Updated: Aug 17, 2019
A few days ago my friend Chelsea (Hey Chelsea!) sent a video to our group chat about friendship. The video (linked below) explained that there are five different types of friends in which your female friends can be labeled. This video sparked an interesting conversation within the group. We each chose and labeled where each friend would fit. The categories were:
The independent woman
The one-on-one friend
The fun time friend
The toxic friend
The conversation was very eye opening. Three of my friends viewed me as the independent friend. The independent friend was described as the friend who is driven and inspiring It was described as the friend you go to for advice or the one with everything together.
"INDEPENDENT?! (Soulja Boy Voice) Are you sure? " is all I could think.
This brought me to the realization that many of my friends view me in a way that I do not view myself. If only they knew. And then I thought about it. I thought about everything and every relationship with everyone. Maybe I don't allow my friends to be FRIENDS. Maybe I don't share enough of my pitfalls. Maybe I don't share enough of myself with them. For whatever reason and for as long as I can remember, I've lived by the saying "keep your business to yourself". In hindsight, (because ya know hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20), maybe this didn't mean not sharing with my friends. For so long, I've been a problem solver for others, but never allowed my self to be vulnerable enough to let someone help me solve mine. What was I or am I afraid of ? Judgement? But why would my FRIENDS (Not the fake ones, the real ones) judge me?
This conversation along with that innocent youtube video caused me to really dig deep and think about the following questions...
What do my friends really think of me?
I know what I need from my friends, but do I give them what they need?
Do I view myself differently from how they view me? & why?
So to find out, I asked several friends to send me a few sentences about how they view me and our friendship. I asked one of my oldest friends (20 plus years of friendship), my sisters who have known me (obviously) my whole life, some of my newer friends, and a few in between. I asked friends I talk to every other day and friends I talk to once a month (if that). THIS PROCESS was like THERAPY. No really it was! I learned so much about myself and my friends. I even began the repair of a friendship I thought was too far gone. It was uncomfortable and scary, but so NECESSARY. I encouraged them to send the good, the bad, & the ugly. I wanted HONEST feedback! I knew some would make me smile & some would make me cry but they all would help me GROW.
Here are their responses (in no particular order & missing a few):
I can’t recall how our friendship started exactly; most best-friendships are forged after years and years of knowing one another and through shared adventures and deep dark secrets. Ours developed way quicker than that, in a matter of months we went from acquaintances to best friends. As someone who doesn’t make friend/friends easily it’s completely out of character for me; I usually like to keep people at the acquaintance level for...hell forever. It’s almost like Fate or Destiny. We’re like SoulFriends. I truly cherish the friendship that we have even though she’s a hater when it comes to my singing abilities and she’s just getting onboard with me marrying Michael B. Jordan or maybe she’s just tired of fighting this. Friendship means choosing your battles. Wraith is one of the most peculiar people I’ve ever meet, I mean who doesn’t like cheese; it’s Delicious! But she is also one of the most giving and confident women I know. I’m not really sure when she became part of my life, but I feel blessed knowing that she’s in it.
There were times when I wasn’t the best friend I could’ve been and I apologize for that. However, during the first year of BABY's life, I was very depressed, at the lowest point in my life, and I felt like you weren’t there for me. I wish we could’ve had a conversation sooner before it led to you blocking me, because I felt like our friendship meant more to me than that. I appreciate you reaching out to me.
Shes more than a friend. Shes my best friend and my sister. Our friendship has lasted 25 years from being on the playground to being in each other's weddings. We dont talk everyday but she is someone I know I can count on. There was a time where I wondered if we were really friends because we didn't talk often but then I came to realize life is hectic we are all busy and just because I don't talk to her every day doesn't mean she's not my best friend. We are there for each other when it really matters.
I love you more than words could ever express. Our friendship is one of my favorites. It allows us to have breaks and pick right back up where we left. It is a safe place with no judgment BUT you refuse to take my excuses and push me to be accountable for EVERY thing. You are one of the most amazing, loyal, loving people I know and I’m so grateful God gave me you!
