What Being a Side Chick Taught Me about Friendship.

Hey Vulnerabites,

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 …

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Yours Vulnerably,

12 Comments Add yours

  1. J says:

    This is a great post, thanks for sharing.
    I will say that I disagree with the idea that some women prefer to be friends with men being a cop out.
    Honestly, women are emotional, often can be irrational and impractical. Having been friends with both sexes, I can say that my experience has shown me that being friends with certain types of females is psychologically and emotionally draining. For example, I have never had a male friend tell me I just need you to listen, I don’t want you to help me fix my problem. I can’t tell you how hard that is for me, but I learned to do this with my female friends. There is a great video on YouTube about a girl with scissors in her head that illustrates my point.
    Being a friend does take time, effort, mutual respect and love. Like any relationship, being in a friendship is being in proximity to another person who doesn’t think and/or necessarily reason like you, so effort is required. It is great that more insight around this type of relationship is being offered to the public.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey J! Yyaayy! I really wanted to hear from people who would disagree with that point and I’m absolutely open to hearing your perspective. Thanks for giving me some insight into your own experience.

      Women and men are different, yes, I will agree. I think women SHOULD have male friends, I don’t think they should ONLY have male friends.

      Women challenge us in a way that men don’t BECAUSE they are different, not because they are “difficult” or in your words “psychologically and emotionally draining.”

      Aha — so because a female friend has asked you to exercise LISTENING instead of FIXING, that makes her draining? Listening is Communication 101, and it’s great to have friendships encourage to do just that. In my opinion, that’s a far easier friendship— to just listen instead of trying to fix, but to each his own.

      I hear your perspective, I respect it and on this matter we can amicably decide to hold different opinions 🙂

      Warm Hugs to you my sister friend!

      Like

  2. Great read! As an introvert (who is a true extrovert around ppl who really know me lol), most of my friendships formed in high school and college years. Over the years, I’ve connected with some people that became good friends, and I met through through work, branding, or sometimes a good mutual friend. I even met my boyfriend through a mutual friend lol. I also agree on a friendship having to grow over time and experience. I protect my peace at all costs and I look at friendships as value. True ones are not easy to come by. It takes trust and time before I can even let a person in. Once again, great read! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Oprah! Been a while since I’ve heard from you on the blog — glad to have you join the conversation 🙂

      “most of my friendships formed in high school and college years” —- Same, but mainly college.

      Aahhh — meeting new people through already existing friendships, that’s something I didn’t think of. Good point!

      Friendships are indeed valuable. There’s a study that shows people are dying more from loneliness than obesity and lack of exercise… Can you believe that?

      I think we’ve underestimated the importance of friendships, glad to see that you’re not among that group.

      Protect Your Peace. Trust and Time. Great perspective!

      Like

  3. Tiffany says:

    P.S. you look Fabulous girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaww thanks hon! Was going for that “let’s talk friend” vibe. Did it work? lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tiffany says:

        Of course. You nailed it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Tiffany says:

    How about a book on face to face connect? Let’s start with that. The whole dating apps and books or self help books is getting tired. Because if a single individual can’t form unromantic relationships with effort and commitment. They aren’t the type of people to be in a romantic relationship. We have to go through levels.
    I can certainly relate to the friendship aspect. It is now in my 30s I can form lasting friendships and put effort. I was burned so many times in my previous years it was hard to trust anyone. I’d keep them at an arm length distance and never give them disclosure.
    But as I walked with God I’m starting to trust Him more to show me who my friends truly are. And it has helped to tear down my own defenses to allow others inside. I can be vulnerable with them and they listen. I’m so thankful for them.
    I’m still working through my introvert side, but when a friend text you “we miss you. Is everything ok?” I see the rewards of building a friendship. Encouragement and care is reciprocated. We check in on each other and genuinely care. But I don’t only want a Yes friend, I need a No too. And I’m glad to see conflict arrives and to be able to work through it.
    This was a great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Tiff! Always good to hear from you! Lol — a book on face-2-face connection huh? Is that what the world has come to? If you follow me on Instagram @yoursvulnerably, you’ll know that I’m always plugging “The And” Card Game — they have a YouTube series called The Skin Deep, and their mission is to foster human connection in the digital age. It’s a question game… but very thought-provoking questions. I think you’d like something like that.

      Yes honey, your story is like so many of ours… we get burned, keep people away and struggle to let people in. I’m glad to hear that in your 30s you’ve developed some meaningful friendships… ones that reciprocate your efforts. Praise the Lord for that! Like scripture says, “there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.”

      Cheers to building more meaningful friendships in our 30s!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tiffany says:

        Amen. I’m praying for a meaningful, loving, and committed romantic relationship, now.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Believing with you sis!

          Liked by 1 person

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