When you work in the self-help sphere, something that you tend to hear often is the word "sabotage". More specifically, self-sabotage. Due to all kinds of issues that really deserve their own word count space, there are all kinds of reasons for why people sabotage their romantic relationships, certain job opportunities and one other thing that I'm gonna tackle today—friendships. I know it probably sounds super Mister-Rodgers-like to say that the best way to be a friend to someone else is to first be a friend to yourself; however, that really is the truth because, the reality is, to sabotage is to "undermine a cause". That said, it really is difficult to esteem your connections with other people when you don't see the true value in yourself, first. Once you do, though, that can lead you to the kind of friendships that are best for you, second. Yep, the two things pretty much go hand in hand.
It's important that I put that on record because, before getting into some of the toxic habits that can easily sabotage a friendship, it's a good idea to ask yourself if you're in a good space with your own self. For the sake of knowing the purpose of your friendships. For the sake of setting healthy boundaries in your friendships. Also, for the sake of not doing some of the stuff that ultimately ends friendships—friendships that actually can consist of mutual love and yet, they can still go super south due to issues like the following seven that I'm about to share with you.
1. Not Being Honest
OK. I know that, off top, when I say "not being honest", it probably looks like I'm referring to people who lie (check out "This Is How To Tell If Someone's Lying To You"). Lawd chile. If you've got friends who lie to you all of the time, there is absolutely nothing healthy about that. I will say that I was once very close to a pathological liar. While I sensed that "something in the buttermilk ain't clean", on a few levels, it wasn't until their therapist required that they spill the beans that I recognized the magnitude of how far the falsehoods actually went. In hindsight, I realize that my codependency stuck around for the BS. Meaning, I overlooked what my gut was telling me because I wanted to be there for them and, in some ways, they nurtured the relationship on other levels (like they were giving and supportive).
Anyway, no one who constantly lies to you is a friend to you (or to themselves). That's not actually what I'm talking about, though. What I'm referring to, specifically, are passive aggressive folks. You know what I'm talking about—the kind of people who tell you they are fine when they aren't. The kind of people who present your friendship as one way in your presence and another way when they are talking to others. The kind of people who give you the impression that you're much closer to them than you actually are (check out "Ever Wonder If A Friend Is Just...Not That Into You?")—and it basically all boils down to the fact that they aren't being real, genuine and/or candid with you. Not necessarily because there is some shady or malicious intent. It's mostly because they aren't letting their guard down enough to reveal who they really and truly are. As a result, your friendship with them is more of a façade than anything else. Hmph. "Façade" is actually a really good word because it means superficial. Superficial is surface stuff. And when it comes to true friendships, staying on the surface all of the time doesn't really work. If not immediately…eventually.
2. Not Taking What You Dish Out
I say it often and I mean it every time that I do—a lot of people out here don't want friends; what they're actually looking for is fans. There are a billion different reasons why. One of them is because a lot of folks are extremely insecure. They're envious. They're always causing drama (usually because they don't trust well, so they are constantly creating problems in their mind). They're negative. They're disingenuous. They constantly live in a state of denial (facts and truth mean very little to them). Know what else? They are usually very critical of others. Here's the really fascinating thing about that—they can't handle it when the mirror is put in front of their own face and you are even a little critical of them.
The best kinds of friends aren't people who only tell you what you want to hear. That's not friendship, that is flattery, and flattery, more times than not, tends to have ulterior motives. So yes, emotionally mature people are well-aware of the fact that sometimes their friends are gonna call them out on their ish, tell them when they are dead wrong, and definitely be the kind of support system that holds them to the kind of standard that will ultimately make them a better individual.
If you've got someone in your life who feels 1000 percent like they are to serve that role in your life yet when the tables turn, they play the victim, lash out or give you the cold shoulder—not only is this a sign that they can't take what they dish out, it also means you are involved with someone who is so internally fragile that they could cause your friendship with them to break. Literally.
3. Not Honoring Specific Needs
Something that I personally think doesn't get addressed enough is the fact that having multiple friendships can be more challenging than having a spouse in the sense that, when you get married (at least in this country), you're with one person. Yes, it can be challenging and trying at times to figure out how to make that relationship, not only work but last; still, it's just ONE person. Friendships? Whew. Real ones are also quite intimate. And since everyone has their own personality, likes and dislikes and even relational expectations, figuring out how to keep your friendships in a good space can sometimes require more time, effort and energy than many actually want to do.
No doubt about it, one of the biggest causes of sabotaged friendships is the fact that far too many people take on that "one size fits all" approach when that couldn't be further from the truth. Since every person you are friends with is an individual, it's important to do things like learn their love language, figure out some of their triggers, learn how some of their past has made them how they are in the present and also definitely figure out what their relational needs are (as they do the same thing for you).
I've got a friend who hates gifts yet needs a good amount of quality time. I've got a friend who hates physical touch yet is really verbally affirming. One of my friends, I don't know if you could ever say anything to hurt their feelings (we've been homies for almost 30 years now). Meanwhile, I have another who is sweet as honey and yet super sensitive, almost to the point of walking on eggshells. Back in the day, I used to be the kind of person who was like, "I'm just me. Y'all deal with it." Yet the older I get and the more I learn that healthy friendships aren't a dime a dozen, I now make adjustments so that my friends can get just what they need from me. No two friendships are just alike. Figuring out what each friend needs in order for your friendship to thrive can definitely help the relationship to go the distance. If you don't do this…well.
