Friends. How many of us have them? Friends. Ones we can depend on? The older I get and the more time I spend on this planet, the more I think Whodini straight up preached in those lyrics. It really is true that, if you've got even one friend to speak of, you are truly blessed because, let's be honest—we humans are a trip out here. Two flawed individuals who are trying to make any type of emotional connection work is a feat within itself. But man, when one of those folks is fake, opportunistic, low-key envious, disloyal or simply doesn't know what being a true friend consists of, they can send you on an emotional roller coaster ride that is truly unlike any other. You can find yourself being a friend to someone who is literally the worst kind of enemy.
I've been there. Oh, have I been there. And to prevent you from experiencing the complete and totally WTF moments I have or maybe even help you recognize if you've got a pattern of having "non-friend friends", here are seven signs that just because you call someone your "friend" doesn't automatically or necessarily mean that they are even close to being a real one.
1. If You Weren’t Reaching Out, the Two of You Wouldn’t Communicate
There is someone I know who considers me one of her closest friends. Chile, no I'm not. For one thing, in order for us to be bosom buddies, I have to be able to get in on that decision (some of y'all will catch that later) and second, I haven't heard from that girl in months upon months. The funny—or not so funny, depending on how you look at it—thing is that, the last time I saw her, I told her that I wasn't going to initiate contact anymore, that the next time we spoke, it would be if/when she reached out. When she asked why I was implementing that little rule, I told her point blank, "Because the only reason we speak as much as we do is because I am the one who checks on you." She laughed it off and said I would hear from her the following week. Like I said, that was months ago.
I already know that when I see her again, she's gonna be on the flattery tip; she always is. And you know what? I ain't even mad. On a lot of levels, she's cool people. But are we actual friends? Nah. My friends call me. I call them. They email me. I email them. There's a consistent mutuality that exists—consistently so. This girl? She's basically just a nice person. There's no love lost. It's just that she's not in my inner court by any stretch. (If you want to know what I mean by that, check out "Always Remember That Friendships Have 'Levels' To Them"). Her total lack of initiative proves that she doesn't deserve to be.
2. Their Needs Are an Emergency While Yours Aren’t Even a Priority
When I wrote the article "Life Taught Me That True Friendships Are 'Inconvenient'", what I meant by that is, if you are truly committed to someone and they are truly committed to you, there are going to be times when both of you are inconvenienced. Your friend might need you to stay up with her all night as she grieves the breakdown of a relationship (or friendship), or you might need a few bucks from them in order to pay an unexpected bill. In my friendships, it's not a second thought for me and my peeps to have each other's backs; it's a given. Oh, but there is a woman I know who is stingy as all get out. When she needs something, not only is she quick to ask, but she pretty much assumes that I'm gonna come through. Why? Because I always have. But the past 5-6 times that I've asked her for something, she has always had an excuse. When I brought it to her attention, she even had an excuse for her excuses.
Listen, maturity will teach you that no one owes us anything in life. But if you've got a so-called friend who always expects you to help them out, even though they do not show up for you in a pinch—sis, that is not a friend. That is a user.
3. They’re Your Friend in Your Face but Shady Behind Your Back
A wise person once said, "The person who hears other people talking behind your back but does nothing and might even join in is called an acquaintance. But the person who has a problem with it, will call them out, or will call you and tell you about it, they are a friend." I agree with this to a large extent. If I were to change anything, I would say that anyone who claims to care about you on some level and joins in on gossip about you is not really even an acquaintance. Low-key, they are a hater. Also, based on what your friends know about you and how you react to things, it may not be a good idea to bring certain things directly to your attention. Sometimes, that could make matters worse instead of better. What a true friend will do is handle it and squash it. They will definitely give yappers the impression that they are the last person who should bring up anything negative about you. Point blank and period.
I'm telling you, it can be a hard and oh-so-painful lesson to learn that some people aren't your friend for friend's sake. Nah, they just want to be around you in order to collect information to spread around. So yeah, if you can't say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the people close to you wouldn't tell your business, throw shade or stab you in the back outside of your presence, are they really your friend? Somehow, I doubt it.
4. They Are Low-Key Competitive
This is an area where I've had bad friends and been a bad friend. That's why I'm not big on building close relationships with folks who have low self-esteem. People like that dislike themselves so much that they don't have a clue how to be happy for other people, celebrate other people, or not feel like they constantly have to one-up other folks. When it came to those who were closest to me, yes, I used to be that kind of person sometimes. I resented them for how they looked, what they had, or even the quality of men they dated. And that turned everything into a bitter battle of competition—or straight-up bitterness.
