The latest conversation on social media is “should you have friends of the opposite gender while in a relationship?” My initial answer is yes, you should have friends of the opposite gender. I have always been able to have great platonic relationships with men. It has worked in my favor most times. There have been countless times where I needed the male perspective. It’s evident that men and women don’t always speak the same language.
I was having a conversation with a male friend. He agrees having platonic friends of the opposite gender is important. He said if he mentions to his guy friends that he’s having relationship issues, they will likely brush it off and encourage him to go out, which may lead to talking to other women.
But having a female friend that he trust would encourage the opposite. She’s going to tell you the consequences of your actions.
My brother was sharing with me the other day a conversation he was having with a woman. He was a little frustrated with her response. I said what she’s trying to say is “I’m being vulnerable and this is hard for me. You didn’t meet me emotionally when I was vulnerable so I’m taking it back”. He said mannn that’s all she had to say lol. Again men and women don’t speak the same language.
Have there been times where a friend might cross a boundary? Of course. But I will communicate that offense and take a step back from the friendship if I need to.
I encourage you to get a good trusting friend. Honestly, it will help shape and shift your perspective. Tell me what you think in the comments.
My new favorite podcast to watch or listen to is “Know For Sure” with B Simone and her best friend Megan. I get exhausted with the constant relationship talk so this podcast is a good break. In one episode, B Simone and Megan get really deep.
They begin to recount how B Simone decided to terminate her pregnancy. B Simone vividly recalls the people outside, her emotions and the noises. She says there was an intense moment where she tells Megan to just look at her and don’t take her eyes off of her.
As Megan tells her perspective, she reveals that she never agreed with her best friend for terminating the pregnancy. She discusses how judgmental she felt but had to put her feelings to the side.
Here is what I’ve been learning as I get older. We are now in place where making permanent decisions like these will for sure alter the trajectory of our lives. Personally, it’s always such an internal battle to watch a close friend make a life altering decision if I strongly disagree with it. As I watched the segment, I admired Megan’s support although in disagreement. Megan said she didn’t give her opinion because her mind was made up. There wasn’t any room to convince her.
I thought that was very profound and a good take away. Support your friends when their mind is made up without giving your unsolicited opinion.
How do you handle supporting your friends when you don’t agree with their decisions?
I love the maturity that’s happening in my friendships. Friendships can be just as much work as romantic relationships. What I learned is, sometimes your friends dont need your advice. I try really really hard not to give my unsolicited advice to my friends. You can be an active listener and be supportive without giving advice. One of my friends always makes a joke and says “I literally have to ask you for your opinion or you will be on mute.” Listen I’ve been through a couple of friendship break ups and I don’t have the emotional capacity anymore to break up with nobody’s daughter!
I dont know when this started but recently I noticed my friends and I will call each other and say “What are you doing because I just need to vent.” Pay attention to these words because that’s an indication of saying Im not asking for advice, just listen. The key is to really listen to what they need in the moment. You will also know when they need advice too. My sister will say “Now listen to this story and tell me if I’m wrong.” Thats is clear that she wants advice. Sometimes it’s not clear and I have to say are you asking for my opinion?
One thing we need to be ok with, is not knowing. I try not to make up an opinion if I dont have one. My favorite line is girl dont ask me because I dont know. Especially about these men and relationships. Girl dont ask me because I dont know. Just the blind trying to lead the blind. Trying these techniques are not easy. Its hard because we are protective over our friends but my friendships mean a lot to me and I like to keep it that way.
I’m all for women empowerment but some things just need to be discussed. There is a post circulating on social media. It says “I’m not intimidating, you’re just intimidated.” Hmm, but what if you are intimidating? Could that be a possibility? I’m forever a student of growing and learning to be the best version of myself. I try to be open about criticism. For example, in two weeks time, two people said I was over whelming. If more than one person describes me in the same way, then I have to sit back and do some self reflection. I love hearing guys talk. I have tons of guy friends and we can talk for hours about the disconnect between men and women. Ladies, I hate to be the one to bring the news but we can be intimidating.
A couple weeks ago, I was sitting at the bar by myself. This guy and I started talking. About 30 mins into the conversation, he said when I sat down, he thought I was stern and meant business. I said dang thats not the energy I was trying to convey. I thought I would be seen as approachable and free. NOPE. I dont know about you, but I dont want to be seen as intimidating. I want to give off fun, free spirit, approachable, and loving. I want my energy to give off good vibes even before you have a conversation with me.
This brings me to another point. I personally dont get mad when people say smile. I might apologize and say sorry I was just in my thoughts. Why do we get mad when people suggest that we smile? I dont want to walk around looking mean all the time. I dont want to have a face that says “Dont dare say sh*t to me.”
I see a lot of post asking how do we make friends as adults. Trust me, adjusting your energy can be a start. Dont take offense when people ask, why do you look so mean. My sister said to me that I just make friends anywhere. She’s right. Because I intentionally try to be nice and approachable.
I’m not saying completely change who you are, but we can all make small adjustments to be better versions of ourselves.