4. Not Being Appreciative
There is a friendship that I had from my 20s right up until I turned 40. Around that time, I had to transition out of. There were a couple of issues within it; however, the one that had me be like, "Yeah, that's it" was the fact that this person had become so entitled that I basically couldn't stand to be in their presence anymore. All of us know certain things that we do well, right? Well, something that most folks know about me is I'm a pretty big giver—and I definitely enjoy blessing my friends. Yet this individual, I had done so much for them, that it got to a point where they started to expect it—and even acted like I was out of pocket when I would say "no", at times. So, why did I stay around for so long? Because they had other good qualities. They kept things in confidence. They prayed for me like no other person would. We had years of history and had supported one another through many people, places, things and ideas. Yet, that lack of appreciation thing really started to take its toll.
Appreciation is a really big thing in friendships. It's not just about being grateful; it's also about making sure that your friend knows that you are aware of what they bring into the friendship. It's about doing things that express how much you value them. A wise person once said, "Not everyone will appreciate what you do for them. You have to figure out who's worth your kindness and who's just taking advantage." Listen, you can love someone all day long. If you don't express that in a form of gratitude, you still could lose them, though. Straight up.
5. Not “Customizing” Each Friendship
To a certain degree, I've already addressed this point. Still, it's important enough that I think we should go, just a bit deeper. Remember how I said that no two friendships are just alike? OK, say that you're ready to buy a new couch. At the end of the day, all couches have basically the same function. Yet things do come into play like the design, the color, the fabric that it's made out of, the size, etc. Based on what you prefer, you could end up with a couch that you hate or one that you absolutely adore.
Friendships are similar in the sense that some people just want a movie date or wine tasting buddy. Some want a person who they can share their deepest secrets with, knowing that it won't go anywhere. Some want someone who they can be on the same page with when it comes to spiritual insights or professional goals. My confidant and I don't talk nearly as much as my godchildren's mother and I do. At the same time, my confidant knows that they can ring me at 4 a.m. to discuss or vent about whatever. Meanwhile, my godchildren's mom has a very taxing career, so we have to schedule time to spend time together; plus, I've gotta be super flexible in the sense that the schedule could actually change at the last minute. There's no reason to become frustrated with either dynamic. They are individuals. That's just the way it is.
One of the best things about having really good friends is the details that you know about one another. You get each other's preferences. You know one another's quirks. You don't compare them to other friendships that you have. You see each other as true individuals. Unfortunately, far too many friendships get sabotaged because folks loop their friends all in together in the sense that they give everyone the same kind of focus when things really need to be more…customized than that.
6. Not Being Proactive
I will say this until each and every single cow in the world comes home. One of the biggest causes of broken relationships, ANY KIND OF RELATIONSHIP, is the fact that far too many people opt for being reactive rather than proactive. What I mean by that is, they get lazy in their relationships and so they wait until their friend is irritated or even angry or hurt before putting any real attention into the friendship. If you know that your friend is big on birthdays, stop missing it and then circling back with a "happy belated" greeting card. If you know something seems a little "off" between you and your friend, don't wait for things to get worse; ask questions in order to gain some clarity. If they've pointed out to you a trigger, do your best to avoid stomping on it with your words and actions. Don't wait until a special occasion to do something special for them. And more than anything, try and be consistent in the good things that you do. Consistency is a superpower that truly doesn't get all of the credit that it deserves.
One of my closest friendships, a part of the reason why it has remained that way for so long is because we both are proactive in the sense of wanting to make the other feel like they are on the radar and not taken for granted. Proactiveness shows others that they are on your mind. Proactiveness shows that you want them to continue to be a part of your life. Proactiveness prevents you from being lazy in your friendships—so that you don't have to constantly try and fix things by acting reactively.
7. Not Allowing the Friendship to Evolve
Let's conclude this with a huge friendship sabotage issue. Two of my favorite quotes on personal evolution is, "Many people don't want to see you grow and evolve because growth intimidates those who live complacent lifestyles" (Unknown) and "Life is about evolving. Don't stay in a situation that's not helping you grow mentally, spiritually and emotionally" (Unknown). A very huge life reality is, you can't evolve without change and as you change, that can cause your friendships to shift to some extent. Maybe you've taken on a new job that requires that you move. That is going to shift your friendship. Maybe you're single and your BFF is about to get married. That is going to shift your friendship. Perhaps you're pregnant. That is going to shift your friendship. Or you might've just lost someone very close to you. That is going to shift your friendship (death changes people; that isn't talked about enough either). Honestly, if you're making the most of every day of every year, growth is going to transpire—and that is going to shift your friendship. Especially since your friend is probably growing too.
This is why flexibility, to a large extent, is so important. You've got to love and respect your friends enough to give them to space to transform as they get older, are exposed to more and learn more things. In return, they need to do the same thing for you as well. If you keep trying to hold people to who they were in college or when they were single or, to some extent, who they were last year—it's only going to lead to unrealistic expectations, a certain amount of frustration and, at some point, it could result in your friendship with them ending.
You get old and mature enough and you accept that a lot of friendships don't have to consist of big problems and huge "fall outs". Still, if you're not staying ahead of what can sabotage your friendships—those seemingly little things that can become huge over time—you can still lose precious members of your tribe. Good friends are hard to come by. Do everything in your power to avoid toxic habits that could end up sabotaging them.
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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 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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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