All Articles Tagged "friendship"
As women’s history month comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect upon your own history with the sistafriends in your life. Not your Facebook homies that you’ve never actually met but have a great rapport with online, not your Twitter pals who you’ve come to know, and not your blog compadres who you trade jokes with in the comments section—I’m talking about your ride-or-die girlfriends who have become more like sisters over time.
In this day and age of reality TV, where we’re bombarded with images of constant bickering, backstabbing and physical fighting between women, you’d think we just can’t get along…and boy, does it sure seem that way sometimes. How many friends have come and gone in your life? Unlike men, who often remain close with friends as far back as childhood, we women tend to switch out friends the way we upgrade to the latest iPhone. I think this is because women are more emotional by nature and therefore prone to catching feelings over things that usually turn out to be small, and our friendships tend to suffer because of that. I know for myself, misread feelings have been the cause of a few relationships gone sour—and when I talk to others (especially a male) about it, they can’t understand what the problem was. I don’t even know what the problem actually was sometimes and wind up lamenting the loss of someone I considered a good friend.
And maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the older you get, the smaller your inner circle becomes and the harder it is to establish and nurture new friendships. Throughout your school career, your crew is at its most plentiful and you’ve got no real worries other than grades, boys, fashion, gossip, and parties. However, life gets more complicated outside the classroom and the dorm; we enter into bona fide adulthood, which comes with jobs, kids, bills, husbands/boyfriends, etc., and it’s during these times that we learn who our true friends are: The women you can count on to help you when in a bind, whether that help is in the form of money, a listening ear, or a babysitter; the women who won’t judge you no matter what you do; the women who are there to celebrate every milestone with you and also help you through the sadder times; the women who will check in on you when weeks or months have gone by without communication, and the conversation will be as if you’d just spoken a day ago.
That’s why, now, as the big 3-5 no longer seems so far off, I’m taking a look around at the ladies who are still standing with me after all these years, and I’m grateful for their presence in my life. We should all take some time out of our busy lives and catch up with the sisters who’ve proven to be thicker than blood and let them know how much they’re appreciated.
When it comes to men, women, and friends of said women, situations like this can either go completely fine or horribly awry. On a macro level, it’s a bit difficult to answer this question with a catch-all answer that will satisfy everyone. After all, I don’t know all the women of the world, or their friends, so I can’t really speak on that level. What I can tell you about is my own personal experience, and from a personal/observational standpoint, most of the time a woman has nothing to worry about. But you know who that usually depends on?
A few questions need to be answered to assess the threat level in a woman leaving her boyfriend around her friends, such as: How much has the girlfriend told her friend about her boyfriend? What kind of details has she shared with said friend? Did any of it involve sex? And if it did involve sex, how deep (no pun intended) did those conversations go? What kind of relationship does the girlfriend have with her “friend” and how close are they really? The most important question of all though may likely be, “what type of woman is the girlfriend’s friend?”
Asking these types of questions is a great way to determine whether a woman leaving her friend and her boyfriend in the same room without her presence is a smart move on her part.
A part of me believes this situation is overblown. In reality, when it comes to taste in potential partners where sex or a relationship is at stake, I doubt something happens. Plus, as I’ve seen on countless occasions, both men and women have this ongoing allegiance to their friends that is strong enough to override any potential interest anyway. It’s almost like some mechanism kicks in where people say “nah, you were messing with my homegirl, so I can’t even look at you like that.”
On the other hand, as a man, I can say that some of the reasons why I’ve been with women were by “referral.” And when I say “referral,” I mean their friend talked me up to the point where her friend just had to come see for herself. I’m not sure how much that happens overall, but I do know that it happens and I can understand why women would take precautions against that.
And now, for a story.
I was in a situation once where I was chilling with my girlfriend at the time and a friend of hers came to visit. My girlfriend and I were on the couch and her friend was sitting on the floor (college years with no furniture) in front of us. We were engaged in a conversation about the time I gave my lady a ride while another woman my girlfriend didn’t know was in the car with us.
The girl was a neighbor of mine who asked for a ride home and in the midst of transport my lady called and made the same request. My lady was telling her friend how that didn’t go over well (big surprise there) and how she thought my neighbor liked me. As we’re all laughing her friend says, “well Real, you’re pretty cute. If I didn’t have a boyfriend I’d definitely try to see what’s up with you.”
My lady gave this strange half-smirk. It was an expression I knew well. The kind of expression that said “yeah…that ish isn’t funny.”
I honestly didn’t think anything of it. Afterward though, my girlfriend never left me in the same room with her friend again. Like…not even for a second. I never thought anything was going to happen, but I hadn’t ever been privy to any types of conversations had between them about me. For all I knew, her friend knew all types of “personal information” that would have piqued her interest which led her to say something like that.
