When we are young it is easy to call someone your friend because there isn't much to be expected from an individual accept for the ability to come outside and play or show up to the birthday party. As we get older, that changes. I'm writing this post because I learned the hard way that not everyone is your friend, sis, or even your best friend. As women we naturally want to have friends and a lot of them, but you must get real with yourself sis, it is rare that every girl that you call a friend is REALLY a friend. Think about it , how many people know the REAL you? Now think about why that number is most likely small. In most cases you don't allow someone to know the real you because they have not made you feel comfortable enough to know you in that way, so how in the world can you call this person your friend/ sis?
A friend is someone who knows the bad parts about you, yet they still accept you with not an ounce of judgement. A friend learns you and they know what triggers you. How did the last tit for tat go with your bestie? If each time you guys don't agree you start tearing each other down, that is a red flag sis. For example, year in year out it seemed that I was off and on with someone I called my best friend. There was a time when I had 4 best friends believe it or not. Our last tit for tat truly opened my eyes to the fact that I had been forcing our friendship for years even though this person continued to show me how they really felt about me. The year I graduated college I lost everyone I called a best friend and each person showed me that I should have paid attention to the red flags to avoid the heartbreak I've fought so hard to get over.
RED FLAG # 1 : They don't take what you're going through seriously.
I have everything to do with why I lost my friendships, I can say that. I also have to say that I have clinical anxiety and although this is something that I am fighting, it effects me drastically and my old friends did not understand that. Anxiety causes you to behave in ways that you don't even want to behave and it isn't apparent to you most times until AFTER the anxiety attack/ episode that you realize what you've done or said. My mouth is lethal, because I am Caribbean yes, but also because when I am experiencing anxiety I tend to lose all sense of reasoning. After going to therapy for a little while I finally got the courage to tell my "friends" what I was dealing with thinking they would be there for me and I was so wrong. My friends not only ignored the videos I sent them about what I was dealing with but one of my friends had the nerve to say to me during a tit for tat, " ___ was right, you ARE crazy". As I read those words I began to sob because I felt like she was right, I am crazy. I know now that anyone who makes a mockery of you when you are down just to take a shot at you is NOT a friend. This same person made a mockery of the abortion that my parents made me go through with in high school and I should have known back then that I needed to guard my heart from her.
RED FLAG # 2 : You Guys Never Argue.
I thought that my best friend of over 10 years was perfect. We lived together, went to college together, and she was IN with my family. Little did I know, she secretly hated me. I'm not sure when the hate became too much to handle but I know that the email you are about to read should never come from your best friend. Prior to this email we never argued and if we did disagree we were fine within an hour (so I thought). Deep down inside this person was using me for a confidence boost and nothing more and the email you are about to read is proof. Before you read this email I want you to know that we never
talked about any of the feelings expressed in this email. It wasn't even until after I blew her phone up for not calling me on my birthday that she even threw me a bone and gave me this crappy explanation. I call this explanation crappy because if someone is your best friend they are not going to send you an email telling you they have decided to stop being your friend and they definitely aren't going to tell you the things they've never told you before without allowing you to change in order to save the friendship, which I would have done if I was given the chance.
HERE IS THE EMAIL THAT CHANGED ME FOREVER (sent two days after my birthday) :
Sent: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 2:03 AM
To: Blaize, Imani
Subject: The Truth
We’ve been friends for a very long time. I remember when you walked in to my seventh grade classroom and I thought to myself “she looks like she needs a friend…” and the rest was history. I appreciate all the birthday gifts, late night phone calls, and family gatherings! I remember when we both decided to go to wssu I was so excited, how lucky was I? I got to leave my parents’ house and go to college with my bestie! Throughout the years we’ve both grown and matured into the women we are today.
I tried calling you as well as discussing my feeling with you through text, and I am done.
Lately, as I’ve reflected on some of the time we’ve spent together I’ve been filled with tribulation about certain events, how you behaved and how I reacted to these things. You see throughout the years I've struggled with self-confidence, and because of this I allowed you to use your definition of a friend as an excuse for why it was ok to demean me, disrespect me and use me. I blame myself for enabling you throughout the years and making you feel like that was an acceptable way to treat me as a friend. As you reminded recently you’ve operated as the same Imani for the duration of our friendship but at the end of the day it shouldn’t be that serious. Consider this, you displayed a certain behavior, then the people around you have made you feel like it was ok. Does that then make that behavior acceptable or just? The answer is no.
