Having male friends is so much different than female friends. As with any relationship, they come with incredible ups and heartbreaking lows, each relationship brings a unique perspective to your existence. As clothing is to the body, as Tia is to Tamera; so is a solid, reliable guy to any modern woman.
Besides having access to an absorbent amount of old sweatshirts and available pockets, guy friends bring something new to your life.
1.Their Simplicity Works To Your Advantage.
In other words, they possess a healthy dose of no-f*cks-given that I quickly adopted. My guy friends taught me the key to simplicity and how to apply that practice in every area of my life. It's argued that men are simple and in this regard, it works to your favor. There's no fluff with guy friends because they simply don't have the capacity, or frankly the time, for it. When you ask a question, you get a direct answer.
Sometimes this directness comes in the form of unsolicited opinions on your outfit or harsh critiques on your favorite reality show. But other times, the times that matter, it becomes the wakeup call that your life needs to change, or that the man you love actually isn't in love with you. It's that ability to provide simple, resourceful answers to complex questions that add value to a guy friend.
That's a beautiful trait with guy friends: some of life's toughest questions have the simplest answer.
2.See Beyond Your Horizon.
My guy friends challenge me in a way my girlfriends don't because they aren't women. They don't understand the depths of my emotions at times, or the exact way I feel about a particular injustice. Instead, they saturate me with objective opinions on what I'm doing and how I'm acting. No placating, just real.
We never know what we don't know until we know it. That's why we explore the world, meet people from different cultures, and read literature about unknown parts. It's also why guy friends are imperative. To infiltrate the mentality and thought processes of the opposite gender is an extreme advantage available to everyone. It doesn't just influence your love life, either. You're opening your mind up to different ways of thinking regarding almost every activity in life. It's allowing you to see a better, fuller picture. It also helps to correct your insecurities and/or flaws.
You're challenging the best parts of you and fixing the worst parts. It's a lesson with an impossible rate of failure.
3.A Loyal Tribe.
Guy friends are encouraging, honest, and loyal. Once they decide to welcome you into the crew, that's it. As a direct result of the loyalty expressed from my guy friends, I became more confident in every area of my life. It was because of their unequivocal belief in my dreams that I began to believe too.
In friendship with guys, you have acquired a set of mirrors who will reflect who and what you are without judgment. They are truthful but never to a disconcerting degree. It's those traits that will help you to grow and be better, but inevitably, this process is not without fault. There will be times you have to explain the nuances of PMS, deconstruct the stereotypes they lazily throw about, or even take everyone to school on women's sports. But those times are overshadowed by the unequivocal support you get when the universe (or a lover) has destroyed your everything.
My guy friends, like my girl squad, make me feel comfortable. Although we communicate differently and I often feel neglected by their group chats, I understand the significance of our relationship.
It's okay that they don't understand how it feels to have period cramps, or what it means to birth a child; I don't need that from them. It's irrelevant when they've taught me how to challenge myself, how to think outside of the box society put me in, or how to love myself when no man can. As Rihanna said, that's what I came for.
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Featured image by Getty Images.
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Courtney is a contributing writer, based in Puerto Rico by way of Tennessee. Interested in the intersection of fashion and culture, she has an affinity for fashion, empowerment, and really good tacos. Keep up with her on Instagram (@hautecourtxo).
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.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports