I love HBOs “Insecure”. I’ve been a fan of Issa Rae since the “Awkward Black Girl” series so I couldn’t wait for “Insecure” to start. I instantly fell in love with Issa and Molly’s friendship and connection. From the first season we could see how in sync they were and how they understood each other. More importantly, they showed up for each other. As the seasons have progressed, we have seen more nuance to their relationship and just like real-life, people change. During the most recent season we saw Issa truly come into her own and at a time where all she needed was her friend to have her back, Molly couldn’t do it. I yelled at the TV so many times like, “damn Molly come on now”. When your vantage point is from the outside looking in, its really easy to fix the problems that other people face. We become psychologists who have the answer to everything, except our own issues at times. The thing about getting older however is that we have all experienced a friendship like that of Issa and Molly where we don’t know what to do to get back on track. And I don’t mean that your experience has been exactly that of the TV duo, but we have all experienced your once upon a time ace turning into “I don’t fuck with Molly anymore”.
When I talk about friendships, I’m not just talking about the first person that was nice to you in 3rd grade and you’ve been rocking ever since. Some of my first friends were my cousins, so when I say friendship, I mean anyone that you have had a relationship with that you trust and have confided and relied on. Watching this season, I kept wondering “Why won’t they just pick up the phone and figure this out?” There are times when you need space from someone so OK, give it a few days. But if its been months and we can’t hash it out, something serious has shifted. When I think about my relationships, especially the ones where I’m not friends with the person anymore or when I’ve just decided that my life is more peaceful without them being present, there is usually a list of things that have occurred that helped me walk away. Here is my list of relationship deal-breakers:
1. Not Allowing People to Be Who They Are
When you’ve had a friend or been in relation with someone for a long period of time, it’s easy for some to only identify you as who you were and not who you are. I remember having conversations with an old friend and every time that I would say something, she would say “well you know how you are”. For a while I ignored it, but then it clicked for me that she would never see me past the 19-year-old that I was when we first met. Talking to her became exhausting because no matter what I said or what the situation was her response let me know that she was never interested in listening, only talking. I learned that no matter what type evolving you have done as a person, people who are comfortable seeing you a certain way, will do everything in their power to see you how they want. Allow people to be who they are and not who you want them to be.
OMG! So, I have this one friend that I’ve been close with for about 20 years now. One year she put a cruise together and invited a few of her close friends to go, including friends that weren’t necessarily my friends. But like I said in a previous post, I can get along with anybody so let’s get it! We get on the cruise ship and we’re having a good time, or so I thought. By day 3 her other group of friends began to act very territorial. Again, don’t nobody want your punkass bike cuz! They were being rude as hell and was really acting as if we were going to play tug of war with her body. It’s never that serious and no one should feel like they have to be in a pissing match to prove their friendship. This is not high school so no one should feel threatened when your friends make other friends. Now, if your friend starts to behave like this new friend is replacing you, absolutely, open your mouth and say something, but be sure that its valid and its not you just feeling territorial and possessive. Everyone needs space and to grow you must engage and create new relationships. Hell, you’re evolving as well so give your branches room to expand.
3. Being Honest
Issa running away from the hard conversations with Molly drove me absolutely crazy. There is nothing that I despise more than someone sweeping negativity and negative feelings under a rug. I’ve experienced and have witnessed relationships that could’ve been saved if someone had just opened their mouths and said what was going on. I have witnessed people stop talking to someone for months who they considered a friend without an attempt to talk about their concerns. I get it. Sometimes the best thing to do is walk away. Hell, I’ve done that. But I’ve walked away making sure that the person knows why I’m walking away. The biggest reason why I value being honest is because I fear being misunderstood but there has definitely been at least 1 situation where I was singing Chrisette Michelle “blame it on me, say it’s my fault, just say that it's over.” This behavior is reserved for people who aren’t worth the discussion or the energy. But remember, everybody is not replaceable. So being upfront and honest with the people you value and love is mandatory.
You know the saying “don’t tell me what they said about me, tell me what you said?” I should never ever ever have to wonder how and what you think of me. Trust helps you build every relationship that you enter. In business, I trust you to do what I contracted you to do and you trust that I’m going to pay you. Romantically, I trust that you’re going to do exactly what you said you’re going to do, and you trust me to do the same. Homegirls, I trust that I can be who I am, and you never judge me. The flip-side of being who you are with your friends is the privilege of those friends being able to tell you when you’re fucking up. Trust allows me to tell you, hey sis, this ain’t the move. Trust holds us accountable but it’s also the glue that keeps relationships going because if I trust you, I know your intentions for me. We can’t have anything without trust.
5. Being Supportive
I think this is the most important requirement of any relationship. Do not…I repeat…DO NOT require someone to give you what you are not willing to give them. Have you ever had someone in your life that had no problem taking up your time and your space, but they couldn’t come through for you in your time of need? You find yourself keeping score and when you start keeping score its time to end the relationship. I’ve always believed that you may forget what someone has said but you never forget how someone made you feel. I can remember gut feelings of disappointment from people who should’ve just been there. You never forget the feeling of being let down. You especially remember the disappointment of the act as well as the lack of action for forgiveness. Being supportive and showing up is vital. It’s like oxygen to a relationship. The more you show up for each other, the easier it is to breathe but as disappointment mounts the relationship constricts and becomes toxic and resentment sets in. When you get there, there’s no going back.
Sometimes we fall in these spots even when we don’t intend to or want to. Being open to criticism about the type of person and friend you are is necessary for every relationship to be sustained and grow and it’s also important to allow the people that you love to be honest with you so that you can be aware. Listening to criticism is hard but being ghosted by someone you love is even harder. I’m always cautious of people who say “I don’t need friends” or “I don’t have female friends”. Those people scare me. Sure, maybe they’ve been hurt by someone and find it hard to trust. But going through this life alone is guaranteed to bring on idle minds. We are meant to be connected so self-reflecting and having people around you that you trust can get you through some of the darkest days and times in your life. So be the person that you expect others to be and recognize when you’re falling into categories 1-5. You don’t want to get in a position where you can never go back.