All Articles Tagged "friendship"

Are You My Mother Or My Friend?

September 20th, 2016 - By Theresa Ukpo
Share to Twitter Email This

Corbis

Corbis

As I get older and wiser and step more into the woman I want to be, I am faced with the challenge of creating boundaries and protecting my emotional space. This is something I’m working on with friends and acquaintances – and even more personal, with my mother.

Mothers will always be mothers. They will worry. They will advise you. And even as a grown woman, they will still find a way to scold you when they feel it necessary. But what happens when your mother becomes your friend?

Growing up in a typical Nigerian home, the dynamic between my mother and I was incredibly different from most. Some even thought it was inappropriate. We talked about almost everything. She was the involved mom, always asking what we were into,what boys I may have liked. She was the mom who gave me the nitty gritty on sex and the lowdown on the lies little boys would tell me. She knew enough about what music I was into and could recite lyrics to Jay Z songs. As a teenager, the foundation was set for her to be both my mother and my friend.

Lately though, I feel a big shift in our dynamic. As I get older, I’m a bit more set in my ways and not the impressionable young girl I used to be. I’ve formed my own opinions, likes and dislikes, many of which give my mother some cause for concern and have been at the center of many an argument between us recently. Some things I want her to know about, and other things I want her to stay out of. Sometimes I want her advice, and other times, I just want her to be a supportive mom. It’s tough. And to make matters all the more complicated, I am Nigerian, so telling your mom to “stop” is not the easiest thing.

Mother-daughter relationships are a lot more complex than regular relationships. With your friend, you’re an equal, and worst-case scenario, if things don’t work out, you’re always free to part ways. With mothers, there’s a hierarchy there that somewhat negates the fickle nature of friendships. For better or worse, your mother is always going to be your mother. If you all fall out, she’s still your mom. There will never be a relationship quite like it. And let’s be real: Your friend will never hold the exhausting pregnancy and difficult labor you put them through over your head.

Thanks, mom.

As difficult as things get, I do believe in having a friendship with your mother. The older you get, the closer you are to somewhat meeting in the middle with similar life experiences, be it through work accomplishments, getting married, and even motherhood itself. However, working towards and maintaining clear and respectful boundaries with your mother is something that is paramount, especially for me. Recently, we’ve had a lot of disagreements on account of the fact that in times when I needed to talk to the “friend” in my mom, I literally got the “mom” in the form of unsolicited advice and unwarranted disapproval. It’s impacted the comfort and confidence I had in going to my mom to share my true feelings on just about everything, and it’s made our relationship a lot less friendly.

The truth is, as long as there is a hierarchy with one person being the parent, and the other a child (I’m in my early 30s and yet she insists on treating me like a child when she disapproves of my decisions), there will always be an imbalance of sorts. But I believe that being straightforward about what I need from my mother, as a parent and a friend, is a helpful way to set boundaries and maintain both kinds of relationships with the same very important person.

How do you guys feel? Is your mother only supposed to be your mother or can she be your friend as well? If she is both, how do you set boundaries? 

Lunchtime Chat : Is Ok To Have Friends Of The Opposite Sex When Married?

September 7th, 2016 - By Quindara Lazenbury
Share to Twitter Email This

Today’s episode of #LunchtimeChat posed the question : is it ok to have friends of the opposite sex when married? The ladies share their opinions based on a recent interview where Adrienne Bailon discussed her six-month engagement to Israel Houghton and their friendship of the past.

Catch the chat and share your thoughts below!  Make sure to tune in to #LunchtimeChat every weekday at lunchtime on Facebook Live!

 

Death To Shenanigans: Friendship Behavior That Stops After Your 20s

August 31st, 2016 - By Julia Austin
Share to Twitter Email This

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Let’s be honest, you never really had time for these friendship behaviors to begin with, but once you’re an adult, have a somewhat involved career, make an effort to sleep eight hours a night, exercise regularly, and have a committed relationship, you really don’t have time for these shenanigans. You learn fast when you enter your 30s that energy is a powerful thing, and that some friends take it from you, and some friends give it to you. You also learn that you barely have enough energy as it is so you really can’t afford to hang out with those who take it from you. You also start to cherish your alone time more, just as it gets tougher and tougher to get it. So you’re not handing it over to anybody who will act petty, or who won’t appreciate you. That’s why there is some friendship behavior that just has to stop after your 20s.

Should You Cut Ties With Your Ex’s Family After A Breakup?

