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10 personal lessons 5 years of marriage have taught me (7)

10 personal lessons 5 years of marriage have taught me (7)

Today I’m going to share about the 7th personal lesson I have learned in 5 years of marriage. 

7) Friends matter!

So many women and men have had inner turmoils and even open conflict because of friendships made before and after they said ‘I do’. Some have advocated the ditching of all ‘single’ or ‘relatively irresponsible’ friends and with good reason (if you hear their stories) while others have kept their friends and made new ones along the way with varying results. 

I can safely say that marriage did not force me to cut the ties from any old friendships (apart from exes) but there have been some new friendships that I have taken a step back from because they didn’t sit right with my life goals and beliefs. I met a married woman some months after I got married who I was initially friendly with. She wanted to show me the town, introduce me to her friends, organize a lot of exciting hangouts and of course wear matching outfits (asoebi) to every occasion under the sun. She basically wanted me to be part of her squad. Her squad entailed a bunch of married, fashionable, worldly wise women who wanted to be known and know anyone and everyone who was anyone in town. They even had a name for their association! I should have been flattered seeing as I was in a new town with no friends and she seemed learned and nice but something held me back. In marriage you have got to trust your gut! Years later, I am happy I didn’t encourage the friendship because I was to learn later on that there’s a certain general opinion about married women in cliques and I really wasn’t interested in being part of the statistic especially since it was usually rife with scandals. Sometimes being alone is better than being with the wrong crowd. 

When you get married it’s very usual to be separated from your closest friends- not by choice, but due to distance or work commitments or even family commitments. It doesn’t give you an excuse to replace them with whoever is available. Don’t let the saying that when the desired is not available, the available becomes desired- become your story. You need to be even pickier with making friends after you get married because these friends will ultimately affect your mindset, influence your marriage and your kids and offer advice to you at least once in your lifetime, advice that may break or make you. 

Little wonder a lot of husbands are paranoid about some of their wives’ friends. I know men who asked their wives to cut off from childhood friends simply because the friend in question was still single or too wild in their opinion. But I ask the men this question; If your woman could be influenced by these so called bad friends or single women who were in her life long before you showed up, wouldn’t she have been influenced before she got married thereby making her less than the virtuous woman you ended up marrying? Some men have good reason to worry about a friendship but for others it’s a thing of control.

Don’t get me wrong, there are reasons to ditch an old friendship. People change, people grow apart, people stop traveling the same path, people stop having things in common and sometimes jealousy and bitterness from old grudges poison friendships and of course, there are times when everyone but the two people involved can see that the friendship is toxic and in that case your husband has good reason to save you from yourself. You just need to trust that it’s coming from a good place and not due to selfish reasons because a man can get jealous about sharing his wife with her female friend(s). 

I had a friend whose ideas about many serious issues were very outlandish based on her upbringing and life experiences. I internalized what I thought made sense but discarded her other ideas. However, hubby got uncomfortable when I would tell him about my interesting conversations with her and one day he told me he wasn’t comfortable with the friendship. It was the first time he was telling me to beware of a friendship and the feminist in me wanted to rise up and let him know I could be friends with whoever I deemed fit and I was basically too old to succumb to peer pressure (maybe I said it out loud, can’t remember 😁). Anyway I listened and I stepped down the intensity of the friendship by a notch or two and life continued relatively drama free…

…Friends matter. 

A woman is taught to make her husband her best friend but we all need one or two other people to unwind with from time to time who we don’t have sex with every night! I have always been of the opinion that a woman with too many friends comes to ruin (ref: the Bible) and thanks to Hollywood, a group of 2-4 women makes the perfect friendship circle (Sex and the city for example). Once you have more than 3 very close friends it’s no more friendship just multiple information channels for the dissemination of your private business to the world. 

Sisters make the best friends in the world so before you start looking for a new friend, call home…

Once you find a good friend, you stick with her whether she is single, widowed, divorced or plain crazy. These things are not infectious! However if you think her reasoning or some of her actions may negatively impact on your marriage you are allowed to pick your marriage over the friendship if you can’t control the situation (but please be certain so there are no regrets). Also remember the popular saying that show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are, so if bestie is a runz girl, it says a lot about you!