But like I said, women know better than men which friends to leave around their boyfriends and which women need to be watched harder than Barack Obama on a leisurely stroll through Central Park at midnight. In the end, there’s no one size fits all option when it comes to whether it’s a good idea to leave your friend and boyfriend in a room alone together, but I certainly don’t believe it to be an overblown reaction if women choose not to. I’m just one man though, so tell me what you think.
Ladies, do you have problems with leaving your man around your friends alone? Do you think there’s a chance either he would make the play or she would? Who would you hold responsible if you left the two of them alone and something went down?
Hit the comment box and let me know how you feel.
For more on RealGoesRight’s opinions on men and women, be sure to check him out with the all-star collective of black men writers over on SingleBlackMale.Org. If you prefer something a bit more direct, feel free to follow him on Twitter at @RealGoesRight and subscribe to his blog at RealGoesRight.Com
Dumbing Myself Down To Fit In: How I Learned To Stop Letting Myself Be Influenced By Superficial, Petty And Ditzy Chicks
They were adorable. Always first to wear the latest fashions. Gorgeous hair. Pretty skin. Just about perfectly symmetrical faces. All the guys wanted to snatch them up. They could do no wrong. They got by with a flirtatious smile. No one ever bullied them. They were fly.
And from middle school through about my junior year of college I wanted to be in that number of girls. I wanted to have their kind of fun where people just gravitated toward me, wanted to be like me. I wanted a full purse and social calendar. Little did I know (or care, at that time) that all that “fullness” was accompanied by an empty head and an empty heart.
It really is a normal feeling – wanting to belong. We dig being adored and accepted by those we’ve placed on pedestals whether we realize it/want to admit it or not. The question that arose while I was in the midst of trying to belong was, “What/who are you trying to belong to?”
As I grew tired of the same ol’, same ol’ and started figuring out who I was, I found myself giving severe side eye – my facial expressions betray my thoughts on a daily basis – wondering how these girls made it this far with such trivial pursuits and outrageously materialistic interests such as: how much they resembled some Hollywood star or which reality personalities were going to fight each other on television tonight. Really? To have had a conversation about the presidential debates or black history had proven fruitless and frustrating countless times. Trust me. I tried it. Was this “ditzy-ness” really what I wanted to attach myself to? Did I really want to make a joke out of EVERYTHING only to ultimately end up the punch line?
The beauty and adoration I found so enchanting as a youngster, I now realized were the ONLY contents of their cup. It became painfully clear that their conversation skills peaked at things like their so-called haters, where they could buy the bag Rihanna was rocking and the ankle-deep controversy of “Love & Hip Hop.” Whenever we spoke I found myself disgusted or annoyed or embarrassed for these girls’ horrible lack of knowledge or all of the above. But I was more disgusted, annoyed and embarrassed for myself, forcing a smile and playing along, dumbing myself down to fit the mold.
Now, make no mistake: It’s not a matter of believing I am intellectually superior; Lord knows I am learning DAILY. It is, however, a matter of actively choosing not to be influenced/aggravated by petty, superficial views and pursuits with which others seem to be perfectly satisfied. If after all these years there is no growth within your peer group then it’s only natural for those who have grown to seek out those who will grow with them. I made the decision quite a few years ago to leave and never rejoin the shallow circles into which I had once so feverishly wanted to be included. To stop pretending that Prada shoes and clubbing were my top interests. To walk away from those who literally caught fierce attitudes if you parted your lips to say that you did not worship the ground Beyoncé walks on. I didn’t want my role models to be Rihanna and Draya and Gaga. I revered Zora and Oprah and Maya. I wanted to talk about current events and classic American literature and travel and black history and relationship dynamics. I wanted to have enlightening discussions about faith and life experiences. I realized that what I was craving was what any real friendship should be; a mutual uplifting bond, not just membership into an empty-headed group. If the result of our friendship doesn’t leave both of us better, what is the point? I was learning nothing from these girls except everything I did not want to be. While they were always the pretty girls who got whatever their hearts desired, leaning on their looks and popularity served them a terrible injustice as it pertains to dealing with reality. Looks are wonderful. Popularity can be a useful tool. But it all means nothing if inner substance is never nurtured and developed.
When you reach the point of embracing personal growth, you naturally break away from those who don’t serve that purpose or embrace the same for themselves. I just know I choose to surround myself with those who reach for more than just the surface things and as a result, life has been enlightening in ways I never dreamed possible.
