The last two weeks, have left me wondering: what are our responsibilities to our friends?
College is over, and we are all officially ‘grown ass women’. We pay our own bills, and go to our own jobs; some of us even have our own families. The last thing a ‘Grown Ass Woman’ wants is someone, especially a friend, butting their nose where it doesn’t belong. Because of this, I have developed a strong policy that encourages one to shut the fuck up, and mind their own damn business. So far, it has never done me wrong; yet lately I have been questioning if that is the right thing to do.
Living and finding myself, I have made and lost so many friends. Eventually, I got better at finding one and being one, and now I have a pretty solid group of ladies that I adore. We have seen each other through some really tough times, so much so, it can be difficult to know where your opinion is wanted, needed, or simply undesired. Should I be the listening ear or give my honest advice? When is enough, enough? Is it ever ok to encourage someone to break up? And what if it is more personal—Is your friend make dangerous choices? Do they hurt themselves? Do they hurt people they love? If so, are you really a friend if you sit around and watch?
For years, I believed it was best to live and let live. However, as we approach 30, I can’t help but rethink these beliefs. Especially, after seeing so many people I love spiral into drug abuse, jail, and the grave. Could things have been different had I been brave enough to speak up? What crime did I commit, by assuming that ‘they’ll get it one day’. Confused, I posed the question to my sister. “Don’t you care” she asked, plainly disgusted with my ideology of minding my own damn business. To her, friendship involves giving and getting the hard truths. “That’s your friend” she continued, “they want to know what you think”. Really?! I felt like not only a bad friend but an irresponsible one as well.
Earlier Today, still dumbfounded by sister’s theory, I posed the subject to my oldest friend; who made it crystal clear that in her eyes, “A friend pulls you up” …uncomfortable conversation be dammed! After all, “Londynn [her daughter] is your god-daughter; you don’t want to have to raise her, so help me!! Damn; yet another reason to speak up when a friend needs you. It’s no longer simply a bad relationship, or experimental drug use—the choices we make now, set off a series of events. Phase be dammed—Stop now! The examples we set, the way we speak, and the things we do around our children, and those who look up to us will continue to affect them for years to come. The ideas and impressions we teach now, will reflect on their futures. And as a friend, it is your responsibility to say “ I love you, but I don’t like this and I am worried”.
Looking back, I feel like my policy of keeping my opinion to myself, allowed me to hide from my responsibilities as a friend. I was far more worried about their feelings towards me than I was about them. That is selfish. It is very natural for your friend to be upset about your criticism, but that doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate your honesty.
Find a way to speak your truth,with love and acceptance—speak to them out of love not judgment; they will eventually learn to appreciate how much you care, and you can sleep with a clear conscience.Even if they have no intention of listening to you.
It’s important that as a friend we do our job, and have those uncomfortable conversations, which can pull our friends from the deep end. After all, if we don’t who will?
What is the best advice you ever gave a friend? What is the best thing a friend has ever done for you? Or do you believe in minding your own damn business? Let me know In the comments…
Been holding back from being honest with someone you care about? Share this post with them, and talk it out.