All Articles Tagged "friendship"
As told to Veronica Wells
When I went away to school, I’d always be surprised to look at Facebook and see that everyone who I went to high school with, had found themselves in relationships with other people we went to high school with. I guess, it’s really not that much of a leap. In my hometown the pool is small. And if you never left, then your options are both familiar and limited. But they also make for good stories for the grandkids. “We’ve known each other since we were 14 years old.” or “I use tuh couldn’t stand your grandfather when we were kids.”
When I lost my job, I moved back in with my parents until I could get on my feet. And, among other things, I swore that I was not going to take that same path. I knew all of the men there and I knew what they did and didn’t have to offer.
But you know what they say, “Never say never.” After six months of a social life that included me trying to crash my parents’ date nights, I realized I needed to do something differently. So, I decided to accept my best friend’s offer/challenge to go out.
It was at one of these outings that I remembered that there was one hometown boy who I absolutely wouldn’t mind getting reacquainted with. Daryl.
Daryl, who was built even when we were teenagers, was a year older than me. Though I’d heard his name over and over and seen him around, we didn’t actually speak to one another until my junior year of high school, when he was a senior. We just so happened to be taking an elective journalism class together where I finally got the chance to put a personality to the legend that people made him out to be. The class was second semester. So, while we flirted a little bit and even went out once or twice in a group date, before either one of us could do anything about it, Daryl was graduating and leaving for college.
I can’t say I actively thought about him much over the past ten years but seeing him while I was out with my friends, I remembered how I used to have a thang for him. Emboldened by the alcohol, I approached Daryl that evening and it wasn’t long before we started dating. Things were going pretty well. While he was still fine as ever, he’d lost that “popular senior guy” appeal. And there were times when it seemed like he was yearning to get it back.
“You know I was a wild boy back in the day…” Usually, that would be the extent of the story. He’d raise his eyebrows knowingly and I’d smile awkwardly. I really didn’t need to know the extent of his hoe-ism.
One day though, his walk down memory lane got a little too personal.
“You know I used to be out here…ask your girls, they know,” he chuckled to himself afterward, shaking his head at his teenaged recklessness.
My girls?! What was he talking about? I was all ready to just dismiss this comment like all the other ones but I had to know.
“What do you mean my girls?”
“Your girls…the ones you came to the club with a couple of months back… Brixton and Robin.”
“How would they know?”
You might think that a man might feel a way about telling you something intimate and potentially embarrassing about himself and your friends, but Daryl relayed the story nonchalantly, like he was giving me the weather.
“Yeah a week before we graduated, all the girls were trying to…I don’t know be a part of the festivities, you know, celebrate the moment. We were at a house party and your girls lead me and a couple of my friends to the back room and we all took turns getting a little head or whatever.”
“Yeah, I remember it like it was yesterday.”
The rest of that evening with Daryl was uneventful. We didn’t end our date right then and there but we might as well have because I had completely checked out. All I could think about was calling Robin and Brixton to get to the bottom of his story.
I called Brixton first. We’d known each other longer. She knew I liked Daryl back in high school. I was hoping that Daryl had simply been confused.
When I told her what he told me, she immediately busted out laughing.
“Girl, what?! I don’t know what Daryl is talking about or who he was thinking about but that NEVER happened.”
I sighed, a bit relieved. Before I could ask her my follow up questions, Brixton abruptly changed the subject. It was strange. If someone is going to lie about something you did sexually, most women are going to be pretty upset about it. That’s not something you get over quickly. And while I played along, I knew, before I got off the phone with her, that I was going to call Robin and see what she had to say about it.
“Robin, listen girl, I have to ask you a question. It’s a bit personal. Tonight Daryl told me this crazy story about you and Brixton giving him and his teammates head back in high school. Did that really happen or is he tripping?”
I was yearning for it not to be true.
I could hear Robin sigh heavily over the phone.
“Yeah girl, we did do that. I can’t speak for Brixton but I was real lost back then, just doing whatever. I still can’t really explain what that was about or what we were even thinking really.”
I asked her one more time for clarification.
“It was you and Brixton?”
“Yeah, the summer before we graduated.”
I was shocked. None of us were nuns but I would have never imagined they would have done anything like that or that it would have been a decade before I found out about it.
