All Articles Tagged "friendship"
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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?
I’m Literally Sick And Tired Of You: For The Sake Of Your Mental, Physical Health, You Need To Cut People Off
I’ve always been one to say that “Life is too short” to hold grudges, especially ones towards those close to you. I’ve believed, through my faith, that forgiving people for the things they do does more for me than it does for them. Who has the time or energy to hold on to all that anger? I still believe that.
But I also have come to the conclusion that I can forgive you and not want anything to do with you. And that anything isn’t said with rage or animosity behind it, but rather, with my mental health in mind.
In the effort to be diplomatic and to appear less than petty, I’ve given a certain individual a handful of chances to get right after disrespectful comments have been made over the years about everything from my hair to my attempts to go out of my way for this person during important life events. Not to mention that their energy is often off — when it isn’t, that’s a good day.
I’ve hoped for change, and each time, been disappointed by more of the same. More of the unreliability, more of the disrespect, more of the bullsh-t. Recently, I decided that I can’t take it anymore. It’s nice to want to move forward and embrace people, but it sucks when you keep providing opportunities for them to come back into your life, only for them to continue to hurt your feelings. To continue to disregard your time, money and energy. To continue to be self-absorbed and really adding nothing of value to your life but rather, take, take and take. Lord knows I’s tired.
But when I bring my feelings up to the people in my life who tend to play the moral compass role, like my mother or my future husband, I’m told that I’m better off letting my dismay go. Why? Because it was my fault for depending on people. If I learn not to do so, I’ll have less chances to end up disappointed. I guess, mom.
Oh, and the other suggestion was that “You have to talk it out.” When I asked why, I wasn’t really given the “Message!” moment I was hoping for: “You just need to, babe.”
But do I?
I don’t think so. What I do think is that in an attempt to not have what we believe will be drama by ending a relationship, we continue to deal with actualized drama every time that person comes around. It’s exhausting. We continue to be subjected to their moods, their comments, their selfishness and all the other toxic personality characteristics that leave us drained when we finally remove ourselves from their presence. It’s almost like volunteering yourself to be denigrated time and time again and actually believing that you’ll come out of it unscathed each time. Yeah, right.
Not to mention, according to a study, toxic people in your life, from friends to romantic interests, can literally make you sick. In a UCLA study from earlier this year, researchers found that stressful relationships can increase the levels of protein in your body that can cause inflammation, which can lead to serious health issues down the line. When asked to explain such results, Daniel Yadager, M.D. told the New York CBS affiliate that while you might eat healthy and exercise to have optimal health, it’s also important to have good relationships for your overall wellness.
“This is also part of leading a healthy lifestyle, is to make sure you’re around people who are nurturing and supportive.”
And if you leave your friend or loved one feeling more stressed than relaxed, chances are, they are going to make you ill down the line. As I prepare for a new chapter in my life (marriage), I don’t want to take people with me into that stage who, in my heart, I genuinely feel don’t wish me well. People who really couldn’t be concerned with my feelings. And no, I don’t have an exit strategy that will end things on good terms. I’m just separating myself and looking at it as going on sick leave: I’m sick and tired of your a–.
So while I’m all for salvaging the relationships that mean a lot to you and that have seen you through many hills and valleys in your life, those who’ve dragged you through some of those valleys or only come around during the hilly times may need to be reevaluated. As much as I would like to stay close with every person who has played a role in the stages of my youth and adulthood, it’s not worth it if I’m the only one always making the positive effort to ensure that happens, and the one regretting that I did each and every time.
Millennials make dating a group activity. From helping friends swipe left or right to sharing post-date details and advice in group chats, close friends pretty much know everything about each other’s dating history, habits, and partners. So, to help your friend meet someone new while at the same time possibly scoring your own romantic connection, Tinder has launched Tinder Social. This new app feature allows people to arrange nights out between groups of friends.
In a blog post describing the new platform, a Tinder rep stated the following:
Tinder has always been about getting you out of the house to meet someone new. But sometimes you want more than a party of two. Often your best nights are when you’re hanging with friends, someone makes an unexpected connection with someone in another crew, and your two crews have an amazing time together. Maybe you spark a romantic connection. Maybe you make new friends. Either way, a good night out with your friends becomes something better. That’s why we’re launching Tinder Social, a new platform that helps you plan your night out. For this launch, we’ve made changes to the feature to deliver a more real-time experience. People can see who’s going out tonight, what they’re up to, and plan their night, easily and efficiently—all on Tinder Social. if you want to go out, invite friends to join your group, then swipe and match with other groups nearby who are also going out.