Finally there’s the very important issue of our husbands’ friends…Did i hear a woman sigh? Almost every woman ever married has disliked at least one of her husband’s friends. Putting distance between a bad friend and your hubby is difficult but worth the trouble. Over the years, I succeeded in putting space between the friends I didn’t think he should be keeping, with a mix of positive reinforcements (for the friends I approved of), prayers, substitute activities (scheduled at the same time as whatever activity he was going to do with the funny friend) and a courteous but not encouraging (very formal) demeanor towards the friends I didn’t approve of (I’m sure they got the message- sorry, not sorry). I also chipped in wifely advice very occasionally about why keeping the right company was important but was very careful with words because of how sensitive the matter potentially was. 

Why did I think it important? Most men are not built to be lone wolves, they run in packs and if the pack consists of adulterous men who drink too much, have little regard for God or their wives, engage in get rich quick schemes or constantly keep late nights then MBA (NO!), they have got to go. Hubby thankfully had no serious ties to any of those friends so letting them go didn’t affect his joy. I also made sure I introduced hubby to the husbands of my close friends to see if there would be a spark (many times there wasn’t) but thankfully hubby is close friends with the husband of one of my close friends and we (my friend and I) are both ecstatic about it #couplefriendshipgoals. And of course, I didn’t mess with hubby’s university friends because he had told me they were his ride or die friends and since he became the great guy I met and married with the influence of these guys then I had no qualms with them sticking around. Instead, I developed friendships with the wives of these friends so that shared vacations and hangouts wouldn’t be awkward! 

In a nutshell, friends can complicate your marriage, they can also make it stronger by offering solid counsel, immeasurable support and unwavering encouragement but it all boils down to who you let into your life. Friends matter, dont take this lightly. Choose wisely!

Have a beautiful day chutzpah fam,

Xoxo

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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Inspirational

 

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The Ideal Friend

You only need one!

A friend that sticketh closer than a brother and a brother is born for adversity but in these cut throat times…

Having a real friend is a rarity many long for but can’t afford, they are too busy chasing dreams to grow potential friendships and instead make do with frenemies- well not the absolute bad kind, just the kind that are happy for you and with you till you start to outshine them.

The truth is the world talks about frenemies like they are the worst but they seem to be just a mirror image of the friends they keep. Jealousy laced with a tinge of envy has become a hustle garland people wear with pride, it dictates their drive for success and their level of satisfaction and contentment in life in comparison with the next dude in their circle of influence. In fact many a frenemy have been the sure push behind a man’s success story (the Lord keep my enemies alive so they can witness my victory syndrome).

It’s all a great arrangement till you actually need a friend- one you can trust with your life, one you can do business with without ever getting screwed, one you can ask to care for your family after you are gone, one you can share your deepest, darkest secrets with, one you’d mutually take a bullet for, one you can laugh with, cry with, be brutally honest with and take real advice from because you know they have your back no matter what! Some people are lucky and their spouse becomes that friend, others are luckier and they are gifted with such friendships (na only Baba God fit give this one oh- because human beings are innately flawed and he knows what flawed souls work best in sync) but how do you get that sort of friend- the BFF who still cracks you up in your 70s and would still fight your battle for you even if it’s with a wobbly cane and hoarse curses?

Here’s how…

1) Be honest about the friendships in your life. 

Draw a list of all your ‘friends’ and then put them in 3 groups; 

the frenemies (they’ve pricked you with pocket knives enough times for you to know they’d stab you with a kitchen knife if they ever got the chance);

then the real friends (usually one or two- they won’t be perfect but you can count the times they’ve taken a bullet for you or gotten you out of hell- it’s not enough for them to sit with you and give great advice cos talk is cheap);

and then the acquaintances (it doesn’t matter how often you guys hang out- they are the ones who the world thinks are your friends cos they are in all your facebook and Instagram pics but you know exactly where you stand with them and don’t even want them knowing your business so there’s always a façade and lots of coverups when they are around). This last group is different from the frenemies because your frenemies have access to your heart and your personal business these people only have access to your good days and great occasions!

Now to the second…

2) Be honest about what you want out of a friendship

Everybody wants different things from a friendship. Most people need the 3 groups of friends to satisfy 3 different longings. The frenemies to push you to be better (some healthy or unhealthy competition), the real friends to share your burdens and the acquaintances to have fun with (because all work and no play…). A friend can function as 2 and 3 or 1 and 3 but 1 and 2 always cancel out each other and if a 2 acts like 1, the 2 becomes a 1!

