All Articles Tagged "friends"
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have a ratchet friend in your life. Don’t feel bad, we all do. I bet you can think of that friend right now: the one who finds new and exciting ways to make his or her life as stressful as possible. The one who says she (or he) should be on a reality show, and you know they mean Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta. In my mind, ‘ratchetness’ has less to do with implications of etiquette/appropriateness, and more to do with the ability one has to relish in needlessly stressful situations. Whether it’s work-related drama or relationship problems, we all have that friend who seems addicted to drama. In fact, most of us have been that friend at least once or twice in our lives.
What’s that you say? Not you? Just me? It’s cool. I’ll own it.
Whether you define ‘ratchetness’ as a set of isolated practices or a consistent state of mind, we can all use some tips for communicating with our strong-willed friends. These steps can help us:
Stop calling your ratchet friend a ratchet (remove judgement): NYC relationship coach, Trenia Parham, encourages us to “…focus on the other person’s humanity, instead of reducing them to a flaw or mistake they’ve made. People are whole, flawed, complex beings. Both saint and sinner.” While you may not call your friend a ratchet to her face, if you’re already judging your friend, then real communication is impossible. Just like we can tell when someone is silently undermining us, you can’t support someone you don’t respect.
Check yourself (assess your intentions): “I think the way we communicate with friends that are full of drama is more about [us] than about them,” Parham said. To that end, we have to ask ourselves how WE are gratified by constantly being the go-to friend. Does it make us feel needed? Smart? Loved? Important? Parham goes on to say that our friends don’t need our advice as much as we think they do. “[Your friend] has as much agency to be as ‘ratchet’ as she wants to be, but now you have to decide if that’s something you want to be around, and that makes you responsible for your part.”
Talk less; listen better (listen actively): Active listening is defined as a way of communication that promotes mutual understanding. What does that mean in real time? Parham offers us grounded examples. “Stop formulating responses in your head while the other person is talking. Put down your phone or thoughts about what you have to do when the conversation is over, and focus on the person sitting across from you. Does your friend need a friend to listen to or a therapist? As a friend, stop trying to fix it, that’s not your place.” It’s when we open our hearts and practice listening WHILE being empathetic, and sometimes all a person needs is space to vent. I truly believe everyone has wisdom and knows what’s right for them. And when a person has a safe space to talk things through, they can generally find the answers they’ve been looking for.
Step 4. Keep it real (practice compassionate honesty): One of the biggest pieces of advice Parham gives is to refrain from offering unsolicited advice. At the beginning of the conversation (or at the end of the rant), ask if they’re open to hearing your take on the matter. “If they want your opinion, offer it with honesty, but don’t wield the truth like a weapon,” Parham said. “Hearing something you may not want to hear is hard enough without someone delivering the truth without tact. Make the decision to be supportive regardless of if they want to do things your way.” At every turn, we have to let go of our own agenda for our friends. There is a chance that you will give an epic pep talk full of great advice, and most of it will go unfollowed. As friends, we have to learn to be supportive without being attached to the outcome.
Know when to end the conversation (set boundaries): Many folks (ratchet or otherwise) live their lives in circles. They keep dating the same guy; they keep having the same fight with their boss, and while they pretend to want your advice they really just want to keep venting. Though we think that being a good friend means we have to listen every single time, Parham believes that having healthy relationships means setting our own boundaries. “Be honest. If they keep getting cheated on by the same dude and aren’t willing to leave the relationship, tell them you don’t want to talk about it anymore if she’s not ready to do something about it.” I know, from personal experience, when I listen against my will, I’m more likely to gossip out of frustration. That’s not helpful to anyone involved.