The post goes on to explain that if you’re looking for plans (and potential dates), you can invite friends to join the group you create. Once you’ve done that, you swipe to match with other groups who are planning to hang out nearby.
But first things first: In order to use Tinder Social, you have to unlock it in the Tinder app. Once you’ve done so, you’ll be able to see which friends have unlocked it as well. Afterward, you can create said group, and together, explore other groups to be matched with. An example of this can be seen below:
Just remember, at noon the next day, your group and matches will disappear. (Tinder even claims that your Uber may also turn into a pumpkin. #Jokes) But before it does, be sure to plan another night out with your friends and those new potential boo thangs. Or better yet, start scoping the Tinder scene for a new group to hang with.
Tinder Social is only available in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India.
Will you be trying Tinder Social ?
My best friend works at MAC and I’m a makeup junkie. One might think I’m enjoying the fruits of her labor — as in her 70% off employee discount — all the time. I’m not. In fact, she only purchased products for me once in the four years that she’s worked for the company. She tells me all the time she’ll order things for me if I need them, but whenever the topic comes up, in the end, I usually tell her I’m good. Our friendship goes back 18 years, but I still don’t want to be that person — you know the one always asking somebody to go out of their way to do something for me, especially when it isn’t a necessity.
Funny enough, I met a woman with the same mindset at the MAC sample sale in NYC yesterday. As we stood in line, gushing over what we hoped to buy for 60% off in side, she reiterated a narrative much like mine. “My friend works at MAC but I don’t ask her for her discount. I just don’t feel right.”
“Oh I would! There’s no shame in my game,” a woman we’d been chatting with while waiting in line chimed in. “I have a friend who works at Saks, she got me a pair of designer glasses for $70. This other girl at the Clarins counter hooks me up with big size samples of stuff every time I come in now just ‘cuz. I even have a friend who’s an optometrist and she hooks me up with free eye exams and contacts. I get everything”
I need friends in higher places, I thought, laughing to myself. But I also know I’m not the type to actually ask people to do things for me — and I’m not particularly keen on people doing that to me. I’m a generous person so whenever I have the opportunity to do something for someone, I will. Usually, I’ll offer help or products for a particular need if I have them (because I get so many freebies in my line of work) before a person even has to ask. But there’s a certain sense of entitlement that comes with some people’s mindset that what’s yours — an employee discount for instance– is theirs, and that’s just not something to be assumed.
An even more gross overstepping often comes in the form of people asking for a discount on the business services someone offers simply because they’re “cool.” You know, the person who wants you to file their taxes for the low because you went to high school together, or who expects to get their hair done for next to nothing since y’all are play cousins, or the budding entrepreneur in need of PR who just wants you to write a press release for her for free because you “go way back.” A good rule of thumb should be, if you have to make a case for getting the hook up it’s likely not warranted. Even better: If the person doesn’t offer a friends and family discount off top, don’t ask.
While it’s great to have friends whose perks are your perks, a truer sign of friendship is supporting the industries your besties and associates are a part of — you know, keep them employed. That’s loyalty; and a true friend will no doubt see that and likely extend a token of appreciation by way of a discount. That’s what a real hook up looks like. #Reciprocity
Not all friends are created equal. That’s not a bad thing, fyi. Unlike family, we can pick and choose the very people we call friends. And the older and wiser we get, the more we know the kind of friends we want to have in our intimate circle (and the kinds of people we don’t want anywhere near that sacred, specially created space). Friends who are supportive, friends we can chill with, friends we can call on during good times and bad. Friends that know our heart and intentions. Friends we can count on. The list of qualities and characteristics goes on and on. By no means a definitive list, but here are 10 of the best types of friends a woman can have.
Flexible is her middle name. With this friend, you can let loose. Have an adventure – or two or 20. She’s down to do just about anything and certainly doesn’t need a month’s advance notice in order to do it.