The real issue begins when you blur these lines or worse put the wrong person in the wrong group. You need to be honest about what you want out of a friendship so that you don’t go telling your deepest woes to an acquaintance (TMI- awkward!) or to a frenemy (ammunition- dangerous!) A person doesn’t get upgraded to 2 because they have been in your life for years (perhaps waiting to strike) or because they held your hand through one crisis (did you get your degree after just one exam?). You need to take time to study their personality, how they feel about you and their concept of loyalty and their spoken and unspoken words not to mention their actions! The next time you want to reach out to a friend, you need to ask yourself what you desire at that moment- some excitement, some competition-driven motivation or a real friend and let it guide your call out.

3) Be honest about where you stand with each person.

Unrequited friendship is just as bad as unrequited love. Does your boo have a boo? If you are her number 3 and she is your number 2 then you are both out of sync and that friendship will not be satisfying. 

Don’t mistake a person who is genuinely nice and honest and helpful to everybody for your own personal person!

That’s why nice people always have tons of friends but they alone know who their friends really are. So if you are always sharing life issues with her and she’s so helpful and such a great listener but you don’t know jack about her or well the stuff about her that really matters, she isn’t your friend. She is your counselor, doctor or life coach at best! 

Not being honest about where you stand with people leads to disappointments and heart break and dramatic feelings of betrayal which you wouldn’t have been feeling if you only opened your eyes. 

4) Be honest about who you are.

Would you be friends with you?

I’ve noticed that a lot of people who are insincere, backstabbers, foul-mouthed, competitive, unfeeling (the bad character list is quite long) are the ones who are the loneliest, who crave more meaningful friendships and who have totally lost hope in the sincerity of a good friendship (“I don’t have friends that are girls, too much drama!” And the guys? “You know guys only want one thing!”)

Some people have developed these traits as a defense mechanism for all the stuff they have seen or gone through (kill or be killed), others are really good people deep down but never let anyone see the good because of all the emotional baggage it’s buried under but you must understand that actions and reactions are equal and opposite! 

Some people also see an overly friendly person as either suspicious (even the bible asks you to suspect a neighbor that loudly greets you early in the morning) or having too many friends so they don’t want to increase your body count. Sanguines tend to have a lot of acquaintances since they are easily the life of the party but very few meaningful friendships and as a result get very lonely!

Also some people are overly jealous and clingy and stifle their friendships but I think this again is mostly a myth. Unless you are a sociopath, a real friend would not consider you jealous or clingy because your friendship would be as much of a priority to them as it is to you however if your friend sees you only as a number 1 or 3,  she could have you committed!

If you are in need of a real friend, check yourself are you friend material? 

5) Be honest about the friendships you have ignored.

Nothing like a post like this to open your eyes and make you realize that you’ve spent too much time watering and nurturing the weeds instead of tending your garden! No friendship even the strongest ones will thrive without love and attention. Look at that list again, if you were unable to put down any name in the real friend group (2) then you need to draw up another list of people who could be potential friends (based on surprising acts of kindness, their total devotion to you even when you don’t give back or some other positive action- forget words) and beside their names write down why exactly you didn’t nurture that friendship. If the reason is a valid one, strike their names off the list (not all that glitters is gold) but if your busy schedule or laziness or your sense of entitlement is the reason why you you haven’t nurtured that friendship then get your garden tools and do some work! If the friendship was made in heaven, it won’t be too late.

Real friends make life so much more beautiful but even pretty gardens have weeds. If your real friend has hurt you and you cannot seem to trust him or her anymore, demote the person to number 1 or 3 and move on. You’ll find it easier to let go of the unforgiveness when you don’t have to pretend that the friendship is something it isn’t. Some friendships last for only a season, others for a life time but I can assure you that when one door closes the good Lord always opens another. 

Have a lovely day Chutzpah fam,

Xoxo

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2016 in Life

 

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The Frenemy!

