All Articles Tagged "friendship"

Comforting A Friend Who Lost A Baby

August 17th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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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?

Don’t Spill Too Much Tea: 10 Things That Are No One Else’s Business

August 12th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Certain things really don’t need to be other folks’ business. Too many of us are spilling the tea when it comes to our personal lives. Yes, it’s important to open up at times, but that doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone in your life what’s really going on. Here are some examples of things you might not want to share with other people.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The Unsaid Rules Of Girl Code: You Saw Her Ex With A New Friend

July 5th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Okay, topic time.

This evening, we’ll be discussing the lovely world of girl code. Let’s say, you have a close friend and she used to date a straight up, ASSHOLE. He put her through hell, the level under it, back to Earth and then down to hell again. She’s finally happy and in a new relationship. She’s the woman you first met!

Now, fast forward 3-6 months. An associate of yours mentions that she happens to be dating that same asshole. Instantly, you want to tell your close friend the knows. However, you remember she is happy and in love. Is it really worth upsetting her?

Let’s add in a plot-twist. She somehow or another, starts talking to that asshole again, this time as a “friend.” You mention, he may or may not be talking to an associate you know. She goes postal, and questions why you did not tell her. One of your best friends is now mad at you because of this.

However, let’s really discuss this. Are you wrong for this? Are you obligated to tell your girlfriend this? Are you a bad friend because you didn’t? What do you think ladies? Sound off!

The Do’s & Dont’s To Planning A Group Vacation

June 10th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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There are times when I look at films like Why Did I Get Married and think about taking a vacation with friends… minus the cheating and drama of course. It looks like a ton of fun and an experience you can share with people near and dear to your heart. Why share photos on Facebook when you can invite them?

No matter how great a trip with friends might appear, it certainly isn’t for everyone. You would think rest and relaxation would bring folks together, but sometimes, it can do the opposite. The last thing you need is a trip from hell with no refund and a severed relationship. Here are a few tips to consider when planning a group vacation.

Don’t assume everyone’s finances are the same. When planning a group vacation, keep all parties involved in mind. As great as a five-star resort sounds, it might not be feasible for all traveling. Hopefully there’s some destination that will work for everyone. Note: If one person seems to be the only one giving you opposition, they might not have the money to travel.

Do set deadlines. The more organized you can make your trip, the better. Establish payment deadlines so you can fulfill any and all reservations. Start planning now so you can spread out your financial commitments. Make everyone stick to the same due date that should (hopefully) keep things on track.

Don’t do IOUs. Do not even think about charging this trip and having folks pay you later. This idea while generous is extremely dangerous as some might take advantage of your kindness, and not pay until they fully have the money. Everyone needs to pay their own way, and if unable, can’t go — simple as that.

Do look for group rates. If you plan on traveling with a large group, there’s a good chance you can score a group discount. This will save your party some coins when it comes to activities, accommodations and even local transportation. Why pay full cost?

Don’t invest in too many group activities. Just because you plan to go on vacation with a large party doesn’t mean everyone attending will want to do the same things. Some might enjoy shopping while others like outdoor activities. Rather than try to force a single itinerary, give options people can purchase should it interest them.

Do have fun. Rain and shade might be in the forecast, but not when it comes to your parade. Let folks stay in their feelings if they want. You worked too hard and paid good money to enjoy yourself. People are going to have disagreements and even blowups. Your job is to keep calm and try hard not to let it ruin your vacation.

No matter how wonderful the trip sounds, think about who you invite. Let’s be real, not all of your friends make good traveling companions. If you know someone is a wild card, they probably shouldn’t score an invite. I don’t know about you but have zero time to deal with a circus.

Something else to consider is a third-party expert like a travel agent who can make planning less of a hassle. Yes you have to pay for their expertise, but in the end, it just might be worth the money.

What are some ways you plan a group vacation?

Do You Categorize Your Friends By How Much They Make?

May 8th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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You did not misread the title. There are some folks who do this! Now before you come for me in the comments, please know I’m not one of them–though the idea is very interesting to say the least.

Each of us are on our own journey that comes with its own set of struggles and accomplishments. Some will earn more money than others, and some don’t care as much about what their paycheck reads so long as they’re making a difference. A high salary doesn’t equate to being a good person and vice versa.

All of my friends fall in different areas of the socioeconomic spectrum. I’m thankful to know great people who make just enough and some who are top earners. One of the great things about our friendships is how we don’t judge each other by material things. Yet there are people I know who do in many ways and feel justified with their decision.

What do you do if you want to plan a trip or event and know a good friend is unable to cover their own costs?

You might offer to pay for them or leave the option on the table to see if they can come up with the necessary funds on their own. I personally choose the latter option as constantly paying for someone is taxing on my own finances. I also don’t want to get into the habit where an expectation develops for me to constantly do so. Unfortunately I’ve been in this position where a friend or family member got a little too comfortable with my husband and I picking up their tab. It’s not fair in any way.

