All Articles Tagged "friendship"

If You’re Friends With Your Ex, You May Be A Psycho

May 13th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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There are plenty of reasons that might motivate a person to stay in touch with an ex. Perhaps they still care about the person even though the relationship has ended. Maybe there’s still some love there, and one or both parties are hoping for reconciliation. There could be a child involved and the co-parenting situation simply manifested into a healthy friendship. Or perhaps, they’re just complete psychopaths.

According to Daily Mail, the results of a recent study, which was authored by researchers with Oakland University, suggests that your friendship with an ex might point to darker traits of your personality. Apparently, staying close to an ex provides both parties with access to “desirable resources” such as sex, information, or love, but researchers found that people with certain personality traits are more likely to maintain contact with their exes for sex than others.

Researchers Justin Mogilski and Dr. Lisa Welling conducted the study on 861 participants who were questioned about the status of their relationships with their exes once they broke up as well as their reasoning for doing so. Participants were also required to fill out a questionnaire, which revealed some aspects of their personality traits.

The results of the study revealed that one of the most common reasons that people chose to stay in touch with an ex is that the ex has desirable traits such as reliability and trustworthiness. People also stuck around if there was “a strong sentimental attachment.” Sex also appeared to be a significant driving force.

“Men rated sexual access higher on importance than women did, which is consistent with other research showing that men are more likely than women to form [cross sex friendships] due to sexual attraction,” the authors explained.

Interestingly, people who displayed darker personality traits, “which included elements of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism,” were more likely to keep their exes around as friends in hopes that they might be able to hook up again. They were also more likely to stay friends with exes when remaining friends appeared to be more practical than making a clean break.

Half Of Your “Friends” Don’t Consider You A Friend

May 9th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Corbis

I received a crash course in Friendship 101 when I was about six. It was time for the  Valentine’s Day celebration in Miss W’s class. Me and a classmate, Nia, had been inseparable since the first day of school, and according to my six-year-old mind, she was my best friend. No question. We exchanged cards as instructed by our second grade teacher, and I was astonished by Nia’s reaction the card I had given her, which read:

To: My best friend Nia

“You’re my friend, but you’re not my best friend. My best friend goes to my old school.”

Girl what? 

My feelings were hurtttttttt. But I learned a valuable lesson that day. Unfortunately, it seems that we could all use a refresher course when it comes to friendship.

According to a study published in the scientific journal Plose One, which surveyed 600 students from the United States, Europe, and Israel with the intention of determining how many of their friends were actually their friends, only half of the average person’s friends actually consider them a friend. So basically, if you think you have four friends, you probably only have two.

“It turns out that we’re very bad at judging who our friends are,” Dr. Erez Shmueli, one of the study’s authors said. “If you think someone is your friend, you expect him to feel the same way. But in fact, that’s not the case.”

“We found that 95 percent of participants thought that their relationships were reciprocal,” Dr. Shmueli continued. “If you think someone is your friend, you expect him to feel the same way. But in fact, that’s not the case — only 50 percent of those polled matched up in the bidirectional friendship category.”

As for how you can figure out which friendships are reciprocal and which are not, Dr. Shmueli recommends taking a look at “the difference in the number of friends of the two individuals.”

“The higher this difference is, the lower the likelihood of the friendship to be reciprocal,” he told Complex.

How To Help A Friend Through A Divorce

May 6th, 2016 - By Niki McGloster
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I promise you, I wanted to kill my friend’s husband when I first heard they were getting a divorce. While I’m well-versed in soothing a friend’s broken heart after she catches her bae sliding into someone’s DMs, I was way out of my depth with the legalities of splitting assets and family finances. In most cases, I’d share tubs of Talenti with her, cry it out over Love Jones and unleash a diatribe about her ex’s aint sh*tness. But even though I desperately wanted to make my friend’s soon-to-be ex-husband the enemy, I found it difficult to channel all my anger toward denouncing him, because as this nightmare of broken martial bliss spiraled, she needed me more than I needed to be angry with him.

I’d never seen my friend so broken and threw on my cape to rescue her from emotional devastation. Except, it’s not possible. I quickly learned that divorce is as much of a deep, dark emotional journey as it is a legal battle and no one can be saved from it. She will mourn as if a family member died. If she has kids, she’ll panic about being a single mother. She’ll cry, scream and allow her anger to runneth over, and in those times, I can only stand as her rock, not necessarily her protector. That’s not to say it’ll be easy, though, especially since it’s a new experience for the both of us. If you find yourself in my shoes, know that helping a friend wade through the divorce process is a learning curve. Here’s how to be a solid support system as your BFF ventures through her post-divorce blues.

