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It seems the pandemic has resulted in people “recycling” relationships from their past, and I have already admitted to doing that and then being “ghosted” (the relationship was doomed the first go-round and trying to resurrect it reminded me of why). Although on the surface it may seem rude, there are a few “legitimate” reasons for ghosting, some less obvious than others.

Looking back to decades of dating, a handful of engagements, and two failed marriages, I realized none of them started as friendships. I will also admit that very few started with sparks of passion (I know those fizzle out), but all were analyzed in terms of compatibility. Too bad I was not aware of research indicating the majority of romantic relationships begin as long-term friendships.

This story began as an impromptu business meeting when I asked to speak to the manager of a food franchise I frequented, thinking there might be an opportunity to create a joint marketing opportunity with Red & Black. There was no way to know the attractive man sitting toward the back of the store, who I noticed when I first walked in, would be the district manager.


Although we seemed to connect in terms of business and marketing, and exchanged contact information, nothing came of it. Yet I would occasionally think of him. Several years later, Red and I were invited to speak at the 2011 Texas Conference for Women, and when we ran into him in the exhibition hall, I explained how we mentioned his company in our presentations.

Starting then, and over the years, we would occasionally find small ways to work together. But, we could go months without any contact, and then would meet for drinks and talk business and life. For hours. Red would ask why I did not pursue more, and I would always have an answer … or maybe it was an excuse. At first, I did not want to mix business and pleasure. Later, I wondered if it was mutual but did not want to risk the friendship hoping for more.

This past fall, as we all started to venture back out post-pandemic, I invited him to my high-rise for drinks, which Red pointed out was a significant step as I never invited anyone to my home. (In the past decade, only one other non-platonic man had seen my place.) The feelings seemed mutual, as was the apprehension about risking the friendship. As we talked for hours, I realized that he knew me better than almost anyone.

And, we had our first kiss. And, a second date, where I admitted, much to his surprise, that although I was a planner, I was going to try and let this relationship (he called it “being an item”) evolve organically. It was a new approach for me as I always look 20 years down the road and work backward.

Life then interrupted. Abruptly. And, repeatedly. First, my mother passed. Then, he had to deal with multiple life events that happened one right after another. At first, we texted on a regular basis. And then, there was nothing.

It was as if we had fallen back into our old habit of getting busy and putting the other person on the back burner. Not out of our lives, but recognizing something else needed our immediate attention. And, although he was in my thoughts, I decided to let him deal with things in his own way, with just the occasional text to let him know I was here if he needed me. Because,

We will always be friends, but if you rearrange the letters of the word “item,” you get the word “time” … and if we ever are to truly become an “item”, the time must be right.
Photo by Rabbitti for iStock

It’s #GivingTuesday, and although it’s always a good time to think of others, remember all the people who are continuing to deal with the aftermath of natural disasters long after the headlines have been forgotten.

And even though Black believes charitable giving can be “secretive”, she also knows there’s science proving helping others is good for you. (Warning: she likes to recommend the book “Wonder Drug: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways That Serving Others Is the Best Medicine for Yourself.“)

P.S. – Wherever you may choose to donate, beware of potential scammers. So, if in doubt – check them out! (Black likes GuideStar and Charity Navigator.)



red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

I know today’s Giving Tuesday, but what I always find so amazing is how you treat every day as “Giving Tuesday."


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

What makes you say that? I do not donate to an organization or charity every day.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

You’re always so literal. I meant that the spirit of “giving to others”, whether donating or providing support in some way, seems to be part of your daily life.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

I think you are exaggerating.
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Photo courtesy of Red’s eldest daughter, Natasha


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At the risk of asking you a warm and fuzzy question, have you thought about what you’re most thankful for this Thanksgiving?


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Yes.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

I should’ve guessed that you’d take the question literally. Could you expand on that a little, or at least give me a hint?
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Photo by htomas for iStock

When Red was a child, toilets represented more than a place to go when, well, you had to go. Much to Black’s amusement, Red saw cleaning them as a reward. (Really! Check out Red's post below.) But neither of us realized that billions of people don’t have access to toilets. And if it weren’t for today being World Toilet Day, we never would have known the magnitude of the associated health and safety issues – or the connection between sanitation and groundwater.

RED: What can I tell you? When I was a kid, one of my all-time favorite things to do was … clean the toilet. Yes, you read that correctly. And it wasn’t because I was a germophobe or a clean freak. I just loved being able to sit on the floor, using as much Bon Ami (I’ve no idea why I remember the brand) cleaning powder as I wanted. And the best part? All those bubbles!

It kept me entertained for hours. Not to mention, my mom was thrilled because it kept me “contained” and out of her hair. So much so that if I was very good and behaved myself, she might even give me “special permission” to clean the toilet in my parent’s bathroom. Of course, Black, being five years older and understanding the situation, found it all extremely amusing. Even now, decades later, she still gives me grief about it,

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