All Articles Tagged "friends"

The Moment I Realized How Much Money Matters In Friendship

August 10th, 2014 - By Toya Sharee
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When it comes to friendship, most of us would like to believe we’ve built bonds with our closest buddies based on respect, loyalty and compatibility that run way deeper than something as fluid as finances. But this summer I learned, just like relationships, money and spending styles can make or break friendships. It’s only one of the sad realities behind why your late twenties are often filled with letting go of relationships that you discover are past their prime.

More than money, it’s about lifestyle choices. And I realized how much a friend resented mine when he hit me with a, “Money just seems to fall into your lap.” Harmless, right? Maybe even complimentary, only coming from him I knew that what he was actually doing was discrediting all of my hard work. He was justifying some of his own bad financial decisions by saying somehow God bypassed him and made it rain on me. It was hurtful, but more than that confusing as he had a front row seat to me working 2 internships my senior year, the job rejection pile I couldn’t bring myself to throw away and working 2 jobs for most adult life just to get by. If anyone could attest to the fact that my post-graduate struggle was real, it was him.

I am by no means balling, but luckily by 30 I’ve been able to steadily climb in my career to a point where I can afford to have the basics plus take a decent vacation every year. And it isn’t without a whole lot of work and sacrifice. But with that, I have friends that have definitely caught some bad breaks after undergrad who haven’t made quite as much progress or who just have yet to find that same place of financial stability. As a result there’s often a lack of meeting of the minds when it comes to everything from picking a restaurant to eat at to who’s filling up the tank to drive there.

In the past few years I’ve found myself really altering my behavior to accommodate my friends. What’s the point of a vacation or karaoke night at a sushi bar if you have no one to enjoy it with? When someone is low on funds, I’ll pick up the dinner tab. Can’t afford the flight? Just pay me back. I find myself biting my tongue when I refer to what I think is expensive or inexpensive. And I do all of this trying my best to not appear arrogant or pretentious.  In the process when it comes to job leads, saving money, paying down debt and building credit I try to give advice when asked on what’s worked for me because as cheesy as it may sound, I have a dream that one day my friends and family will be able to live the good life together.

As much as we’d like to pretend it doesn’t, money makes a difference. And whether you’re the friend who’s always pulling out their Visa at Olive Garden or the one ordering breadsticks because you don’t want to be a burden, it can create tension between all involved. What I started to notice after I realized my wallet was getting work is that I started to attack my friends’ lifestyle choices. I got tired of always footing the bill for our fun and it became hard to tell if my friends were even trying to contribute anymore. Also, it seemed like the one with the money was making all the decisions so our friendship revolved entirely around what I wanted to do all the time which got pretty boring.

I turned from a person who thought it best to stay out my friends’ pockets to a judgmental financial planner who criticized every purchase they made I considered frivolous. I was someone I didn’t want to be: Dangerously close to being a plaintiff on People’s Court because I was turning from a BFF to a snarky loan shark.

What I learned though is that good people can be bad with money, and no one is immune to a bad break, even myself. Who knows? In a few years I might be in financial ruin and find myself declining a happy hour or two because my wallet decided that gas money was more important than a margarita. The key to money not being so big of a deal is to admit that it does matter. Be honest with your friends about your budget, and if you’ve got a good set they’ll find a way to have fun with what you’re working with. If you are always the one reaching for the bill, do it because you can and want to, not because you think you can’t have fun (or friendship) without it. Don’t harbor resentment or assume being broke is always the result of bad decision making.

Whether you’re balling or riding the bench on Team Brokeback, remember this: You shouldn’t have to front for your friends. It’s like Oprah once said, “Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” And luckily I have friends that will (and have) walk with me long after the bus stops running. And when you can get past who’s picking up the tab, that’s what makes the difference.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

 

 

Signs You’ve Accidentally Fallen In Love With Your Best Friend

August 6th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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In Love With Your Best Friend

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Can men and women ever really be friends? Anything is possible. But a recent study found that if your BFF is of the opposite sex one of you is probably in love. Here’s how to tell if your friendship has snuck out of the neutral zone.

Friendly, But Not Friends? Shady Moves Real Girlfriends Never Pull

April 22nd, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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On the last episode of “Basketball Wives LA,” Draya was still offended that Brandi said they were “friendly but not friends.” But is that not an accurate status for two women who are just getting to know one another?