University educator and creator of the brilliant #lemonadesyllabus, Candace Marie Benbow recently Instragramed herself wearing a shirt that said, “Ratchetness as praxis.” I love the shirt because, though the word has different meanings in different circles/contexts, it hints at a truth: There isn’t ONE acceptable and credible way of existing in the world. ‘Ratchetness,’ for all its negative implications, is beautifully unapologetic. To that end, the only real advice one needs, when thinking about how to support our headstrong homies, is to take five giant steps back and trust that they have it under control. We can call this minding our own business, or we can, as Parham encourages, call it an attempt to “stop looking at people like they’re broken. When you see your friend going through a hard time, think about how you would want someone to treat you in your messiest moments.”
And that, in a nutshell, is how we can help a ratchet (and ourselves).
Patia Braithwaite is a New York City-based writer who is probably somewhere being ratchet right now (whatever that means). You can find out more about her relationship and travel exploits at www.menmyselfandgod.com. She also tweets and Instagrams when the mood strikes her: @pdotbrathw8
Yesterday, I stumbled across the above meme on my Facebook timeline. Naturally, my first reaction was hell yeah. Of course, “Living Single” was better than “Friends.”
But then I had to ask myself, do I really believe “Living Single” was better than “Friends” simply because I can relate to the Black characters a little bit more than the White ones?
In all fairness, I watched a lot more “Living Single” than “Friends,” still with the way the latter show dominated in ratings and influenced pop culture, it was difficult to avoid altogether. So I’ve seen enough episodes to know the characters’ personalities, their storylines and of course, Phoebe’s “Smelly Cat” song.
But when I think about the show as a whole, I generally found it to be mindlessly entertaining. You might have watched the show and chuckled once or twice, but ultimately found it hard to describe what you just watched. Like “Seinfeld,” it was perhaps designed to be a show about nothing. Unlike “Seinfeld” though, the dialogue surrounding these everyday occurrences was rather surface. I posed the question to my boyfriend afterward and he agreed that “Friends” was mostly just a series of jokes, back to back to back, about a particular situation.
He said, basically, that when you’re done watching “Friends,” you’re just done watching “Friends.” But when you finish an episode of “Living Single,” even if it wasn’t particularly serious, often times you asked yourself what you would have done or would do in a similar situation. And I think that speaks not only to the writing of the show but also the fact that the characters on “Living Single” were just more developed. They were all so distinct yet it still made sense for them to be friends. I could be wrong, but I don’t recall that distinctiveness with the characters from “Friends.”
And for those who might be wondering, despite the ways in which “Friends” eventually eclipsed “Living Single” ratings wise, (“Friends” was rated number 3 out of 114 shows, while “Living Single” was 85.) it didn’t air until the year after “Living Single” premiered.
As Kim Fields said in a Los Angeles Times interview, “Living Single” is not the Black friends, instead, “Friends” is the White “Living Single.”
I don’t know how much development “Friends” had undergone before it was released, but the similarities to its all Black predecessor are uncanny. 20-something New York implants, living in the same building. There’s the slightly slow guy Overton—> Joey. There’s the quirky and offbeat girl, Synclaire —> Phoebe. There are the potential relationships between the characters. Overton and Synclaire or Kyle and Max—> Chandler and Monica and Ross and Rachel. I could go on, but you get the point.
Aside from the fact that White people, a clear majority in the early ’90’s, were more likely to support and identify with a show that featured characters like them, it was also exaggerated by the fact that Warner Bros., the company that produced both “Living Single” and “Friends,” invested much more money into “Friends” than into “Living Single.”
In that same LA Times interview, Queen Latifah, remarking about the size of the “Friends” billboard, in comparison to the piece of billboard “Living Single” shared with other Warner Bros. shows, expressed her anger toward the discrepancy.
“It just pisses me off every time I see that ‘Friends’ billboard and the little piece of our billboard. I mean how much more of a push do they need?”
Yvette Bowser, “Living Single’s” creator and executive producer, said that neither Warner Bros., or Fox, the network that aired the show, were not there for them.
“It’s disappointing that we have never gotten that kind of push that ‘Friends’ has had. I have issues with the studio and the network over the promotion of this show.”
