Most times when it comes to talking about friendships on our site, we often discuss all the reasons you need to drop a friend in your life. She’s either been less than supportive, unreliable, sneaky or a whole list of things that irk you so much you run online and look for advice on whether or not they’re worth keeping around. But do we use that same energy to evaluate the kind of friend we are to others? We should.
It’s often when our friendships fall apart that we start pointing fingers at our former BFF for what they did and didn’t do, but rarely do we have a moment of introspection and also think about the role we played in the dissolution of things. When a recent friendship that I had cared about and dealt with a lot for fell apart unexpectedly after almost 10 years, I was fuming. I was running around telling people how much homegirl was trippin’ when they asked me what went wrong, but I rarely stopped to take account of my own missteps.
This friend was going through a rough time due to the recession and almost a year out of college, she didn’t have a job. I probably could have done more as far as supporting her. I think she was feeling very paranoid and alone, and very worried about her future, and confused by all the stress on her back (student loans, people telling her to get a real job or move out), she got rid of most of the friends who had been down for her for years. On the other side of the fence, I found a job less than two months out of school, was working 8 hour days and coming home to freelance into the wee hours of the morning. Adult responsibilities made me somewhat busy, and they made me think I was too busy to handle my responsibilities as a friend. I called less, I saw her less and I was there less. While she had her share of flaws that played a part in the end of our time together, I had to take responsibility for my downfalls as well. Truth was, while I might have been mad about a few things, I had basically been the flaky friend I never thought I would be, and I wouldn’t want someone to do the same to me. While I was mad about things too, they weren’t significant enough to be worth the loss of a good friend, one who had been there for me when I lost my brother, and had been down to ride for years. I have no real regrets about things now, but I take precautions when it comes to how I treat the women I have left in my circle.
So before you go out of your way to try and drop your friends, make sure you are treating those same friends the way you want them to treat you. Don’t expect them to go out of their way for you, but you don’t reciprocate. Don’t get your feelings hurt when they bail out on hanging with you but you never make yourself available to kick it anymore. Don’t get mad when they can’t loan you a dollar but you were the same person who couldn’t pick up the phone when they needed your help. The same way some women have too high expectations of the men they want in our lives but don’t know how to act when they get one, we can’t expect our girlfriends to be everything out of the TLC song (“What About Your Friends?)” and then be flaky when they need us most. Just like you do inventory, every now and then, check yourself and make sure you’re being the type of friend you would want. Every now and again, I find myself asking the few girlfriends I have left in my life if there’s anything I could be doing better, from the time I spend with them to the support I give, because there’s no use in making the same mistakes twice and losing more people who I’ve had some of the best experiences in life with. We’re so up and ready to say we’ve had enough of some of our girlfriends but our own behavior could be causing them to say the same things about us. Want better? You can start by doing better.