August 29th, 2016 - By Theresa Ukpo
Share to Twitter Email This

 

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

I’m a hugger. If I meet you and you seem pleasant enough, you’re getting a hug instead of a sterile handshake. According to my ex’s mother, I had her at the first hug.

During the course of the romantic relationship, I considered her to be family, going to brunches, offering to help where I could. While most would consider this sort of thing “doing too much,” I thought of her as a second mom of sorts and was relatively close with the family in general, not just when we saw each other at mutual gatherings and events. Sadly, my relationship with her son ended after quite a few years and I found myself at a crossroads. Do I keep in touch with his family or not?

I’ve heard a lot of people, even some relationship experts, say that you needn’t get too close with your significant other’s family. The idea is that you’re dating him/her and not their relatives. Also, once you break up with someone, you should also break up the family ties you had therein. But why do you have to break up with an entire family because of how things played out with the one who introduced you to them? Especially if there wasn’t any real bad blood?

Some say that breaking ties gives both parties the adequate space and time to heal and move on. Others tend to see it as the cost of doing business: The family you break up with is the collateral damage of your romantic separation. Armed with this outside influence and sentiment, I cut ties with an otherwise great group of people who were nothing but kind to me. I went ghost, changed my number with no explanation, and held onto the hope that there was the mutually silent understanding that it had to be done.

A few years had gone by, and I ran into my ex. In politely asking about his family, I was scolded for not keeping in touch with them. Apparently, his mother tried every conceivable method of getting in touch with me post-breakup, and according to him, “sadly gave up.” I’d never been so gutted. I struggled with my resolve to stay away, and the urge to reach out to someone who always had my back and wanted nothing but good for me. I got out of my own way and eventually called her.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, I will say that the phone call was very emotional. She’d asked what she had done, and even if she had offended me in some way, said that she was sorry. She expressed worry and concern and was anxious to hopefully see me again. I wanted to see her too. Too much time had passed in silence, and I genuinely missed his mother’s presence in my life.

I caught up with a friend recently and in our usual gabfest about what we did with our weekends, I divulged that I had in fact met up with my ex’s mother for brunch recently. To her chagrin, she asked why on earth I was still talking to “that woman.” I reckon, if both parties are mature enough not to hash out details of a defunct romance and can be friends, why not? I’ve never felt it necessary to cut ties to people unless I felt that said relationship was not good for me. With that being said, I feel that if you have a great relationship with an ex’s family, there’s no real need to break up completely. Draw a line, and by all means, create a reasonable emotional boundary for yourself. But you don’t have to chuck people just because some unwritten rubric on relationships tells you that you should.

How do you guys feel about this? Would you cut off an ex’s family after a breakup?

How Do You Comfort A Friend Who Lost A Baby?

August 23rd, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
Share to Twitter Email This

Corbis

Corbis

Never did I ever imagine giving birth to a child would bring so much guilt. You might think that’s an odd thing to say considering how wonderful it is to become a mother. Truthfully speaking, it’s one of the best things you’ll ever experience in life. When my child was born several weeks ago, I felt the same amount of joy I did last year when my first son came into my life.

It’s just really hard to celebrate when you’re comforting a friend who lost a baby.

I can’t even begin to imagine the emotions a few of my friends are dealing with. In what seems like bad news after bad news, many found the courage to share their heartbreaking stories on Facebook. One college buddy of mine was put on bed rest at the start of her second trimester — only to lose her baby days later. Another friend of mine was just 16 weeks pregnant when she felt an unfathomable amount of pain one evening. There in her bed she went through labor and miscarried her son. And if those stories were not sad enough, a good friend of mine and her husband lost their child minutes after he came into this world. In her case, there was no warning or hint of a problem.

Hearing these women’s stories makes me realize just how much of a miracle having a child really is. All of us are 30-years-old that would make you think complications wouldn’t be something to think about, when in actuality, they can happen to any one of us.

I’m so dumbfounded at how to comfort them — especially when they’re telling me congrats on the birth of my son. I’ve reached out to them individually to offer my condolences but feel like it might be a slap in their face. Sure I’m probably imagining things, but I have to ask myself, would I want to hear “I’m sorry for your loss” from someone who not only had two children in two years, but fairly easy birthing experiences (my second guy took 2.5 hours to deliver)?

At one point, I found myself sitting in silence as I revealed my loss for words. In some cases, it was comforting for them to weep without hearing such an automated response. No matter how guilty I feel, I know that it’s always better to reach out instead of not say anything at all.

Have you ever experienced something similar?

