I’m ever amazed at the power of the female friendship. From sandbox days, college, motherhood, life as working professionals and everything else in between, the evolution of relationships among women is the stuff that dissertations and reality tv shows are made of. In good times and in trying times, our friendships serve as reminders of why we connected with certain women and why we choose to keep them close. Yet for many, the idea of meaningful friendships with other women seems as elusive as winning the lottery. Some take so much for granted in not honoring their roles as friends to their friends.
She’s not a friend if she hasn’t come through for you when you needed her the most. When my mom died, I had one friend who came to clean my parents’ home. Another who helped me edit the obituary. Another who helped me choose (and eventually buy) my mother’s dress. Another who reminded me that no self-respecting daughter of a Haitian woman should come dressed looking pitiful to her mother’s homegoing service. She bought my dress too. If you live long enough, you will find friendships will have plenty of opportunities to be tested. If your friend continually fails the “hold me down” exam, she may need to take remedial courses while you move on to the next friendship level.
She’s not a friend if she doesn’t prevent or mitigate your public embarrassment. It’s now gone from food in your teeth to ignant social media posts. Public humiliation has become an art form, yet friendships should be about preserving one’s self-respect and reputation. We can’t be friends if your foolery runs the risk of both of us losing our livelihood and our personal testimony to boot. Ratchet and uncouth behavior gets you a good laugh with your squad. But it doesn’t get you a reference letter or a good word when you most need it. Ask your ratchet/wretched friend to write you that letter. Let’s see how far she gets with that. It has got to stop. It’s. Not. Cute.
She’s not a friend if she lets you go out dressed in clothes that’s bad for your body. I’m good for the dressing room photos. Although I prefer to shop alone, I know my girlfriends are just a snap shot away from a second opinion. I’m not talking about sans makeup and messy ponytail days. I’m talking about clothes that just don’t look right for your body type. My size 6 waist is in hot competition with my mama-blessed hips. So I’m mindful of that when I dress and my friends tend to look out for me too. Bey told you to get in “formation” so here you go running out and buying everything she wore at the Super Bowl. Bey is tall. Bey got legs. Bey has stylists. You are 5’3″, with sticks for legs and double D breast. “Gurl, that’s cute! You slay!” Sucks teeth. Lies they tell. Friends don’t let friends go out looking any kinda way.
She’s not a friend if she met you in the same space and hasn’t pushed, prayed, or fussed (cussed) you into your next level. One thing I’ve enjoyed about my girlfriends is the fact we are not Siamese Twins in how we live out our lives. No two are alike. God has preordained our journeys to intersect but the paths we have taken has been solely our own. That being said, friends should always serve as sounding boards for our dreams and goals. If it’s all her and no time to focus in on you-we have a problem. As level headed as I would like to think I am, I’m not above checking in with my friends for their weigh in. They’ve always been my biggest cheerleaders. If you were at point A when you met your friends and the dial hasn’t moved one bit, you need to first check yourself and second check your friends. If they aren’t the voice of reason, support, encouragement, and straight up in yo face “what are you doing with your life?” type of friends, then you need to be concerned. You will blink and they’ve moved on. Here you are still wishing and hoping. Girl bye.
She’s not a friend if you’re not a better person for knowing her. Friendships are like the ocean waves, with constant ebbs and flows. The starting place isn’t necessarily the ending. There are lifelong friendships. There are friendships for a season. There are friendships that come when needed and leave when not. There are those delightful, totally from left field type of friendships. Those are my personal fave.
Whatever phase your friendships are in, take stock of their value and be sure they are doing what’s good and what’s right for you.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10