It’s clear some people have a hard time differentiating between what makes someone friendly, but not friends, so here are some things a real friend would never do.

things a real friend would never do

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Cause Friction Between You and Your Husband

When NeNe called her friend Cynthia’s husband a “bish”, we had a feeling that that friendship was over.

Friends don’t put friends in a position to choose between their mate and their friendship.

7 People To Stay Away From During A Breakup

March 10th, 2014 - By Julia Austin
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During A Breakup

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When you’re going through a breakup, you want comfort wherever you can find it. But some comfort comes at a price. Here are seven people to stay away from during a breakup.

 

 

 

 

The Quarter-Life Crisis And Why The Success Of Your Peers Doesn’t Make You A Failure

March 6th, 2014 - By Nicole Akoukou Thompson
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Soror Rachel just got engaged and her wedding will be in Austin, TX, taking place just two days prior to my freshman roommate Trish’s baby shower in Chicago. Of course, I have to cross my fingers and hope that those dates don’t conflict with the date of my twin sister’s grad school graduation from (*insert name of fancy university*).With all of these things on my plate, I’m just hoping it won’t interfere with me watching a new episode of Scandal

At this point, if you’re like me, you may feel like should have accomplished more for yourself by now than just having good looks, a winning personality, a fancy degree (where my liberal arts folks at!?), your hopes, and being a gladiator for Olivia Pope. In your mid to late 20s, your peers have been making it rain fifties and hundreds at every social outing, while you frequently collect change from cushions and crevices so that you can fund a trip to the neighborhood bodega to buy a bag of UTZ sour cream and onion chips for dinner.

The Internet hasn’t helped either. It constantly updates you on every single life change and triumph that your peers encounter. Facebook and every other social media outlet have made everyone else’s advancements readily available for your consumption. After scrolling through your newsfeed, you feel like you’re still playing dress-up while everyone else is suited up for real. You may be happy for your friends and you can certainly “like” their actions on Facebook and Instagram, but it doesn’t make you a bad person for being a little over seeing it all.

Everyone that you know seems to be frying bigger fish and doing big things in their lives. You’re just finding your footing, and that makes you stressed about your future. Trust me, I can fully relate.

Top-tier careers, engagements, marriages, pregnancies, children, and/or benevolently living abroad while developing water irrigation systems and feeding the hungry children of Malawi–my peers seem to be doing it all. But there are two things I had to remind myself to do:

Relax, and breathe.

Life is not a race…even though it may feel like you’re always finishing last.

I learned that your peer’s success does not equal your failure, and if someone’s newsfeed is getting you down then you might need a break from social media in general. If other people’s happiness is making you feel left out, and affecting you on a basic level –destroying your mood one  update at a time — then you should unplug. Stop reading about what other people are doing and work on yourself. Also, actively pursuing your own goals or even spending time to decide and pinpoint what your life goals are is just as valuable as achieving a goal.

There’s no satisfaction to be had when unfairly comparing yourself to someone who appears to be doing “better” than you. When you compare the worst aspects of yourself with someone’s best, it’s damaging to your sense of self – and it doesn’t help you accomplish your goals.

Additionally, you don’t really know the lives of the people that you’re comparing yourself to. You don’t know what struggles or difficulties they may be facing or what they had to overcome to get where they are. Their priorities may be completely different than yours and they may have made sacrifices that you wouldn’t be willing to make.

And hey, some of them could just be faking it like everyone else, in which case, you can’t compare yourself against inaccurate information. Many people are pretending that they’re more accomplished or happier than they actually are. And on top of that, nepotism isn’t just a word, it’s how a lot people are getting by nowadays. Knowing people, making connections and networking like it’s nobody’s business is getting a lot of people very far. Because a friend’s cousin’s sister’s nephew went to church with Jane Doe, they have an in, and you’re left feeling like you’re on the outs.

Try to make a list of your accomplishments, so that you can remind yourself of all that you’ve done and the things you want to do. Create a checklist that’s comprised of big things and small things, so that you’re always checking things off of your list. Do this so that you realize the importance of achieving conceivable small and big goals. And, finally, pace yourself. Take your time and enjoy your life. Incessantly obsessing about progression toward a large goal is like weighing yourself after every meal and hoping to have lost weight after each weigh in…we all know that things don’t work that way.

