By Janelle Simmons
Will they stand their ground? Will they let you down again? What about your friends? Are they gonna be low down? Will they ever be around? Or will they turn their backs on you?
A-line haircuts, big, floppy hats with baggy, colorful jeans and some dance moves that you know if you attempted now, you’ll probably wind up in the waiting room of the closest urgent care clinic! That song was the jam back in the day and honestly, it still makes me want to do “the wop” today! Although it was one of the songs that put the 90’s R&B trio, TLC, on the map, they posed some interesting questions about friendships.
Let’s face it, we all share one common purpose in life. Relationships. If not, then why are there so many people on earth? There’s no way we are meant to operate in everyday life alone. Whether we like it or not, we need friends. Whether you have one close, true friend or if you have 562 of them on Facebook, it’s a must have. Why? Because we need an advocate. We need to have at least one person in our lives who will have our back but still be real enough to snatch off our wigs, shake our shoulders and give us one good smack to talk us down off many of ledges. These are the friends that will stand their ground and help you to stand yours too!
Hold up! Wait a minute! I must say this: Although friends are there to help you out, please, please, PLEASE don’t label them as your hired personal assistants/super heroes! Ugh! Just like you, your friends are human beings too. Guess what that means? THEY MAKE MISTAKES! I’ve seen way too many friendships go to the crapper because someone didn’t come through when and how someone thought they should. There’s this nasty little word that can make or break a friendship or any relationship for that matter. That word is “expectations”. Do yourself and your friends a favor and make a list of all the expectations you have of them. Go outside. Get a shovel. Dig a hole 6 feet deep (Preferably on your own property: This blog post is not responsible for trespassing and property damage charges pressed against you). Invite your friends. Toss your list of expectations in hole and conduct a funeral service for them. Kiss them goodbye. Don’t look back! You’ll find that your friendships will be so much sweeter and freer when you don’t judge them based off of how the other person performs.
Now, with that said, TLC posed another question: Are they gonna be low down? This question leads us to another word. No, it’s not a nasty one like “expectations”. This word is going to be your bestest friend! Let’s hear it for “boundaries”! When you take away expectations, you gotta implement boundaries. These are especially for the needy friends that tend to suck you dry like a sponge but you love ‘em so much that you just can’t permanently throw up the peace sign and roll out. Whether they make 99.999% of your conversations entirely about their problems or if they keep borrowing your favorite accessories but never can seem to find them when you need them back, boundaries will be an answer to your loudest cries for help. From making yourself and your favorite accessories less available to introducing them to other self-sufficient people, boundaries are there to protect you. Once healthy ones are established, your friendships, depending on how your friends interpret these new boundaries, can be pretty sweet!
So, what about your friends? I challenge you to evaluate your friendships. Any of them have some expectations that need to be laid to rest? What about boundaries that need to be brought to life? Take some time to chew on it and put them in place. You’ll be oh so glad that you did!