I'm pretty sure that some of y'all remember the 2009 movie, that came from the book, He's Just Not That into You (Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Ginnifer Goodwin, etc.). Anyway, a co-author of the book is a man by the name of Greg Behrendt. There are several quotes from the book that I really like. One of them is, "If he's not calling you, it's because you are not on his mind. If he creates expectations for you, and then doesn't follow through on little things, he will do the same for big things. Be aware of this and realize that he's OK with disappointing you." Whew. Yes. And amen.
No doubt, when it comes to what inspired the title of this lil' read, it was definitely that book and film. And while I'm absolutely not saying that you should have the same sort of expectations in your friendships that you do in your romantic relationships (or situationships), I do think that there's a huge group of individuals who constantly find themselves disappointed, if not flat-out devastated, in their friendships, and it's all because they were more invested in their "friend" than their friend was ever truly invested in them.
That's why I thought it would be a great act of service to share a few clear indications that, while you might be out here thinking that you're in a friendship, the other person really isn't as "into you" as you may currently believe.
If You Didn’t Reach Out, You’d (Probably) Rarely Speak to Them
While I'm not exactly sure what makes so many of us think this way when you're of high school age and under, you're kinda wired to think that either someone is your friend or they are your foe, with not much space in between. Oh, but as you get older—and hopefully wiser—you begin to embrace that there is a whole lot of space in between those two words. That's why I've written articles on the site like "Always Remember That Friendships Have 'Levels' To Them", "According To Aristotle, We Need 'Utility', 'Pleasure' & 'Good' Friends" and "Allow These Things To Happen Before Calling Someone 'Friend'". Anyway, something that I believe is a clear sign of a healthy friendship is mutuality. And so, when it comes to my friendships, we both call each other, we both initiate times to hang out, we both acknowledge special days and we both are readily available if one of us is in need. On the flip side, when it comes to a lot of my acquaintance situations, while whenever we see each other, it's all good, and sometimes we even hang out, at the same time, if I never reached out to them, it could easily be months before they ever checked in on their own.
And you know? The people behind Door #2, if I put them into the same category as my friends, I could easily find myself feeling taken for granted a lot of the time. However, since they aren't my friends…I don't.
If you're out here calling someone your friend and yet that person rarely does any of the leg work to make sure that the two of you remain connected, while that doesn't automatically make you enemies, that doesn't really mean the two of you are homies either. Remember how Greg said that folks call when you're on their mind? Exactly.
It Seems Like They Politely Tolerate You More than Celebrate You
There is someone in my life who I used to put in the "inner temple" (which is basically the closest to me category) because we are a lot alike, we have a good time together and we have shared some pretty personal things with one another. That sounds like the foundation for a friendship, right? Yeah, that's what I thought too. However, over the years, something that I started to notice was that when they had something worth celebrating in their life, I made sure to participate so that they would feel like I was a huge supporter of their goals and aspirations. Oh, but when I had something going on, they would barely even acknowledge my efforts, let alone make me feel like they were truly happy for me.
There's an article that I wrote for the site a couple of years back entitled, "5 Signs Your Closest Friends Are The Most Envious Of You". While I definitely think that green-eyed so-called friends do exist, sometimes folks aren't celebrating your life with you because they envy you. As much as it might hurt to hear this, sometimes they just don't really give AF one way or another.
It's like, if you're a musician and you've got an album release coming up, your friends are gonna show up, no matter what. Meanwhile, the people who just aren't that much into you will look and see what else they've got going on. If nothing, they'll roll through and even seem glad to be there. But if they can think of something "better" to do, they'll do it and holla at you…whenever.
People who are your friends are invested in your life. And so, when something awesome happens, they feel it, right along with you. If you've got someone in your world who seems to have more of a "meh" attitude about your milestones while you're always bringing balloons and champagne to honor their goals, you already know what I'm gonna say sooooo…this one time, I'll spare you.
You Keep Stating Your Needs (and Boundaries) and They Keep on Ignoring Them
While it took me a large portion of my 20s and 30s to figure out what a true friend is (and how to be one), now that I am comfy 'n cozy in my 40s, I can confidently say that I can both trust and rely on each person who I give that title to. A part of the reason why is because they know my needs (as it relates to a friendship) as well as my boundaries—and they honor both to the utmost.
Listen, I'll be the first to say that when it comes to a quirky Gemini like myself, that is no easy feat. It's not that I'm a high-maintenance person; it's just that I'm weird about certain things. I don't do holidays (yet am off the chain about birthdays), only a couple of people have my cell number (everyone else gets my landline because I don't care to be 24/7 readily available), I'm a big-time 'words of affirmation' person and an ambivert. I don't like folks coming to my home (it's a place of peace and refuge for me) but I like to treat others while I'm out. I am pretty private (hence, "Why I Prefer My Friends To NOT Be Friends With Each Other") too. And you know what? There's not one friend of mine who doesn't know this about me and respects it.
