All Articles Tagged "friendships"
It’s kind of funny how life works out. At the beginning of 2011, a woman, Jayne, reached out to me to warn me about her ex boyfriend, Aiden *, who I just started seeing. She kept sending me messages on emails / Facebook about how he’d “never love my children” and vague mentions of horror stories about him.
Of course, Aiden told me she was crazy and to block her.
Fast forward to April 2013. I’ve split from Aiden in November 2012, he turned out to be a total nightmare and the main reason it didn’t work was his relationship with my kids. Funny that.
So this week she contacted me out of the blue, and we’ve exchanged a few funny (and similar) horror stories and we are meeting for coffee on the weekend, and both looking forward to it.
Read more at YourTango
I should probably start by telling you that I’m guilty. I’m guilty of entertaining “friendships” with questionable women who display suspect behavior. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but I believe that part of it is due to my constant efforts to see the best in people. So much so that I tend to overlook behaviors that clearly indicate a person probably doesn’t have my best interest at heart.
I met my first frenemy in elementary school and it took her burning me several times in middle school before I finally woke up and realized that I’d better cut this girl off before she does the unimaginable, and of course, I’d have no one to blame but myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fool. I was always fully aware of her shady behavior, but I was in my early teens and I frequently second guessed myself. I believe that’s the tricky thing about frenemies. They are not fans of the obvious, but instead, they’re crafty masters of subtlety and doctors of deception. A frenemy will almost never do something so blatantly obvious that they leave you walking away determined to never speak to them again. Oh no, that would be too easy. A frenemy would rather strike you soft enough to come across as playful, but hard enough to cause you to want to strike back. They commit shady deeds that are so illusive, they’re almost unidentifiable and often leave you asking yourself, “Did that just happen?” which eventually leads to “Maybe they didn’t mean it that way,” and somehow becomes, in many cases for me, “I’m probably overreacting.” And of course, the cycle continues. As subtle as they may be though, you can almost always count on a frenemy to eventually go overboard and hurt you in an irreversible way. It may come now, it may come later, but I’d bet my last dollar that it will come eventually.
It took me encountering people like this throughout high school and college before it dawned on me that entertaining frenemies was like playing Russian roulette. Dealing with sly and underhanded people may seem harmless while in your teens, but as I got older, I quickly learned that the stakes are higher once you enter adulthood because you have so much more to lose, which brings me to my latest revelation. Several years ago, I formed somewhat of a friendship with a woman who eventually began displaying frenemy-like behavior. It was like a full-time job to show myself as someone welcoming enough to carry on a friendship, but keeping enough distance between us so that she couldn’t burn me. Letting her know enough about me for us to get to know each other, but not enough that she could use any of the information she knows about me to hurt me. I would literally attempt to stay five steps ahead of her just to protect myself from the wrath of the frenemy that I knew would eventually come. Then one day I slowed down and asked myself, “Who the heck has time for this?” Who has time carry on a not-so-sincere friendship with a person you can’t even let your guard down around because you have apprehensions about their loyalty? Either you’re with me or you’re not, right? I mean really, what grown woman has time to play the frenemy game? It’s silly, time consuming and in the end, a snake will always be a snake. In that moment, I made up my mind that my genuine friendship is gift, my time is precious, and neither will be wasted on insincere people.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since entering my twenties, it’s that real women don’t entertain frenemies. There are much better ways to spend your time, and with much better people.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.
Some friends test the limits and boundaries of friendship just because they think that you’ll always be there for them to walk on. We all have that friend, the individual who’s never there for us, but insists on demanding a great deal of our time when she’s in need. She’s the friend who will happily bail on birthday plans, but will need bail money; she’s the friend who’ll get a ticket on YOUR car, and will ask to be fronted cash for tickets to a Bey concert. Sometimes friendships like these are salvageable, and sometimes these relationships are draining you of all of your energy and should be dissolved. The hard part is deciding which avenue is best to take for a decaying friendship.