“Why didn’t you tell me when I started dating Daryl?”
Robin sighed again.
“Honestly girl, it’s embarrassing. And I kind of thought Brixton would be the one to tell you, since y’all are so close. But more than that, I was hoping no one would ever speak of it again. I know I certainly try to pretend like it never happened.”
I figured that was fair. I thanked her for her honesty, told her we all made stupid decisions in high school and hung up. Once I got past the fact that the story was actually true, I remembered Brixton’s denial of the incident. I wanted to believe that she was telling the truth but she had two witnesses against her. And neither one of them had anything to gain by lying. Brixton was the only one who might have thought she could save face and our friendship by pretending it didn’t happen.
Right now, I’m not so bothered by the fact that she sucked Daryl off. It was high school. It wasn’t full on intercourse. And more than anything, it’s more sad that infuriating. (It is a bit shady that she did that, knowing that I liked him in high school.) What gets me though is the fact that she, my friend, would 1, not tell me that it happened once she saw Daryl and I had started talking again and 2, that she would lie about the whole thing, as if there weren’t people, several of them to say what really did happen.
As long as we’ve been friends, her behavior is making me question our whole friendship. What else could she or what else has she lied about?
I recently caught up with one of my best girlfriends, Sarah*, and she was quite upset. A couple of Sundays ago, she got into a bit of an altercation with one of our mutual friends, April*. April has this new friend, Tasha*, and Sarah isn’t too crazy about her. They tolerate each other when they have to be in one another’s presence, but Sarah tries her best to stay as far away from Tasha as possible. Apparently, April began to notice how quiet Sarah becomes when Tasha comes around, and she decided to confront her about it. Now, Sarah has never been one to bite her tongue, so if you ask her a question, you should be prepared for an honest answer and if you’re not ready for that honest answer, don’t ask. Unfortunately, April learned that lesson the hard way.
Sarah shared her reasons for keeping her distance from Tasha and asked to change the subject. However, according to Sarah, April continued to interrogate her about it. From the sounds of it, April spent quite a bit of time telling Sarah how wrong she was for disliking Tasha and well, things went left. The conversation ended with April and Sarah at odds with one another.
As I listened to the story, I kept thinking to myself, “But, it doesn’t have to be this way.” Sure, it sucks when your friends don’t like each other, but honestly, I feel like we’re a little too old to be running back and forth like, “Why don’t you like so and so?” And getting into arguments over it? Who the heck has time for that? If it were me in April’s position, I probably would have opted to mind my business, but that’s just me. My coworkers, however, had mixed feelings on the subject. Some said that they wouldn’t get involved while others said that it would bother them knowing that their friends weren’t getting along.
What about you? Does it bother you when your friends are at odds? Would you try to intervene?
As told to Veronica Wells
We’ve always heard the adage that you shouldn’t listen to people who haven’t been where you’ve been, done what you’ve done, or walked in your shoes. If we took the time to evaluate that statement, we’d realize how untrue it really is. If we were to follow this sentiment, no one would be qualified to give us advice. And whether we’ve experienced this personally or not, the wise council of women, from various backgrounds and experiences, can not only be helpful, but life altering.
Those aren’t the messages we receive though. Instead, we hear about the bitter, single woman who is jealous of our relationship and doesn’t want us to be happy. Blame it on misogyny or patriarchy or the school of thought that says a woman needs a man to be happy. And since she is unhappy without a man she’s going to try to bring you down with her. And to take it a step further, if she’s really diabolical she’ll try to break y’all up so she can have said man for herself. It’s another way society teaches us to compete for the affections of men, viewing our friends, our sisters as nothing more than jealous, back-biting, untrustworthy competition.
We’ve all had friends who got involved with shady, shiesty dudes. Men who didn’t appreciate, respect or treat them like they deserve. But homegirl is so in love, lust or infatuation that she can’t seem to see any of this. When her friends try to warn her about this dude, her words fall on deaf ears. The situation is compounded when the woman telling her friend about her man is single. This happened recently with two women, two former coworkers, Ashley and Nicole. Their strange friendship got off to a very rocky start. But absence makes the heart grown fonder. And they found that if they didn’t have to see each other they could be quite civil, pleasant even.