A healthy relationship definitely consists of two people who strive to meet one another's needs (so long as they are realistic which is another article for another time) and honor each other's boundaries. A sign of a toxic friendship is when one or both people don't do either.
Here's the thing, though. When someone is into you, on any level, they retain what you say because they want to keep you in their life. When someone isn't that into you, they might forget a need or boundary that you've got; not because they are toxic but because they casually took in the information.
If there is someone in your world who seems to keep dropping the ball when it comes to your needs and/or boundaries, ask yourself is it because they seem to be doing it on purpose or that they tend to take the "Kanye shrug approach" to just about everything as it pertains to dealing with you. If the answer is "B", while I'm not saying you should tolerate their nonchalant behavior, what I am recommending is if you put them in a good associate category, them not honoring your desires may not sting quite as much.
You Do Things That Friends Do. They Do Things That Acquaintances Do.
It was around this time last year when I penned the piece, "10 Questions To Ask Your Close Friends Before The New Year Begins". A part of the reason why I wrote it is because, I find it fascinating that, there are all of these articles out in the world which state that two keys to a healthy relationship is open communication and "taking your partner's temperature", just to make sure that both of you are in a good space. Personally, I think the same things should apply to friendships as well because, after all, when you've got someone in your life who you love, respect and share your life with, even on a platonic level, it's important that you both are clear that you're both happy in your friendship.
That said, another sign that you are probably way more into your friend than your friend is into you is you're out here being their friend while they are out here acting more like an acquaintance. What do I mean? Well, while you take their calls, even after midnight, they will push you to a voicemail or not respond to a text until they get around to it; not some of the time—all of it. While you are intentional about observing special days and milestones in their world, you might be good to get a "Happy Birthday" message on your actual day, and/or they will be what I call, happily dismissive about a goal that you've reached. Even though you share with them all of your secrets and fears, they tend to remain pretty surface-level with you about their stuff.
I could go on and on and yet, I think you get where I'm going with this. If you're all-in with someone while they are on the shallow end of the friendship pool, this doesn't mean they don't like you. What it does mean is they aren't as into you as you may want them to be. Do with that what is best for you at the end of the day, sis.
You’re More Committed than Comfortable
When someone is committed to you, they are devoted. Shoot, sometimes, they are even willing to do things out of pure obligation to what is required in order to make a relationship work or last (check out "Life Taught Me That True Friendships Are 'Inconvenient'"). That said, I once had a friend who wasn't all that into me. I should've realized it earlier because…the lengths that I was going to make sure they were good vs. the little that they did in return didn't even compare; not by a long shot. Yet, due to my codependency at the time, I thought my "overdoing it" was showing how committed I was, when really all it meant was that I was being used.
Commitments aren't always easy (just ask any married couple that you know). Still, something that is very different about my friendships now vs. back in the day is, that even the ones that require me to make certain sacrifices, they're worth it because my friends have proven that they will do the same for me in return. Healthy friendships shouldn't feel draining or even uncomfortable. If yours is, ask yourself why, be honest about the answer, and then decide where you should go from here.
You Got Triggered, Just by Reading the Title
If you just read all of what I just said and you either "feel some type of way" or you find yourself immediately rattling off excuses for why your "friend" is acting (or not acting) the way that they do, take a moment to breathe deeply, then skim these points all over again. I can promise you that 5-7 years ago, I would've read this myself and been p-i-s-s-e-d because it would've absolutely occurred to me that I was "into" some folks way more than they were ever into me. And yes, sometimes the truth does hurt. You know what else the truth can do? Help us to see things for what they really and truly are so that we can reroute and do better.
No matter what kind of relationship it is, you deserve for people to be as invested in you as you are in them. The sooner you let the ones who aren't go, the sooner the people who are best for you can come into your life. Your friends should be totally into you. If they're not…shift on, sistah. SHIFT.
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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. ;)
Nazanin Mandi is never out of options.
About a year ago, the 37-year-old life coach and actress was navigating life after divorce and determined to experience homeownership for the first time as a single woman. She’d been married to the R&B singer Miguel for three years, following a long-term relationship that started when she was 18 years old. But, in 2022, she filed for divorce. It was certainly the most public change she made but, in reality, it was just one of many decisions to refocus and reach her full potential in recent years.