I am glad that we have developed a friendship. I think you are kind, caring and you love your nephews. I am thankful that you have not had to endure or had the experiences I had. I am proud of you and wish I had been a better influence at times. I think it’s nice to have someone other than myself looking out for others at times. Although your grown I still look at you as the baby and would probably do more if I had more even though your a grown as woman. I wish we had been closer, I hope we have more trips, make more memories and in spite of the past I hope we develops better relationship as we grow.
Number 6: So you asked me to send you a few sentences about our friendship, but honestly I could never speak about our friendship in just a "few" sentences. LOL You have been such a great friend to me since we met at the tender age of 12 (no one needs to see pictures from back then cause whew chile!) There are so many good things about our friendship, how you are always there whenever I call/need to visit, how you are such goals (Jalisa's got her life together and I still struggle from time to time), the out going yet I wanna stay home personality. You are always my voice of reason when I'm about to do something stupid (which is probably every 6 months. lol). You drove ridiculous hours to my baby shower, even when I said to stay home! ( and I think it snowed the day before my shower. That's real love right there). And you haven't switched up on me. You even let me crash your house for a couple of days to help finish planning and preparing for your wedding.
The bad/ugly was that one time we kinda fell out in college, freshman year. I felt pretty shitty, because you were the only REAL friend that I had ever really had, and I did NOT want to lose the person who was always there when I needed her. I was being extremely selfish and learning more about myself, and I think that was something that taught me who my real friends were. Then after I had a BABY I was being a bad friend because I was depressed (Postpartum is real y'all) and I hadn't checked on you and I think we both were going through depression. But all in all, you have been an amazing friend. Whenever I get married you will be standing by my side!! Love you!
1.) You are very supportive. I can recall many moments where I didn’t feel confident about a decision and you backed me up. I literally hide those moments in my heart and share them with others. I love you for that! 2.) My favorite thing about you is that you do not discriminate or act differently around people who are not like you. I feel like you are inclusive and never want anyone to feel left out or less than. Though we are different in many ways, you always make me feel loved. 3.) You have this quiet strength about you that I respect and admire in our friendship as well. Bad: 1.) You are vulnerable to few people. What I mean is that you hide your weakness well. I want to support you through life if you’d let me. 2.) This kinda goes with the first one, but our friendship is superficial more than I realized (fav vlogs, nice quotes, funny moments, travel). I want to go deeper. Ugly: 1.) I’m preaching to myself here. We don’t call each other to just check-in.
Jalisa you are the friend that can hold an ocean. You don't gossip or put people down, but usually seek see to understand someone else's perspective. At first you come off guarded but once you know that the friendship is real, you open up. Not going to lie there are times when you seem a little distant but I think it may be because of past friendships so I don't take it to heart. All in all, I enjoy being your friend you bring a lot of laughter & joy to my life.
There are so many things I can say about Jalisa! I'm so thankful for my friend. She comes off as standoffish and bougie when you first meet her, but once you get to know her, you realize she is the farthest thing from it. She only comes off that way because she's trying to "feel you out" and make sure you're not bringing drama into her life. She is intelligent, funny, fun to be around, generous, motivating, honest, stylish, and spontaneous! I've had my best adventures with her and I wouldn't want to have it any other way. She is one of my favorite girlfriends. Shes stuck with me for life.
Even though it won’t be posted I wanted to share my answer.
Jalisa I think you are an amazing sister and most important to me an even more amazing auntie. I truly believe you would do anything for those nephews of yours. In that regard the support that you show in so many ways is inspiring.
The bad/ugly: my desire since you have become a young adult has been to have a great supportive relationship with you. I have always wanted you to know that you can count on me and come to me for absolutely anything and everything. Unfortunately, I have never been able to gage if you felt that way in return as far as being vulnerable with me. Bottom line I want you to know that I love you and support you a thousand percent. I may get emotional at times which you get on to me about and definitely tend to act weird which is my personality/ defense mechanism. But it is only because I love you.
***Insert Kim Kardashian Crying Face***
"My friends, REAL FRIENDS, better than your friends... No Foes, REAL FRIENDS, we ain't even gotta pretend"
Youtube video: https://youtu.be/Z7LTlF5cntw
To my friends:
Thank you A MILLION TIMES.
You have no idea how much you have helped me.
I love you
How do your friends view you? Don't know?
I encourage you to ask them the questions I did because Growth is the Goal, always.
With love and light always,