La Truly’s writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check her out on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
After months of waiting, Beyoncé’s documentary, Beyoncé: Life Is But A Dream, is finally premiering tonight on HBO. Oh, and Oprah threw the fans and stans an even bigger bone when she revealed last weekend that she would be interviewing Bey and it would also air tonight, an hour before the documentary. That’s pretty much Bey overload, right? Well, here’s the thing: because we know that “Beyoncé” is a brand and a bit of a machine, there have been some things that she’s managed to avoid talking about. But tonight, we want answers! Even if you aren’t a big fan, you’ve probably heard some things about her that have piqued your interest and you’d like to hear what she has to say too. So check out some of the things we’re hoping Bey addresses – if the interview and documentary are no holds barred.
Issa Rae isn’t the only awkward black girl in existence. For years I’ve found myself in awkward situations and my latest socially awkward mishap came as a result of not knowing the proper protocol of addressing people correctly. Specifically, women who were a bit older than me.
Whenever I meet older women, in a professional setting and outside of work, I usually embark on a silent debate of whether or not to give them a pre-fix of Ms. If a woman appears 10 years older than me but less than 20, is it considered social suicide to put Ms. before her name? At what point is it acceptable to address her by her first name if she doesn’t ask me to, and am I unknowingly offending people by giving them an undeserving matronly title?
I know that even when you’re trying to be polite, calling someone “Ms.” can get a playful, but negative reaction (“OH NO! Please don’t call me that!”). And since some women have the tendency to be catty, it’s not unreasonable to assume that some folks are intentionally doling out titles that no one wants. I know I can’t help questioning the reasoning of any woman a few years younger than me that calls me “Ms.” anything. A five year age difference is hardly enough of a difference to warrant Ms. in front of my name, but are there any real hard and fast rules to know what age range determines when someone should or should not be addressed as such?
I just learned a colleague’s real age after several years of knowing her. I always assumed she was only a few years older than me, but it turns out that she’s old enough to be my mother’s age, and she just has extremely good genes. I’ve been calling her by her first name because I didn’t know she was so much older than me and now I’m wondering if calling her simply by her first name was disrespectful. She never corrected me and she never told me what she’d prefer I call her when we initially met, but now, knowing the vast age difference, I’m in an awkward position. Or maybe I’m overreacting?
I can avoid using her name altogether in many different situations by utilizing different monikers like “homegirl” or “sista.” Or I could listen intently as introductions are given and try to decipher if I heard her add Ms. before her name. Or, I could even ask her what she prefers to be called, but then again, being awkward as I initially stated, it hasn’t been my first thought. But what would you do? And how do you determine who you want to call “Ms.” and who you address by their first name? And how do you feel if and when someone pulls those two letters out on you?Ashley Brumeh is the creator of www.everythingelo.com a blog dedicated to Christ, culture, and everything in between.
When you open the gates of conversation with Denzel Washington, there’s a chance he might say something that’ll make you say, “Well, alright now!”
During a recent trip to London to promote his most recent film, Flight, Denzel spoke with The Guardian about his role and how he got into the business. As they further discussed his character and his relationship with God, the reporter noted that it must be interesting to be a Christian actor (as Denzels says he is) living in a place like Hollywood. That clearly piqued his interest because he told the reporter he was confusing the glitz and glamour ( and bs) of Hollywood with the city of Los Angeles. He continued:
“But actually, even within the industry, I don’t have any actor friends. My friends are old friends. One’s an ex-music guy, the other’s a restaurant owner and the other’s an ex-pro ballplayer.”
That’s not even the good part. Here’s what he had to say about why he doesn’t have any actor friends:
“Because I don’t make friends! Maybe I’m not a butt-kisser, maybe I’m not a schmoozer. I’m not about to go to a party to try to get a job. And then when you have children, the other friends become other parents. We’d coach baseball or basketball. My wife and I were raised right. I don’t want movie-star friends. And being African American, there were no big movie stars to hang out with anyway, not when I was starting out, they were just the third guy from the back! For whatever reason, I never befriended any white actors.”
Listen, when you’re an actor’s actor and can transform yourself into any role given to you, it seems you are able to fully be yourself when you’re not working and everyone will just deal with it. He is not here for the shenanigans that he’s known since the 80s that the entertainment industry brings. He wants no parts of it and it clearly hasn’t bothered any directors because he’s held down a job since about 1983.
But Denzel knows that he’s major…right? I mean, the ladies have been loving him since…maybe A Soldier’s Story? Well, he doesn’t subscribe to the whole celebrity thing either:
“I’m a working actor! What’s a celebrity anyway? Paris Hilton’s a celebrity. I’m just a working actor.”
Indeed. I wonder will his daughter Olivia, who he took as his date to the Golden Globes Awards to seemingly introduce her to the other movers and shakers of the industry, have the same attitude if she reaches a certain level of success.
What do you think of Denzel’s comments?
