Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat


Girls SHOULD Wanna Have Fun


I was running in Central park the other morning and saw a large group of kids. They were out with a teacher in a summer program. As I ran by, I noticed something I’ve seen many times. The boys were running around having a blast. Playing ball, Frisbee, chasing each other, falling down. The girls were sitting quietly in small groups. Doing pretty much nothing!

I wish Cyndi Lauper’s song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was true. Because they don’t!

Okay, maybe they do, deep down. But many won’t allow themselves to have it. When I ran a summer day camp, the boys ran around and played ball all day. The girls over 9 or 10 never wanted to do anything but sit around watching the boys, combing each other’s hair and gossiping. There were a few I could motivate to get up and do an activity. But most followed one or two leaders who called all the shots and led the rest like the Pied Piper.

And then guys wonder why their girlfriend or wife wants to be with him all the time! Many chicks haven’t learned how to have fun, beyond having a guy.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from guys is that when they want a night out with the boys, their partners act like they feel lost. I used to do that when I was a DoorMat. I’d ask, “But what will I do?” in response to his wanting to spend time with friends. My life revolved around whatever guy I was dating. If he was busy, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Why do so many of us have no life when our world isn’t revolving around a man?

One reason is because when we’re girls, we often don’t learn to have fun the way boys did. We didn’t have activities that encouraged us to bond with other girls. Boys played more team sports and had less boundaries. They didn’t have to stay clean and quiet, so they had more fun together.

We have closer intimate friendships than men. But men have a male bonding for which there’s little female equivalent. Men’s camaraderie often has a stronger and healthier foundation.

I was once asked to speak on a live TV news show to talk about a “girl’s night out.” The producer planned to interview women on the street about what they do when they go out with friends. Then I’d comment on their activities. She was excited, thinking she’d get some great responses. I warned her it would probably be a boring segment. It was.

Most women said they went out for dinner with friends. Some went to the theater, a lecture, or concert; some had drinks. What did they talk about? Many discussed work. A big topic was men – their current partner – where to find one – anger towards them – frustration without one. Women often get together to commiserate about men on some level. They spend nights out talking about men and general problems. Talking out our problems with friends is fine. It can be good for us.

But when do we just have fun? When do we carouse, get silly, or totally let our hair down? We often don’t.

On the other hand, guys have lots of fun. As boys, they share more sports, wrestling, crashing cars and soldiers and other activities while girls play with dolls or play quietly. So as boys have mindless fun, girls practice being mothers. Guys continue bonding through sports, drinking, doing crazy stunts together, etc., as we spend time with friends trying to look good and find a boyfriend. Men still have fun with their friends as adults.

We don’t necessarily have a foundation for having a great time. Our upbringing may not have taught us appropriate or acceptable avenues for fun with other females. Many of us never learned to have a “girl’s night out” that’s nearly as much fun as being with a man, or even close to as fun as a guy may have with his friends. So many women have no interests beyond HIM.

Women often complain that friends disappear when they have a man. When we’re happily in a relationship, we may not need friends, except as a sounding board. But that’s mainly because we’re taught we need a guy to complete us. And if we’re complete with only him, we want to stay put with him!

When guys are in a relationship, they often don’t want to give up going out with friends. They like being able to let their hair down and go back to childhood. We get judged if we try behavior they enjoy. Men get drunk together. If we do women do, we may be seen as loose, or unladylike, so there’s a stigma attached. Men carouse and get stupid. That’s also not considered lady-like either. Men play sports. Some of us play too, but not with the same intensity as men. We don’t have our Sunday football games in the park where we can make fools of ourselves and love it. Men watch sports together at home, live, or in bars. They play cards, hear live music in a bar, and other things they find fun.

Many men are often so into bonding when they’re out together, they don’t care about meeting women on some nights out with friends.