Being that Bowser was one of only a few Black women producers in the the television industry at the time, I’m sure there were other factors, beyond the show’s content, that made it less than the top priority for Warner Bros. or Fox.
Still, despite the failing of the network and studio, “Living Single” was still one of the most popular series for Black, Latino and teen audiences. I wonder how different those numbers would be today.
If you ask me “Living Single” is still getting the shaft. Today, over a decade after it went off the air, you can still find “Friends” merchandise being sold by NBC. And you better believe that all seasons are available on DVD. Meanwhile, I don’t even recall any “Living Single” merchandise. And as for DVDs, Warner Bros has only agreed to release the first season, alleging that there isn’t enough demand for the release of the other seasons.
Since Warner Bros. is still hellbent on downplaying the show’s brilliance, we’ll just have to celebrate our show ourselves. “Living Single” was easily better than “Friends.” And while we don’t have to put down one to uplift another, as Latifah said back in 1996, they don’t need another push.
Back in the day when we were kids, school friends, church friends and neighborhood friends always seemed to be around. But now that you’ve grown up and moved away from home, suddenly you’ve discovered that you’re spending more time Netflix and chilling with a takeout order than you’d like. When you’re an adult, long-term relationships, kids, long work hours, and new locations can make keeping old friends hard. Or sometimes you just outgrow them.
Whatever happened to the old crew, every grown up finds themselves having to put themselves out there to make new friends and find that it’s not as easy as it used to be. Finding a new BFF for life is about as hard as going on a date. And it can be just as awkward. From “no new friends” policies to co-workers that looked cool but turned out to be crazy, welcome to the grown up friend struggle.
(As Relayed To Lauren R.D. Fox)
My friends from high school want to celebrate our 10-year friendship.
In order to do so, we decided to do something different by traveling together—something we’ve never done before.
We thought it would be a good idea to take a trip to Amsterdam since we’d heard such
wild great things about it. And although our decision to go to was unanimous and a no-brainer, I am very hesitant to actually plan this trip with my friends.
You see, most of them manage their finances poorly. Very poorly. Now and then, one of them will ask me to borrow money. To be fair, I don’t mind helping my friends out; my career path has allowed me to have expendable income. However, I am not sure I can trust them with certain tasks, like booking the hotel, flights or particular excursions.
For example, when watching other people plan trips with their friends, they designate one person to (initially) pay for the hotel room. The selected person would put the entire amount on his or her bank card, and once it was booked, the other people in the party would pay that person back by transferring their portion of the fee into that person’s account. However, my fear is that my friends may wait to have all the money in their account, and we won’t be able to book our travel plans in a timely fashion. Or worse yet, if someone does step up to initially book a flight or hotel room, they may never be paid back. My friends have a tendency not to pay back loans on time.
To make matters worse, I fear my friends may not even bring enough spending money to Amsterdam, and therefore, I may have to contribute financially throughout the trip for it to be enjoyable. This trip is starting to sound anything but fun.
So what should I do? Should I still venture off to Amsterdam with my friends? Should I tell them about my concerns? Or should I back out?
A few days ago, my daughter comes up to me and says, “You’re my best friend!” I was startled at the statement. My mental knee jerked and I responded, “I’m not your friend. I’m your father.” I could immediately see her energy deflate a bit. It got me thinking: “Did I make a mistake?”
So, let me explain a few things.
As a parent, I am part new-school and part old-school. The old-school part clearly comes from my father and mother, who were traditionalists. I heard things like, “Don’t talk back,” “Get a switch,” and communication was mostly a one-way street. I’m a bit different. I am still into my hip-hop, love comic books and movies, and can even dap. My daughter and I talk about everything from Kanye West as a Kardashian to Marcus Garvey’s theories to binge watching the Star Wars saga. At times, we dance in the house until we are out of breath. Shoot, we recently pulled up some instrumentals on Spotify and freestyled after dinner. Then I told her to go finish her homework.