Let’s face it, when a woman stands up for herself and won’t take no shorts, she’s usually – and unfairly – labeled a bi–ch. While our male counterparts don’t get branded the same way, women have to learn to navigate the murky waters of having dignity without being too demanding, competent without being overly competitive and feminine without being too forceful. It’s a tightrope act that gets slippery, especially when trying to get what you deserve from men and your relationships. No man wants to be with a bi–h in the sense that it means being with a woman who is always up in his face popping off. But most real men respect a woman who knows her value and isn’t afraid to ask for what she deserves. So if you’re unsure how to demand what you want in your relationship without being considered a “b–ch,” explore the following guidelines that may help you get the respect you deserve and keep you from being a doormat.
These are the women we screamed at through our televisions more than probably any other characters over the last 10-15 years. Toni Childs, Lynn Searcy, Mya Wilkes and Joan Carol Clayton were such an interesting mix of women that in many ways, you wonder how they remained friends. Opposites attracting are one thing but these women each had a level of crazy that probably should have kept them apart. But it didn’t and we are glad about it! Check out some of our favorite moments and episodes – did yours make the list?
I have a theory about why the word “ratchet” took off the way it did. It blew up because everybody, regardless of race, creed or color, knows at least one somebody who leads a ratchet lifestyle. Though you might not identify as a ratchet individual, there are several reasons why you might need some ratchet in your life.
The one thing you’ll learn from having ratchet friends is what not to do in life. Your ratchet friends will always have some sorted tale about how they fought some chick at the club, how she smashed a dude she had no business messing with or how she cussed out that rude heffa at the DMV. Either way, your friend’s escapades will paint a very clear picture about the types of situations you need to avoid by any means necessary. The good thing about it is, aside from listening to the juicy details, you’ll have learned a lesson without having had to go through anything.
I recently completed a book entitled What Women Don’t Know: The Unspoken Rules of Lasting Love by relationship expert and author Michelle McKinney Hammond. In the book, Michelle and Pastor Joel A. Brooks Jr. offer advice to single women on how they should handle their romantic relationships in order to increase their chances of having a lasting relationship that results in marriage. Among the advice offered, they suggest that every single woman create a two-sided list of character traits that she desires in her mate. One side should list negotiable traits and the other non-negotiable traits. The authors suggest that this will keep women from straying away and settling for any man who looks their way, while remaining focused on what they truly desire.
This of course got the wheels turning in my head. It especially made me and those around me wonder what specific characteristics we desired in a mate. Most of the single women that I know are on drastic ends of the spectrum. They either don’t have a list, or their lists are so specific that one would wonder if they’re being unrealistic and if the man that they’re imagining even exists. This isn’t to say that a woman should settle for less than they feel they deserve or have low expectations, but at the same time, some have a list of qualities they desire that are so fixed and specific it produces the danger of greatly limiting their options. And it also stops some from building the relationship they think they want because they can’t find the ideal mate since almost no one is going to meet every single qualification on such a rigid check list. I suppose this is why the authors of the aforementioned book suggest creating two lists, the negotiable and the non-negotiable with the non-negotiable list including things that most woman should or would refuse to settle for, such as an unfaithful, dishonest, unloving person and more, while the negotiable list may focus on things that may be less important such as certain physical characteristics and financial status.
I personally never really sat down to think of or wrote out a specific list of qualities that I would like my future husband to posses. There was always this abstract image that had no particular financial status or physical attributes, just a few quality character traits, which I suppose could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. However, if I absolutely had to sit down and compile a list of characteristics I would like in a mate, an article written by Charli Penn entitled The 5 Types Of Men Who Make GREAT Husbands, which was featured on the Huffington Post a few months back would come to mind. Three out of the five types of men discussed in this article really jumped out at me as they are all characteristics that I would love to have in a husband. These traits included:
The Provider, who Charli depicted as a man who is selfless and “puts his family first.” She went on to discuss why this particular type of man would make a great husband: “Marriage is the start of a new family — your family. You will both want to provide for the family you create together, and it’s imperative that you are partners with the same goals in mind.”
The Rock, who is described as the man who “at your weakest moments, his strength keeps you stable and inspires you to push through.” Penn went on to illustrate the value of this particular type of man by stating, “He’s loyal, devoted, and a true pillar in the world of the woman he loves. This is the perfect recipe for a loving husband that you can count on through thick and thin; what woman doesn’t dream of marrying one of those?”
The Believer is depicted as a man who has “faith as his foundation.” Charli goes on to describe him further: “He believes in the things unseen and those that many give up on when the world turns cold: hope, morals, kindness, and good will. He has a church home, or a religious mainstay in his life and the fellowship refuels his engines… His moral compass is always turned in a positive direction… This man has the emotional tools needed in his toolbox to repair many of the cracks and dents that will inevitably appear in any marriage. He’s a fighter, and he will fight with you and for your marriage. He won’t give up, even when you do.”