Thought for the Day:
“Female friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other belong to themselves.”
Question for the Day:
Do you have friendships worth saving?
I don’t know how many of you are fans of the HBO series Insecure but, in my opinion, this show is the business! First of all, it’s like going home for me because my first real apartment after college was in Inglewood, CA in the same neighborhood featured on the show. (Side note: I lived at 865 Glenway Drive to be exact back before it was gentrified and the rent was only $475 as opposed to the current near $2000 price tag. Smh… but that’s a post for another day) Anyway, I remember kicking it at Good Life Cafe, Eso Won Books and even trying my hand at stand-up comedy for the first time at the Comedy Act Theater in the show’s frequently referenced Leimert Park community. So watching this show takes me back to a time when like Issa, Molly, and Kelly, I was trying to find my way, identify my purpose, and catch a man if I was lucky.
The show’s charm for me lies in its authentic and well-rounded approach to exploring the often complex lives of professional Black women. This is why having Black creators in Hollywood like the show’s executive producer Issa Rae, is so critical. I appreciate how she validates that we as African American women are not monolithic. When navigating a system that generally rejects your beauty, perspective, and pain, we as Black women must often be strategical in our approaches to love and career in a way that only WE can understand and Insecure honors that fact. However, what’s also refreshing about the show, is it’s celebration of the sister circle.
Cited from CC’s Expanded Dictionary:
Sister Circle, n. a group of strong women who share cultural, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual bonds. These bonds are powerful and become a critical component to maintaining the sanity and emotional balance its members require to cope within an oppressive society that seeks to silence and undermine women, particularly women of color. Ex: “I got passed over for another promotion, girl. I need my sister circle today. Can we get together later for daiquiris?”
But it’s Insecure’s depiction of the “best friendship” of Issa and Molly that’s one of the most interesting elements of the show to watch. From the first episode, I’ve loved their relationship. They knew how to make each other laugh, keep each other’s secrets, ride for each other when somebody wanted to run up, and could check each other’s bad behavior in ways that no one else could. Though they’ve both participated in their fair share of foolishness, they still knew how to encourage one another to make better choices and not settle for less than each deserved.
Issa and Molly were about as transparent with each other as friends could get. They knew the good, bad and ugly parts of each others lives yet never held it against each other…..that is, until this current season. Sadly, Season 4 has thrown a major curve ball in their friendship. This is the first time we’ve seen these homegirls question each others intentions, throw shade and past mistakes in each other’s faces, and let personal challenges keep them from being there for one another. To put it plainly, at this point in the series, they ain’t f***** with each other no more.
I’ve written on the dangers of fake friendships in the past and I still stand by the fact that some people just don’t mean you any good and need to be cut off. Girl, Bye! 5 Clues You’re in a Fake Friendship But, sometimes it’s not about the friend being fake, but more about how poor boundaries, ineffective communication, and unresolved personal hangups can sometimes destroy a friendship that’s worth keeping. So since I’m a therapist by profession and also disappointed in both Issa and Molly right now (but more Molly… ijs), I figured I’d offer a few quick tips for identifying toxic friendship patterns and addressing them before they lead to the unnecessary death of a friendship.
- Don’t be so preoccupied with your own stuff that you ignore your friends – Issa had her block party to plan and Molly (finally) found a man, but neither of them really took time to encourage each other or even properly acknowledge the other’s success. This will only lead to resentment and a shutting down of communication.
- Don’t throw past mistakes in your friend’s face – It’s a special privilege to be entrusted with your friend’s secrets. Your sister circle should be a safe haven where you are free to admit to the most embarrassing parts of our story and acknowledge the mistakes we can’t admit to anywhere else without judgement. Therefore, weaponizing that knowledge when you get angry is wrong and won’t do anything to help rebuild trust later on.
- Don’t put off difficult conversations – If you know your friendship has taken a wrong turn, don’t procrastinate when it comes to having the uncomfortable discussions. Emotional honesty is imperative if you want to keep a friend, so if you’re hurt, offended, or feeling ignored, say something immediately. If not, those emotions will just fester and the story you are telling about your friend will likely go from bad to worse.
- Don’t let keeping a man make you incapable of being a good friend – More than likely, you had your sister circle before you had your man so don’t forget them once you’re booed up. Though new love is cool and exciting and may feel like the only thing in the world you need, you’re in for a rude awakening once boo turns into a regular person like everybody else.
- Respect boundaries – Yes, it’s nice to be close to your friends but don’t forget that even the closest friends are still individual people who sometimes need space. If a friend asks for distance or isn’t ready for your support, input, criticism, involvement or feedback, respect that.
Real friendships are not easy to come by and have to be honored and treasured. Just like a happy marriage, a meaningful friendship requires hard work, communication, trust, honesty, and commitment. Don’t be like Issa and Molly and move in ways that jeopardize the sister circle bond, especially in times like these. Many women are already short on jobs, money, food, and respect. Don’t let “friend insecurity” become yet another issue we as women have to overcome.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”