My Friends’ Expectations Of My Singleness Are Driving Me Crazy

August 22nd, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
Share to Twitter Email This

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Ask any of my friends why I’m (still?) single and they’ll likely tell you I’m not open and don’t put myself out there enough. Ask me why I don’t put myself out there as much as they’d like and I’d tell you it’s because every time I go out with my married friends I feel like a rare animal species being studied by experts critiquing how I behave outside my normal habitat.

There she is, the elusive 30-something single Black female. Confident, unassuming, suspicious…Let’s watch what happens as she interacts with the rare breed of single Black male I’ve determined is perfect for her when thrown into this hyper-stimulated social habitat. Will she pounce like a tiger and bring home a prize to appease her pact or will she remain coy, opting for a lone existence in this time of feast or famine? Shhhh! There she goes!

That’s the commentary I imagine goes through my friends’ minds — in a stereotypical Australian accent of course — every time we step out of the house together for what’s supposed to be girls’ time, but ends up being, let’s find someone for you to f-ck/date/marry time. It’s a conundrum I picked up on earlier this summer when meeting a married couple for a barbecue. I was just trying to not be lame and spend another holiday enthralled in a Law & Order SVU Marathon and I assumed they wished as much for me as well when extending the invitation. But their definition of not being lame and mine were drastically different. I was out of the house: Win. They wanted to know within 26 minutes of my arrival who I thought was cute and in whose ear should they put a little bug about my interest. Suddenly, every interaction with a man was no longer casual. I found myself sizing up everything with a penis for potential. Did that man with obviously no home training not offer me his seat just so he could see my booty? Did ol’ boy burn the third hot dog on the left on purpose so he could give it to me and make small talk? Was the host who sat next to me for all of 35 seconds before going to entertain his other guests just playing hard to get? It was nonsensical! But the fear of my friends ever-watchful eyes drawing conclusions about why I was single based on my behavior drove me to try to make connections where there were none. And in the end, I felt lamer than that Benson and Stabler marathon I’d avoided as I left the gathering empty handed with a pride level of about 0.2.

I recently found myself in that situation again when a long overdo catch-up brunch with one of my girls turned into a not-so-fun game of go find a f-ck. Sitting in the sun sipping margaritas at the equivalent of a day party, I could already tell where the afternoon was going based on my past experiences with married friends and the unfavorable ratio of men to women, which was somewhere in the 1:12 range. So I tried to be proactively defensive. “I hate New York men,” I exclaimed, hoping that would eliminate any impending pressure and I could simply enjoy casual conversation and people watching. It did not. And so I went from bopping my head to “Panda” to breaking my neck looking for one suitable man to find me equally enticing and get it popping in some way that would be meaningful to my onlooker friend who advised if she were in my shoes, “I’d just screw different men for fun.”

(Promise me if you ever get married you’ll never forget that screwing a bunch of different men actually isn’t all that fun.)

And neither is spending hours acting like something out of an Aaliyah lyric watching men like a hawk and they were your prey just so you can feel like a vibrant, socially competent, attractive, non-loser, single person in your heterosexual, off-the-market, female friend’s eyes. To be honest, it took way too much time for me to realize I wasn’t actually enjoying making conversation with men I didn’t even find remotely attractive, giving out a fake number, and being pressed for a connection I knew would last about as long as the remix to “Bands a Make Her Dance,” which was regularly teased by the DJ. And yet, somehow, I still felt like I’d failed at the end of the night when I realized I wouldn’t be getting one of those generic “Hey beautiful” texts in the morning from some man who half remembered who I was. And it was that feeling that nearly drove me down an unacceptable path of reaching out to men of my past with no good intentions just to feel validated in some sort of way (the phenomenon also known as drunk texting). I realized I was letting my friends’ expectations of my singleness and what that was supposed to look like — not to mention what I was supposed to do about it — drive me absolutely crazy.

While I know their hearts are in the right place, and I could stand to get out of my head a little more and at least try to get into the relationship game, I can’t take another night of being mad the funny looking boy who works at the sneaker store didn’t call after my friend sneaks him my business card when I didn’t even want that man to begin with. But it’s one thing to be inadvertently rejected on your own. It’s another beast of embarrassment to constantly be asked, “Did he call?” “Did you get his number?” “Did you see that man over there? He’s fine! Go talk to him,” and be met with disappointed faces when the answers to those questions are:No, no, and yes, but no.

I take some responsibility for routinely lamenting my singleness as a problem — and not speaking up about the fact that my friends’ suggestions aren’t really solutions. But for now I’m going to have to pass on any future outing invitations that are just carefully disguised baewatch parties. My sanity won’t allow it.