For most people, friendships come down to a few very important components: support, understanding, camaraderie, trust and accessibility. Without these factors, friendships are usually dense and superficial, much like convenient situational relationships that we sometimes develop at work or in school. With those factors, strong friendships will flourish, and all parties involved benefit from the trust and support that occurs when forming strong bonds. So, when a friend suddenly challenges the healthy dynamic of a seemingly outstanding relationship, or you discover that support/understanding was never there, it’s disheartening, to say the least. When you begin to doubt the integrity of a friend, it makes you doubt yourself. After all, you chose that friend, and to some degree you find fault in yourself if others aren’t as devoted to you as you are to them. It’s expected that your friends will celebrate with you, cry with you and do about any and everything with you, when the occasion calls for it. So, your friend’s decision to flake out on plans or ignore your calls becomes so much more than a missed event, it becomes dismissal.
Some people have an eternal meter, letting them know when enough is enough, but most people don’t. Most people don’t know when their friends have crossed the line too many times and/or exhausted the friendship. One way to figure this out is to simply ask yourself the following questions, and respond to them honestly: What is the most important thing about our friendship? What does this person mean to me? What are three words I would use to describe this friendship? Does this friend make time for me and my issues? How often has this friend disappointed me and left me hanging? In what way would my life change if I didn’t stay friends with the person? These questions should help you assess how valuable your friendship is, and help you to foresee the future of your friendship. It’s important to cite how individuals benefit from a friendship, because it helps you understand if that that friendship is helping you to grow, or if it is hindering you.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that your friend does not deserve the benefit of the doubt, or that you have to sever the relationship after a few mishaps. But, when those few isolated incidents turn into a trend of infractions, then it’s time for you to understand that you may no longer be a priority in your friend’s life. Consider how long you’ve been friends and the type of friendship style that you have. If you have the type of friendship where you don’t keep in touch very often–then the hands-off friendship style is expected; but if you’re as thick as thieves, you might want to sit down with your friend to discuss any possible concerns or questions.
Know that it is normal to miss a “bad” friend, but that doesn’t mean that person needs to be in your life, that simply means that you’ve had great experiences with that individual, and now it’s time for you to move on and have great experiences with someone else. Also, if you’re afraid that person has too much access to you or your virtual information, take the steps to block that person on every media platform, and save their number in your phone as “Do Not Answer.” So is your friendship worth fixing? Or is it holding you back?
Sexual attraction is one of those things that we all want to feel with our partners. There is nothing like that electrical current that draws two people together like magnets. But when it comes to the overall success and failure of long-term relationships, how important is that attraction when compared to deep friendship between partners?
Friendship is an investment of time spent learning to communicate and assessing your compatibility. We don’t typically choose to have friends we have nothing in common with. Instead, our friends are chosen based on respect, the fun we have when we’re together and whether their values are similar to our own. When we look at just those three criteria, aren’t they the essence of what makes any long-term romantic relationship successful?
Read more at YourTango.com.
By Samantha Escobar
One of my closest friends since way back in the eighth grade is gay, and growing up, the majority of my other close male friends were gay, as well. While our sexualities rarely came up unless we were discussing dating- or sex-related topics, I’ve sometimes wondered why so many of the men that I am closest to are gay, and I have often heard similar statements from other women, as well as several gay men who say that straight women make up a large percentage of their friends. So, why does this combination seem to work so well for so many people?
According to a recent study from the University of Texas and published in Evolutionary Psychology, there is evidence that the closeness felt between gay men and straight women is “rooted in the absence of deceptive mating motivations.” Because they are “free of hidden mating agendas,” says the study’s lead author Eric Russell, “they may be able to develop a deeper level of honesty because their relationship isn’t complicated by sexual attraction or mating competition.”
Read more on YourTango.com.
