Before You Talk About What You 'Deserve'...Do You Know What That Even Means?
Even though I don’t do the social media thing (that might change when I release my third book, mostly for the purpose of the book…we’ll see), I will tiptoe on out there a few times a week to see what folks are talking about — and y’all, if I see one more TikTok of someone waxing poetic about all of the things that they think they’re entitled to, just because they believe that they deserve ‘em, I think I’m gonna either scream, throw my laptop against the wall…or both.
Anyone reading this who is also a writer probably gets that one of the most stressful things about entertaining or engaging in online activity is the fact that you’re watching people write and say words all day long, yet you can tell that many of them are not word-literal (meaning they don’t really get what certain words literally mean). And when it comes to the word “deserve,” it’s a great example of what I’m talking about. Why? Well, just because you up and decide that you should have…whatever it is that you want at any given moment, based on what the word deserve actually means, that doesn’t mean that you should automatically have it.
That’s why I appreciate a particular quote by Nigerian entrepreneur Tara Fela-Durotoye. When it comes to the topic that we’re about to explore today, she once said, “Life never gives you what you deserve but what you decided.” And as you’re about to see, in just a few moments, there is a lot of wisdom wrapped up in that very simple-yet-pretty-profound sentence.
Let’s Revisit the Actual and Literal Definitions of “Deserve”Giphy
So, before I get into what it actually means to be deserving of something (or someone), take a moment to ponder what you think it means whenever you say that you’re deserving of something. What would make you deserving of a particular job? What would make you deserving of a certain kind of relationship? Do you deserve it just because you merely exist, or is there more to the word than that?
- According to Google’s English Dictionary, deserve means “do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment).”
- According to Dictionary, deserve means “to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation.”
- According to Merriam-Webster, deserve means “to be worthy, fit, or suitable for some reward or requital.”
Hmm, looks to me like deserving requires some effort on the deserver’s part, and in order to accept that, some self-awarenessand humility (which we’ll get into in a bit) would need to be in place. It also seems to me that no one is deserving of something or one simply because they feel or think that they are.
Deserving goes so much deeper than that. You must be qualified. You must be worthy. You must be suitable.
Do You Qualify? Are You Worthy? What Makes You Suitable?Giphy
Let me show you how ridiculous egomania is. Imagine being the CEO of a company and interviewing someone for a management position. When you ask them if they have any experience, they say “no.” When you ask them what their educational background is, they say they have none. When you ask them to describe to you what the position actually requires on a day-to-day basis, they nonchalantly shrug their shoulders. Oh, the smugness. Like why did they even waste your time?
As a relationships writer and marriage life coach, this is how I feel when I watch certain videos (and counsel certain people) with people who come up with these outlandish relational expectations, all the while boldly professing that they deserve it. What makes you deserving? Just because you decided that you are? Again, that’s not how the word — or world — works.
- To be deserving, you must be qualified. This means that you have the type of qualities that make you a good fit for something or someone.
- To be deserving, you must be worthy. This means that you have merit, character, and value.
- To be deserving, you must be suitable. This means that you are appropriate, fitting, and becoming for whatever the occasion may be.
Now to be fair, you do have some value just by existing, or you wouldn’t be on this planet. The reason why I say that is because I wholeheartedly believe that every human being has a purpose, and purpose brings forth value. However, when it comes to everything else that I just shared, the fascinating thing about the word “deserve” is no one gets to decide, alone, if they are deserving of most things or not — others have a say as well.
Back to the fictitious job that I mentioned a second ago. Say that you are the one who is being interviewed. You can’t just roll up and tell someone that they should hire you because you think you’ve got the qualities, merit, character, and things that they would deem appropriate and fitting for the job; they would have to assess and then agree with you.