How To Deal When Your Couple Friends Breakup

August 22nd, 2016 - By Julia Austin
Share to Twitter Email This

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

When you and your partner have a couple you’re friends with, and that couple breaks up, you can find yourself navigating some choppy waters. If you’ve known the couple for a long time, you’ll want to keep up both friendships. The problem is that both people will know that, and they will want information. They’ll want to know if you’ve seen their ex recently, how the ex is doing, whether or not the ex is dating, how upset the ex seems and what the ex has been saying about them. They can’t help but ask. Admit it: if you were in their shoes, you’d be tempted to pull information out of the common friends, too! But you have to be very careful handling friends who have broken up because a lot of things you do could be misinterpreted as your taking one side. So how do you deal with couple friends who’ve broken up? Here’s a guide.

Fitness Goals: BFFs Launch Philly Girls Jump For Black Women To Bond And Get Fit

August 17th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
Share to Twitter Email This

Facebook

Facebook

Double dutch has served as a rite of passage and form of bonding between women in the Black community for years, and best friends Tanisha Rinehardt and Della Burns of Philadelphia recently decided to reconnect themselves and their adult friends with the now-recognized sport for fitness reasons, organizing an event for women to play double dutch in their city’s Awbury Park, according to Good HouseKeeping.

Much to their surprise, the morning after announcing the event they received an overwhelming amount of support,  instead of the 5-10 participants they had hoped for. “We’re up to 300 people,” Della told Tanisha over the phone as she observed their Facebook event page. As the number of RSVPs grew, Tanisha and Della realized they would need an event permit and didn’t have enough jump ropes for people to use. And on the actual day of their event, Della and Tanisha were greeted by 2,400 people — luckily many of them brought their own jump rope to play double dutch with them. Although they were still shocked by the large turnout, Della, Tanisha and their participants made the event inclusive by singing songs for the jumpers to keep pace and making friends.

After receiving positive feedback from their first event, Della and Tanisha decided to launch Philly Girls Jump. The group now holds weekly meet-ups and they’ve routinely been joined by “spontaneous jumpers,” i.e. women going on dates and high schoolers on their way to prom. One jumper even said the meetups have become therapeutic for her, helping her temporarily forget about the things that cause her stress. Others shared that they’ve found best friends through the program.

As Philly Girls Jump continues to expand, Della and Tanisha hope to create other branches in New Jersey, New York and even the nation’s capital Washington, D.C.

We can’t wait!

Is This Petty? I Don’t Like That My Boyfriend And My Best Friend Talk Every Day

August 12th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
Share to Twitter Email This

Corbis

Corbis

It’s always nice when your significant other and your good friends get along well. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone who talked badly about your girls while your girls thought the worst of your guy, you would definitely agree. But when is the friendship between your boyfriend and your friends a little too close for comfort?

That’s what I was wondering after watching an episode of a show recently called WAGs. It’s about the wives and girlfriends of professional athletes, and how they deal with their complicated relationships, as well a how they deal with one another. In the particular episode I saw, a character named Natalie is in the off stage of her on-again, off-again relationship with NFL player Shaun. Working to possibly patch things up with him, she invites him to her birthday festivities in Las Vegas with her girlfriends and a few of their partners. On the day they all arrive, Shaun is nowhere to be seen. When Natalie calls him to find out what the holdup is, he tells her that he’s not coming. As she breaks down in tears, one of Natalie’s close friends, Nicole, reaches out to Shaun to get him to show up.

As the day goes on and everyone prepares for dinner, Natalie tries to put on a brave face after being embarrassed. But what she doesn’t know is that Nicole was able to talk him into a change of heart and to make an appearance for her birthday festivities. When Natalie finds out that Nicole knew about Shaun’s surprise, she isn’t happy about it. And she only gets more bothered by their interactions when later, at the club, Nicole says she’s been texting Shaun to see what he’s up to and to get him to come hang out with all of them at the nightclub.

“I told you before that makes me uncomfortable so can you stop messaging him?” she said in an contentious confrontation in front of their friends. When Nicole tells her that she was just trying to help make her birthday special, Natalie says, “I don’t need your help” before storming off.

Yikes.

In this case, Nicole (who has a boyfriend) seemed to mean no harm. In fact, she appeared quite preoccupied with ensuring that Natalie’s birthday included the person she wanted to see the most: Shaun. But in some cases, a friend messaging another friend’s boyfriend doesn’t look or feel so harmless.

A good example is the woman I found online who said that she was feeling a way about her best friend initiating phone calls and text conversations with her boyfriend. And the friend in question was not just hitting him up every once in a blue moon.

