I remember watching Girls Trip and feeling like I was watching my own group of friends on-screen. Each friend (or character) within the group brought something different to the table, and each woman needed the other for different reasons based on their bond.
It seems the older I get, however, the more cognizant I am about who I call a friend, an associate, or even how I categorize certain friends. I realize that I'm likely categorized by some of my friends based on the type of friend I am to them as well. For example, sometimes you need the "let's get lit" friend, and other times you need the "let's get a prayer going" type of friend.
It's inevitable that there are some friends who may not be the same type of friend we need or want based on where we are in our lives – we grow, we change, we evolve. There's a familiar verse that says: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and the same applies to certain friendships.
Although it's not always comfortable, there comes a point in our lives when we have to decide if we're going to: renew, relax (take a break), re-categorize (or re-prioritize), or release (let go of) certain friendships. I used to struggle quite a bit with this reality, but I've learned to embrace it especially when the change is for the better. I've learned that although the friendship may change or end, my love for the person doesn't have to end.
Over the years, I've observed through my personal experiences that there are four main factors that impacted and changed some of my friendships, and they can impact yours as well.
Mindsets have changed.
Positive thinking and positive energy is so important, and they're also contagious. The more I surround myself around positive energy and people, the more I am empowered and inspired to keep going after my goals. Hence, I can admit that I have had to distance myself from certain people or completely end certain friendships because they were too negative, too spiritually draining, or because I realized we were going or growing in two totally different directions.
Although we can influence people to change, we can't force people to change. For a lot of people, change makes them uncomfortable, so they would rather stay where they are instead of grow and evolve. I understand also that my willingness to step out of my comfort zone makes other people uncomfortable.
Not to mention the fact that some friends are committed to who you used to be versus who you are becoming. I've affirmed, however, that just because they're committed to who I used to be doesn't mean they're committed to who I'm destined to be. Like the saying goes, "if they can't grow with you, then they can't go with you." This doesn't always mean that the friendship has to completely end. It may mean that it's time for you to re-categorize the friendship, distance yourself, or change your expectations for certain friends.
Priorities have changed.
Marriage, babies, careers, businesses, ministry, illnesses, major life changes…all of these things, and more, can directly impact a friendship. Most of my friends will tell you – I love my girls (the show Girlfriends is still, to this day, one of my favorite shows of all time), and I love a girls' night out. However, as a married, career-oriented, purpose-driven woman, the reality is that they are no longer my first priority (and vice versa for them).
I had a friend who was mad at me one year because I couldn't attend their wedding even though: 1) I found out about it only a few months prior to it occurring, 2) It was an extremely busy year that required a lot of travel and financial resources due to my career and side-hustle, as well as my BFF's wedding, for which I was the maid of honor, and 3) I still gave them a gift. Since then, our friendship has changed somewhat, but I refuse to feel bad for prioritizing my life over one day.
They say, "People make time for what they care about," but I also think there needs to be some degree of consideration for certain friends' lives, as well as situations that others may not be aware of.
I understand that I can't expect my friends to be at every single event or to always show up for me. Support looks different to different people, and it's shown in different ways, even beyond someone's physical presence.
Beyond that, friendships can change as a result of how the friendship is prioritized. I am not a perfect friend by far, but I am that friend who goes hard for my friends. However, I am no longer that friend who consistently makes someone else a priority when they've made it clear that the friendship isn't as much a priority for them, and you don't have to be that friend either.
I am no longer committed to bending over backwards for people who aren't even willing to bend a knee for me.
Last year, at the DreamHer conference in Atlanta, Dr. Nicole Garner Scott posed a great question when she asked: "Are the people you're committed to just as committed to you?" Your answer to this question will help you determine if it's time to re-prioritize a friendship, or anything for that matter.
Loyalties have changed.
"Loyalty is about the people who stay true to you behind your back."
What is a friendship if there is no loyalty, and especially if they can't be trusted? Some people can be loyal to you one day but stab you in the back the next day. Unfortunately, this has happened to me on more than one occasion (including the ultimate betrayal when I was in college). Although it hurt then, it's clear to me now that they were never really my friend and I no longer needed that friendship. As Beyonce likes to say, "Thank God I found the good in goodbye."
Interests have changed.
Listen, I loved college. I loved a lot of the things I did when I was in college, but now, I'm 15 years removed from that time in my life. Some of the interests I had back then are no longer appealing to me, let alone relevant to my current life. Simply put, just because they're connected to your past doesn't mean they're tied to your future.
Drake said, "No new friends," but as with almost anything in life, sometimes it's okay to purge in order to make room for something (or someone) better. Over the years, I have been blessed to maintain a lot of my life-long friendships, but I've also been blessed to develop new friendships even via social media. No matter how old or new the friendship may be and regardless of the "ship" that you're on (friendship, relationship, "situationship", etc.), just make sure it's headed in the right direction.
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
Sean Anthony Eddy/ Getty Images
Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
Carlos Barquero/ Getty Images
Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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