Let’s get into it.
“I’m coming to pick y’all up right now!”, I shouted through the phone. We all squeezed into my 1996 manual green Toyota Corolla, and with all of the rage from my last Yahoo Messenger IM pulled up to his house.
He had the audacity to visit me two nights before, for our routine heavy petting ritual. I wasn’t interested in having sex at the time. And here I was trying to secure another appointment only to be met with his “girlfriend” at the other end of my Instant Message. I was furious and everyone was going to know it! This negro had involuntary made me the m***a f****n side chick. We were no longer in a relationship, because my mama made us break-up, but we kept in touch. I had no idea he had moved on with another girl, especially because he is the one who reached out to me and re-kindled our late night romance.
Giving a voice to side chicks everywhere — They are not always aware that the man is in a relationship. Sometimes.
He lived in a huge white two-story house, practically alone (with his bed-ridden grandmother), so I wasn’t thinking about running into his mama or somebody important. I knew the ins and outs of this house like I knew my own.
We got out the car and my friends (including one of their boyfriends — he played football and was the perfect husky body-guard build I needed around for whatever was about to go down) stood outside of the car as I made my way to the front door.
I knocked loud and aggressively, shouting his name. His best friend answered the door and told me he wasn’t home. He was lying. I ran to the back patio door that I knew never latched properly only to be met by my ex, fighting to hold on to the inside of the door to keep me from coming inside. She came out of the bedroom and I saw her, the one who was on the other end of my Yahoo Messenger IM.
Needless to say, it turned out to be an interesting day and night. No one was harmed during the events of this day.
My point here is — those friends I had back then, they were my “ride or die” despite the foolish choices I made, I knew they’d always be there. I haven’t had a set like them since I graduated from high school and I’m glad for it. We did a lot of dumb and reckless s**t.
What I do miss, is their friendship.
Many of my current closest friendships are all from college, I’ve established a few more since then, and I can count them on one hand. But for the most part, since entering adulthood, it’s sort of been challenging trying to make friends. Not work colleagues that I’m comfortable having lunch with or the random girl that compliments my dress at dinner, I’m talking about a friend.
FRIEND – a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.
See, in order to make friends, I have to let them know me.
I struggle with that.
As I’ve gotten older, more of life has happened and I’ve been disappointed, betrayed and let down by people I’ve trusted. I’ve cowered into defense mood and I keep people close enough to feel the warmth of friendship, but far enough to not be burned by the heat of it.
In the last 10 years of my life, I’ve lived in 5 different countries and let me tell you, the journey of having to meet new people and make new friends is one that I’m very familiar with. Thank God for the technology that has evolved in that time and kept me in touch with the circle I created in college, but really — a long distance friend just doesn’t always cut it.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years …
- I need physical community. And because I know I need it, I need to be ok asking for it. I put all the strong independent black woman-ish to the side. I’ve learned to pursue people. “Hey, I’m new in town, do you mind if we exchange numbers and hang out some time?” — For my introverts, y’all are probably like, “hell nah!” lol.
- I have to open up first. I’ve done the whole, “wait for the other person to show me some skin first” thing, it doesn’t always work. I find that when I take the first step at being vulnerable, the other person often follows suit, lending to a more meaningful connection.
- Tell people that I appreciate them. When I’ve been new in town and someone has taken the time to tell me where I can buy crayons without getting annoyed. I’m grateful for their patience with me, and I tell them. When people tell me, “Uumm, we don’t use our left hand to greet people here,” I’m grateful they’ve taken the time to educate me instead of assume that the arrogant American in me is intentionally trying to insult their culture. I tell them, “Hey, thanks for taking the time to explain that to me, I didn’t know.”
Even with all my experience, I’m no expert — but I did listen to this really dope podcast of a friendship expert, Dr.Marisa Franco, that totally blew my mind. You can listen too, it’s called “Making Friends As an Adult.”
I took two pages of notes, but decided I’d just share a few points with you …
- Research has shown that people who assume relationships will happen organically were lonely 5 years later, versus people who believe friendships take effort and are intentional are less lonely in 5 years.
- If you think people don’t like you, you’ll subconsciously act that out — it will manifest this self protective behavior that sabotages the opportunity for you to make connections. Believe that everyone likes you — it will help with your fear of rejection.
- When you are indiscriminate about your self disclosure — it doesn’t make people feel closer to you. People need to feel like they’ve earned your self disclosure, if not they only feel like you needed to vent and they were conveniently there.
If you can’t get to the podcast right now, but interested in what she has to say, she also has this article on Psychology Today.
This is totally not a sponsored blog, I just came across her content and I think it’s what the world needs. Because I know what the world needs, right? *Side Eye*
We need more conversations on how to connect in “non-romantic” relationships. We need some books on “HOW TO BE A DAMN GOOD FRIEND.” The world does NOT need another relationship book, please … spare me. #RollingMyEyes
I’ve met enough married women who don’t know how to be FRIENDS… don’t know how to be in healthy conflict with a sister, don’t know how to show up when they say they will, don’t know how to ask for the support they need, don’t know how to trust and open up, don’t know how to communicate what they need in a relationship, don’t know how to reciprocate the effort it takes to be in community …. oh I’m just talking about myself, not pointing any fingers.
Oh and what about the “I get along better with guys” girl — No boo! That’s not cute. Something is wrong with YOU if you can’t get along with other women. Come -clap – Fuh- clap – Me! Yes I sent for you!
So, Vulnerabites, tell me what your experience is like making friends as an adult? For ages 21 & Up.