Whether we’re planning something big or a last-minute gathering, we always try to give the proper heads up so everyone can plan accordingly. Schedules are crazy enough to coordinate as is! It’s always good for anyone–regardless of their finances–to have a little breathing room when the time comes to shell out some coins. Heck, there were situations when we needed extra time to attend a trip with friends who make twice as much as us. They never thought or treated us as “poor folk” and we refuse to do the same to anyone else.

“I just don’t invite people who I know lack the finances to attend,” said one of my friends.

Well that’s putting it bluntly.

I understand their sentiment. There are plenty of people in this world who feel those who make more money should foot the bill, and while that’s not a good mentality to have, neither is categorizing your friends based on their paycheck.

Those who separate their friends by their income rob themselves of a good time. It’s a really superficial idea that focuses more on money than the individual. If this was normal behavior, teachers wouldn’t associate with those in the financial industry, or another field with promises of a big pay day.

Do you think you could ever do something like this? If you could, does it make you feel bad if your friend who wasn’t invited finds out? Sooner or later they’re going to put the missing pieces together and question why you’re friends in the first place.

When Black Women Attack Each Other: The Problems With Kim Lute’s ‘Problem With Black Women’ Essay

April 22nd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Yesterday, the Huffington Post published a piece from accomplished writer Kim Lute called “The Problem With Black Women.” In it, Lute, a lighter complected woman, talks about how she’s struggled to make and maintain friendships with darker skinned, Black women all her life.

She makes it known early in the essay, which you should definitely read in full, that she sympathizes with darker skinned women who have had to bare the burden of colorism. But she always explains that there are struggles on the lighter side of the spectrum too.

The unwritten rule is that the darkest women are the most burdened while lighter black women are, I suppose, damned to “house Negro problems” that equate to mere hiccups in days that are perpetually long with happiness, job promotions and our pick of viable suitors.

But not only that, Lute asserts that one of the biggest issues with being a lighter skinned woman is the rift it’s created between herself and her darker-skinned sisters.

I’m going out of my cotton-picking mind trying to convince my darker sisters that I’m not their competitor, and that loving who I am, and what I look like, isn’t a condemnation of darker women.

The meat, and perhaps, most problematic part, of the essay came when she described why her relationships with Black women have failed in the past.

The unvarnished truth lies somewhere between my own emotional hang-ups and the fact that most of the darker black women I’ve met are competitive, strident, pushy and critical of my decisions. As such, it’s been easier to socialize with those women who value my friendship without stipulations and constant backtalk. Thus, my friendships with white women are neat, unfettered and based solely on our likes and dislikes. And instead of forcing my friendship on black women who want nothing to do with me, I’ve allowed my other relationships to develop organically even if it meant there was a glaring absence of color that would cause my ancestral foremothers to spin in their unmarked graves.

Though her life has been mostly devoid of long-lasting Black friendships, it’s still something she desires.

In fact, every time I see a gaggle of darker black girlfriends I can’t help but long for their camaraderie, their sincere compatibility. Over the years, I’ve had numerous friendships with black women of all shades but only a precious few resulted in true amity and enlightenment. Sadly, most of these “friendships” were beset with backstabbing, hurtful rumors and instances of fierce rivalry from both sides.Have I ever encountered these same headaches with my non-black girlfriends? Of course, but black women have disappointed me in far larger numbers than white women. Could it be my fault that I don’t have black social circles? Likely.

Then, in perhaps one of the most illuminating parts of the piece Lute talks about growing up in a house where her mother doted on and praised her darker-skinned sister.

To grow up in the shadow of a sister who is forever deemed smarter, more accomplished, prettier and more popular has certainly instilled prejudices that I’m ashamed to own, and have been slow to acknowledge. 

And at the end, Lute asks herself some very necessary questions.

Is my lack of black girlfriends due to my childhood? Or am I naively assuming my interests are exclusive to white women? Or is it because I’ve allowed other’s preconceived notions about darker black women to wedge a divide between us?

Whew, girl!

Honestly, I feel sorry for Kim and I believe her when she says she doesn’t have Black friends. Because if she did, and ran this pitch by them, certainly one of them would have suggested it wasn’t the best idea.

First, the title alone is hard for any Black woman to swallow. And though reading is fundamental and you can’t always judge a piece by the title, it seems that Kim is trying to distance herself from the group to which she claims to proudly belong.

Sadly, the rest of that essay follows in that same vein. Though I doubt this was her intention, the essay reads just like every other attack on Black women from the mainstream media. Ironically, these are also the same sentiments Black men share when they explain why they don’t date Black women. You’ve heard them before and you read them again in the excerpts, Black women are “strident”, a nice synonym for loud, “critical”, “pushy” and offer “constant backtalk.”

