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Why I Prefer My Friends To NOT Be Friends With Each Other

Some folks like their friends being buddies. Me? I pretty much loathe the idea.

What About Your Friends?

Call it petty. Call it silly. Call it whatever you wish. But I'm here to tell you that if you live long enough on this planet—and you're actually paying attention to what's happening both inside of and around you—you start to figure out what truly benefits you the most, whether other people "get it" or not. One of those things for me is, preferring my friends to not be friends with each other (if they weren't already friends beforehand).

Before we do somewhat of a deep dive into why I feel this way, let me just share two complementary points that helped to bring me to this resolve. One is that I'm an ambivert who leans more to the introverted side. So much, in fact, that the running joke in my friendships is, should I ever get married, the thought of sitting around in a room with all of my friends as we eat cake and open up lingerie boxes is completely nauseating to me. I'd much rather do one-on-ones with each person at one of our favorite spots. Second, there are two articles on friendship that I've already written for the site. One is "Always Remember That Friendships Have 'Levels' To Them"; the other is "According To Aristotle, We Need 'Utility', 'Pleasure' & 'Good' Friends". Because I have different kinds of friendships, different people bring forth a different type of energy. And so, when different-level-friends connect with other people in my world, I've come to realize that it can bring other unexpected issues into the dynamic; things that can become complicated, if not flat-out maddening.

If you can kinda-sorta see where I'm coming from, but you'd still like a little more of an explanation, just to be completely clear on where I'm coming from, sit tight. I'll break it down for you, as best I can, why my friends aren't friends with each other—and that's perfectly fine with me, chile.

Boundaries Are ALWAYS Good

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I'm big on boundaries (check out "The Relationships In Your Life That Are Desperately In Need Of Boundaries"). Boundaries are simply limits. With that said, my not preferring my friends to be friends isn't a "rule". People are grown and can do whatever they wanna do. It is a limit for me, though, in the sense that I don't live my life in a way where my friends would become friends in the first place. I don't create settings for everyone to meet up. I don't recommend my friends get to know each other better. Honestly, I don't bring my friends up a ton to my other friends at all. Plus, because my friends know this is how I am, they aren't out here "hunting my other friends down" either (besides, that's just weird).

I must admit that, at first, some of the more sociable people in my life found this preference of mine to be strange, but actually many of my homies have started to incorporate this same "limit" themselves. Everyone has their own space in their other relationships which is cool. Sure, we may know about some of each other's friends on a surface level, but most of us are all good with the buck starting and stopping right there.

My Business Is Mine Alone to Tell

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Yeah. Remember what I said about friendships having different levels? Back when I didn't draw firm boundaries in my relationships, I can't tell you how many times one of my friends would bring some detail of my life to me that I absolutely did not tell them. So, how did they find out? One of my other friends brought it up to them. I'm not talking about something nonconsequential like I made a run to the store either. Sometimes, it would be some really deep ish. In fairness (if you can call it that) to the "teller", it wasn't that they were being malicious or anything. More times than not, they were running off at the mouth thinking that, since I was friends with the other person, my friend already knew. 6 times out of 10, they couldn't be more wrong.

But now, since my friends aren't friends with each other, this isn't something that I have to worry about. Everyone finds out what I want them to know—if I want them to know it—on my own time. Besides, since friendships have levels, there are some people I go deep with while there are others that I choose to stay on the surface with, by design. When your friends aren't friends with each other, you get to make the decision of who is privy to info and who isn't—which should solely be your decision in the first place. Right?

I’m Not Perfect. My Friends Need to Vent to Their Own Folks, Tho.