Listen and be present.
As your homegirl loses someone she considered her life partner, she will want to talk about it incessantly, and all she needs is your ear. Even when she only intends to sit in silence, your presence alone will soothe the loneliness she feels after a failed marriage.

Keep you mouth shut.
Maintain your friend’s privacy. Don’t blab about her divorce to everyone on the block, even with the other folks who are well aware of her relationship status. Unless your friend is depressed and needs medical attention, or you need to plan a girls’ night out to help her shake off the sadness, honor the girl code of silence.

Don’t bash her ex.
Leave calling him every name but a child of God up to her. You may agree with her at the height of her heartbreak, but don’t chime in, especially if kids are involved. She might become defensive about the man she said “I do” to. In fact, she may get back with him at some point, and you won’t want to be the judgmental BFF she can no longer lean on.

Plan something fun.
Take her mind off of things for a while with a shopping trip or girls’ game night. Chances are she won’t be gung-ho to slip on a dress and grab drinks, but do something she enjoys that will remind her of life outside of lawyers and legal documents.

Send encouragement.
It takes a village to raise a child…and to get over a divorce. Quotes, lyrics and positive affirmations from women who’ve overcome marital woes can help your friend feel empowered. Though her man might not come running back to rub her feet, she may find strength in a few replays of Lemonade or reading Nora Ephron’s Heartburn.

Remember it’s about her, not you.
Sorry, but there’s no space for your feelings during your friend’s divorce. It’s not that you can’t have an opinion about how she’s throwing herself into her work or distracting herself with Tinder, but how she decides to deal is solely her choice. Of course, as a friend, be sure she’s not harming herself or others, but ultimately, your only job is to love her through her flock of feelings.

How Girls Night Helps Your Sex Life

May 4th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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When you fall in love, it’s really easy to unknowingly begin neglecting your other relationships as you attempt to get to know this new person in every way imaginable.  It’s tempting to blow off all-girls outings because sometimes, you just want to Netflix and Chill; however, a new study suggests that spending time with your girls is not only good for your overall wellness, but also, for your sex life.

The survey, which was conducted by the beverage company, Palm Breeze, revealed that women who make enough time for their girls are happier in their relationships and more satisfied with their sex lives.

73 percent of women reported that girl time makes them feel happier, and 65 percent reported that they feel less stressed when spending time with the girls.

While researchers did not speculate why they believe this is the case, I think that the answer is quite obvious: It’s impossible for one person to fulfill your every need and it’s selfish to expect them to do so. Bae is great, however, there are some voids that he simply won’t be able to fill—and that’s okay. But you know what will help to fill those voids? Time with your friends. Relying on him to be your lover and your homegirl will likely only lead to frustration and reduced satisfaction within your relationship.

So the next time he complains about you stepping out with the girls, tell him, “I’m doing this for us.”

H/t Essence

Six Steps To Help A Ratchet, Or How To Deal With A Friend Who Loves Drama

May 4th, 2016 - By Patia Braithwaite
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

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

How Friendships Change From Your 20s To Your 30s

April 26th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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Corbis Images

Friendships are time-consuming. When you’re young, you have time to go to Margarita Monday and Taco Tuesday and Sunday Funday and Sloppy Saturday every single week and you and your friends never even had a chance to say you miss each other — because you saw one another every single day. Today, though, you’re actually busy, and so, you have to be more selective with your time and your friendships. You may have thought it was just you, or your circle, but the truth is friendships change from your 20s to your 30s and here’s how it happens.

Is This Petty? He Won’t Make An Effort To Spend Time With My Friends

April 1st, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Have you ever dated someone who has friends that you spend a lot of time around, but when it comes to your buddies, he or she can’t be bothered?

It’s a frustrating situation to have to deal with, but not uncommon.

For instance, I was reading a story about a woman who had been dating her boyfriend for almost an entire year. She had met and hung out with most of his friends. Gone to the bar with them all, met their girlfriends and wives, gone on a couple’s trip and brought warm meals to potlucks at their homes for gatherings. She had made the effort to connect with individuals who are a big part of her boyfriend’s life. But on the flip side, he wasn’t doing the same for her.

He had met a few of her friends at her birthday party a few months earlier, but that was about it. She didn’t think he was enthusiastic about them when she would bring them up in conversation after the party, so she didn’t bring them around him much. When they were in the same room again briefly months later, he kept to himself.

So when one of her best friends invited her and her boyfriend to a “family reunion” gathering of sorts where all of her friends would come together and eat and drink and catch up, the young woman thought it would be the perfect opportunity for her boyfriend to really get to know her confreres.

But just a few hours before the shindig was set to begin, he backed out. He called her and told her he wouldn’t be able to go because, well, he didn’t want to and didn’t feel like it. After having a light argument about it, she went by herself and tried to tell her friends that he just wasn’t feeling well.