Same thing goes for a relationship. Say that you want a 6-6-6 man. Do you really think you should have one just because you desire him? Doesn’t he actually get a say in the matter? According to all of the definitions of deserve, he 1000 percent does. He gets to think about if your character is attractive to him. He gets to determine if you would be becoming to his lifestyle. Yeah, contrary to how people have been misusing and, quite frankly, manipulating the word “deserve,” it’s actually quite the reality check when you let it sink into your psyche and spirit. To deserve something requires a ton of self-work and consistent effort.
Not only that but the more of something that you think that you deserve, the more you may end up getting your feelings hurt if you’re not careful. Why do I say that? Keep reading.
Be Careful: High Expectations Have a Way of BoomerangingGiphy
Not too long ago, while in an interview, a woman went down a long list of all of the things that she said she deserved in a relationship. Truly, it never ceases to amaze me how men, for the most part, will stick to no more than 3-5 things that they want in a woman/relationship while so many women will have super long Old Testament scrolls (what in the world?!). Anyway, one of the things she said that she deserves is to be taken to a high-end restaurant at least 2-3 times a week and that she also deserves a take-out budget for when they do eat at home.
Me: “So, what if he wants you to cook some evenings?”
Her: “I’m not anyone’s slave. Also, I don’t cook.”
First up, if you read what she said and agreed with her, I’m gonna make a request of you both, and that is to retire the word “slave” when it comes to domesticated things. Good lord, your ancestors — the ones who actually were slaves — would roll over ten times in their graves to hear you comparing what they endured to making some damn lasagna. Relax. Besides, there are videos all over the internet that can teach you what you don’t know. Life isn’t as hard as it used to be before the information age. Buying cookbooks or going to the library is not something that you have to deal with anymore.
Second, studies show that cooking is healthier and cheaper than eating out all of the time, so whether you’re single or not, learning how to cook will benefit you and your lifestyle in the long run. No one said that you had to be a chef, yet at least know how to make some basic things. It’s not about “being back in the '50s,” it’s actually called adulting.
And third, so why is it that you deserve to be wined and dined all of the time, yet “he” doesn’t deserve a home-cooked meal sometimes too?
Why is “deserve” only a one-way street? IT’S NOT. And that’s why I said that when it comes to your list of what you expect, based on what you feel that you deserve, you should be careful because the higher your expectations are, the more that thing or person may require of you in return…and that’s not something that many people consider. Not by a long shot.
I know this because a lot of them are clients of mine. So many folks were so concerned with (if not consumed by) all of what they wanted in a spouse that they never really considered what their partner would want/need in return — and because they went into the relationship one-sided, now everything is basically lopsided. And rather than them finding ways to compromise so that both people can be happy, their sense of entitlement believes that divorce is the answer…so that they can run out and repeat the pattern (because divorce rates increase by about 20 percent per marriage…no joke).
Yeah, if you’re really paying attention to everything that’s being shared here, I hope you’re getting that deserve is not some fairy tale word that you can say and “poof!” things instantly appear. People who think they deserve certain things must humble themselves to become what they deserve. That’s what makes them (better) qualified.
Humility Is Never a Bad ThingGiphy
This culture is so wack. Contrary to how the media acts out here, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being humble. In fact, according to Scripture, humility is what gives people access to lasting riches, honor, and life (Proverbs 22:4). So, what does it look like to actually be a humble individual?
- Humble people aren’t greedy
- Humble people are consistently grateful
- Humble people aren’t arrogant
- Humble people aren’t envious of others
- Humble people are flexible
- Humble people can take correction
- Humble people will admit when they are wrong
- Humble people listen more than they speak
- Humble people don’t make everything about themselves all of the time
- Humble people know there is a greater power than themselves in the universe
HUMBLE PEOPLE ARE TEACHABLE, and yes, I am yelling it. Now think about all of the “I deserve” social media videos that you’ve seen over the past month or so — how many of those individuals seemed humble at all? Again, they weren’t using the right word; they don’t deserve whatever it is they are talking about…they simply feel entitled to it because their character alone reveals that they are far from being deserving. Humble people see what needs to be done to match what it is that they want. In other words, they don’t expect what they themselves are not. To those with maturity and common sense, to do so would be close to ridiculous.
