this the most fucked up thing you've ever heard of? i'm so sick of seeing my friend so miserable over this dog.

Anonymous said...

your friend is stupid, she should just delete him right away. He must be freaky himself to go out with a psycho gf! what an excuse! Just dump him girl!!!


Carlton Bradshaw said...

Blowing hot/cold is something a person does when they are not sure about someone, or don't really care about someone.

If the guy really was in love with your friend he wouldn't be doing the hot/cold.

Also, if the guy really liked your friend he wouldn't have another girl.

Whilst your friend is wasting time hoping this guy will just be with her. She's probably missing out on someone that will treat her well.

There's no room for HOPE in love, because if the right guy came along your friend wouldn't need to hope, wish, pray or settle for being just a mistress.

Anonymous said...

carlton..i agree with your view regarding friends and boundaries...people just have different values in life that's why they think differently and would act differently in this situation :)

Leanne said...

u're right, that person might not be "the one", yet how could you tell for sure until u really have a chance to try it out. In regards to what happened between my friend and that person, i believe everything is already an end as long as they broke up, even if it's a nasty one for breaking up for good.

You might think i'm not being a very nice friend because i will go pursue my feelings that i have for someone who my friend does not want me to even get closer with and risking the friendship right? But try to think of it from another perspective, what happens between the two of them should not be the obligations for anyone not to get close with the ex because things do not work between them doesnt necessarily mean that we other ppl won't work things out with the same person. Just because we're friends or even best friends doesnt mean i have to give up things for the friendship.

True friendship should support each other and hoping the best for one another. If i were the friend, i would probably advice my friend to be careful if i know that she has feelings for the same guy who i used to date, yet i would still sincerely hope that things would work out much better compared to what happened to me and that person. It would be me being selfish if i do mot want my my friends to go near that person simply because my relationship with that person didnt go well...

Everyone ruins a relationship no matter u cheated or did other stupid things at least once in the life time, will it be unfair u dont get to go out with a girl who feel the same about u just because u and her friend didnt work out?

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