Before Nicole left her old job, Ashley told her that she had started dating a new man who, for the purpose of this story, we’ll call Roger.
Roger, at 45-years-old, is a bit older than Ashley at 32. But that’s the way she likes it. In telling Ashley about her budding relationship, there were some things that immediately sent up red flags.
At 45-years-old, Roger was always in a hurry to hang out with his homeboys. He would have plans with Ashley and cancel because something with his homeboys came up. He was so close to his friends that he became furious, enraged even, just telling Ashley how one of his friends’ wife had kept them from hanging out one evening.
When he wasn’t preoccupied with his buddies and did interact with Ashley, he was sending her strange acoustic covers of Sam Smith songs that weren’t even good. And then to top it all off, at 45-years-old, Ashley was the first Black woman he’d ever dated. And if you’re wondering, yes, Roger himself is Black.
But Ashley dismissed it. After all, Roger was a slender but built 6’7 and owned his own construction business. Sure, he didn’t have all his teeth but Ashley was willing to work with that.
Nicole had her reservations about Roger but decided to keep them to herself not wanting to piss on Ashley’s potential happily ever after.
But all went out of the window when Roger put Ashley on a schedule. He provided her with a clear outline of the days and times it was appropriate for her to contact him. When Ashley shared that, Nicole could no longer remain silent.
“Don’t you think there are some issues you need to address with Roger?”
“You know, like the fact that he put you on a schedule or always chooses his friends instead of you. And then there are the Sam Smith covers…45 years worth of White girls…”
Ashley just rolled her eyes.
“Girl, you and I are in different places in our lives right now. I need a man with stability. All of that other silly stuff you young girls get caught up on, I don’t have time to worry about.”
Nicole just rolled her eyes and changed the subject. It was clear that Ashley wasn’t going to be able to hear anything she had to say.
Months later, Ashley called Nicole with news that she might be pregnant with Roger’s child. She immediately thought her friend was doing too much, entrusting her life to a man who was just not about the right.
Luckily, that wasn’t the case.
She wouldn’t realize how lucky she was until more red flags started popping up.
Shortly after the pregnancy scare, Roger asked Ashley, who had recently moved into a new home, to buy a bed that was big enough for him. For someone who, after a year, made no move toward commitment, this seemed like an unreasonable request…at least to Nicole it did.
Ashley brushed his fear of commitment off as a result of having lost his mother three years ago and started looking for a bed.
She also brushed off the fact that for Thanksgiving and New Year’s Roger essentially ignored her all day, refusing to respond to her texts and calls. For New Year’s he ignored her all throughout New Year’s Eve, finally sending her a Happy New Year text at 10 p.m. on January 1.
But again, God was on her side because just before she could find one or save the money to buy that new, big bed she and Roger went out for drinks and sh*t hit the fan.
They were bar hopping that evening. And after leaving one spot, they were walking into the club, Ashley a bit tipsy.
As they were walking into the club, a young White man was walking out.
Ashley could tell that he was starring at them. And by the time he was within earshot, looking right at Roger he said:
“I see you got your little lover friend out.”
Naturally, Ashley was confused. She turned to Roger and asked, “Where do you know him from?”
Roger shrugged cooly, “Around the way.”
Perhaps if Ashley had been more lucid and a little less tipsy she would have realized that no one he knew from just “around the way” would have known about their relationship. But she was loose, so she brushed that off as she and Roger made their way up to the VIP section of the club.
As they had just gotten another round of drinks, the same White man came back into the club. He ordered a drink of his own and spent the next hour shooting daggers at them until they left the club.
Finally, after a year of shady behavior, Ashley realized that her friend was right. Those homeboys were more like boo thangs. He was trying to tell her something with those Sam Smith covers and worst of all, not even his side lover, a man, was Black.
You thought that she was the one. As soon as you got engaged, you knew that she would be a part of your loyal girl squad of bridesmaids. You put together a cute little bridesmaid proposal, and she happily accepted. But now, you’re having second thoughts.Though you tried to be understanding, her Debbie Downer attitude is funking up the groove and you fear that she might be out to ruin one of the most important days of your life. Your other bridesmaids have already had enough of her and you’ve decided that you’re not about to allow one bad apple to spoil the bunch. So you’ve made up your mind to give her the boot, but you’re hoping to do so with as little drama as possible. Here’s how:
Although you’re probably dreading the conversation, it’s best to have it sooner than later. Don’t wait until dresses have been purchased and flights have been booked to tell her that she’s out—unless you’re prepared to reimburse her for the money she has already invested.
