When it comes to relationships, haven’t had a long scroll of serious ones.  At 26 years old, I can count on one hand how many serious ones I’ve had, but that’s not regretfully. I’m not one that needs constant companionship or whom is afraid of loneliness.  Solitude is one of my best friends.  And although not contesting that I’ve got all the answers, or that I’ve had nothing but perfect relationships in my life, I will say that I’m wiser than most my age.

Some of my friends, haven’t been as lucky as I when it comes to the relationships.  Many, unlucky in love, the cause for, endless…were they jaded, dramatic, argumentative, insensitive, jealous, needy, insecure, controlling, domineering, unaffectionate? The list goes on…

I’m still friends with some of my exes, many of my friends fail to understand this concept.  Some, don’t understand how the possibility of friendship even exists following a breakup, others, say they couldn’t bear the sight of their once-lover with a new flame…But I always looked at it differently, on a more, realistic approach. Take time to set aside your differences and come to terms with why it didn’t work out, own up to your mistakes, try to compromise. If that doesn’t work, then you’re just not meant for each other, and sometimes people make better friends than lovers.

I’m an observer, I listen to what my friends are going though with their significant others, and sometimes, without sounding bitchy, it’s entertaining.  Let’s take ‘Friend #1’, who says, “No, my man doesn’t go out with his friends alone, I’m always there with him.” I wonder, what is it about you, or him, that you feel the need to be glued to his hip?  I’ve always cherished space in a relationship, and I believe in alone time, even when you’re attached.  It’s necessary. You can’t be with each other 24/7, you’ll kill each other. If your mate can’t respect that, then they’re not the right person for you. So, either something happened to make her react this way, or she’s just plain insecure. Naturally, when you try and control or restrict something, it’s only going to rebel against it that much harder. And they wonder why cheating happens…

Take ‘Friend #2’, who says, “I do all the housework. I don’t expect him to wash the dishes, because he never does it right. He’s kinda lazy, so I clean the room, it will never get done by him.” I’m baffled by this statement. Okay, first mistake: Waiting on your man, like he’s some king of the frickin’ jungle. Forget that. I’ve always been headstrong when it comes to shared responsibilities. This is 2010 people, women aren’t playing the Sally housewife role anymore.  If you continuously do things for him, he will never act when prompted. It’s like a small child, if you don’t set any expectations, they won’t perform. By ‘Friend #2 tackling all the housework herself, her man has grown accustomed to making a mess and never thinking to clean up after, because she’s always cleaning behind him. And as far as the dishes go, try teaching him how to properly wash a dish…better late than never. And there’s got to be enough respect in the relationship for him to take the initiative to share the responsibilities. This means, helping to clean, doing a load of laundry, cooking on occasion, etc. There’s not a reason in the world why it should all rest upon her shoulders.

Take ‘Friend #3’, she and her man do a lot of yelling to each other. By yelling, I mean, not full-on arguing, but, yelling to each other to get something, find something…I call them the lazy couple.  So lazy, that the act of communicating properly is too much of a labor. I’ve never once expected my boyfriend to get me the newspaper, get me a cup of coffee, make me lunch, do my laundry.  This comes from my years of living independently, internalizing a self-sufficient attitude. If I wanted something done, I did it, simple as that. Watching them talk was entertaining because, sometimes they were yelling to each other, assuming the other was upstairs, and they weren’t. So calling out into empty air. I thought to myself, how about just walking up the stairs and peering through the door? But then, that was too much of a labor. ‘Friend #3’ could damn near be her man’s verbal slave. By that, I mean, anytime he called for her, she came running. If he called for the remote, she brought the remote. If he called for his car keys, she brought him the keys. If he said he was hungry, she cooked him a meal. It was like watching some programmed robot. Too eerily close to that movie The Stepford Wives. There was a sense of disrespect in the air, and submissiveness, there was no balance in the relationship. It was easy to see who wore the pants here. What my friend needed to do was to stop answering him when he yelled to her, and vice versa…by the two of them continuously yelling/calling back to each other, that only reinforced the dysfunctional communication between them. By her not answering, would force him to come to her and ask a question, appropriately. As far as him getting catered to every time he called out for something, that also needed to come to a halt. Each time she came to his beckoning call, she was reinforcing a sort of, submission…as if to say, “Yes Master, I’m here.” Ugh… She should start by suggesting he cook something for a change, if he’s hungry. Or maybe tell a little white lie, saying she’s busy with something and he will need to make something to eat.  These small little changes would help her (and him) salvage the relationship…

But at times I wondered, was I the only one noticing these little defects? Were they able to pick it apart themselves, assess the problems and figure out a way to fix them? Sometimes a friend acts a mirror, reflecting before you what is wrong. I’ve always prided myself on being brutally honest. Any of my friends knew that if they wanted to get the real truth, to ask Camille, because she would always tell you straightforward.

Friend- “Do I look fat in these jeans?”

Me- “Yes, you do. They do absolutely nothing for your waistline.”

Or….

Friend- “What do you think of this new hair color I tried out?”

Me- “It’s okay, but leaves you sort of washed out, the other color added warmth to your face.”

My idea of a good friend is someone who will tell you the truth, even if, it’s not what you want to hear.  This is much the way I am. At times, my honestly comes across as abrasive, insensitive and without feeling. But this is me, I can’t sugarcoat the truth. At times, tough love is the best medicine. To hear the cold, hard facts, without coming wrapped in some sensitivity blanket, is the best thing you could do for a friend or loved one. This forces them to do some self-critiquing, self-actualization, to learn and to grow a thick skin. If one cannot handle being told things they’d otherwise not like to hear, including negative feedback, then one isn’t prepared for what life will throw at you. If a friend realizes you’re in a dire living situation, have potential self-destructive habits, or that you lead an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle, but neglects to tell you, then they’re not a true friend. A true friend will stop you in your tracks when you happen to be going in a downward spiral. They won’t just let you continue on down some perilous path. This is where many of my friends have come to value me, because they know that it’s unlikely Camille will keep her mouth shut with regard to something that just isn’t right… Cheers to great friendships and relationships 😀

Melissa & I

Me, Melanie, Adrienne, Stephanie, Dana & Leloni- on one of our Girl's nights out

Christina & I

Melanie & I on one of our Seito's nights

Katie & I on Lake Erie

Amanda & I on a night out in Ohio

 

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”

-Elisabeth Foley

 

 

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