I have friends who won’t go out anywhere unless there’s potential to meet a guy. I get impatient with them now. I love my life and spending quality time having fun with friends. I’m not on the prowl when I’m out since I’m complete on my own now. Some women are almost programmed to try to find the missing piece in a man so they feel whole. But that never works! And many never learn it doesn’t. I didn’t back in DoorMatville. I always thought it was my fault that I could find the man to complete me. I kept trying to find THE one. Now I’m THE one.

Completing yourself allows you to have more pleasure in life’s blessings instead of always being on edge, waiting for Prince Charming to whisk you off.

Women meet with friends for dinner or drinks to talk about men. We go to various functions looking for men. We shop for clothes to attract one. Boring! Many of us don’t share interests with friends which we truly enjoy. It’s not our fault. Girls aren’t encouraged to enjoy each other’s company as guys are. Men may go back to being frolicky little boys for a few hours with their friends. When we’re with ours, it’s not enthralling to simulate being good little girls who sat quietly doing a task or raising our dolls.

But it can be when you make yourself whole!

I wasn’t taught to have a life. Many of us haven’t been. But you can change that. You can develop interests that can consume you with pleasure. You can put the thought of finding someone aside as you explore adding interesting facets to your life. You CAN learn to have fun without a romantic partner. BIG smiling fun! I’ve learned that the only way to be happy is to get a life. Cultivate interests. Stoke your passions for things that don’t involve a romantic partner.

Get out from under the tree and go play. Get dirty. Get silly! Let your inner child come out and play. I’m still a little girl at times—a very happy one! Go out and play. Come on! You can have some fun, whether you’re in a relationship or not. Love yourself enough to allow yourself to have a fun life!

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15977335384543321307 auntie

    This was such a timely post for me! After recently breaking off an engagement and calling off my wedding, I’ve begun to realize that what people have been telling me all these years is true: you have to be complete on your own first; if a man comes along after that, then that’s great but if he doesn’t then…oh well! I never really believed it until the last couple months, but once the lightbulb went off, I’ve really been struggling to find ways to bond with my girlfriends. It’s been a little discouraging, but your words today have reinspired me to try harder, dig deeper, and rediscover the little girl inside me that used to play in the sandbox and do cartwheels in the backyard with her friends.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17222740854325977352 WENDEE HOLTCAMP

    Great post! I love to have fun and do crazy things, but it’s true I rarely do them with girlfriends. I do them alone (or sometimes with my kids) – go to the park and swing, do cartwheels, travel around the world… interesting food for thought.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01445486103480238038 Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    I feel blessed that my post was beneficial auntie! In my book, All Men Are Jerks Until Proven Otherwise, my motto is if you want a man, get a life! it’s a lovely, fun place to be in.—-Thanks for stopping by and sharing Wendee. I live that way now–doing things on my own, traveling the world, having fun. That’s why I’m trying to teach others about this as I’m so deliriously happy!I’m going to post again on this topic next week. Stay tuned!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07438250322631393952 TXsharon

    I’ve had my most fun with girlfriends but it’s very hard to find girls who want to have fun. When I was in my 30s I gave myself a roller skating party and invited all my grown friends. SO FUN! Just like the kids.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01445486103480238038 Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    It can get harder to find girlfriends who like to have fun, but they’re out there! I’ve had to make some new friends. Some are a bit younger than me. But we do have fun!

  • Ellen

    very good and very true—even when I was a doormat I enjoyed sports and sometimes during break after lunch I would play basketball with the boys—I loved it and so did they–sometimes the other girls tried to join in and other times I was teased or whispered about by the girls. I never understood it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01445486103480238038 Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Playing some of the games boys do is fun, and should be encouraged in girls.

  • Jen Brownski

    I’d never thought about it that way but it really is true. I don’t have the kind of fun memories with my friends like my guy does. He looks forward to his card night, or going to ballgames with his buddies. I honestly don’t know what I consider fun. I must start creating some!

  • kittykatty

    Wow, perfect post. it really helped me to change the way I think about many things. Thank You!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01445486103480238038 Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    thanks for stopping by jen and kittykatty. Making fun for yourself really is a gift to yourself.

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