Now, I know there has to be a clear line between parent and so-called “friend,” but I’m still pondering.
Best friends tend to be honest with each other. They communicate. They work out their issues. They have fun and they laugh a lot. Parents can be bummers. They make you clean your room and do the dishes. Kids, as they ease into adulthood, tend to lie to their parents. They hide a lot. They fumble through their teen years with their peers a accomplices. Furthermore, I have noticed that the mother/daughter dynamic often results in a closer relationship. (This has a lot to do with the “Black don’t crack theory.)
I have to conclude that we can be a hybrid, but we cannot truly be friends. I cannot tell my daughter my true feelings about certain family members. I certainly didn’t realize such and such was was a bum until I was older. My daughter does not make the decisions in the house. We often talk about how we move, but ultimately I make the decisions. Pulling rank is particularly important with matters of money (LOL!). Parents and friends see life much differently. I’m getting my daughter ready for the world, and that’s not going to happen being a friend.
A wise person once said, “You aren’t a good parent if you child never says ‘I hate you’ at least once. While I never want to hear those words, I am prepared.
I once whispered those words in a way that was never heard from another living soul. (I’d get a whuppin!) My daughter is still a preteen and has not yet fully exerted her individualism. I know that is on the way and it will be far more difficult to be “besties.” Recently, in a freestyle rap, she said it again. I didn’t correct her this time. I just busted a rap and let the iPad record the whole thing. We laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.
Being friends isn’t so bad. Being a father is a gift.
Just know there are boundaries and times when separation is parenting. For the other times, we can rock matching Tim boots and trade battle raps until her true best friend Daniella takes over.
So parents, am I wrong for telling my kid we aren’t friends?
Recently, one of my neighbors asked me to help her out by walking her sons home from the bus stop a few times. She’d just had surgery and was unable to walk up the street to meet them. I was more than happy to do it. She’s always been a great neighbor and her kids are sweet. It was no trouble at all.
I later found out that her surgery was major (in my opinion) and I felt really bad. Why? Because I didn’t offer to help her more. She never shared what the surgery was for, and I never asked. I was raised to believe that you don’t pry into people’s lives and you don’t let people pry into yours. Although we are friendly, we aren’t close friends, and I didn’t want her to think I was being nosy.
But looking back, I could have extended more help without knowing the details. I didn’t need the details to offer a helping hand. I could have asked her if she needed something from the store or if she wanted the boys to play at my house for a bit so she could rest.
As a mom I find that I am so careful sometimes about how I approach other moms; too careful, really. I wonder… Will I offend her? Will she think I am passing judgment about how much she can handle? Will she think I’m being nosy?
I have spoken to a few close friends and it seems like some of them have similar thoughts. So many of us are willing to help but the fear of the unknown makes us stay in our lane and only extend help when asked.
This would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that most moms have trouble asking for help. I know women who would rather be pissed off at their own husbands than asking him to help out more. It’s like we are condition to believe we must take care of everything on our own and only ask for help when we simply have no other choice.
But what if we asked for help when it wasn’t the last resort. What if we asked another mom to help out because we’ve had too many sleepless nights and we are struggling? What if we asked for help because our husbands have been working around the clock and we need 30 minutes to get some cleaning done without the kids interrupting?
The truth is, I don’t know the details of my neighbor’s situation.
Maybe she had enough family support to help her keep things under control.
Maybe she didn’t need anything more than what she asked for.
But maybe—just maybe—she could have used a little more support.
Maybe I should have been less worried about prying and more concerned with offering a helping hand to a fellow mom.
I think it would be nice for moms to support each other a bit more. Take turns hosting play dates so another mom can go get her nails done. Let your friend know you are headed to a store that may be out of the way just in case she needs something from that specific store. Offer to host a mom’s night at your home because every busy mom deserves a night away with the girls.
Support comes in all shapes and forms, and although your offers won’t always be accepted, don’t take it personally. Everyone has their own story and one mom’s reasons for declining your offers to help may be very different from another’s.