I usually list my emergency contact as my sister or my best friend. In my mind it would be my husband by now but we know how that story went. Its not just my story. I love sharing my friends stories. It makes me feel like less of an outlier. It allows you to understand the common themes that take place. My brother drove 2 hours to mount my TVs. Probably should have been my husband. My friend had a nail in her tire. Her dad took her car to go get it fixed. She said she would have preferred it to be her husband. My friend said she was looking up someone to hang her curtains. She said she would have preferred it to be her husband.
I see and hear men say there arent quality women to date. I dont want to hear it. Miss me with the non sense. From where Im standing, there are too many quality women to go around. I was discussing with the girls about how we were taught to just do this the right way. Dont worry about a husband. Dont worry about a man. We all graduated college. Most of us have masters degrees. Some of us have doctorate degrees. We are at the height of our careers. Everyone makes at least 60k and even more. No children. Own place and can financially support ourselves. Emotionally intelligent. Beautiful. Well traveled. Selfless. Did I already mention no children? So nope I dont want to hear that there arent quality women. We did it right. We did it how our Moms and Aunts told us to do it. So why does it feel like its at a disadvantage? My friend said sometimes it feels like a disadvantage that we dont just turn a blind eye to the games and BS in dating. She’s right. As soon as we see a couple red flags, we cant stick around. Clearly the number of men vs women is already unbalanced. Then when you add in your preferences and standards, the options get fewer and fewer.
My aunts and uncles seem to have healthy marriages these days. But I know from the stories, it wasnt always like that. My aunts had to deal with a lot to get there. I asked my uncle when do men get it together and stop playing games. He literally looked at me and said around age 40 with a straight face. 40. He said 40. Nah I dont even have it in me to twirl my fingers for the next 8 years. * Big Eye Roll*
Lately there has been more recognition and discussion about friendship breakups. I am totally here for it. It’s a discussion that is way overdue. Unfortunately, ya girl has had her fair share of one too many friend break ups. I take my friends seriously. And I mean seriously. In my younger years, I used to come off so over bearing in friendships.
My first break up hurrrtt. My best friend from middle school. Although we went to different high schools, we didn’t miss a beat. We knew for sure we would go to the same college. Chilleee by the time we got to Hampton, (What’s up HU!) we weren’t even talking. She started hanging out with other girls and I felt like I just didn’t fit in her life anymore. Let’s put a pin in that one and we will come back.
Then I had another friendship break up with a girl from high school. We were close as well. We fell out because she started dating a guy who was no good for her and I couldn’t just sit back and watch him destroy my friend. Tough lesson for me. I think I may have come off judgmental. My protective nature couldn’t take it!
And thennnn I had another friendship break up with my college best friend. Chillee by this time, I was emotionally exhausted from friendship break ups. I had no more fight. We stopped talking for a while and tried it again. Sounds just like a romantic relationship huh? Well we fell out again.
I said that’s it. It was time for me to do some self-reflection. I was tired of losing close girlfriends who I genuinely loved. I told myself I was too over protective. Let these darn girls make mistakes just like you have to. And when they do, just be there for them. DUH I wish I would have told myself that 10 years ago. Also, I ask permission to give advice. Sometimes girlfriends just want to talk. An opinion is not needed every time. And last but not least, sis had to go to therapy. That was the last piece to the puzzle.
These days I tell my friends, if I did something to hurt your feelings, just tell me. Im too darn old to be losing any more friends. It’s hard to make friends at my age LOL.
But some things are worth fighting for. My best friend from middle school and I reconciled. It wasn’t easy but it was so worth it. I pray I never have to lose a GF every again.
One afternoon during quarantine, I was having another in-depth conversation with one of my closest girlfriends. See, our conversations can go on for hours at a time. She’s a psychologist by trade, and I, chose the field of social work. Somehow, we started discussing if we considered ourselves to be private people and how we viewed each other. She viewed herself as an open book and I thought the same of myself. Ironically, we both thought the other was private. It’s always interesting to get an understanding how others view you from time to time. We’ve been girlfriends for years. Even were roommates in college. I told her “Girl we’ve known each other too long. We have to ask some new people.”
That’s when the epiphany hit us. When is the last time we’ve had a new friend? A new close friend? How are we showing up in the world? Are we showing up as the people we want to be? When you first meet someone, how do you want them to view you?
I immediately had to get my new girlfriend’s opinion. We’ve been friends for about a year. I asked her did she consider me a private person. She paused and thought for a little. She said she didn’t think that of me and figured I wouldn’t share anything of importance if I was private. To me, I heard that she felt connected. That we built a pretty solid friendship. I thought about the times we spent together and the things we did. Like how she showed up for me for Mother’s Day and I showed up for her for Father’s Day. We both lost our parents some years ago. Yup, that’s how I want to show up in the world. I want to be there for my friends in their difficult times. So ask yourself, are you showing up like you want to? Are there improvements you can make? Then, don’t wait. Start making the adjustments necessary.