When she went to see him at his place afterward and asked him what his deal was, he confessed that he didn’t want to go not only because he was tired and felt like staying in, but also because he wasn’t too fond of the circle of women she hangs with. He realized this after meeting them at her birthday soiree. So, basically, whatever effort she was hoping he would make to get to know her BFFs, he wasn’t going to make anytime soon. So she was left frustrated and feeling like he was being very unfair. She said she didn’t know how to get him to be open to getting to know her friends.

And therein lies the struggle. You can’t make anyone do anything in a relationship. We’re all adults who have free will, and when we don’t want to do something, or better yet, be bothered, it’s hard for us to be persuaded otherwise. However, in a relationship, we sometimes have to do things we’re not really crazy about to keep the other party happy. To show them that we care. And most importantly, to keep the peace. It’s called compromise, and it’s not easy.

But in my opinion, all she can do is talk to him about it, let him know how she feels. She’s not asking him to dedicate a day every week of the year out to sitting with them over french toast and duck hash, but she is just asking him to grin and bear through a few drinks and chatter every once in a while. Letting him know that his lack of participation is a bit hurtful and could cause drama with her and her friends, leaving her stuck in the middle, is important. And maybe, to make these gatherings less uncomfortable, maybe he could invite along some of his own friends so that if he isn’t crazy about conversing with her girlfriends, he could, at least, have people to be social with and she could take comfort in the fact that they were able to bring important people from both of their lives together.

Whatever happens, she can’t keep going out of her way to be the girlfriend all his guy friends know and like if he’s not even interested in simply being the boyfriend her friends all know and can say they’ve actually been able to hold a simple conversation with once. And while we can’t always make everyone come together and like each other all of the time for the sake of love and harmony and all that mushy stuff, you definitely can’t do it if an effort isn’t even being made…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Is he petty for trying to duck and dodge her friends? 

5 Things I Want My Tween Daughter To Know About Girlfriends

March 16th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Being the mother of a tween girl in 2016 is no easy task. There are a multitude of dangers and pitfalls that await her that simply didn’t exist when I was her age. But no matter the decade, the friendship of young girls has remained the same. They are your first loves, heartbreaks and the meter by which you measure yourself. As a mother, I want so much to prepare my daughter for what is to come without being overbearing or crossing any boundaries. I know that she needs to experience a few things on her own because it will make her that much stronger. I also know that as she prepares to leave elementary school there are just few things that I think she needs to know before venturing off into the world of junior high school. If you’re a mom of a tween daughter, maybe you can relate to these gems.

It’s okay to have more than one “best friend”

Some people will say that best means “best” but I beg to differ. At your age, you need to get to know as many different types of people as possible. If you find you like to spend time with someone but your other bestie (even if your bff isn’t that fond of them) then you definitely should. There are some really great girls out there and you might miss out on key friendships if you only focus on hanging out with just one person.

They are going to hurt your feelings

Unfortunately, there’s no way around this one. At some point your friends will hurt you. Whether it’s on purpose or inadvertently, it will happen. And it’s up to you to decide how to respond. Just know that a true friend, when confronted with that fact, will apologize and make an effort not to repeat the offense. Anyone who doesn’t is not your friend.

You don’t have to be friends with everyone your friends are friends with

Sometimes you’ll find that you hang out with a group of girls and you may not really like all the girls in the group. And that’s okay. You don’t have to be friends with the same people your “best” friends are friends with. Feel free to branch out and spend time with the girls you do like…even if your bestie isn’t too sure about them.

They don’t know everything. You don’t either

It may seem that your friends have all the answers and there is always one “know it all” in the group, sometimes there are several. No matter how knowledgeable they seem, they aren’t the end-all-and-be-all to life’s questions…no matter how convincing they might sound. Also, just because you may know that they’re wrong doesn’t mean you have to be rude if you point that out. You can simply state that perhaps the correct answer might be XYZ.

Keep secrets / Don’t gossip

If someone says, ‘please don’t tell anyone else’ and swears you to it, stick to that. A key element of friendship is trust and you want your friends to stay friends so they feel like they can trust you with anything. Unless they are in danger or you know what they’re doing is wrong, keep it to yourself. If someone else approaches you with the same information, never let on you already know. Simply nod and move on, they are telling you that they can’t be trusted with secrets and you shouldn’t share with them.

I sincerely hope these simple tips will help my girl (and yours) sail somewhat unscathed into the tumultuous and dramatic world that is the life of pre-teen girls. It’s hard out there, and while I want her to enjoy her experience, I also want her to be smart about her friends, her words and her future.

 

Travel Trials: My Best Friend Snubbed Me For Not Traveling While I’m On Bed Rest

February 25th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Corbis

(As Relayed To Lauren R.D. Fox)

In four months, I expect to give birth to my first child!