It is damn near impossible for anyone to love someone else when they don't even love themselves. If you've got someone in your life who always makes you feel like they are trying to outdo you, not only is that exhausting but that's pretty toxic. Friends relish in each other's come-up; they don't compete with it.
5. They Are Narcissistic AF
I grew up in an entertainment industry household. Then, I became an entertainment writer which meant that a lot of my social circle consisted of entertainers and whatnot. Boy, did it take me for-e-ver to recognize that something that automatically came with this reality was knowing a lot of narcissistic people--oodles and oodles of 'em. And just how can you know that you've got a narcissistic "friend" in your space? They're always right. They can never be corrected. Sometimes they build you up, other times they tear you down (and you never know which person is going to show up). They constantly need attention and validation. They are control freaks (including when it comes to your life, if you let them). They're disingenuous. They don't take responsibility for their actions (ie. they deflect…a lot). They refuse to empathize with your feelings and needs. They don't apologize. They act entitled. They have split personalities (or are moody as hell). They wouldn't know a boundary, if it slapped them in the face.
Whew. You know what this all boils down to, right? They are basically emotionally abusive individuals. And abuse, in any form, should never be used in the same sentence (or context) as healthy friendship.
6. They’re Dismissive AF Too
So, I live in Nashville and not too long ago, we had a pretty devastating tornado. The way that it affected me personally is I didn't have electricity for about a week. (You can't even begin to process just how deep that is until it actually happens to you). As I was waiting to "get back on the grid", I had to find ways to rig up getting a charge, like using a car charger or going to a mall to work on my laptop. Anyway, there is someone who could've made all of this so much easier and they live a bike ride away. When I asked if I could charge up for an hour, they talked about how they wouldn't be home all day, so they didn't know when I could. When I asked a few days later to do the same thing, they wrote me late at night talking about they don't check their email as much as I do, so they missed the message. Hmm…that's interesting because when they needed some of my press contacts for a project they are working on, they replied back to back to my responses within an hour. And when they wanted my opinion on some of their music, I heard from them right after sharing my insights. It's basically been like this for years. Would a true friend be like this? I doubt it.
But here's the thing. Sometimes, we keep people around and allow them to have some of the same benefits that our real friends have because they're not bad people. It's just that, as you start to define your own boundaries and expectations, you realize that they don't deserve the same access and privileges.
For me, a "boundary" that I am learning to set is to not be close to dismissive people. Dismissiveness is a subtle form of folks not giving AF. And when you take into account what the actual definition of the word is ("indicating lack of interest or approbation"), it's basically a low-key form of disrespect. True friends take an interest in your life and your needs. Anyone who, through their words and/or actions, shows that they don't...they are not much of a friend at all.
7. “Safe” Is the LAST Word You Would Use to Describe How You Feel Around Them
Probably every fourth article that I write, I mention how important the word "safe" is. That's because it is. When you feel safe, you feel secure. When you feel safe, you're not wondering if someone is going to hurt or harm you. When you feel safe, you are confident that the people in your life are reliable, they have your back, and you are never alone to deal with the ups or the downs of this world. Something else that's cool about the word "safe" is there is no "kinda" to it; either someone makes you feel safe around them or…they don't. If when you just read all of this, you found yourself squinting because a couple of people came to mind who definitely caused you to be unsure, that is a very telling sign that they are not as good of a friend as they should be or as you deserve. No matter how long you may have bestowed the honor of the "friend" title upon them, they need to be demoted. Because a friend who isn't safe isn't a friend at all. Not. At. All.
Feel me? Please tell me that you feel me. And more importantly, tell me that if someone fits this bill, you will make some much needed adjustments ASAP. So that some real friends can come into your life. People who are as far from these signs as possible.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Feature image by Giphy
- Friend Divorce: How To End Friendships - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
- 5 Signs Your Closest Friends Are The Most Envious Of You ... ›
- Warning Signs Your New Friend Is An Opportunist - xoNecole ... ›
- Signs You're Dealing With A Toxic Person - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
- 10 Strong Signs You Have A Toxic Friend - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
- 7 Signs You're Your Own Best Friend - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Subtle Signs Your Friend Doesn't Like You - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- How Not To Be Jealous Of Friends - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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.
Hands down and without hesitation, my favorite time of the year is the fall season. I like the cooler temperatures. I like the turn of the leaves. Some of my favorite men (my late father and late fiancé) were Libras. Layering clothes is dope. I start to (slightly) swap out iced chai lattes (with oat milk) for hot chocolate and apple cider. The foods that are in season then are some of my faves (eggplant parmesan, anyone?). Watching sports outside is fun — need I go on? And so, even though I like to write about sex — especially ways to have even better sex — any time of the year, it’s right around now when I start to get inspired to pitch topics like this one.
