My personal definition of friendship is simple… friendship is a safe place with boundaries, no expectations, and a place where friends can express themselves openly without judgment.
When I started counseling, I learned to never expect anything from anyone except God and myself (ok, ok and Pat but she’s different she is my momma). You see, at one point, I would put my boyfriends on a pedestal, allowing no room for letdowns and when they would make one mistake, it broke my heart. Once I realized what I was doing to myself (breaking my own heart), I told myself “AYE BOE, YOU HAVE TO GIVE EVERYONE YOU ARE IN A SHIP WITH A CHANCE TO FALL FROM GRACE”. From this, I decided to apply this learning to all of my SHIPS… even FRIENDSHIPS.
I always talk about my faithful few… the friends that I have had for most of my life. My faithful few all serve a different purpose in my life… I appreciate the way Kaye keeps me humble while always challenging my thinking… how Nickey and Johneatha provides me with laughter and never allowing me to wallow in my sadness for too long… the way Braysha soothes my bleeding heart… how Candace willingly chooses to be my sanctuary… how Ashley always encourages me… how Ceejae pushes me to be the best version of myself… and how Haneefah and Carrean provides me with great examples of being a great educator and leader. I know without a doubt that they love me and support me in their own way… in a way in which I can feel and see their love and passion for our friendship.
However, recently one of my closest friends and I had a disagreement because she feels as if I am not supportive of her… she feels as if I show up for my other friends more than I show up for her… not knowing that she’s the only friend that I talk to everyday via text messages, phone calls, and social media SIMULTANEOUSLY… in her mind I wasn’t showing up for her like SHE WANTED ME TO… with her words she made me feel as if I was/am a bad friend… like I was/am selfish and self-centered… and at times I know I can be… but… not in this case… I FEEL as if she wants me to do what she wants me to do without questioning or expressing my fears… and if I do express any fears or ask any questions she automatically assumes that I don’t want show up for her… not knowing that I question everything and express my fears in every situation. She often compares my interaction with my other friends to the way I interact with her… but if she were to talk to them she would find out that they have an even harder time getting me out of my four walls.. my house… as well.
She never asked me why I choose to not go places with anyone (except my nieces)… in her mind and in her heart I FEEL she believes, as if it is the gospel, that I don’t want to go places or have new experiences with her because I think my other friends are better than her… NEVER… I DO NOT THINK ANY OF MY FRIENDS ARE BETTER THAN THE OTHER… PERIODT!
I never verbally expressed my feelings as to why I choose to stay home to any of my friends, or to anyone for that matter but my reasoning is simple…
New experiences without Ktari makes me depressed and I feel extremely guilty. And also, I battle with social anxiety… which makes me uncomfortable in new settings and when I am around different people… I am working through these struggles with my counselor. I am working toward releasing the guilt and to breathe through my social anxiety, and I am looking forward to making new memories with my family and my friends.
I know that I provide all of my friends with laughter and a listening ear… when I am asked, I know I provide my friends with great advice as well… I am always sending them words of encouragement and at every opportunity I get I always let them know how much I appreciate them as my friend… never missing an opportunity to tell them I love them because I DO. THAT IS THE WAY I SHOW UP FOR MY FRIENDS!
We all want to create new memories with our friends. However, as a friend you must understand that “YOU CANNOT PUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF YOUR FRIENDS ON THEM… THAT IS NOT FAIR.” (paraphrased from -Nipsey Hussle)… You have to be accepting of how your friends chooses to show up for you because then, AND ONLY THEN, will it be organic and true. When you force your friends to show up the way you want them to, you create an opportunity for self-sabotage, WHY?… because when they don’t live up to your expectations it hurts your feelings or breaks your heart… creating pain that was caused by YOUR expectations.
Before you begin to put your expectations of someone on them ask yourself this question:
Do I show up in SHIPS the way I want others to show up for me?
Because you do realize that way you expect for others to show up for you, you have to show up for them the same way… right?
It is this reason exactly why I had to stop putting my SHIPS on pedestals… because I couldn’t answer that question with “yes”. Through counseling I learned that learning how people love and show up is very important because once you learn the way others love, you will be able to recognize how they are most comfortable showing up for you… and then you will begin to respect them and trust them more, APPRECIATE THEM MORE, and most importantly… YOU WILL STOP BREAKING YOUR OWN HEART!
It has never been my intentions to make any of my friends to feel like I do not appreciate them BECAUSE I DO… and I definitely DO NOT want ANY OF THEM to think that I value one over the other BECAUSE I DON’T… I LOVE ALL OF THEM EQUALLY… and I am FAIR in all of my friendships… from this situation I will grow while also continuing to love on each of my friends in their respected place in my heart and showing up for them IN MY OWN WAY.
The Chic Educator 🍎