Do it in person
While it’s probably much easier to send an email or text message, if she lives close to you, the classy thing to do would be to let her know in person. And if she doesn’t live nearby, pick up the phone. Things tend to come across more harshly when sent electronically—and you know people love to get buck when they’re able to hide behind their cell phones and computers.
Do it alone
You don’t want her to feel as if you and your crew are ganging up on her, so it’s best to keep this conversation between the two of you. Although having your maid of honor present for moral support sounds like a good idea, it’s not. And definitely don’t have one of your other bridesmaids deliver the news for you.
Situations like this should be handled with care. It’s bad enough that she’s being booted from your bridal party, at least be nice about it. And as Rebecca Stokes explained in her 2014 article for The Stir, “Nine times out of 10, these things can be solved with good manners.”
The best way to kick off this conversation is to just get straight to the point. “Unfortunately, I’m going to have to ask you to step down as a bridesmaid. I’m very sorry.” You’re free to provide an explanation if you feel compelled to do so, or if she asks for one, but don’t beat around the bush.
Extend the olive branch
If she hasn’t been behaving like a complete lunatic and you still consider her to be a good friend, let her know that you would still love for her to be a guest on your big day. Tell her that you’re sorry the whole bridal party thing didn’t work out, but that it has nothing to do with how you feel about her.
Have you ever had to fire a bridesmaid? Have you ever been let go from someone’s bridal party? Tell us about it below.
I met my best friend in the third grade. We bonded over our love of TLC and the rest was history. We made it through elementary school, middle school, high school and college having had only two fights. Over the years, our circle expanded and decreased quite a few times, but it the end, it was always us. According to some standards, we’re not real best friends. I don’t talk to her every day. We didn’t get a chance to see each other when she was in town for the holidays. And it’s likely that the first time she meets my fiancé will be on our wedding day. The last time I saw her in person was in November of 2014 when I flew down to Atlanta to visit her for her birthday. But when it’s all said and done, I have never had to question her loyalty and she never has to question mine.
We don’t have to see or speak to each other every day to know that we’re good. When I’m in a tight situation, she’s the one that I can call and tell the full story without leaving out embarrassing details because I’m not fearful that she’s going to judge me. And whenever she’s in a jam, I’ve got her back. I don’t get mad at her if she takes an entire day to respond to my text messages. She doesn’t get upset if I forget to call her back. We both lead pretty hectic lives, but she makes being her best friend easy.
I’m often amused when my coworkers share some of the reasons that their friends fall-out with one another. I remember one story where Friend A got upset with Friend B because she wasn’t going above and beyond to interact with Friend A’s new anti-social boyfriend during an outing. Or the story where a friend of my coworker selected several expensive activities for her friends to partake in for her birthday and then turned around and got angry when no one had enough money to cover her meal at the dinner outing. These stories literally make me tired. And honestly, if I had to maintain friendships with people who were so sensitive and required so much, I probably wouldn’t have any friends. Friends who constantly need my undivided attention and assume that we’re beefing if we don’t speak for an extended period of time exhaust me and in most cases, those friendships don’t last long. But different strokes for different folks, right?
Are your friends high-maintenance, low-maintenance or somewhere in between?
It’s one of the most exciting times in her life: she’s getting married. And not only does she want you to be present, but she wants you to play a role in the big day as one of her bridesmaids. While you’re flattered that she chose you, to be frank, you’re really not trying to be in her wedding. Perhaps your money is funny, or you’re just overwhelmed by everything that is going on in your life right now. Maybe you’ve had negative experiences and aren’t trying to go back down that road, or it could just be that you’re not here for what being a bridesmaid entails. Maybe y’all aren’t even that close. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that you’re going to turn down her offer, only you’re not exactly sure how. You value the relationship that you have with her and don’t want to hurt her feelings. Here’s how you can decline the offer without ruining your friendship.