So yeah, if you’re out here declaring what you deserve, take a moment and ask yourself, 1) how much humility are you applying to your perspective and 2) how much energy are you putting into making sure that you are a mirror reflection of what it is that you think you are deserving of? Because you’d be amazed how much your ego will soften when you actually put forth the blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to actually prepare for what it is that you think you deserve.
Where Does Your “Deserve List” Actually Come From?Giphy
As I begin to wrap this all up, now that you see “deserve” from a more realistic and less embellished place, tell me something — has it altered your deserve list or at least challenged you to have a bit less of an egotistical attitude about it? And if so, when you really stop to think about what you’ve been thinking that you’re deserving of, is it about what you want — or what the media, your friends, and/or random outside influences have told you that you desire?
For instance, do you deserve a six-figure man (for starters, do you make that much?), or is it that you deserve someone who will provide for and protect you because you plan to be the kind of partner who will complement, support, and fuel him to do so? Sit with that question for a moment. Do you see how different the energy is between the two resolves? If you were the universe, which person would you want to actually reward?
I promise you that, not until social media came onto the scene, have I heard so many people be so arrogant about what they think they deserve thanks (but no thanks) to what they saw on an IG post, heard a reality TV person say or based on the smoke-and-mirrors of a television program. So many people think they deserve what they’ve been told to want — not what they actually should or realistically need…and that’s honestly a damn shame.
Does this mean that I’m encouraging you to settle? Nope. Not at all. All I’m saying is that deserve is more than a notion and whatever it is that you purpose in your mind and/or publicly declare that you do deserve, you need to make sure that you’ve got the moxie to back it up.
Because in order to truly deserve it — whatever it is — you’ve got to have the qualities, character, and suitability to prove it. And that requires more than lip service. SO MUCH MORE.
Y’all be — and then stay — humble out here…ya hear?
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Featured image by Cavan Images/Getty Images
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.
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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!
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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.
Y’all, I don’t know if now just happens to be a heavy season for this or perhaps it’s just me, but whether it’s been on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, or “X” (which we all know is still Twitter…LOL), have you noticed that a lot of people have been talking about the pain of going through a friendship break-up? I’ll be the first to raise my hand in this class and say that some of the ones that I’ve personally experienced over the course of my lifetime damn near took my breath away; especially when it comes to the unexpected levels of grief that oftentimes typically follow (check out “How To Heal From A Broken Friendship”).
When I write my next book (that’s currently slated for release in June of 2024; just in time for a big milestone), I’m going to share some of the things that personally caused me to go through the ending of some friendships. For now, I’m going to share a big one: friendship infidelity.
Yeah, I know — oftentimes, whenever the word “infidelity” is used, the main (if not only) thing that comes up in people’s minds is someone cheating on their partner. However, if you’ve read my content for a while now, you already know that an “occupational hazard” of mine is the fact that, as a writer, I’m pretty word-literal. Therefore, when it comes to infidelity, I’m aware that it’s got more than one meaning. And when it comes to friendship (or so-called friendships — check out “Ever Wonder If A Friend Is Just...Not That Into You?” and “7 Signs Your Friendship...Actually Isn't One”), yes, there is a definition that totally applies. Let’s discuss.
What Does Infidelity Literally Mean?Giphy
In order for this to “scratch any itch” that you might have about this particular topic, let’s get into the definition of infidelity that I was referring to. While yes, the most popular one is “marital disloyalty; adultery” (one day, we’ll have to talk about how the Bible doesn’t define adultery in the way that folks think it does (check out Matthew 19 sometime), another definition is “unfaithfulness; disloyalty.” While we’re at it, let me share a few synonyms for the word too: betrayal, falseness, inconstancy (bookmark that), deceit, double-dealing, fraud, breach of trust, violation, dishonesty, and false-heartedness.