I logged onto Facebook not too long ago to see another one of my friends had gotten engaged. Although happy for him, it reminded me of this awkward phase we’re experiencing in our friendship right now. After meeting his now fiancée once and introducing myself by trying to get to know her, I later found out she didn’t like me. And she’s not the only one.
I was faced with the same issue last year when I found out one of my best guy friend’s girlfriend didn’t like me, or any other girl for that matter being friends or around him. Due to that, our friendship also entered an awkward phase in which he wasn’t around much, or I wouldn’t hear from him for weeks at a time. Whereas before, he was always someone I would talk to. It bothered me at first, because I defended our friendship to an ex-boyfriend who had a problem with it. And, it seemed now that it was his turn to stand up for our friendship— he did the opposite— he chose to avoid the problem. With the recent distance that has taken place in another one of my male friendships, it makes me wonder.
Is it always OK for relationships to trump long time friendships because your partner doesn’t like that person, especially if there is no solid reason?
In 2010, Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University, found that “men and women were equally likely to lose their closest friends when they started a new relationship,” according to guardian.co.uk.
I remember when I was dating this guy, I didn’t like too many of his male friends. For one, most were immature and weren’t in relationships. The perfect combination for a few guys nights, that could result in bad influences and him making wrong decisions. Yet, I understood that he had been friends with some of these guys for years—long before I came into the picture. Who was I to tell him not to be friends with these guys who he is probably still friends with till this day— and we’re not together anymore? I just had to come to the conclusion that if he made bad choices, it was his fault and his alone; not his boys, because he’s old enough to know the difference between right and wrong.
Growing up, I remember my aunt always telling me “Baby, you don’t need a lot of friends— just a few good ones.” I’m happy to report that till this day, my aunt and her few “good ones” are still friends, and have been through many years, in some cases decades. So I’m sure you can imagine that friendship was an important lesson I learned at a young age.
Relationships come and go, and yes so do friendships, but you never know if the person you think is “the one” really is until one day you awake from a nightmare. In that case, you just lost a possible lifelong friend over the prototype.
Jasmine Berry is a senior majoring in journalism at St. John’s University. Follow her on twitter @signedjas.
There’s a cliché saying, it’s something like, “You haven’t spoken to a true friend in a long time, but when you speak again it’s like no time has passed.” This became apparent after reconnecting with a woman that I’d stopped speaking to, about a year ago.
Shana, my friend’s name for this post, was a huge part of my life. We met during a teen poetry slam and spent the entire competition exchanging stories about our lives thus far. Warm and genuine, I was eager to forge a bond with someone so different than the drama prone girls I’d become accustomed to. Several years passed us by and we experienced the significant moments that companionships should have:
She’d been around my family and knew all of their names and ages.
We spent hours, at dinner tables, laughing at inside jokes and things we’d faced together.
We argued about things in the news and other social issues.
For almost a decade we stood in audiences, cheering for one another, and comforted one another when things became difficult.
Two years ago, someone inquired about Shana after meeting her at an event we’d both attended. The inquirer asked surface questions: Age? Birthday? From? All questions that I knew the answer to. They started to dig a bit deeper:
Oh that’s interesting. Was anyone else in her family in that field?
How about her mom?
Sisters? Oh, she’s not an only child. How many sisters does she have?
While the inquirer, a brother that was clearly trying to holler, rambled on incessantly, something occurred to me. I didn’t know a lot about the woman I considered one of the most important people in my life. I’d certainly asked these same questions, but she’d deflect them. I decided to confront her with it. Why hadn’t I met her family? Why wasn’t she comfortable telling me about the things happening in her life? Did she not trust me? Coincidentally she’d just encountered one of the most traumatic moments, of her life, when I decided to impose my inquiry. She was so annoyed and what was supposed to be a simple conversation turned into a full out argument. Although we never truly said goodbye there was an unspoken severance that occurred, so we could both have time to cool off.
