Ask a Very Smart Brotha: Waiting on a Ring & Rolling With Frenemies

April 5, 2012  |  

Hello Damon,

Let me start off by saying, I adore my friends. I sincerely do. In fact, I’ve enjoyed some of the best times of my life with them, and meeting new friends in college to make more good memories is just awesome. The problem is…sometimes I feel a tad bit insensitive to their constant state of jubilee every time a man compliments them or looks at them in an attractive way. To be more elaborate, let me give you an example:

We will call her Tiffany. “Tiffany” is short in stature, pudgy, and has a personality that is enjoyable yet a bit strong at times. She feels comfortable in her own skin to send proactive pictures to guys and she loves to talk about the things she’s done with them as well. It seems like we can be having a random conversation about goodness knows what, and like a switch turned on, she starts talking about the different things she’s done with guys. When she first started, yes it was a little weird, but I laughed at it, joked about it, and listened like a good friend. But the thing is she does this 24/7 and to be quite honest, I would rather she not talk about it unless asked. But this isn’t the only thing she does. Not only does she rambles on about her past bf’s, if a guy stares at her, she begins talking about how much he wants her and how Hot her body is. But it when it comes down to me, she says negative things like, I have a grandma booty, my body is too curvy, I’m this, I’m that and a whole bunch of other stuff. Sometimes I find her looking at me like she’s in thought and then she’ll go on talking about the eat out session she’s had with this guy. So, I finally reached a point of telling her how i felt. She was talking about a guy and I flat out said…”Can I be honest with you….I REALLY DON’T GIVE A F***. She acted like it didn’t bother her…but I can tell it did. And now I feel like maybe I should’ve just shut my mouth.

But she’s not the only friend who does it! My other friend who is a bit more conservative, goes on and on and on, about what she wants in a guy and how the guys that are interested in her doesn’t satisfy her wants. He’s either too black or too ghetto or too this or too that. And when she sees my “Oh my gosh can you please shut the f*** up” face she tries to justify what she said and make it seem like it’s them not her. If she gets a text from a guy, she goes crazy as well. But not like Tiffany. She’ll say stuff like, “Oh my gosh, if he is trying to get with me I don’t even know what to say” or “I’m going to slap him in the face, ugh he is so special” or “Can you believe he’s trying to talk to me?, I don’t feel that way about him at all” and it’s like an incessant circle of just talking about how a guy is so into them. She too says things about me. Like my hair or my clothes. Whenever I tell her to look at my stomach and how flat it’s getting, she kind of nods and says something quick and then the attention is right back on her

My other friend does the same thing. (Seeing a pattern here?) She already has a low self-esteem because she rather large, but let a guy compliment her and she will think she is the s*** with a side of potato chips.

I don’t want to seem like I’m jealous or anything, but  I just don’t get giddy when a guy compliments me or looks at me in a certain way. Yeah, I’ll talk about it. But it’s short and sweet, I don’t go into how I think he craves my body and how Hot I am. Quite frankly, I seldom do talk about it, because it doesn’t stick in my mind like that. Sometimes i feel like I’m being a bad friend because I get on my “Man mode” where I kind of zone out…I just don’t understand why it is they feel obligated to brag to me, 24/7. It’s VERY annoying, and it makes them seem a bit shallow to me. Can you help a sista out please!!!!


Annoyed and Confused


Dear A&C,

Although they each have their own individual quirks and idiosyncrasies, each clique or circle of friends has the same latent dynamics. You always have one alpha dog (the leader), one consensus builder (the person who manages personalities and makes things run smoothly), one organizer (the person who’s always planning things and “taking attendance”), and one “Martin.” What exactly is a Martin?

A “Martin” is named after “Martin Johnson,” a member of my circle of friends in high school. While others had their own contributions to the group (I was a consensus builder), Martin’s role was basically to increase group morale by allowing us to make him the source of ridicule. Now, the ridicule was usually good-natured, and Martin’s silly A$$ usually encouraged it, but he’d always been the one who was the brunt of more jokes than anyone else.

I’m bringing this up because you seem to be this group’s Martin. But, instead of good-natured joshing, your friends seem to do and say things that are (at best) insensitive and oblivious and (at worst) mean-spirited to you to help them boost their morale. Maybe they’ve picked you to be the Martin because you’re the only one who actually listens, but regardless of why you’re in that role, it feels like its time for you to find a new one. Unfortunately, you may have to do this with a different group of friends. Once set, group dynamics are extremely difficult to alter, and with this particular group of somewhat shady friends (Seriously, why are you even cool with these chicks?), you’ll probably always be the Martin.

Fortunately, you being in college means that it probably won’t be too difficult to find a different clique if being a Martin proves to be too unbearable. Just make sure that when you do that, you don’t become that group’s Martin as well. Once you’re a multi-group Martin, you might as well just start wearing a “kick me” sign on your back.


Damon Young (aka The Champ)

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at

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