“During my 20s, I was not ready for more. I was living a really crazy life. It was unpredictable. I was helping somebody else grow. It was a lot, and it was intense. I was not pouring into myself the way I should’ve been,” she says in an xoNecole exclusive.
Still, as Mandi worked to get to know herself and her needs during this new phase of life, she realized the home she’d purchased wasn’t a good fit. Overwhelmed by the echoing of her voice in the spacious home, she had a breakdown and called her cousin, who immediately suggested she lease the home and live somewhere else. “I woke up in my house, and I was like, ‘This is not it for me,” she says. “All those years, I had been accustomed to living a certain way [and] in a certain house, so I bought myself a house like [my old home]. But my family was not the same. Waking up in that house by myself, it highlighted the divorce. I was like, ‘Oh, no, we can’t do this. This is not it.’ My life has changed, so my choices need to change.” At that moment, Mandi became open to the idea that there wasn’t one set way to achieve ownership on her own.
“I feel so much better. I’m in a smaller place. My best friend lives a minute from me and I can walk to her house,” she tells me during a Zoom interview from her home one recent afternoon in early February. In the past two years, she hasn’t just been advising other people on varying circumstances, she’s also been healing herself.
"During my 20s, I was not ready for more. I was living a really crazy life. It was unpredictable. I was helping somebody else grow. It was a lot, and it was intense. I was not pouring into myself the way I should’ve been."
Credit: Solmaz Saberi
If supporters began following Nazanin Mandi because of her conventional beauty or the contagious, bright, white smile she often wears in many of her photos, that’s likely not the reason they’ve stuck around. Instead, she’s amassed a following based on her transparency about her own anxiety and depression, along with the encouraging messages of self-acceptance, gratitude, ambition, and humility that are often sprinkled into her social media posts.
In an era where looking at Instagram photos of models can often lead to feelings of self-doubt and insecurity, Nazanin Mandi is determined to be more than eye candy. She’s food for her follower’s souls, too.
Since being recruited to model while dining at an In-N-Out at 10 years old, Mandi has worked in many areas of entertainment. The Valencia, California native has modeled for brands such as Olay, Savage X Fenty, and Good American. As a teen, she sang at Carnegie Hall and auditioned for season 1 of American Idol, making it all the way to Hollywood before producers disqualified her for lying about her age. (Mandi was 15 at the time, and contestants had to be at least 16 years old.) Mandi has acted, too, including appearing on Disney’s That’s So Raven as a teenager and on the BET+ series Games People Play and the Prime series Á La Carte in more recent years.
In recent years, though, she’s also expanded her professional goals outside of entertainment, too. After becoming a certified life coach in 2020, Mandi launched the membership platform You Bloome in 2022 with the hopes of providing wellness services to others, including her self-published gratitude journal. “I wish I had access to something like You Bloome earlier in my own life,” she writes on the company’s website. The actress, who has been forthcoming about her struggles with anxiety and depression, has never had a life coach, but credits therapy as a tool that “really, really saved me and it laid the foundation to who I am becoming.”
Credit: Solmaz Saberi
"I’m trying to find the balance between living life and knowing that whatever is meant for me is going to happen, but also know that I’m doing everything in my power to make those things happen and better myself."
While she’s always had a nurturing personality, Mandi says her interest in becoming a life coach was inspired by the women who would message her for advice on social media. “I would answer them back. It really sparked a fire within myself to help people,” she says.
You Bloome currently has three membership tiers, ranging in price from $2.99 to $39.99 per month. The highest tier offers a motivational text message twice a week, two live, group coaching sessions per month, and more. “We get emotional. We cry. We laugh. It’s really beautiful. I’ve built close relationships with my members through this. It’s been inspiring both ways,” Mandi says of the sessions. Still, the founder says she hopes to take on more motivational and keynote speaking opportunities in the future with the hopes of impacting as many people as possible.
And, she’s hoping to do all of this while continuing to explore a career as an entertainer.
At this point in her life, Mandi says she’s gained enough perspective on modeling, music, and acting to realize what she wants to prioritize moving forward. “We are going full force with acting,” she says, noting her goal is “to book a series regular or a film that impacts my career and the world.” She plans to continue to model, too, but has no desire to pursue music.
“I don’t want any part of that because I know what that life entails,” she says. “I don’t want to tour. I don’t want to do any of that. That is not where my heart is at.”
Credit: Solmaz Saberi
If you ask Mandi, she’ll tell you she feels most comfortable in front of a camera, but she’ll also admit that she’s recently experienced a lot of imposter syndrome when thinking about her acting career. “I think it’s a fear of not succeeding,” she says. If anything, she adds, she’s harder on herself now than she’s ever been. “There were distractions before. There’s no distractions now,” she says. “I’m putting pressure on myself for no reason.”