Okay, so now do you see how it is totally appropriate to use the word “infidelity” in the realm of friendship if someone has been unfaithful or disloyal to you in any of these ways (that inconstancy one is a mutha!)? Do you also get that there is a huge possibility that, even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself, there are times when you’ve committed some form of infidelity when it comes to one or more of the friends in your life?
Because be real — have you never breached their trust? Have you always been consistent? To violate is to treat someone or something with disrespect. Have you never done that before? Only your ego would tell you that you’ve been a perfect friend — and the ego lies.
That said and with the meanings of a different kind of infidelity established, let’s now talk about how to approach this type of experience…because it ain’t easy.
When It Comes to Faithfulness in Your Friendships, What Should Your Expectations Be?Giphy
As far as having my own accounts, I don’t do social media (still trying to decide if I will, a little bit, around my book release) — and it has been peace, wonderful peace, to live that way. This means that it’s pretty rare that I’ll read comments via any of the platforms I write for (also peaceful). Oh, but a few years ago, when I penned “Why I Prefer My Friends To NOT Be Friends With Each Other,” I did tiptoe out a bit, and boy, some folks were disgruntled with me, chile. I was called petty, problematic, and a host of other stuff.
Uh-huh first, I don’t get how you can be mad at me about what works for me and my life (being controlling manifests in all sorts of cryptic ways) and secondly, time and experience have taught me that it’s a boundary that has served me extremely well. One of the reasons is that, since friendship infidelity is a very real thing, my lines not crossing helps to keep people from betraying my confidence or double-dealing in a way that may not even be intentional.
An example? Say that I have two friends and I tell one of them something in confidence. Then she tells the other friend, assuming that I already had because she thought that the other friend and I had similar discussions. This would be a non-issue if I hadn’t brought them together in the first place.
Another example is, one of my closest friends has some people who I like a lot who live in Nashville (my friend doesn’t). Sometimes, when she comes into town, we’ll all hang out. I don’t do it outside of that, though, because there are things that she shares with me about them on occasion (from a getting a different perspective to make certain decisions angle; especially since I’m a life coach) that I don’t want to make her or them feel awkward about (even if it’s just due to somewhat of a shift in my energy). Plus, everyone just needs to have their own people. This ain’t high school; everyone doesn’t have to be in the same cliques.
If one of my friends wants to vent about me…I don’t care if/when they are talking to someone who I don’t even know…because I’m not friends with that person… because I don’t expect anything from a complete stranger. So again, this type of boundary has served me extremely well over the years — and my friends agree. It has made “faithfulness” so much easier for all parties involved because again, lines don’t cross and things don’t get messy.
Okay. I’ll give you one more example that has to do with one of my male friends and his personal friendship-related preference. Due to his high-profile profession, he doesn’t like to be discussed at all, not even casually (really). He doesn’t want me to bring his name up and, when someone else does, he prefers that I keep the conversation down to an absolute minimum, no matter what the topic is. For him, it works for his close friendships to be somewhat private, so that people don’t know who they can go to in order to get in touch with him or to receive any intel that he hasn’t directly shared — professionally or personally.
Some people may call that “paranoid.” For him, it’s safe to move that way. And so, as his friend, it’s not my job to try and talk him out of his standard. If I value our friendship, I simply need to honor his request — plain and simple. To do otherwise would be an act of unfaithfulness (especially if I agreed to what he asked me to do and then switched up on him).
So, when it comes to you, what are your expectations? What do you need — actually require — of your own friends? Have you stated those things? Because you should never assume that your definition of what a friend should be is exactly the same as someone else’s. Next, have you made it abundantly clear to them that if those expectations are not honored, you will feel some level of betrayal? If you haven’t, you should because, although most of us can agree that a partner sleeping with someone other than their own spouse is a form of infidelity, friendship infidelity isn’t quite so black and white.
If you want your friend(s) to be faithful — “true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.,” “steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant” — you need to be upfront with them about what they are vowing to do…what you want them to be constant in? Because, again, how you might roll as a friend may be something different to/for them.