It’s not about your ego. It’s totally okay if you extend a hand and someone says, “thanks, but no thanks,” What’s important is that you offered the hand. What matters is that you let another mom know you are on her side; that you have her back; that you are willing to help when she needs it most and even when she needs it a little bit. Now that kind of support is a beautiful thing.
Martine Foreman is a lifestyle consultant, freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, and speaker. To learn more about her work and get great tips on how to create a life you love, check her out at CandidBelle.
There is always a debate about who keeps the friends after a bad breakup. Most times, people cut ties with their ex’s friends to avoid any tension or to prevent awkward situations from presenting themselves. But sometimes, the debate around friendship and where your loyalty should lie isn’t that simple.
After breaking up with my boyfriend, I did what any person would do–I cut ties with anything that linked us together. I got rid of him on social media and avoided all of his friends because, after all, they weren’t my friends, or so I thought. He and I had been together for so long that a good chunk of our lives as individuals had disappeared, so moving on was more complicated than I had imagined. But I managed to keep my distance from his family and friends–until recently.
I found it interesting how I’ve built a stronger relationship with some of his line sisters, his females friends, and a few male friends than he has. Some of them don’t even speak to him anymore, but they say there are no hard feelings. For example, I recently celebrated a birthday, and I made plans to go out. I posted those plans on my Instagram and Facebook, and naturally, my friends were inquiring about the details. All of a sudden, I started getting inquiries from my ex’s friends whom I hadn’t spoken to in years. They wanted to know what the “wave” was for my birthday and if they could hang. I thought it was weird that they wanted to join in the festivities with me, and I automatically thought my ex had put them up to it to try to keep tabs on me. Nevertheless, I told them they could join me for the evening, and we ended up at a sports bar the next town over. I thought there was no harm in just hanging for a night with a bunch of my friends, and his friends, individuals I got to know over the course of six years. The night was going well until one decided to vent to me about his recent breakup. That’s when it hit me, that this guy really views me as a friend, regardless of the fact that I no longer have any ties to my ex.
It got me wondering. Is it like some custody battle as to where you have to split the friends up or should friends go with the party they knew first? Granted, adults should have a mind of their own, but the subject of loyalty always surfaces when it comes to forming friendships and bonds. So, should I stop talking to his friends just because I no longer speak to him?
By Leslie Robinson
In days gone by, there was a very distinct line drawn in the sand that had parent on one side and child on the other. Children knew to speak only when spoken to, and that disrespect of any kind was going to get them an eye, a few choice words, or sometimes more. It seems as though recently someone has not been playing nicely and has kicked up some sand which is blurring the line that once provided a clear delineation between parent and child. The growing trend today seems to support parents being “friends” with their children, also known as a homie mama friend.
I didn’t consider my own mother a friend of mine until I was grown and had some life experiences to share with her. I never remember being able to hang out with my mother and her friends. Today, with loosened dynamics between moms and dads and children, I such behavior to be more detrimental to the child than the parent. We’ve all seen “grown” acting children; not only is it unattractive, it’s dangerous to their long-term well-being.
Where are the boundaries? Children and teenagers need boundaries that are appropriate behaviors for their age group. Limiting their access to adult life issues early on allows them to fully appreciate the privileges that come with age and maturity. I’m just not sure those boundaries are clear when your child is kicking it with you and your home girls at dinner and the nail salon.
The general consensus that I get from parents that find it okay to be in a “friendly” relationship with their children is they want to build a sense of trust that lets their child know it is okay to talk to them about anything. I truly think there are other logical ways to foster this trust in children without gaining a new friend. To be brutally honest, I think no matter how dedicated a parent is to creating a relationship where their child will feel comfortable coming to them, children will always view you as a parent when it comes to certain situations and more than likely will not seek your advice or guidance. This is where teaching the importance of making wise decisions comes into play and making sure your actions as a parent mirror what you are teaching.