I can’t help but wonder if Kim is lacking Black friends because she’s grossly unaware of the challenges Black women face in this world and the attacks that have been lodged against us for centuries now. What else could explain her reliance and rehashing of these racist, and frankly, misogynistic stereotypes? As nicely as she tried to package this, her essay was yet another attack on Black women. And in addition to being especially hurtful coming from one of our own, it’s also terribly unoriginal. While I believe we need to have more open and honest discussions about colorism, one in which character attacks aren’t lobbed, only serve to escalate an already monstrous problem.

Then to drive the point home further, Kim expounds on the ways in which her friendships with White women are better because they’re neat and free.

I hope I’m not reaching when I say that our friendships with other Black women are more likely to involve honest conversation and critique because, the behavior of your fellow Black woman, for better or worse, is oftentimes a direct reflection on you as a Black woman. White women, thanks to White privilege, are able to live more individualistic lives because they are the majority and the actions of one rarely negatively affect the image of the whole group. Furthermore, if you’re invested in that woman’s growth and development, there is bound to be “backtalk” when she talks to you about decisions with which you don’t agree, regardless of race.

And that’s what I mean about her piece having a misogynistic undertone. The notion that your friend, a grown woman with a mind, should be seen and not heard when you tell her something is ridiculous.

As I stated, the most insightful part of the essay came when Kim revealed that her sister, who was darker complected was her mother’s favorite. Childhood baggage and projection are real. And I wonder if the deep rooted issues that prompted this essay would have been better written in a diary or discussed with a therapist. (And believe me, that’s no ‘Black people don’t do therapy shade. A lot of us could benefit.) In short, this just wasn’t right for this forum, where readers, like myself, have to search and scrounge for the good intent in and behind this piece.

At the end of the day though, it does truly seem like Kim would like to have genuine, Black, female friendships. And as someone who has benefitted immeasurably from my friendships with Black women, I hope she gets to experience that incomparable sisterhood.

Should You Expect Discounts From A Friend Or Family-Owned Business?

April 20th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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These days it seems like everyone is trying to save a dollar, and rightfully so. With limited salary increases, shaky job stability, and the harsh reality of unemployment, it’s only natural to find ways where you can cut back a little.

But does that mean you don’t properly invest in a friend or family member’s business?

I get excited when I hear of people I know trying to create their own path in the entrepreneurial game. It’s not an easy task which is one of the reasons why so many small businesses fail in their first year. Yet even with this knowledge, you wouldn’t believe the number of folks who expect, or in some cases demand, special treatment when it comes to pricing. Can’t they get their business off the ground first before you come in with a long list of things you want for a discount or free?

When I got married three years ago, I wanted to treat my bridal party (I had seven members …yes, seven) to something nice. My nuptials were in the morning which meant we all had to get up early in order to be ready for pre-wedding photos and other small needs. Most of us barely wear makeup, let alone know how to glam up our faces. Because of this, I decided to hire a friend of mine who was growing a makeup artist side business. She has come to my home in the past to practice her airbrush techniques for photo shoots and was very talented.

Rather than use our friendship to my advantage by asking for a discount upfront, I thought it was best to respect her hustle and pay full price. Luckily she did give me a bit of a discount which I was happy to pay. Who’s gonna argue with that?

She later approached me and said thanks for not asking or expecting a hookup. Apparently, many of her gal pals would try to guilt her into doing their makeup for free so they could go to a special occasion, birthday gathering, or hit the town for the heck of it.

It’s understandable that folks would like a little something something for having a relationship with a business owner. Whether a close family member or friend, it’s always nice to receive special treatment. Many of us would provide it if we were able. That however does not mean you demand discounts, which can turn the line between a business transaction and personal relationship into a blurry one.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited a small boutique and seen someone who obviously knows the owner roll up with a basket of items and say “put it on my tab.” What’s this tab you speak of? And who exactly is supposed to pay it? And when?

At the end of the day, we all need to respect each other’s hustles. If you know someone who has a small business, remember they’re doing everything they can to make it successful. Like us, they have monthly bills, obligations and need to provide for their families. How do you expect them to meet their bottom line if they’re always giving out special discounts and freebies?

Unfortunately, some relationships turn sour when people actually get mad at not receiving a perk. I don’t think business owners are trying to be mean if they deny the request. Perhaps times are slow and they really need the money. You aren’t in their books and have no clue about their situation.

Should you receive perks from someone who sells a good or service, that’s great. Just don’t go around expecting anything because you know them.

Should Your Best Friend’s Boo Pay For Your Meal Too?