I don’t think we ever thought cooling off would take a full year. Our pride clung to our fingers, pulling them away from the screens of our phones every time we passed each others’ names on the contact list. We even saw each other once, at a lounge event, and she was swollen and visibly pregnant. My heart beat quickly and I was deeply saddened by the fact that my would-have-been godchild was sitting spaces away from me. We indulged in common courtesy and said hello, but nothing more.
I’d think about her every now and then, but then I’d remembered the anger in her voice and I’d shrug off my worry. I was okay with not being friends with someone who wasn’t willing to share their life with me.
And then she called…
This is the moment I was prepared for. I was ready to be smug and confident; ready to tell her that she’s no longer needed.
And then she said…
“I need you back in my life. On a daily basis. Please return.”
All my defense mechanisms unraveled. I disregarded my womanly, innate power to hold grudges and make all who want redemption, grovel. I listened to her explain that she had a hard time trusting folks and the action wasn’t exclusive to me, but she was going to try to do better. I forgave her in an instant.
You would have done the same.
You might cry or smile, but you will comply. It’ll seem as if no time has passed, as you catch up on old and new.
Forgiveness is a necessity.
Women who are meant to stay out of your life will spark no resonance in your chest; you will not mourn them when they are gone. But companions that are worthy of second chances will succumb to their wrong and so will you. The two of you will take ownership and mature in a single bound.
The only key is the willingness to let it happen. We are heaps of intuition and we have to learn to discern when mistakes are authentic.
If I didn’t trust my intuition, I’d be bereft of an unyielding comrade today. I wouldn’t trade the smile of her year old daughter or the ear that she lends, for anything.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” -Anais Nin
RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.
I Never Thought YOU Would Do That: How To Deal When A Person You Hold In High Regard Does Something Low Class
I remember the day so clearly. He was a Youth Pastor and musician at a church not too far from mine. I was a junior in college and an aspiring media professional looking to start applying what I had been learning about public relations to the gospel music industry. He had just launched a gospel music production company that he was seeking to promote. It just seemed right that we work together, and so we did. He was in his thirties and engaged to be married soon. I was about 19 and viewed him as somewhat of a mentor that I could trust. Everything seemed to be going well, but was until one Saturday morning in April.
We were on Blackberry Messenger going over a few details for an upcoming event when all of a sudden he changed the subject. We went from business to some very unprofessional chatter where he wound up making a round about pass at me by telling me that he had planned to play an April Fools trick on me, but kind of changed his mind. He was going to tell me that he was sexually attracted to me as a “joke,” and as things became more and more awkward via BBM, he proceeded to probe for what my response would have been. You know, to low-key see if he had a chance, even though he was engaged and someone I was supposed to look up to.
I was floored. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing because I had surely grown to view him as an older brother. My feelings were hurt and I guess I expected more from a brother in Christ and someone operating in the office of “Youth Pastor.” But, I suppose that is where I went wrong.
What I learned from this experience is that although you may have much admiration and respect for a person, it doesn’t make them any less human and we are all flawed in one way or another. But, how do you get past a situation such as this one? How do you deal when someone you respect lets you down?
Realize they’re human - No one walking this earth is perfect, and while the person in question’s behavior may have thrown you for a loop, it is important to note that they’re flesh and blood just like you and are prone to make mistakes. Of course, we wish they’d have better judgment, but things happen, so I would recommend thinking hard about it all before totally cutting that person off or counting them out.
Tell them how you feel - I am guilty of not doing this as much as I should, but telling someone how their behavior has affected you can assist in getting the burden off of your chest, in informing the person that their behavior isn’t desired, and helping the two of you move forward.
Forgive - There’s no use in walking around holding a grudge or walking around with a chip on your shoulder due to someone else’s misconduct or poor judgment. Even if you decide to distance yourself from them, forgive them in your heart.
Witnessing a person whom you hold in high regard or that you once placed on a pedestal in an unflattering light can be a difficult pill to swallow, but it is best to use it as a learning experience and make up your mind that you will not be broken by the experience. Understand that they’re human and that while you can have a lot of respect for them, you shouldn’t take it so personally if and when they disappoint you.