“It does kinda bug me that my girl best friend is texting him on a daily basis,” she said. “I’m not tellin her though, I already told my BF & he said he’ll ignore her text msgs & that he feels uncomfortable texting her back but doesn’t wannna be mean by ignoring her.”

A woman responded to her inquiry for advice by sharing her own story of a boo and a BFF being too close for comfort.

“My best friend and my ex-boyfriend did the same, needless to say (EX-BOYFRIEND), and our friendship is very distant now. They say that nothing ever happened, and that most of the time the texts were conversations about me, but I asked to see his phone bill, and well the number of texts were too much, there was nothing that my boyfriend and my best friend needed to talk about so often with each other…”

You never know, a best friend and a boyfriend could be corresponding for a good reason. Maybe he gets her advice when there are relationship issues? (Okay, that was a reach). Or maybe he’s enlisting her help to find an engagement ring?! (That was a really big reach).

Or, something could really be going on.

I do think it depends on the friend and how long one has known them. What I mean by that is that as her best friend and someone who has possibly known her for years upon years, the offended party would know that person’s intentions best. If she hasn’t given reason to speculate and to think that her motives are less than pure, then there may not be reason to worry. Be irritated, yes, but worry? Maybe not. But if she’s had a less than pristine history of doing questionable things in the friendship, well, then there might be a problem.

But either way, a conversation is warranted, and with both parties. There needs to an understanding of why their conversations are seen as unseemly, as well as an understanding of why they’re taking place at all. If they were friends before the relationship came to be, then one can’t impede on that. But if she was the offended party’s friend and all of a sudden she wants to be his, that needs to be nipped in the bud. I’m not saying it’s about to be a Single White Female situation, but something inappropriate is definitely going on…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Is this a petty and harmless issue? Or is the regular communication between a boyfriend and best friend inappropriate?

You Owe Me An Apology: Why Is It So Hard For Some People To Say “I’m Sorry”?

August 10th, 2016 - By Theresa Ukpo
Share to Twitter Email This

Corbis

Corbis

I am a serial apologizer. If I accidentally bump into you on the train, I’ll apologize for it. If I blurt out something that’s a bit too candid, you’ll get an apology. It doesn’t come from some deep-rooted insecurity as most people seem to think, but rather, the recognition that you will always catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Most of all, in my opinion, it costs you nothing to say “I’m sorry.”

I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve been the aggrieved party, and while it’s glaringly obvious as to why I may be angry or feel slighted (even when I’ve stated why), from family members to friends and even total strangers, there is a pointed aversion to saying the words “I’m sorry.” Why are some afraid to admit guilt or take responsibility? Could it be the slight shame in making a gaffe? Is it overzealous pride in believing we’re perfect? The thing about apologies is that they acknowledge not only the wrongdoing, but also the humanity of the other person. More often than not, saying “I’m sorry” and meaning it goes a long way in diffusing an already tense situation.

I recently had a falling out with an older family member. I won’t go into detail about what was said and done, but let’s just say they were exceptionally rude to me. Even in the face of this, would you believe they have not apologized for it? I’ve spoken about it with my siblings, and the general consensus is that I manage the issue myself, forget an apology, and move on because I will never get one. But I have a hard time wanting to move forward with someone who can’t admit when they’ve done wrong. Why is the onus on the offended person to always “move on”? Why should I be the one to let go of a transgression someone else made? Where is the accountability? Needless to say, the relationship with this person is strained and stalled, and I’m not quite sure how we can get back to happy without an apology leading the way. Call me petty if you like, but that’s where I stand.

While I agree that holding onto a grudge is like holding onto poison and expecting the other person to die from it, the idea that some people, especially those above a certain age, are above an apology is a little unsettling. No one is exempt from apologizing. Even if you are staunch in your convictions, it means a lot when you take responsibility for upsetting another person and acknowledge that what you may have said or done hurt someone’s feelings or made them feel less than. Relationships have been made and broken by the presence or absence of a simple apology. Oh, and for the record, saying “I’m sorry your feelings were hurt” is not the same as saying “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, that was not my intention.” When offered the other way around, one throws the ball and the other, a.k.a., the offended party, takes ownership. Genuinely taking the time to understand why someone may be hurt or offended by something you say speaks greatly to the regard in which you hold that person’s humanity and your relationship with them. So while I can forgive, I can’t forget — and I shouldn’t be expected to do so in the effort to help someone else avoid taking responsibility for themselves.

How do you feel about apologies? Would you rather not deal with the tension and just move on without receiving one? Or are they a necessary part of your relationships?