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!

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