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
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
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.
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
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.
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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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
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