April 18th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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A couple of weeks ago, I was discussing the do and dont’s of my girl friend’s dating standards. Among them were Do’s such as, do open my car door, do send my mom flowers on Mother’s Day and so on. However, one particular do caught my attention.

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My girls stated, “Do pay for all of our meals and drinks if you’re out with my friends.” This one was a little bit shocking to me. As a younger sister to 3 brothers, I’m used to being taken care of. They normally pay for the entire meal regardless of who is in attendance. However, it never registered to me that it was a deal breaker for some women.

I experienced it myself first hand when I went out with my girl and her two male friends. They paid for her and just looked at me to pay up. It definitely did leave a bad taste in my mouth. However, it’s not a deal breaker for me.

What if the gentlemen does have the funds to pay for everyone? Should he still break his wallet to impress your friends? The first time out with everyone, yes. But what about the third and fourth time? Should he still be required to pay for your best friend’s meal?

Let’s discuss ladies!

We Can Keep It Cute: How To Survive Being Around Someone You Don’t Like

April 10th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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How To Survive Being Around Someone You Don't Like

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What do you do when faced with opposition or someone you don’t like? Are you a person who needs to show how you feel by letting the world know, or one who can keep calm and carry on? It can be really tough when you have to spend time with someone you don’t like. Instead of letting your feelings get the best of you, consider these tips.

Jealous Much? Why Comparing Yourself To Your Friends Is A Recipe For Disaster

April 10th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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We don’t do it intentionally. At least, I hope we don’t. But sometimes as women, we find ourselves competing with our girlfriends. Not that we’re racing to some invisible rite of passage type of finish line (first one to the altar gets bragging rights for life!). This competition is more about an unspoken comparison. If we’re not careful, trying to figure out where our lives stack up by comparing it to the lives of our girlfriends can lead to jealousy. The unhealthy kind.

It can range from the petty – Damn, her nail polish game is on point today! Why didn’t I think of putting those colors together? – to the more consequential – Why can’t I be as forgiving as she is? What’s wrong with me? It’s a definite the-grass-is-greener complex and if we’re in tune with our deeper selves, we can recognize that this comparison game is really our inner monolog talking. It’s that little voice in our head that likes to critique our flaws and shortcomings to the nth degree.

It’s not that we’re not happy for our friends when they’re on the up and up. We don’t secretly hope for their demise ‘cause, well, then we wouldn’t exactly be friends, would we? We know the blood, sweat and tears they put into getting that promotion, maintaining their marriage, and scrimping and saving for that dream vacation. We were there during the process, after all, and if we’re halfway decent friends, we were supportive along the way.

But if we long for some of the same things in our own lives and come up empty-handed, we can’t help but compare. It’s easy to forget their long, work-filled road when all we want is to be where we want to be, and with a quickness. We respect and admire our friends, after all, but assume we should always be on equal footing. That’s not exactly how things work in the real world. We’re individuals on our own unique paths, making our own unique choices. The same can be said for our friends. Therefore, comparing situations is futile. It can lead to unnecessary stress, tension, and unhappiness.

Maybe the source of this competitive vibe can be blamed on living in a fast-paced, get-everything-now, me, me, me society. Perhaps we’re still reliving old pain we’ve never fully healed from – the abusive ex we let destroy our self-esteem, the parent we were never good enough for. These things have a way of interfering with our everyday lives and affecting our most treasured relationships years later. But no matter the circumstance, when we compare ourselves to our friends, we fall into a woe-is-me attitude and not only is that tiring, but it’s also played out.

It’s enough that as Black women, we are constantly pitted against one another in the media. We’re perceived as difficult, argumentative, demanding, cat-fighting, back-stabbing…I’ll stop there. None of us want to bring that kind of drama and chaos into our personal lives–we’d much rather watch it on TV. I’m not suggesting that comparing ourselves to our friends will send us down some desperate, real, or whatever kind of housewife path. I’m simply acknowledging that friendship, real friendship, isn’t a competition. If we can be better friends to ourselves, we can in turn be better to our friends.

Speaking for myself, I know my tendency to compete with my girlfriends comes from feelings of inadequacy. That feeling had been triggered at times when friends succeeded in one way or another. I would feel as if, welp, she got the last helping of goodness. Since there’s none left for me, I might as well quit while I’m ahead. Where’s Iyanla to fix my life when I need her?

I was happy for my friends, no doubt, but wanted a sort of success by association. Ludicrous, I know. Before long, I was mad at friends for simply being their brilliant selves. What kind of sense does that make? And if I was in a funky rut – forget about it. I expected my friends to be stuck down in the dumps with me, too. That’s hardly fair or sensible.

Instead of wasting time feeling sorry for myself, I now choose to see my beautiful, thriving, dust yourself off and try again friends as examples of the greatness I can and will achieve. They inspire me to be my best self, not compare my worth and value to their own fulfillment.