And honestly, I ain’t got no lies for you. The reason why this headline has “2.0” in it is because it was right around this time, three years ago, when I penned the piece “Here's How To Have Some Really Great Fall-Themed Sex.” Well, I think it’s been long enough to “upgrade” it a bit by providing you with 15 other fall-related ideas that could cause you to literally fall in love with fall as much as I have…and quite possibly renew your enthusiasm in the bedroom in the process.
Can you feel yourself getting excited? LOL.
1. Pumpkin. Lots ‘n Lots of Pumpkin.
Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin lattes. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkin deviled eggs. It should go without saying that if there is a signature food for this time of year, pumpkin would be it. So, if you’re someone who is big on aphrodisiac consumption, definitely add more pumpkin into your diet, even if it’s snacking on pumpkin seeds. Between the zinc that’s in it, which helps to boost your libido (and can even help with erectile dysfunction in men) and the fatty acids that help to keep sex hormones in balance, every time you enjoy some of your favorite pumpkin-flavored foods, you’ll be giving your sex life quite the boost.
2. DIY Some Cranberry Seed Massage Oil
Another fruit (because, yes, pumpkin is indeed a fruit) that is at its best during the autumn season is the cranberry. Although many of us don’t give it much thought beyond the cranberry sauce that sits on the table during Thanksgiving, its scent is actually pretty sensual when you use it in the form of a scented soy candle or if you decide to make some of your own massage oil.
In fact, if you purchase organic cranberry seed oil, it naturally comes with a subtle cranberry scent which means that you can give your man a lingam massage (check out “Blow Your Man's Mind By Giving Him This Tantalizing Massage”) without worrying if the ingredients in the oil will irritate his penis in the process.
As far as how to make the oil, all you need is some cranberry seed oil, a favorite carrier oil (check out “So, Here Are The Carrier Oils That Will Take Your Sex Life To A Whole 'Nother Level”), and possibly a bit of honey (for flavoring’s sake) and you’re good to go; especially if you heat it up in the microwave for like 10 seconds before applying. Whew, chile.
3. Also, DIY Some Pear-Flavored Whipped Cream
Another fruit that’s in season for fall is a pear. I like them, not just for how they taste, but because they symbolize things like abundance, femininity, fertility, and happy relationships — all of which are awesome things to think about when you’re sharing intimacy with your partner. That said, you know, there is nothing quite like bringing in a condiment or two during sex (check out “12 ‘Sex Condiments’ That Can Make Coitus Even More...Delicious”), and so, if whipped cream is totally your thing, how about making some that is pear-flavored? I found a recipe that is super easy (so long as you have some xanthan gum around). You can check it out here.
4. Incorporate Some Vanilla Lubricant
Another popular scent for autumn is vanilla. As far as your sex life is concerned, science backs that the smell of it can increase sexual arousal and even improve sexual performance in some people. Since pretty much all of us know that sex is so much better when it’s wetter, it might also be a good idea to have some vanilla (especially vanilla-flavored) lubricant on tap. Hello Cake has a vanilla chai lube that is a fan favorite (you can get it here). I also peeped a TikTok post that features a DIY recipe for this kind of lube (here), although it needs to go on record that it’s not the kind that you would incorporate if you use condoms (because there’s oil in it). Just sayin’.
5. Make Some Maple Syrup-Flavored Lip Butter
Is there anything better than a stack of homemade pancakes or French toast with some maple syrup on a cold weekend morning? Take the maple flavor up a notch by making some lip butter that tastes just like it. You know, I was recently talking to a group of guys about some of their underrated turn-ons, and one of them said that when a woman exfoliates her lips, he can always tell because they feel extra soft. Let that be a reminder that taking a couple of minutes out to apply a lip scrub ain’t never hurt nobody. Then, if you add some lip butter afterwards?
Girrrl…he’ll be all up in your mouth from sunset to sunrise! (No, I didn’t forget. The lip butter recipe is here.)
6. Add Some Lit Vines Around Your Bed
It’s kind of wild how much people underestimate the sensuality of good lighting when you’re trying to set the mood. Although candlelight is always a bomb option, if you want to think a little outside of the box, there are vines that you can purchase to put around your bed. I found some on Amazon (here) that can make you and your partner feel like y’all are in an enchanted forest or a log cabin somewhere — until you can actually get there. Plus, this kind of lighting can be sexy because it can cast shadows on your body without making you feel super self-conscious in the way that overhead lighting or a lamp (with a bright bulb) could.