My boyfriend and I couldn’t be any more excited but despite it being one of the happiest times in our lives, my pregnancy has exposed some of our friendships to be weak.

For example, my best friend Emanuella was initially excited to hear about my pregnancy. But once it came time to plan my baby shower, our mutual friends told me she wasn’t interested in celebrating me, at all. Whenever they would discuss financing the shower, Emanuella would avoid answering how much she was willing to contribute. And, interestingly enough, Emanuella is planning a trip to Italy (at the same time) for her 30th birthday cruise.

Prior to my pregnancy Emanuella was supposed to travel to Buenos Aires with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, they broke up, and although she still had her ticket to go to Argentina she had no one to go with. That is, until I offered to go with her. At the time I didn’t know I was pregnant and was excited to dance on top of bars, reliving our college years, moment by moment. However those dreams were cut short with the news of my pregnancy and learning I have a weak cervix. My doctor recommended I be on bed rest and have minimal physical activity in order for me to have a full-term pregnancy.

Emanuella was understanding of my health issues and offered her support by visiting me regularly. Although during her visits she would often antagonize me about celebrating her birthday with her. I made suggestions for us to plan a brunch or variety of activities that wouldn’t require much physical activity but Emanuella thinks I should and can still attend her cruise. I tirelessly expressed to her that even if I wasn’t on bed rest, it would be a frivolous decision. With the money she would like me to spend on traveling for and celebrating her birthday, I could open a college-fund account for my child.

But, as per normal, she ignored me and even began to send maternity swimsuits for me to purchase. To add more insult to injury, Emanuella sent me several Facebook and Evite invitations to her cruise detailing the trip’s itinerary and financial payments. After receiving reminders for the invites, I wrote Emanuella a long letter stating how obliviously selfish she is and the stress she made me feel. Since then, Emanuella has stopped visiting and speaking to me.

Should I reach out?

Having Friends With Mental Illness And Coping For Attention

February 17th, 2016 - By Tracey Lloyd
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Friendships are like most relationships: they involve a symbiosis, a delicate balance of give and take to make them work. Maintaining equity in a friendship is frequently difficult for healthy people; however, when you have friends with mental illness, the balance can get shifted more drastically than in other relationships.

I have two close friends with mental illness, Nicole and Ken. I actually have more friends with mental illness, but Nicole and Ken are the ones with whom I share the most. With Nicole, I usually share my workaday struggles living with bipolar. She has also experienced depression, so we can talk about our symptoms or our thinking patterns or how sometimes it’s hard to work. When we’re both feeling pretty well, our friendship is like any other. But when one of us is doing better than the other, there is tension, at least from me.

Friendship is about sharing and picking each other up when you’re down. It’s also about celebrating times when you’re up. When you have friends with mental illness, sometimes you don’t get to share your wins because you have to be there for someone’s losses. When I’m feeling well, I feel like I don’t want to hear about anyone’s bad times. I feel a little selfish for that, but when you’ve had an excruciating time maintaining a good mood, and that mood is tenuous at best, you feel like you need to do everything you can to protect yourself. Even if that means being less than available for a friend.

With Nicole, and I suppose with any friends with mental illness, its sometimes harder to connect with her down times when I’m not in the same position. Healthy me is so drastically different from depressed me — I act differently, I think differently, I dress differently, I do different activities — that it’s almost like I’m two distinct people. The two people barely know each other and I’d like to keep it that way. So I try to help Nicole when she’s depressed, suggest some solutions to her problems and bide my time until we can relate like “normal” people. By the way, I’m pretty sure she has similar feelings.

Ken and I have a different friendship. We have different mental illnesses so we can’t commiserate about how we feel, we can only talk to each other. When we are both well, we talk about our diseases, our prognoses and share details about our treatment. Mental illness isn’t the basis of our friendship, so we do talk about other things. That is, when we want to talk.

When I’m really depressed, I don’t talk to anyone. And when Ken is really anxious, he isolates as well. Our respective confinements may alleviate the type of situation that I have with Nicole, but they don’t exactly leave a lot of time for the friendship, which also annoys me. When I’m feeling well, I enjoy life so much but I’m unable to share that with a friend who isn’t responsive. Sometimes I am so disconnected  from my depressed self, I wonder what I’d done to drive my friend away instead of understanding that he might be having a hard time. As with Nicole, I have a whole set of guilty feelings stemming from my disconnection with my depression.

All relationships require maintenance and effort from both parties in order to be sustained. Frustrations occur when one party doesn’t do what’s necessary for the relationship to continue satisfactorily. When you have friends with mental illness, or you have a mental illness, sometimes it is impossible to prioritize the friendship over your own issues. During those times, it’s best to maintain your health and keep communication open with your friends.