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Self-awareness is something that is very important to me. It's what helps me to see my flaws and issues; it's also what helps me to let my friends "show me myself" too. And because my friends and I typically hold nothing back when it comes to holding each other accountable, I know there are times when my friends may need to vent about my over-the-top candor or how I tend to be more black and white than grey. Maturity has taught me to be OK with that. At the same time, it's a lot easier when your friends vent (or rant) about you to people you don't even know (or aren't connected to) than someone who is your actual homie. Shoot, sometimes those same friends get on my nerves and I want to be able to express my feelings too. They don't care that I do it either because, just like I'm not emotionally invested or involved in who they are venting about me to, the same point applies over this way.

(By the way, I know that some of y'all are probably thinking, "A true friend wouldn't talk about you at all." That's not realistic. Or probable. Especially since you probably talk about your friends from time to time. Give them the space to do it. So long as it's not in your space.)

Should a Friendship End, I Don’t Want to Keep Hearing About That Person

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This is a big one right here. I've got one friend who is still friends with me and another person who totally betrayed my trust. When you're in the third grade, you tend to take the position that if someone hurts you, all of your friends should stop being their friend. When you're grown, you get that, not only is that a very childish approach to relationships, it's not even fair. Still, it's been years since I ended things with said-friend and I still hearing about her, even though I couldn't care less. Why? Because we share a friend and I don't want to "police" my friend's topics of conversation. It's not her fault that her friend and I don't kick it anymore. Sometimes she's excited about something that happened in her friend's life. Sometimes she wants advice on how to handle a matter with the friend. Sometimes her friend comes up, simply because she's a part of the landscape of her life. But man, do I have moments where I am sick and tired of still hearing about that girl.

This is one more reason why I don't like my friends being friends. While I must say that my friend circle now is pretty darn healthy, beneficial and drama-free, even if it wasn't, it wouldn't matter. If I were to end things with one of my friends now, I wouldn't be hearing about them from any of my other friends.

While some of them know of each other or might even be connected via social media (due to business similarities, etc.), none of them are friends. And so, when I'm done, everything is done. There's no need for them to come up unless I bring them up because my other friends aren't invested in them in the way that I was. And I like it that way. I really do.

I’d Prefer the Universe Match People Up. Not Me.

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This last point doesn't even come from my own personal experience. It comes from a friend of mine. Before I share her example that illustrates another reason why I don't like my friends being friends, let me just say that, because I live in this type of space, you can best believe that I respect it when it comes to others. Yes, there have been times when a friend has given me their blessing to connect with one of their friends for a particular business opportunity or I've ran into one of my friend's friends and we've had a cool chat. But I pretty much leave it at that. I don't keep phone numbers. I don't do social media so there's no need to connect there. I just leave it at "I appreciate you" and go on with my life. I've got my own friends, so I don't need to "woo" them in.

Here's another reason why I like living this way. One of my close girlfriends once had a close guy friend. She threw a party where her closest friends attended and another close girlfriend exchanged contact information with her guy friend. About three months later, my friend noticed that her girlfriend was bringing up her guy friend a lot. About three months after that, she also realized that she wasn't speaking as much with her guy friend. When she and the guy friend finally discussed it, he said that he felt like being friends with both of them was kind of awkward because he (now) knew so much about them both. And since their mutual girlfriend was more proactive in connecting with him, he (now) considered them to be closer.

Ain't that some ish? Yet, it happens. It happens when you're out here bringing friends together like a Coke commercial (LOL). As a result, now my friend isn't as close with either person because the guy friend has distanced himself and her girlfriend is cryptic AF about her friendship with the guy. None of this would've happened if my friend hadn't matched up her friends.

Listen, I know that this isn't the way everyone lives their life nor do I think that it should be. But I make no apologies for how much I like this particular standard. It has been nothing but relational smooth sailing for me, ever since I implemented it. And what about when my time comes to leave this earth? What then? Well, it's kind of another article for another time, but I'm the cremate-me-and-go-on-with-your-life kind of person, so there's no need for a kumbaya get together then either. Just remember me how I was. Your friend. Our relationship. As it was. On our own. Thank you much. No worries (literally). The end. Amen.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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