7. Put Some Fairy Lights in Some Mason Jars
As far as lighting goes, another option to consider is putting some fairy lights into a couple of mason jars. I find this option to be very romantic as well as seductive. Plus, if you’re looking to create a sexy night at the last minute, you can find the lights and the jars pretty easily and at a reasonable price. For instance, a quick Walmart run would have you covered, all the way around.
8. Apply Some Apple and/or Caramel-Scented Fabric Spray
When it comes to attraction, looks aren’t everything. Studies reveal that how someone smells can help you decide if you’re truly interested in them or not. Not only that, but scent can impact your mood and performance ability, and, I’ve shared before that people with smell sensitivities tend to get aroused more easily; some women who fall into that demographic are able to have more orgasms too.
For all of these reasons (and probably more), you definitely should pay attention to how things smell in your bedroom prior to copulating. Something that you can do to make your bedding smell delightful is to either find a fabric spray that smells like fall-themed things such as apples or even caramel. I even found one on Amazon that is a combination of the two (here). #yourewelcome
9. Create Some Fall-Themed Potpourri
Do you want to keep some of the scents from your favorite summer flowers around for longer? Or maybe you want to avoid spending money on Air Wick and Glade Plug-Ins. Either way, something else to consider is making some of your own potpourri. I grew up with that in the house, and it really did make every room of the home smell divine. A YouTube Short that will walk you through how to make a fall-themed one is located right here.
10. Design a “Fallen Leaves with Love Notes” Hanging
While I was playing around on the internet a couple of days ago, I happened upon a page that was full of fall-centered arts and crafts. One that I liked, especially, was a hanging that had faux fall leaves on it (it’s #9 here). After looking at it, I thought, “Now, how sweet would it be to add some handwritten cards or Post-its that either express how someone feels about their partner or what they want to do to their partner?” You can even switch it up every couple of weeks to add some spontaneity. Just putting it on out there for you home décor (who also happen to be horny) folks.
11. Invest in Some Silk Sheets
If you go to your favorite search engine and you put something along the lines of “silk and warmth,” you will see all kinds of articles that cosign on the fact that although silk is light and soft, it also is a temperature regulator that has the ability to keep you warm. So, as the temperature drops and you’re looking for some sheets that will feel good to the touch, don’t have as much “heat generating potential” as flannel, and can bring sensuality into your space, investing in some silk sheets is definitely the way to go.
12. Pick Up Some Fall-Themed Lingerie
If you’re getting new bras and panties (roughly) twice a year (because that is what you’re doing…right?), you should put in your budget to cop some new sexy lingerie while you’re at it. Basically, some new stuff for spring and summer and some new different stuff for fall and winter. Since Black women look AMAZING in jewel tones (which are big during the holiday season), knock yourself out — or even go with something that particularly caught my eye called “Fall Fire Lingerie” (here). Husbands are constantly telling me that when their wife puts on something that they haven’t seen before, it’s like Christmas all over again. So, why not ring in Christmas early this year, a few times? Real talk.
13. Hang Some Eucalyptus Vines on Your Showerhead
Listen, the past couple of weeks, I know of several people who’ve gotten COVID; one had to be hospitalized. So, although I am a huge fan of shower sex (check out “So, This Is How To Make Shower Sex So Much Better”) and I absolutely think that bringing some greenery into the space is visually appealing, there is another reason why I’m making this suggestion.
Fresh eucalyptus has the ability to relieve congestion, suppress coughing, and make it easier to breathe. So, since the fall and winter seasons are the time of year when people tend to have more colds, be proactive and hang some of these vines from your showerhead. It looks great, it’s good for you, and it can help to keep both of you from passing unwanted germs back and forth.
14. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs for Something…with a Deeper Glow
Oh, here’s another lighting idea. So, what if you prefer to have sex when it’s pitch black and your partner would like a little bit of mood lighting? Colors like red and orange definitely fit in with autumn — and they also can be a real turn-on in the bedroom if you swap out your white bulbs for ones that are that color instead. They can also help you to relax when you’re all caught up in the afterglow of things too. #wink
15. Enjoy a Fall Fruit Aphrodisiac Cocktail
Whether it’s red wine, whisky, or tequila — all of them can get you where you’re good to go. That’s why, it only seemed right to wrap this up by recommending that you make a cocktail out of a fruit that’s in season this fall, whether it’s apples, pears, figs, passionfruit, pomegranates or something else that tickles your, umm, fancy. A girlfriend of mine is a huge — and I mean, HUGE — fan of fig and honey cocktails (recipe here) and ginger pomegranate martinis (recipe here) as far as her libido goes. She’s got sex stories for days, so…I’d at least give it a shot (no pun intended).
LAWD. Who thought that fall could be this damn sexy, right? Enjoy, sis. ENJOY!
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Giphy