What do you do when you have a friend who gives you more grief than joy?
What do you do when your friend only remembers you when she needs you or is never there for you?
What do you do when your friend joins others to criticise you publicly or gossips and jeers at you behind your back?
What do you do when your friend always picks a fight with you or gangs up with others to do so?
What do you do when your friend is more interested in kicking you down than building you up?
What do you do when you seem to be in constant competition with your friend?
What do you do when your friend only corrects you or points out your flaws in public?

Sounds like the friend from hell right?

Well guess what, it ain’t new. There’s a reason the term frenemy was coined. It’s like a game of tag and guess what? You’re it!

You have to ask yourself one of these 3 questions:
1. Are we really friends? (Is this a mutual friendship or is it one-sided?)
2. Does she have a reason to envy me or a personal vendetta?
3. How did this friendship even start? (Was it a mere thrusting of 2 people due to environmental factors or did it come with the excitement and love a new friendship brings?)

If by now you are really beginning to consider then ask yourself some more questions…
1) Is the friendship dispensable? Some people have too many friends, cutting an unhealthy friendship can be not as hard as you think but others require the friendship because it comes with some not so unattractive benefits, maybe a club membership or a pass into the in-crowd or a sense of belonging to a group of other people your friend is chummy with. If you hate her guts but need her for some specific other reason then chances are she knows she’s indispensable and not many people are nice when they don’t have to be.

2) Do you like having a frenemy?
There’s an upside to frenemies. They keep you on your toes. They make you wanna get better with their criticism and competitive nature. They make your spirit stronger. They tell you the truth! Sometimes a lot of friends try too hard to spare your feelings, they tell you what you wanna hear because they genuinely have love in their eyes and are blinded to your imperfections. On the flip side a frenemy is all about your imperfections and some people need this to maintain the balance. As long as she won’t literarily stab you in the back one day, she may not be the worst problem in your life so ride on. Besides everyone thinks having a hater is a mark of success. If you are doing well someone’s gonna beef you. It may be nice having that person on speed dial.

3) Can you talk to the person about it?
Some people are frenemies by design. They’ve been hit hard by life, maybe numerous heartbreaks, a divorce, a death, some failures, it could be anything and for some reason you seem to have it good. The thing is nobody has it all good and they probably don’t see your silent tears but many of these people don’t know they are frenemies. They’d even be hurt if you told them straight up that you were ending the friendship or if you let them see how much they hurt you. So talking may help with some of them but remember that this doesn’t always go well. You may end up being further criticised and jeered about ‘the talk’ in public or she could just laugh in your face. If your frenemy is an attention-seeker and she feels you are always stealing her spotlight then forget talking, it won’t help.

Don’t get it wrong, frenemies are capable of being loyal friends to certain people, unfortunately you didn’t make the list and you didn’t get the memo. Forcing a friendship is acceptable in high school, even pardonable in the university but by the time you are a grown ass woman, having a frenemy is just plain ole stupid unless like I said before you are into that sorta thing. The bible says there’s a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. If you have that friend then focus on her and stay as far away from those who cause you grief. The world is full of enough enemies and can be a cruel hard place, making time for unnecessary and unwholesome friendships can be such a weiste!

But don’t get me wrong, there’s a reason ‘Frenemy’ starts with the first few letters of the word ‘Friend’. Some of them can be quite friendly, even bail you out or be there for you once in a blue moon so you’ve gotta weigh the friendship on the frenemy scale. If it’s tipping more towards friend than enemy, you may consider keeping the friendship and even investing some time and love into it. That may just be the sweetener it needs. If it’s tending more towards enemy, get a pair of scissors, you need to cut the ties fast! You don’t have to write a long letter about why you can’t be friends anymore, just lose touch on purpose. Be too busy to hangout, keep your personal business private and refuse to humor them with arguments or retorts. Eventually they’ll either get the hint or they’ll make an effort to be nicer to you.

And if you are like someone I know who tends to forget to contact real friends and instead spends time diddling with frenemies and acquaintances, you may need to shape up. Your friends love you but if you don’t give them enough attention, they’ll get other friends and you’ll find out when you really need a friend to talk to, you have a blackberry messenger with a hundred contacts and yet you feel so alone.

I’m blessed, I have some really good friends and today I’m gonna call them and tell them how much I love and appreciate them and while I’m at it, weed out a few frenemies! You should try it too! 😉

Have a great day peeps…
xoxoxo 😉

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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