When I was a little girl I loved having friends I had a male best friend at the age of 5 his name was Andre, he was older so I pretty much looked up to him as we belonged to the same religion- Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was able to spend a lot of time with him, he was the reason why I was such a good reader at a tender age, But I also had a girl best friend; her name was Nakeisha, and she lived on my block, block 5 and we were so close, her parents owned a shop -so my family was close to them too. She and I played with our dolls we went to the beach together we got along great, and although Andre was cool, nothing was better than having a girl bestie. I ended up migrating to the States when I was 8 years old and longed to form that kind of bond with someone. Sadly it never really happened as my mom got really strict and I was not allowed to hang out with anyone that wasn’t a part of my religion, so once we saw each other in school- that was the end of our relationship. At my kingdom Hall the girls weren’t really all too friendly and I was sort of the youngest, which oftentimes made me feel left out. As I got older I became better at making friends and would sneak to call them on payphones- but I never stayed at a school longer than 2 or 3 years; so again, nothing got to really stick.
This affected me terribly as I was a very lonely child and craved friendship and sisterhood and I stopped at nothing to have that feeling. I actually blame 90’s sitcoms/TV shows that made you think making friends would be easy and that you would be friends for a lifetime. These shows portrayed friendships as being loving and genuine it also showed loyalty no real betrayal, but if you’re reading this right now, well then you know- that’s now how it goes. I recently asked you all on Instagram what you guys thought the hardest part about adult friendships is, and you all had a lot to say, but before we go into it; I would like to share what no one mentioned.
I believe one of the main reasons adult friendships can be hard is that most of us don’t have good relationships with our mothers. Think about it, your mother is the first woman in your life, your first best friend someone you look up to. We expect our mothers to build us up, compliment us, discipline us in a loving way, always have our back, and protect us when we are and when we are not around. We expect our mothers to be there for us; a shoulder to cry on -someone who doesn’t compete with us, am I right? But guess what; we also look for some of those same qualities in a friend, and oftentimes when we can’t get along with our mothers it sets the tone for future relationships as you don’t know what a real woman relationship looks like with a female, you are guarded because you didn’t trust the first woman that entered your life -so you yourself unconsciously can be toxic.
I definitely think that was the case with me to some degree. I never had a relationship with my mother always felt like she didn’t like me and I tried my hardest to gain her approval. When I got older I so desperately wanted to be liked by my friends I would overshare things that they didn’t need to know really early on in the friendship- I now know it’s because I wanted them to sympathize with me and love me and never leave, like my mother, but what ended up happening was they became obsessed with me, wanted to compete with me, they became jealous of me and my life, my resilience and my strength. Our relationships started to resemble my own relationship with my mother, so of course you already know those relationships had to come to an end.
However, with all my misfortunes with friends, I still crave friendship a real sisterhood an unbreakable bond. I know we all do because human connection and female connection are important. A Lot of you had similar complaints about adult friendships and it had to do with jealousy, being mean, competitiveness as well as being fake. I know firsthand how that feels, and it’s not good; what you should know is often times when your friend is jealous of you it’s really a “them” problem, they see something in you that triggers them -when really it’s admiration that they don’t want to admit -so they rather be fake, compete with you, try to out dress you at events. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the friend that’s always asking without fail what you’re wearing to an event every time you link up. I mean… a few times cool but every time. It’s simply to look better than you…I know… very much weird. Those friends though- you have to cut them off no looking back, I would say talk to them about it if you really care for them, but honestly it doesn’t work. I tried that once in college, even wore a shirt that said “Don’t Copy Me” that I bought at Mandee’s haha so she would get the hint …I know “childish”. We ended up having a conversation about it, and I told her it was a lil too much and her explanation was friends should have things in common and she doesn’t see a problem. We continued being friends for several years after; until one day she got upset at me for the simplest thing and we stopped talking, my guess was that she was being a fake friend the entire time, and couldn’t take it anymore, especially after calling her out years prior. Trust me- people don’t forget.
Another complaint was everyone being busy with their own lives and not being available to meet up, or just being in different locations. Also; being the person solely responsible for reaching out and maintaining the connection. I must say being the person responsible can be exhausting and leaves you feeling very vulnerable as you don’t want to feel like you’re the only one making an effort. Another important issue was struggling to find people similar in age/life stage and interests. In the next paragraph, I will discuss how to make your adult friendship work -at least the really special ones.
Okay, Kelly, you’ve talked a lot about the problems we face with adult friendships- but how do we make them work? And my answer to that is simple, listen to your intuition and have those hard conversations; but only with the friends that you do care about and love. Listen we are women, our intuition is always right, I don’t make the rules haha. We know when a friend is being fake we pick up on jealous vibes, we pick up period!. However -when it comes to jealousy and competitiveness I say there’s really no coming back, as that is an awful character trait. Keep in mind if you still insist to have that person in your life, jealousy can turn to hate. Imagine having someone at your wedding or at your baby shower and they secretly hate you…nah cut them off just do it gradually.
Now if the problem in your friendship is not having time, everyone is busy, or you feel like you’re always initiating; I say have that hard conversation, be vulnerable, let your guard down, and express how you feel. Your friend may have felt the same way, but like yourself chose not to talk about it. Remember you are only having that hard conversation with someone you see in the future being around, not a work colleague lol. If that person makes you feel silly for sharing that you want more time etc well guess what that wasn’t your true friend. A true friend will listen and agree to make an effort although you both are busy as they see the value in you and don’t want to lose you. You guys can have bi-weekly calls or monthly calls just to check-in. Text at least twice a week but just come up with a schedule and put it on the calendar so you both get reminders. If you live in another country, state, or just in general you can do video calls and plan to visit each other’s State/Country at least once for the year. Honestly, you have to view your friendships like relationships and nurture them -which can be hard but as I said female friends are important.
Lastly for those looking to find friends in your age group and with similar interests, you just have to be intentional and go to the places where you want to meet those people. If you’re a person that loves listening to jazz -start going to jazz clubs by yourself and meeting people there. If you like attending art galleries or concerts or eating at 5-star restaurants, then you have to show up at those places. If you want to learn how to play tennis, book some tennis sessions and find your people there. If you want a friend that reads more then join a book club or a Facebook- book club group and join conversations. I’ve met two women from a FB fitness group that I initiated a conversation with and we currently DM every other day to check in; it’s nice, but at this point, I’m sure you get the drift. I also love this article about where you can meet friends; this one is good too.
So we’ve reached the end, wow this was a long one and I could’ve kept going hahah. But if you made it this far: Virtual Hugs & kisses: thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts with you; if you ever feel like you need someone just know I’m here always, feel free to send me a message to chat, most of you do- but just extending that invite; trust me no judgment -I get it. And ofcourse we can chat in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.