If you have a no bridesmaid policy, be honest. Don’t blame it on something like being broke or too busy if that’s really not the case. Using a lie to wiggle out of this situation means that you’ll have to put in work later to keep up appearances. Imagine how shady you’ll look if you tell her you can’t be in her wedding because you’re too busy and then you turn around and spend two weeks in Paris or she sees you popping up at every social event from now until her wedding. Also, lying and using low funds as an excuse places you in an awkward position if she offers to pay your way. Trust, honesty is the best policy.
Offer to assist in another way
Maybe your schedule won’t allow you to be a bridesmaid but you’re able to help with some wedding-related tasks like keeping track of the guest list or addressing envelopes. If this is the case, let her know by telling her that your responsibilities simply won’t allow for you to give her the attention that she deserves as a bride, but you’re willing to pitch in where you can. However, you should be specific about what you can do and please make sure that you actually have the time and resources to complete the tasks that you’ve offered to take care of. Offering to lick and stamp 200 envelopes may sound like a good idea 7 or 8 months prior to the time you actually have to complete these tasks, but we all know how that goes, so be realistic.
Spit it out
Girl, please don’t wait until this woman adds you to the bridesmaid email thread or starts asking for your opinion on dress styles before you let her know that you won’t be participating. Give her as much time as possible to ask someone else to take your spot. The longer you wait, the shadier you’ll appear.
Let her know you’re still excited about the big day
Make it clear that you still want to be a guest at the wedding even though you won’t actually be in the wedding. Listen to her vent about how her crazy family is giving her a hard time or how she is struggling to nail down a venue. Also, offer advice where possible. Show her that you’re still in her corner.
Now that I’m nearly a decade removed from my high school graduation, I realize I went to school with people, kids, really, who were living through dysfunction and hardships that I find hard to grasp today and would have found completely unimaginable when I was eighteen.
While some of my classmates enjoyed immense privileges, there were also students who were being beaten daily by step parents, forced to raise themselves, kids who sold drugs to support a parent with medical bills and folks who were going through rehab before we’d reached our junior year. Had I known all of this, perhaps I wouldn’t have been so shocked by the way some their lives turned out. When you don’t address or heal from a dysfunction, it only festers.
A few of my classmates went into a life of crime, were arrested for heinous acts against their significant others, a few lost their lives to senseless violence. It’s mind boggling to think where some of us ended up.
Particularly one girl, who we’ll call Janet.
Janet was a friend of a friend. I didn’t know her all that well but my friend liked her, so I tried to keep things cordial on the few times we did interact with each other. I can’t say she was my favorite. She always struck me as “extra,” always looking for some type of attention. And what I interpreted as annoying as a child was actually an expression of the way she was being treated at home.
Janet’s father had done extremely well for himself professionally and had the money to show for it. But when things didn’t work out with her mother, his ex wife, he dipped. Becoming the type absentee father who only shows love through checks and gifts.
Which is why she was always pining for male attention even at the expense of her own dignity and self worth.
Needless to say, the behavior lasted long after high school. She went to college in California, only to drop out when a local drug dealer caught her attention. She went from the drug dealer, to the abuser with no job. And as is common in these types of situations, she, a college dropout with a criminal record from her time with the drug dealer, was forced to support him. In addition to working retail, she started stripping to finance a lifestyle for herself and this grown man.
Eventually, he broke up with her but not before he gave her herpes. Herpes simplex, the incurable kind.
She learned of her diagnosis shortly after the break up with the abuser but it wasn’t information she shared with anyone else. Not even the new men she started sleeping with.
Instead, she continued dating, never informing her partners of her condition. As you may know, if a person is not experiencing an outbreak, the virus is virtually undetectable. In fact, it’s most commonly spread through open sores. Though it is possible to pass it on to someone through sexual contact, even if no sores are present.
She rationalizes her behavior by saying she never has sex when she has an outbreak and if someone does happen to catch it, oh well, she’s only doing to them what was done to her.
Knowingly putting someone else at risk for contracting an STI is not only immoral, if she does happen to transmit the STD, knowing she had herpes, she could face criminal charges. But all of that depends on whether or not the newly infected partner decides to press charges.
Being that Janet has no intention to ever disclose her status and no intention to remain celibate, my friend is wondering if it’s morally wrong to have this type of information and not report it…like to the Center for Disease Control.
