Posts Tagged ‘Hill Harper


Steve Harvey: Thanks, but No Thanks

I don’t want to offend. I know he has a huge following of loyal fans, but the truth is that I feel some type of way about taking advice from Steve Harvey. It’s not really personal, but he is one of the few so-called relationship experts out there who has multiple divorces under his belt. Yes, he’s married now, but let’s be real. As a single woman, do I want his opinion on how I should go about building and sustaining a healthy, loving relationship? Maybe if he makes it to his golden anniversary this time around, I’ll change my tune.

One could argue that he’s speaking from experience. So, maybe his failed marriages have taught him how to make relationships work. However, from what I’ve read of his books and from what I’ve heard him preach, his shtick is more about telling single sistahs what to do to get a man than it is about instructing couples on how to maintain healthy relationships.

I know what you’re thinking. “Girl, you quote Hill Harper all the time, and he ain’t even got one marriage to his name!” True. However, there are at least two significant differences between Hill and Harvey: (1) Hill is the type of guy I might date. He’s attractive. He’s intelligent. He’s single. So, I care a little bit more about his POV; although, I still read his books with the side eye. (2) Hill’s book, “The Conversation,” included lots of other men’s opinions. He didn’t attempt to speak for every man.

However, let me get back to the point. When you’re single, you always have people offering unsolicited advice. Everyone who has somebody – and even those who don’t – think they have it figured out. They know why you’re single and what you can do to “fix” it. Few seem to just accept what you have: you haven’t met the right person yet.

So, you learn to decipher the good advice from the bad. For this SIS, the relationship status of the person and his or her romantic history help determine whether I bother listening. If you’re in what I consider a healthy, long-lasting relationship, I may take heed to what you’re saying. If you’re a man or woman who cheats on your significant other, constantly complains to me about your spouse or has only been with your partner for one or two years, then you fall into another category.

That’s where Harvey is. He’s in that category of counselors whose romantic situation makes me skeptical of what he has to say.

That’s not to suggest there are no tidbits of wisdom in his words; however, as a friend of mine put it, those things he writes that have you nodding in agreement are often just plain common sense.

Whether you’re on Team Harvey or not, I won’t judge. I have friends who’ve found his advice helpful, and he claims that many readers who took it to heart are now in happy relationships.

So, I won’t begrudge him that success (even though I question whether he’s exploiting the lonely black women out there by using their situations to line his pockets). If he’s helping women find happiness, then more power to him.

However, when I have questions about dating and relationships, I think I’ll turn to happily-married couples who’ve stood the test of time for advice.

The truth is that anyone can offer advice – and this blog is proof – but this SIS suggests we make sure to be a little selective about whose tips we follow.

Oh, and watch my interview with Steve. That’s me with the microphone!


Should You Date Potential?

It’s been suggested that a lot of women seeking relationships have difficulty finding them because they fail to appreciate or recognize a man’s potential. At least one actor-turned-author (whose name I’m not going to mention, since I quote him waaay too much), points to Michelle Obama as an example of a woman who noticed a man’s potential, despite his not having fully reached it just yet when they met. Now, she’s the First Lady.

I don’t disagree with taking a person’s potential into account, especially if you’re expecting to be involved with him for years to come. However, I think it’s important to be clear about what exactly potential is. I submit that it’s not just about what people are able to do, but it’s also about what they want and are willing to do. In short, character is the deciding factor when determining someone’s real potential; people who aren’t willing to put in the effort to realize it, don’t really have any at all, despite their God-given talents and skills.

However, motivation and drive to achieve don’t always result in success. So, when it comes to dating, it’s important to be satisfied with who and what the person is, not just who you hope he will become.

Sure, Florida Evans would have loved for James to become foreman one day and move the family out of the ghetto, but she was content with him in that two bedroom apartment with a view of Willona. Like Florida, I don’t think Michelle Obama was complaining when her husband was merely a successful U.S. senator. If he’d never become president, I’m pretty sure she’d still be happily standing by his side.

So, maybe that’s the test when deciding whether to date a guy who hasn’t yet achieved his goals, but who has potential. Are you happy standing by his side now in the present? If not, then there could potentially be some problems down the line.


The ‘Taxi-Cab Theory’ Is Real

My friends and I refer to it as the “Taxi-Cab Theory.” I didn’t consider it too valid, since it’s impossible to know what really goes on in others’ relationships, so I was surprised to hear it addressed in the recent ABC “Nightline” special. It turns out we were on to something.