Come to think of it, love languages in friendships is a good example of this. One of my close friends is a quality time person; I’m not. On the other hand, I am a words of affirmation person; she isn’t. She used to think that it was a given that I should want to hang out at least once a month and I used to get irritated that she wasn’t big on words. When we had a talk about our individual expectations, we found a “middle ground” and that made things so much easier…on both sides. Indeed, in order to be faithful (or unfaithful), you first gotta know what you’ve agreed to be faithful to. It’s not fair to expect someone to honor you and what you bring to a friendship if you’re not communicating your expectations on the front end.
So, what should your expectations in your friendships be? That, I can’t answer for you, because even when it comes to across-the-board traits like support, availability, and communication, honestly, even those are gonna manifest differently for different people.
All I’m saying is make sure that you share what your expectations are as you listen to theirs as well. That way, you both can move forward in your friendship knowing what you have mutually agreed to actually be faithful to.
What Should You Do If a Friend “Cheats on You”?Giphy
Okay, so what if, after you have established what you need/expect from your friend, they are unfaithful or disloyal? That’s kind of a loaded question because there are a lot of different ways that this box can get checked. For instance, I once had a friend who kept trying to put me in touch with someone who I knew was unsafe (on a lot of levels). She kept asking and I kept telling her “no.” One day, she called me and then handed that person the phone — she was disloyal because she dishonored my boundary.
Back in the day, I used to write devotionals and I shared the story (sans her name) in it. All of a sudden, she thought that she was the victim (gaslighting friends are something else). So wait — you put me in harm’s way and I need to apologize to you for it? If her identity was obvious (I didn’t even say “she”), I get it — it wasn’t. She just felt guilty and didn’t want to take accountability. As a result, she weaponized our friendship by going ghost for like a year and then tried to come back as if nothing had ever happened. Chile.
For me, there was no coming back. The way she handled that, on a few different levels, was emotionally draining and I honestly didn’t have the stamina for it. So, I ended the relationship officially. Years later, we saw each other and made our peace. I’m fine with it being just that (check out “Why I Don't 'Cut People Off' Anymore, I Release Them Instead”).
That’s kind of an extreme example. Still, the reason why I brought it up is because I wanted you to see how I handled one form of friendship infidelity: I thought about what happened, I pondered what I was getting (and not getting) from the friendship, I thought about how she handles things when she is in the wrong and I focused on what would be the benefits and challenges of keeping her in my life. The conclusion that I came to is I care enough about her that we’re not rolling our eyes in the mall or sucking our teeth whenever one of our names comes up to the other yet I don’t want her to continue walking closely to me in my journey. I’m good.
For you, it might be a bit different. What if one of your friends betrays you in some way? Is it fair to take a “one-and-done” approach? I dunno. Is that how you would want your friends to handle you? Do you want to feel like, no matter what, after you make one mistake (or poor choice; not everything is a mistake…some things are intentional), there’s no coming back? If so, you might not want to have relationships at all because humans are fallible, INCLUDING YOU. You might as well settle in with that fact now or you’re about to be triggered, irritated, or angry for most of your life, chile.
What Should You Do If YOU’RE the One Who Cheats?Giphy
Over the weekend, I watched a movie where a woman cheated during a long-distance relationship and then claimed that her boyfriend was “punishing her” because he wasn’t over it a month later. The first thing that came to my mind? A lack of accountability. Why? Because I’m pretty sure that if the shoe had been on the other foot, she wouldn’t be all rainbows and sunshine four weeks later…either.
Being that I grew up in an environment (pretty much everywhere, including church) where folks absolutely sucked at taking personal responsibility for their actions without trying to make excuses, using justifications, deflecting, or gaslighting, I am almost violent about making sure that I don’t follow suit. And because I’ve had times when I’ve violated someone’s boundaries (I used to be more controlling than I should’ve ever been) and/or betrayed their trust (just because I’m basically an open book, that doesn’t mean that I should assume that everyone is the same way) — I’ve had to learn how to take full ownership for my actions. Then, if the person is open to accepting my apology, I would take things up a notch by making amends (check out “Heads Up: It's NOT An Apology If An Amends Isn't Made”).