If you were in this situation, knowing that your friend was living foul with no plans of changing any time soon, would you report her? Is it morally wrong to have this type of information and allow her to keep putting seemingly unsuspecting men at risk?
We’ve all been there. Someone we’re interested in doesn’t return the sentiment. Or we have to spurn the advances of a romantic interest when we’re just not feeling it. However it happens, I want to say that being in the friendzone isn’t as bad as it might seem. At least it isn’t for me.
First off, it’s been a long while since I’ve had romantic feelings for a man I’m friends with. Lately, I’ve been dating new people and maybe the relationships didn’t work out on any level. Or someone new is interested in me and I just tell them flat out that it’s not going to work. In those instances we parted ways, never to think of each other again. But being in the friendzone — at least from my perspective — is about living in an active relationship with someone who might have different feelings from you. Here’s what I mean.
A few months ago, I met Ken on an internet dating site. We chatted for a few minutes and then decided that we should meet later that week. We met for coffee and talked for 4 hours straight, which I consider to be a good date. We met again the next week, which I also thought went well and we chatted a lot after that. Then I mentioned that it seemed to me that he just wanted to be friends. Ken shared that he thought he was ready to date after his last relationship, that he knows now that he’s not ready, and that he really likes me and still wants to hang out.
Now that I write it all down, it looks really bad. Like I got drop-kicked into the friendzone but I’m still on the hook because he wants to connect. Like I’m waiting around for a kernel of interest from a man who’ll never reciprocate my feelings. Maybe. But I’m using this time to work on my relationship skills and my patience.
I’ve been dating since my last bipolar depression episode, but I haven’t really had the chance to build any new relationship skills since then. And part of making sure that I’m staying well is being able to form healthy relationships. From that perspective I’m relishing this new — whatever it is — with Ken. It also helps that he has a mental illness as well and we can talk to each other about how our diseases affect us. He knows that I’ve stopped seeing my therapist so he’s really good about asking me the right questions to make sure that I’m okay. I enjoy being able to do that with another person who understands what I deal with as well as how to be successful in life.
Then there’s my patience, or lack thereof, which usually causes me anxiety and depressive thoughts and, finally, depressive actions. When I don’t get what I want when I want it, I usually fall into a cycle of believing that I don’t deserve what I want, thinking that I’m not ever going to be happy, and then wallowing in freakish misery. This being in the friendzone thing with Ken is different. I’m thinking about it more as an opportunity to enjoy the process of getting to know someone rather than the outcome of having a boyfriend. I’m reminding myself that friendships are good, and that I can take them at face value while tempering my hope for something more.
I’m not going to lie to you: I would still date Ken in a heartbeat. But even if that never happens, and I’m reminding myself daily that it probably won’t, I still will have made an important connection with another person that will have enriched my life in important ways.
“She and her friends are cooler than us,” one of my friends joked when referring to another girl’s circle. “They do a lot of fun stuff together. We don’t.”
My friends and I are now 30 and older, making her statement sound a bit schoolgirlish. Still, I understood what she was saying. Our girlfriend experiences were getting quite boring. Though most of us lived in different cities, when we did get together we didn’t make remarkable memories. Sleeping or lying around watching old reality show reruns isn’t anything worth talking about. Shamefully, most of the time we were too tired to get dressed to get out and do something. So, what do you do when your friend circle is a boring one? Should you find new friends and make new experiences?
Let me begin by saying, I love my group of friends. We’ve grown to be more like sisters who’ve had each other’s backs for more than 12 years, but lately, we don’t do much as a group. It irritates me. We don’t travel together. When we are in the same city, we typically follow the same mundane routines. Our crazy-fun experiences together stopped about five years ago. And there isn’t an excuse for the halt in fun. None of my friends are married nor have children. “We just don’t like to do anything, anymore,” one of my friends concluded. I disagree.
We all like doing things, but we don’t make an effort to do them. We all say we want to experience new things, but no one comes up with any ideas. We’ve become lazy. The tiredness and mundaneness from our personal lives have seeped over into our friendship. Something needs to change.