 

Now You Tell Me! Things Your Friends Will Only Say After You Breakup With A Guy

March 5th, 2014 - By Julia Austin
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Have you ever noticed that the moment you end things with a guy, your friends come out of the woodworks with lists of complaints about him? Wondering why they didn’t they speak up sooner? Here are 14 things your friends only tell you about your guy after it’s over.

The New Heartache: Breaking Up With Your Friends

February 11th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

Way back in Girl Scouts, I learned the song, “Make new friends, but keep the old; One is silver and the other gold.” These lyrics, made relevant again when Diane Keaton recited them for her long-time pal Woody Allen at this year’s Golden Globes, seemed to cover it all. Welcome new people into your life, but don’t let the old ones slip away—simple enough.

True, as kids we were probably more focused on selling Thin Mints and Samoas than questioning the intricacies of platonic love, but what my scout leader failed to even hint at was the possibility that these bonds could evolve into something, well, not so golden.

That’s where I find myself today: reevaluating an old friendship that’s soured over the years. I met my friend—we’ll call her Sarah—when I was in my early 20s and new to NYC. Back then we ran all over town, stretching our meager post-grad salaries at street fairs and happy hours, and generally having a great time. But now that we’re both in our 30s, the air between us has become strained. Feelings are easily hurt and we’re less willing to be vulnerable around each other.

Sometimes I come home from hanging out with Sarah and feel exhausted. I’m hyper aware of small jabs (or at least what I perceive as jabs), and I feel the need to constantly shield myself. I’m not sure exactly how we got here. There’s no dramatic story to tell about her stealing my boyfriend or me tossing a cocktail in her face after a drunken argument. I suppose it was a series of small disappointments that have added up over the past 10 years (I know, totally boring).

So here I am wondering, do I end things with Sarah? Is it possible to break up with a friend?

For all the advice we hear about breakups of the romantic variety, friendship usually gets the shaft. Maybe it’s assumed that we’ll all be great Girl Scouts and just stick to the song. When we do shine a spotlight on adult friendship, it usually doesn’t play out in a meaningful way. Rather than inspiring stories, words of wisdom or stories of the nuanced phenomenon of breaking it off with a friend, we get all-out spectacle. Just look at the Real Housewives of…any city, really. Bickering besties fuel nearly all the drama on those shows, whether it’s NeNe vs. Kim, Bethenny vs. Jill, or Teresa vs. everyone. Are we to only explore female friendships that end in a fury of weave pulling and insult slinging?

This may explain my male coworker’s reaction when I asked his advice about my potential friendbreakup. “Drama!!” he replied. I tried to explain that it wasn’t about drama; It was about being genuine in my relationships and surrounding myself with only people I truly enjoy. “Look,” he said, “I have three good friends and they’ve been my friends since I was 10 years old. Once you’re my friend, you’re my friend for life.”

Read more about letting friends go at YourTango.com 

What About Your Friends? Valentine’s Day Isn’t Only For Lovers

February 9th, 2014 - By Toya Sharee
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valentine's day

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As I sat in the hair salon this past weekend getting some long overdue Brazilian curly hair sewn into my head, it was only a matter of time before the hot topic of Valentine’s Day came up.  One by one the stylists and their clients went around and commented on what they wanted, what they’d actually be getting and what they had been surprised with in the past.  I’ve had more uneventful Valentine’s Days than amazing ones, but when I think of it some of the best ones were spent with people that many don’t typically associate with your boy Cupid: my family.

Do you remember candygrams?  If not, I’m sure your school had some embarrassing system to prove just how popular someone was as they floated through their school day carrying more and more plastic roses or those disgusting candy hearts after each class.  I was always the one waiting on a candygram from a crush that never came.  A part of me was comforted by the fact that I was the girl who was always dating someone at another school (honestly, except that he wasn’t actually in high school at all).  But I’ve never had a secret admirer, and in grade school my note always came back with “No” checked.  But the one thing I could depend on for Valentine’s Day was that I would come home to little boxes of chocolates and cards spread across our dining room table courtesy of my mom.  Just that little reminder that someone, somewhere thought I was special was better than a $1 store rose with a scraggly misspelled message delivered to my homeroom any day.