Have you ever been let down by someone you respected? How did you react?
Sometimes I scroll back through my tweets and statuses, and I wonder if I’ll ever get the hang of 24/7 political correctness. Especially now, since I’m amidst what I have coined as “a personal renaissance,” or a “renewal of life, vigor; rebirth…” as Dictionary.com describes the word ‘renaissance.’
I learned that very little about me was politically correct years back when I was just 22-years-old. I didn’t even know my little renaissance was beginning as I decided to take the road less traveled and try out this new “mind of my own” I had been told about – the exact opposite of my homegirls at the time. I felt like a mindless drone, following in the shallow, Forever 21 shod footsteps of a few lost young women with no real character, only painted-on facades that came off in powder rooms. I was lost, following the lost.
I knew that at my core I wasn’t a “mean girl.” I knew I wasn’t a glam girl who wanted nothing more than to peruse fashion magazines and spend the bulk of my sad little work study checks on makeup and club wear. I knew that Rihanna and weaves and high heels didn’t fulfill me. And isn’t that always the way? We come to the realization of what/who we aren’t before we can get to the heart of who we are sometimes.
And the truth is… I had no clue. All I knew was that I was different and I was sick of following. Pretty soon everyone knew it. I was 22. An age that at 16 I longed to reach, thinking I would have it all together by then. Surely, I would have a topnotch salary-paying job lined up by the age of 22, my own place, and a fairy tale romance with a good man who would surely marry me by at least 26.
Why did I want those things? Was it because deep down that’s what I truly believed my path to be? Or was it because between the lines of my favorite television shows and in the sharpness of some distant auntie’s questioning about my life’s timeline, that’s what I was being TOLD I was supposed to want?
What I didn’t realize at 22-years-old was that my 20s weren’t meant for patterning my life after what looks good in other’s lives or “getting it all together.” MY 20s were meant for figuring SOME of it out, getting to know me and my passions and purpose. I was figuring out that I was different and dealing with that absolutely amazing albeit frightening reality. I was understanding and accepting who I was NOT.
What a lot of people won’t tell you for fear of individuality being birthed, is that it’s okay to not know what the heck you’re doing and to be a mess in your 20s. The cool reality of our 20s is that we get to learn about ourselves. Life reveals our authentic selves to us, toughens us up and teaches us to simply be all that authentic goodness. Life begins in the midst of a beautiful mess. Path-defining questions rise from a mess. Revolutionary thoughts swell in the minds of beautiful messes. Heaven cracks open from the soul felt prayers in the middle of beautiful messes. The beginning of the rest of our lives always starts from some sort of mess.
As I grow older, I’ve lived just enough to grow the beautifully ugly guts to fight opinions and ideologies and stupidity to get totally naked and free and begin stepping into my own skin. My own skin, porous enough to allow new experiences to saturate and do me some good, yet tough enough to scar and keep it moving despite the wounds of warfare. Whatever/whoever I AM, I live to be her now. Not hide her away behind a society-painted mask. My 20s have taught/are teaching me that.
So, even though every now and then I still wonder if I’ll ever get the swing of being politically correct 24/7, I always end up shrugging and smiling as the beautiful mess in me says that now, that’s just not who I am and it’s quite all right.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check out her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
It’s great to have a close male friend with whom there is no sexual attraction—a guy that can give you insight into the mind of men, help you fend off creeps at bars, and lift that giant couch of yours when it’s time to move. But the line between being a guy’s close girl friend and being his surrogate girlfriend is a thin one, and if you cross it, your friendship can get messy. If a guy sees you as a surrogate girlfriend he might resent when you date other men, and even give up on finding himself a real girlfriend. Why should he? He already gets basically everything he would in a girlfriend from you. And as for the other stuff, well, there’s the Internet for that. Here are signs you’ve become a surrogate girlfriend.