My friendships are extremely important to me. I am extremely proud of my friends and always grateful for their commitment to our friendship. I have friends from every part of my life (beginning from daycare to now). I don’t use the term friend lightly or loosely – my friends are my family. When I sit back and really ponder on my friends, I love and trust them with everything in me.
My friends are honest, good, god-fearing people. I love them fiercely, and I know that I am equally loved by them. When I am out of line, they call me out on it (I thank God for this often). We pray with intention for each other. We keep up with each other’s lives and families. We know when it has been too long since we have seen or heard from one another and can identify when we need to call or text or drop by (even socially distance drive bys or drop offs). We intentionally put in the work to remain friends. We genuinely want what is best for each other. We clap when the other wins. We support each other’s goals and dreams. There is a mutual respect for each other. We want to see each other happy and thriving. We want what is best for each other. Friendship is important to me because I know, without a doubt, I am better with them in my life than without them. I pray that I am pouring into them the same way that they do for me. Besides my family, my friends are my biggest cheerleaders and my toughest critics.
Not My Friends
I feel like I did not always make an effort to identify friendship deal breakers in my life, and I have failed as a friend many, many times. I, too, have been on the bad friend side before. Some of my past friendships (either myself or people in my life who I thought were my friends) may have possessed the deal breakers below. I want to spend time with my friends … the ones listed above. If you are not committed to our friendship or you are no longer interested in equal participation of our friendship … cool, I get it. No need to have lengthy discussions about it. We are acquaintances. When you will not acknowledge the truth, we are no longer friends. When you strategically and conveniently call me your friend on social media but won’t invite me to participate in your “events,” this is a public display of being my acquaintance. When you repeatedly post divisive rhetoric without an attempt to fact check / disclaim / understand the social-personal implications, we are not friends.
When I call folks out around you and you repeatedly defend their abhorrent behavior, we ain’t friends. If you are adamant that your view (and only your view) is the only way to look at things, then we can no longer be friends. If I ask you a question and your response blatantly ignores the question and / or diverts to “your view,” we are not friends. If you are unable to wish me and my family well and clap when we win, our time as friends is up. When you only call me to ask questions about why my perception of something is different from your understanding and thoughts, and you will not attempt to read or self-inflect about your concerns, you are not interested in my friendship, you just want to pick my brain. When you allow people around you and your friends to say negative things about people who look, think, and act like me (or my friends and family), we were never friends.
If and when your friendship compromises my peace, we are unable to remain friends.
If you are able to tolerate the things I mention above as deal-breakers, I have no interest in a friendship with you. I may have mistakenly thought that our relationship would grow into a friendship, but I was wrong. I am wrong sometimes, maybe even a lot. I will fully embrace that I was wrong. It happens. If you do not have the capacity or are not willing and able to maintain our friendship, then our time as friends has expired. If I feel it is important, I will reach out to you once and let you know that we are no longer friends, but only once. We can disagree on policy, political party affiliations, public vs. private schools, what restaurant has the best dessert – all sorts of things – and still remain friends. We can disagree on whose grandmother has the best seafood gumbo or cornbread dressing.
What we cannot disagree on is anything rooted in hatred or oppression, lies, and one-sided points of view. If you refuse to dismantle the rhetoric of anyone in our presence or our mutual circles or cannot identify others who tolerate, participate, or engage in these things, we are not friends. If we are friends, I will welcome you into my home as you are considered family. If you are not my friend, I don’t believe you should have access to me, my family, my friends, my child, or my home. We will not be friends because I believe that would not be conducive to a safe and healthy environment for me and my family.
This is simply a difference in values to me; I continue to wish you well. Kindness and decency are free. I am unable to spend time, effort, and energy on a friendship that is over. I also do not wish to teach you how to be a friend.