If you want to experience more in life and have your girlfriends beside you along the way, do more planning. If you’re a professional who has a hectic work schedule and other responsibilities, plan in advance. It’s not advisable to simply ditch your longtime friends because they aren’t as much fun as they were in the past. Instead, create new experiences with them. Then, if they still don’t want to do anything out of the box, find new friends.
But making new friends as an adult is much different than when you were in middle school and even college. You aren’t around individuals who have an excuse to meet new people. You aren’t in the same classroom or dorm. You don’t immediately become friends because you sit by each other or walk the same route. By the time people have hit their late 20s and 30s, they usually have a core group of friends and aren’t as open to meeting new besties; but it’s still possible. And you don’t have to necessarily spill your life story to new acquaintances and make them your replacement BFF, but it is okay to share experiences with them to do more exciting things if your core friends aren’t down or around.
I’ve learned two things after my friend said our circle was boring: I have to create more fun experiences with my core group of friends by planning more visits where we can actually be in the same city. Then, come up with new things that we can do. I’ve also become more open to the idea of making new friends who are already doing some of the things I would like to do on a regular basis.
Ultimately, your group of friends are a reflection of you. After all, birds of a feather flock together. And you can’t just chalk up your newfound boringness to being a responsible adult because plenty still enjoy life and do exciting things with their friends. While everyone’s idea of fun varies, you and your friends should agree on creating a routine that allows you to have new experiences. My friends and I are still trying to work out our schedules to ensure that we make time to visit each other consistently; but in the meantime, I’m meeting new people and creating new memories. No harm in that.
I’m an introvert. Most people think I’m bullsh-tting when I say that, but that’s because they don’t understand what an introvert really is. No I’m not socially awkward; yes I enjoy going out, turning up, having a drink or three, and I can hold a conversation. But if people were really paying attention, they’d notice I do far more listening than talking, and if I could have my way I’d probably be in the presence of no more than two people at a time because I literally find conversing with large groups of people exhausting. And that is why my Netflix subscription stays up to date and my binge watch game is too strong. It’s also why some of my friends are fed up with me.
Within the past few weeks, at least four different people have flat out called me out for never asking them to hang out.
“I was going to send you an e-mail to meet up, but then I thought, ‘no, I always invite her to hang out, why doesn’t she ever ask me?'” a former colleague I randomly ran into one night told me.
“Can we actually hang out one day? I’m tired of begging you to hang out with me! I feel like you don’t really like me,” another industry friend pressed.
“Where have you been lately,” another old friend asked. “I feel like you’ve been avoiding me. I’ve been talking to (insert name of my friend I introduced her to) more than you!”
And then there were a series of subtle jabs from other friends like, “You’re not really my friend no more,” and “We’re past overdue for hanging out” and the email to go get drinks that I ignored from a friend of a friend that made me realize I have to do better.
Part of me wants to blame this on a bigger issue I maybe-kinda–sorta-possibly have, which is an exaggerated fear of rejection. I really don’t ask anyone to do anything anytime I’m not completely sure they can and want to do it. Otherwise, I get immaturely and unnecessarily irritated that I extended an invitation that was passed over — much like my friends probably feel about me right now. There’s also this intense responsibility I feel to make sure the other person has a good time when I ask them to do something. Otherwise, I’m like, we could’ve stayed in the house. And I feel guilty for subjecting them to fuckery.
Which brings me to the biggest reason I tend not to ask people to do stuff: I like to stay in the house. Lately, I’ve been blessed by the socialite gods to have had a really great time going out and hanging with friends. But I’ve also had so many happy hour busts, nasty brunches, and boring bar outings that, again, I say, we could’ve stayed in the house. Or at least I could have.
I don’t not like hanging out with people and, as Shonda Rhimes alluded to in her book, Year of Yes, often times when I come home from an outing I was reluctant to attend I always think, wow I’m glad I went. But when faced with the choice of staying home, catching up on sleep, binge-watching Hulu, or dancing around my apartment versus taking a trip to catch up with friends — let alone making the plans myself — my house wins, 9.5 times out of 10, hands down.
It’s not personal, at least not when it comes to the friends and colleagues whom I love, it’s just my personality. But I’m slowly realizing if I want to actually keep these friends I’m going to have to compromise and do a better job of showing people they’re more important to me than work or Netflix and chilling solo. Guess I have my first New Year’s resolution.