If you’re not sure what an "amends" is, basically, when you’ve done something that has offended someone or caused them some type of harm if you’re truly remorseful, it’s not enough to flippantly toss a “my bad” in their direction. No, when you really get the magnitude of what has transpired — and if you want to restore the damage that was caused — you need to be intentional about doing something that will help with the healing process. This can happen with a simple, “What can I do to make things better?” People who apologize and then ask something along those lines show that they really get what they did; not only that but they are displaying that they want to humble themselves enough to help the person they hurt to “recover” in any way that they can.
So, if you are the one who was unfaithful or disloyal — own it, address it, apologize (without any unnecessary extra-ness, make amends, and then give your friend space to heal…however they need to do so. Infidelity hurts in any kind of relationship dynamic yet when two people — BOTH INDIVIDUALS — really want to make things work, they can come back from it. Oftentimes better than they were before.
How to Heal from Friendship InfidelityGiphy
It really can’t be said enough that humans are fallible. In fact, it is my belief, that if more of us said that as a mantra, five times a day, we’d probably be a lot more merciful than we tend to be. Because since none of us are perfect — INCLUDING OURSELVES — it really is pretty ridiculous to expect to be in relationships with folks and have them never disappoint you (where they do that at?!). The reality is sometimes a friend may be disloyal — not in a malicious or redundant kind of way (another message, another time) but just…they didn’t meet your requirements, they hurt your feelings (even if not intentionally) or they simply made a poor decision. Just like you have before — and at some point, will again.
Yes, it can hurt; trust me, I’ve been there. At the same time, you can heal from the pain and your friendship can survive too. The key is to really process the character of your friend, the track record of your friend, and if the benefits far outweigh the challenges with them. If everything is on the upswing, talk to your friend about how you are feeling, pay close attention to how they respond (if there is remorse, compassion, and patience), and then make the decision that you want to move forward. And then move in a way that shows that you’ve learned from it all.
For instance, say that you told one of your friends something in confidence and they repeated it. After getting context, if it was reckless chatter, healing begins with forgiving them, them trying to make things right and then you easing into sharing anything else. No, it’s not about keeping the door shut forever — it’s more like, telling them something that you don’t really mind if it gets out. If it does, although that’s not a big deal, you will now see that yapping is a pattern for them and so, although you like having them in your life, being a “confidant space” is not where they need to be — at least not for quite some time.
And what if, in your opinion, there is no coming back from friendship infidelity? How do you heal from that? Well, you need to grieve it like you would grieve anything else. Go through the five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The key is to not stay stuck; especially in anger. Because really, how is that gonna help or change anything?
I’ve gone through some acts of extreme infidelity that took me a while to move to acceptance — really accepting that it happened and fully accepting that I had to let the relationship go. Yet once I got there, healing was waiting for me. Because I wasn’t beating myself up trying to read someone else’s mind or motive or exhausting myself by wishing things were different. No one can change the past. Even accepting that can restore you to some pretty unexpected levels.
This is the kind of topic that I really could write an entire book about. For now, I just hope that this article provides some clarity that, if you wonder if unfaithfulness is a real thing as far as friendship is concerned, it most certainly is. It’s also not automatically unforgivable either.
Last example: I’ve got a friend of decades who prioritized a woman that he barely knew over our friendship. Meaning, she was threatened by me being around and so he did whatever to make her happy even at the expense of what we agreed to do and be to each other, as friends. Friendship infidelity. He has since apologized and I told him what I am a firm believer in: the apology needs to breathe. I need to take some time, he needs to take some time and, in time, either we will still see value in our dynamic or, because an apology was made and then accepted, peace will always remain between us.
Infidelity is something that none of us want to experience — oh, but we probably will. When it comes to your friendships, perhaps you’ve got a (better) grasp on how to handle it.
Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end. Live long enough, chile, for better or for worse, you will know about both. I can almost guarantee it.
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