This is where the life coach’s own personal healing comes into play. Mandi says she’s learning recently that “slow progress is still big progress at the end of the day.”
“Currently, I’m trying to find the balance between living life and knowing that whatever is meant for me is going to happen, but also know that I’m doing everything in my power to make those things happen and better myself,” she adds.
Still, one of Mandi’s strengths is that she doesn’t feel the pressure to limit herself to just one passion. From working as a life coach to pursuing acting, she has given herself grace to explore all other dreams.
“We can be allowed to be many different things in this lifetime,” she says. “As people, our identities are allowed to expand. Don’t put us in a fucking box. I cannot live that way anymore.”
For more of Nazanin, follow her on Instagram @nazaninmandi.
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It's no secret that the dating scene is different from our parents' generation, so as a hopeful romantic, many parts of me feel like I was born in the wrong lifetime. My mother often says that she feels like my husband will be a bit older than me; perhaps that was her way of telling me that she hopes I find someone more mature. But these days, between the countless podcasts debating gender roles and discussions online of who brings what to the table, finding your person can feel hopeless.
Still, people are finding love every day, so how can we go from being amongst the brokenhearted and nonbelievers? How can we get to the meat of what our needs truly are to find the love we've been searching for? Beverley Andre, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist says that the key is getting out of your own way.
Q: How can we get in our own way when it comes to relationships?
A: We get in our own way in relationships by having rigid expectations that make it difficult or impossible for someone to meet. I know this is a hot topic regarding having and maintaining standards, but there’s a fine line between reasonable expectations and creating a barrier that is nearly impossible to break through.
You have to assess the standards and see if they are genuinely in protection of you and maintain the standard of how you want to be treated, or are the standards fueled by fear and what you're really trying to do is avoid feeling hurt and disappointed, so you create this cycle where you set impossible standards that no one can meet, therefore limiting the possibility of close intimate relationships, leaving you feeling lonely and frustrated.
Q: In this dating age and era, how can we determine what our needs are versus our wants?
A: Your needs are tied to the core values and belief systems, while the wants are personality and lifestyle considerations, so I recommend creating a list of both. Identify your core values early on because those are your principles and qualities that matter most to you in a relationship. Those values are fundamental to your overall well-being. For example, do you want to be with someone who wants children, has integrity, and aligns on finances? Your values should be your deal-breakers that weed out people who are not in alignment.
For wants, think of physical, personality, and lifestyle traits that aren’t necessarily deal-breakers, aren’t tied to someone’s core traits, and don’t compromise your mental wellness. For instance, enjoying 100% of the same interests, specific physical attributes, and shared cultural background. As an extra measure, I recommend discussing your needs and wants with a trusted inner circle and getting their feedback. An inner circle should give you fair feedback instead of just agreeing with it because they’re within the inner circle.
"Your needs are tied to the core values and belief systems, while the wants are personality and lifestyle considerations."
Q: Are there fundamental needs that everyone should have or has on some level in romantic partnerships?
A: Yes, to be seen and heard. No one wants to be in a romantic partnership where they feel invisible, and their needs are met with consistent resistance just because it’s different from their partner. One of the core issues I see with couples is their inability to make space for their partner’s voice and influence. They find it difficult to see the value in what their partner is saying, especially if it contradicts their thoughts and opinions. Therefore, they register it as not being good enough and lacking merit and then get into a cycle where they inadvertently want their partner to change their minds and prove to them why they have a point.
Q: What are different examples of needs that everyone has?
Q: How can we get to the meat of what our needs are so we can in turn get better at communicating what our needs are from an empowered place versus a disempowered one?
A: Identify your unmet childhood needs and heal them. I often see people trying to heal these wounds in relationships with people who aren’t responsible for creating them or fixing them. You can communicate your needs from an empowered and healthy place if you’re not starving. Getting to the meat of your needs will require self-exploration, curiosity, and patience to understand why the need is even a need.
"Identify your unmet childhood needs and heal them. You can communicate your needs from an empowered and healthy place if you’re not starving."
Q: What do you find your clients who are succeeding in relationships have done differently in explaining their needs to their partner?
A: They have done the self-work and healing to know their needs through individual and/or couple’s therapy. Most of the clients I’ve worked with never had the space to develop their thoughts around their needs. They’ve adopted their needs based on what they’ve seen in their personal lives from family growing up, movies, and now social media. Until you have a healthy relationship with yourself, where you’ve identified your needs and are meeting them, it isn’t easy to have that with someone else. You can’t communicate and give what you don’t know and have.
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