I am so proud that you are able to be self-sufficient adult. You are extremely blessed but you wouldn’t be where you are today if it weren’t for the people who helped you along the way in combination with your own self-determination.
I teetered over whether I should or shouldn’t express my feeling. The reason being is that you tend to be very confrontational when you don’t agree with what someone else has to say. I wanted the satisfaction of knowing that I didn't leave you in the dark or confused, your worth more than that. Consider taking some time to reflect on the women you are becoming and ask yourself, if deep down your happy with what she looks like? Not on the outside but the inside.
Feel free to cover up the tattoo we have in common, as for me I'll be keeping mine as a memoir of the good times we had as well as the general meaning of the tattoo.
To conclude this email, while writing I am writing this with a heavy heart. I genuinely love you and I want you to succeed in life. This email was not intended to come off as an attack or to hurt your feelings. I desperately want you to take some time to think about how you treat the people around you and put yourself in their shoes. I will not be able to call myself you my best friend any longer. It’s completely up to you take what I’m saying serious, but know this… I will not continue a friendship with the person you are at this very moment. Let me be crystal clear, I’ve never minded helping a friend I try my very best display agape love wherever and whenever possible. Keep in mind that you are the one that has the most access to the reality that you are living in and are the only person truly fit to direct your life. I am not perfect, no one is but I am a cognoscente enough to realize listening to what someone has to say and hearing what that have to say are two totally different things and that there’s no truer advice than the advice we commit to giving ourselves.
I'll miss you and hopefully somewhere down the line we can be friends.
Pretty tough right ? Now if I had of paid attention to the red flags I could have saved myself years of time wasted and I could have saved the money I had just spent on the trip to Miami that we had taken not even 2 weeks prior to this email. Reading something like that would make you wonder, what was their last argument? My answer is THERE WASN'T ONE. This email was this person's way of getting rid of me in order to make room for her new life, not that she didn't have a few very VALID points. I am pretty messed up but she didn't understand why, she didn't know about my anxiety. I know now that I deserved better than that email. I deserved a phone call and I deserved to have my multiple letters telling her how hurt I was to be answered. The girl treated me like I killed her mother ! I know that I am pretty emotional because I literally drove 45 minutes away to her new apartment just to deliver a letter to her because she blocked my number and to this day I never got a response to my letter and I STILL don't truly know what I did to be treated like that. After the demise of the friendship I thought I would have forever I became bitter and I convinced myself that I was not worthy of being loved, I mean I couldn't even keep a best friend. Around this same time my boyfriend of a few years had decided I was too crazy to deal with as well so I was a walking mess. I know now that I am worthy of being loved but for almost 2 years I mourned the loss of that friendship. Everyone thought I was being sensitive when I spoke about my feelings but nobody but myself and God knows how much I truly loved her
RED FLAG # 3: They take you for granted.
When I was in high school the same person that sent me that email gave me a sign that they shouldn't be trusted but I ignored it. We were apart of a group of friends but junior year only the privileged were able to go off campus for lunch time and this is when a divide came into play. I was not able to drive or do a lot of the things that most of the teens my age were doing and as a result my "best friend" literally stopped talking to me for MONTHS on end. It was not until she began to struggle that she spoke to me again. I was so desperate for her love that I ignored the way she threw me to the side and I immediately let her back in. If I had of loved myself back then enough to make her earn my friendship she wouldn't have done the same thing to me again 4 years later. I mean seriously, the chick is COLD BLOODED and my heart is just way too big to deal with someone the way that she dealt with me.
I could go on forever about red flags and what they mean but then I would be writing a book (which I plan to do) but until then I will leave you with the moral of these short stories you've just read. LOVE YOURSELF AND DON'T IGNORE THE SIGNS. People are going to show you who they really are the FIRST time and it is up to you to see them for who they are and choose to accept it. Although I have been burned, I wish nothing but the best upon those who have scorned me because I know that God is not done working on them the same way he isn't done working on me. I know that I am not perfect and I also know that I could have been a better friend but things happen for a reason and I forgive them now.
Check back in next Let'sTalkTuesday for a few words on "How to be a Friend", because sometimes we really just don't know how.
I love you sis,