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Ever Wonder If A Friend Is Just...Not That Into You?

Sometimes our friends aren't as "our friend" as we think they are.

What About Your Friends?

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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, 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

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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 into you as you are to 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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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
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