Children are always observing us and if you are at dinner with your child talking about your nonexistent dating life and how trifling men are, what are you teaching? Parents are free to live their lives but must take care in separating those things from their children. I’m not a fan of sugar-coating life but I do believe in editing some of what I say and do around my children.
It is obvious that children are facing issues that we didn’t face in our generation; however I am not a fan of building a level of trust between parent and child that involves creating a friendly relationship over a parental one. If I see one more picture on Instagram or other social network with some sort of caption stating a child is the parent’s ace, boo or friend, I might scream!
Are you a homie mama friend with loose parenting boundaries? Do you see anything wrong with being friends with your child?
Morris Chestnut and Luenell? You would be surprised to know which celebrities call one another friends. Did you know these stars were close?
Born Again Virgin Chronicles: I Told Him I Was Celibate And He Pulls The “Let’s Be Friends” Line…What Do I Do Now?
On my journey through celibacy I’ve met some pretty interesting men. Some have been great conversationalists, others have been cool to hang out with and many quickly proved to be strictly entertainment. While dating, I wasn’t expecting to meet “Mr. Right” right away, but I did meet someone who surprisingly piqued my curiosity for a brief moment. We met on a popular dating website, which was a bit uncomfortable for me initially as it was my first time using the Internet as an aid in finding the right guy. But then I thought to myself, “What could it hurt?”
He made the first move by sending a very subtle message inquiring more about myself. I replied, answering his questions and following up with a few of my own. This Internet-based pattern of conversation continued for a couple of weeks. Before we actually made a voice to voice connection, we continued emailing just to get a little more comfortable with each other. After about another week we swapped numbers, called each other and started down a path on what I thought would be the beginning of a great relationship.
Night after night and day after day, we talked and had some of the greatest conversations about any and everything we could think of. We even discovered we had a lot of things in common from beliefs to food to hobbies. As time passed our discussions became longer and more in-depth; we found ourselves liking one another more and more. With each conversation, thoughts of how I would break the news of my celibacy to him lingered in the back of my mind. Once again, I had no idea how I would approach the topic. I often wondered if I should bring it up like I did with my son’s father or wait until he brings up sex. But no matter how it would come about, I had to fill him in on my decision and deal with his reaction sooner or later. One night it happened – we had the “talk.” While partaking in our usual chat, laughing and enjoying the moment – the subject of sex came up. He asked when was the last time I had sex, and I told him that it had been a while because I was practicing celibacy.
As I expected, there was a long pause. “You’re doing what? Oh yeah, we’re just gonna be friends because I don’t think you can have a good relationship without having sex,” he replied. After hearing his response I thought, “Wow, you should have just hung up on me!” Instead I told him, “Okay that’s fine.” After dropping the celibacy bomb, the flow and feel of the conversation drastically changed. Things suddenly became stiff. I could tell he wasn’t expecting to hear my news and didn’t quite know how to handle it. We struggled to keep the conversation flowing and it ended shortly after. When we hung up I wondered if I would ever hear from him again. How would he would react if we did keep in contact? I sat in deep meditation for a while pondering my decision. “If we speak again, great, but if we don’t that’s fine too,” I said to myself.
The next day I was expecting him to call at the time he normally would on any other day. To my dismay – but not surprise – I didn’t hear from him. I decided to give him a call, and his phone went straight to voicemail. That was the last time I heard his voice. I was a little disturbed by this, but I then I realized this was a good thing for me. Why, you may ask? Because I found out early on what he truly wanted from me and my time wasn’t wasted. Am I saying that he didn’t want a monogamous relationship with me? Not at all. However, one thing is for sure: sex was a major factor and he would have been expecting it sooner than later. Oh well, another one bites the dust.
Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? a motivational speaker, and an advocate for single women who encourages them to live their best single lives God’s way! Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin, and ask her any question you want to know about her journey through celibacy.