I hate to be in my Charlie Brown “what matters most” bag, but as I talked a manic friend down from over-analyzing and obsessing about how much to do and not do in a new relationship for Valentine’s Day, I had to remind her that it doesn’t matter how much a man does on one day, what matters most is how he acts for the other 364 days of the year.  There will be men buying roses and candy for their “main” on February 14th only to spend the night with their sidepiece on February 15th.  Valentine’s Day should be about the people who love you, support you and put up with you all year long.  Those are the people you should be going out of your way to make feel special.

If you haven’t been doing so already, remember there are other sections in the Hallmark aisle besides “For Him”.  I don’t mean to be a Valentine’s Day Grinch but let’s be honest: That big bear is eventually going to sit in the corner and get dusty while triggering your allergies all spring long, your flowers will die, and half of those candies are filled with disgusting coconut and chocolate nougat.  It truly is the thought that counts.  Even if you’ve been doing it all year, obsess just as much over letting your parents, your girls, your siblings and your kids know how much you love and appreciate them.  You never know but you may have someone whose candygram got lost in the mail and that little box of butter creams may just make their day.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

7 Things Your Friends In Relationships Are Probably Doing Different From You

December 17th, 2013 - By Julia Austin
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Have you ever been sitting at a dinner table full of happy couples, looked around and wondered, “What am I doing wrong???” Or maybe you just don’t understand how your totally crazy friend has been in a happy relationship for three years, when you’re—let’s be honest—way saner than she is. Sane or not, here are some things that friend of yours was probably doing right when she was single.

Straight From His Mouth: What Role Do People’s Friends Play In Relationships? Pt. 1

December 2nd, 2013 - By Dr. J
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friends and relationships

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I will begin by saying we do not have enough time to give this topic justice so I most likely will have to return to it in a few weeks in order to exhaust the topic in detail. But for now, here goes.

The issue of friends and what role they play in a relationship is one that is complicated/not complicated and filled with what you should do/what you will do. It makes perfect sense too. When I first got the note to touch on this topic it was attached to a story about a guy who was upset that a girl he was dating was sharing the details of their relationship in its embryonic phase. Let me be clear, when I say embryonic, I mean like the first few months before there are titles involved. As I read this, I cringed myself. I cringed because I’ve been turned off by similar actions too. I’ve wanted to almost end things immediately because I tend to live by a strict dating policy, “Stop telling everybody your damn business.” I fully understood why that guy was upset but I also understood why someone would not think it was a big deal.

Here’s why it’s complicated:

It’s complicated because when you don’t talk to your friends about your life is typically when you end up so far out there that it’s very hard to reign you back in. For example, I remember telling a friend this, “You get yourself in situations that you can’t even tell your friends about because you know your A$$ ain’t got NO business doing what you doing.” And that’s when it gets dark and in that case, I would say it’s complicated but it’s a good idea to tell your friends about your relationship.

Prime example: You keeping it under the wraps that the guy you’re dating is technically still married and in the process of a divorce.

Reason why you need to tell your friends: Because someone has to be the logical one to tell you that you should wait until he’s divorced to start dating him.

Here’s why it’s not complicated:

You actually know that your friends will interfere with your relationship in the name of your feelings and saying that it’s on your behalf. If you had to pick between sharing with your friends and not sharing with your friends, the easy option is to not share because it reduces risk. Going back to the example that I shared, your friends will make that situation complicated, not you, not the guy you are dating, not anyone else but your friends. They fail to realize that you’ve already decided what to do; they just need to learn how to be supportive instead of intrusive.

What you should do:

Easier said than done, but the best solution is to be able to share information with your friends without telling them all your business. You should find a way to share information about yourself but not the other person. I’ll tell you why. As I told the last young lady I was dating who did this, “I reserve the right to disclose information about my life, myself.” The point is, when you share information about the guy you’re dating or the relationship that you’re in with your friends you’re putting his business out on the streets too.

What you will do:

You’re going to share information with your friends; much of it is likely to be information that was best kept to yourself and your significant other. As a man, I had to get to the point where I was comfortable with this happening and also realizing that it is not a woman issue, but it’s a people issue. Men tell their boys stuff too, we just do it differently. (I’m going to carefully leave this alone because we don’t have the time today.) Because you will share information about your relationship with your friends and they will play a big role in your dating/relationships, just focus on how to do it healthy. Be very aware of what you should do and what you will do and know the difference. There’s nothing you can do to stop doing what you feel is right even if it’s not right to anyone else, but you can work on consistently being in the interest of doing it the right way.