What’s the Taxi-Cab Theory? From the outside looking in, we describe it as the apparent ability of some single men to “hail” the next available woman and immediately settle down. It usually occurs after said man has spent multiple years dealing with another woman. That relationship ends, and six to 12 months later, he’s hopped into a new “cab” and is now engaged to what seems to be some random woman who just pulled up to the curb.

Again, I didn’t think the theory carried much weight. The truth is, I’d hate to accept that people pick mates by declaring, “I’ll make it work with this next one.” Plus, I didn’t want to belittle anyone’s relationship by assuming his or her partnership was primarily a matter of timing. However, Hill Harper confirmed my suspicions when the question was raised during that recent televised panel discussion.

He said, “Some men get to a point, a maturity level and … it clicks in them, ‘Well, nobody I ever dated was perfect. So, the next person I’m gonna date’s not gonna be perfect either, but I know that I wanna go to this next place in my life – have a family, have a partner – so, I might as well grab this next person.”

That explains why a guy might up and decide to settle down and make it work with somebody, but why doesn’t he choose one of the women – or the one – who has been dealing with him for years?

Hill’s thoughts: “They’d already created so much baggage with the person before, so that they know they couldn’t go back there. So, they just went for it with someone new.”

That’s a hard pill to swallow for the SIS who may have wasted years on a guy who’s suddenly married with children. However, she should take some comfort in knowing he obviously wasn’t her Mr. Right. I wonder if his presence is comfort enough for  the new woman who probably realizes that if she had pulled up to the curb 10 minutes later, he might very well be kickin’ it in the back of someone else’s cab right now.

I also wonder if those relationships work as well as those that result after years of dating. I do know couples that married after only six or so months, and those marriages lasted. Was it a case of “I’ll pick the next one”? I can’t say.

I do know there are several ways for people to get together. Some get together in childhood and stay connected at the hip. Some meet and marry within a year. I’m not sure how much the length of the courtship matters, but I would want a guy who was genuinely into me – and I do think that could happen in a short amount of time. However, there’s a difference between getting into a shiny, new cab and deciding you never want to leave it and just hanging out on the curb committed to strap yourself into whatever pulls up next.


Does Uncoupled Mean Unsuccessful?

climbingOf course after speaking to Hill Harper a few weeks ago, I had to read his book, “The Conversation.” Although it didn’t reveal anything too earth shattering, there were some interesting concepts within. Not the least of which was Hill’s proclamation that to be his best, he needs to find a suitable partner.

He pointed to Barack and Michelle Obama as an example of what can result in a healthy relationship. According to Hill, it’s unlikely Obama would be where he is today without the support of the now First Lady. Hill suggested that the majority of the great black men throughout time have been married.

If it takes a committed, romantic partnership for individuals to reach their full potential, where does that leave the single person?

Accepting that I may not be able to become the best me unless I’m wed, is a bitter pill for this SIS to swallow.

I’m sure there are many singles who’ve changed the world and left positive imprints in society, but for argument’s sake, let’s assume Hill’s revelation is truth.

What is a partner providing that enables his or her better half to excel?

I think “accountability” is one answer. When someone is alongside you to remind you of your goals, make sure you pursue them and actively help you, it’s a good chance you’ll go far.

Honestly, if there was someone living in my house nudging me to get on my grind everyday and reminding me of all that rides on my success, I’d probably hit that snooze button a little less.

However, I do have people in my life to fill that role. I have family and friends who help make sure I become the best me. I’ve shared my dreams with them, and I know what they’re trying to achieve. We support and help each other, whether that means just lending an ear or whether it means rolling up the sleeves and getting dirty.

Would we all go even further with spouses egging us on? Who knows? I may never know, but I do know I plan to go as far as possible, even without one.


Hill: ‘create the life you want by how you approach it’


That’s right. Yours truly had a quick Pow Wow with Harvard Brother No. 2 today. (For the clueless, Barack is No. 1). Hill is promoting his new book, “The Conversation.” Make sure you pick it up!

sistah1: What advice would you offer to single, Black women who are discouraged and feel that brothers just don’t want to be married?

Hill: It goes back to a couple essential themes of my book, “The Conversation”. It’s about not allowing yourself to be discouraged. Be encouraged. “Courage” is one of my favorite words. The root of it means heart. Open your heart. Don’t’ fall into the “there’s no good black men” mentality. As soon as you go down that road, that will become your reality. You can create the life you want by how you approach it, build it and talk about it. Go down that different road and you will meet new and different people. Have fun and enjoy. Live, laugh and love. If you do those three things passionately, you will find a partner. There’s no reason to be discouraged.

What do you think of his advice?

July 2018
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