My relationship Q&A did so well I wanted to do one dedicated to friendships. I’m sure at some point in life, we’ve all experienced our share of friendship issues. I know I have. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had some difficult friendships over the years—a lot of which have unfortunately come to an end. That happens. As you get older, you realize that people change and some friendships, no matter how long we’ve had them or how badly we want them to work out, are simply not meant to be. For me, the hardest part about losing friends has always been how to let go and how to forgive. I’ve learned so much over the years about what it means to have genuine and healthy friendships. I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be a good friend and have that in return. I’m no expert, but I do believe my experiences have been the best teacher. I’m confident my advice will help those of you out there who may find yourself struggling in your friendships or struggling to overcome friendship heartbreak.
Without further ado, let’s answer some of the most asked questions:
1. How do you cope with losing friends?
Coping with the loss of friends is something I struggled with for the longest time, especially in high school and college. The healthiest way I learned to cope is by getting closure. Every friendship of mine that has ended, I always tried to get closure somehow, and what I’ve come to realize is whenever I didn’t get closure, it would take me longer to get over the heartbreak of losing a friend. I had someone reach out to me recently who is struggling to overcome losing one of her friends, and one thing she mentioned is how she wish she could get closure. She’s having a hard time letting go, and I believe that’s one of the biggest reasons why—she never got to really speak her truth and say what’s on her heart. Even if the other person doesn’t respond, I think it’s important to realize that closure is more for you than it is for the other person if you’re the one having a difficult time moving on. Years ago, I reached out to a former friend because there were some things I needed to get off my chest. That person didn’t respond in the way I had hoped she would, but I walked away from that conversation feeling better and knowing I had done my part. I would also recommend surrounding yourself with other people that love and support you. You’ll soon realize that, although you lost someone that you likely loved and cared about, your life must go on, and you’ll start to be thankful for the people in your life who have stuck around and who are always there for you.
2. Should you date someone that your friend used to date even if it was years ago?
Absolutely no. No matter how many years have passed, I don’t recommend ever dating someone your friend used to date. It’s all about the girl (or bro) code! I put emphasis on friend because there’s a difference between an associate or someone you may have just been cordial with and a friend. You can get away with dating an associate’s ex because y’all aren’t close. You can’t betray someone you’re not close to, but if it’s someone you genuinely consider a friend, I would recommend staying far away from the situation because you don’t want to risk ruining your friendship over something that could potentially not work out and not be worth it in the end.
Because let’s be real, even if your friend says it’s cool, do they really mean that? You have no way of truly knowing. They could be saying it’s cool and deep down feel a way about it. I’ve been there, so trust me when I say, it’s just not a good situation to be in. There are so many people in the world. Find someone who hasn’t dated your friend. Lol.
3. How to know the difference between genuine and phony friends?
Whew! I could literally go on and on and on about this question, but for the sake of time, I’ll try to be as brief as possible. I feel like this is a question we all know the answer to. The problem is, a lot of times, we don’t like to face what’s right in front of us. Ignorance truly is bliss, and it’s easier to ignore the truth about people rather than face it. There are many things we can unpack about the differences between genuine and phony friends, but here are some of the key things I always go by:
•Genuine friends will support you without looking for something in return. They won’t try to compete with you or outshine you. They’re going to uplift you and always want the best for you, even if things in their life aren’t going well.
•Genuine friends aren’t jealous or constantly acting negative towards you. They are happy for you during your happy times. They aren’t trying to rain on your parade or say things that will plant seeds of doubt in your mind. They are encouraging and positive (unless it’s a situation where they owe it to you to be real and raw).
•Genuine friends will defend you even when you’re not around and without you knowing. They’re not constantly telling you things to hurt you, being messy, or constantly stirring up drama in your life. They want you to be happy and at peace.
•Genuine friends don’t tell your business and gossip about you to their other friends or family. They respect your privacy and cherish that you’ve entrusted them with your personal business.
•Genuine friends won’t change up on you or act a certain way when other people are around. They will continue to be themselves no matter who is around because that’s what it means to be genuine.
•Genuine friends will show up for you, especially when it counts—birthday celebrations, graduations, weddings, baby showers, loss of a loved one—you know those really big/life changing moments in a person’s life. Even in those small moments that you wouldn’t think would make a difference one way or another. Genuine friends won’t constantly make excuses about why they couldn’t do this or that. They will try their hardest to be there for you the same way you’ve been there for them. (Keep in mind that life does get in the way sometimes, and people are going through their own individual issues. This is one of those key factors that you really have to assess in a mature way to really know when someone is going through things or just being a bad friend. This is one that’s going to take a lot of maturity to really know the difference.)
4. How forgiving should you be when it comes to friends?
I feel like all friendships have ups and downs. No friendship is perfect, and you truly have to pick your battles just like with any relationship. That’s something I’ve truly had to learn because I used to cut friends off over any little thing, and I had to learn that some things aren’t worth losing friends over like simple misunderstandings or miscommunication. Those are things that I feel can be worked through unless you’ve already tried to work through those things to no avail. Now, I do feel like there are more serious issues that you shouldn’t forgive in a friendship no matter how long y’all have been friends or no matter how much you love and care about the person.
Things like not showing up for you when you need them in the same way you’ve always shown up for them. If you’re there for them during their hardest and darkest times and then when you’re the one going through hard times, your friends are no where to be found—that’s usually one of the biggest signs that someone is not your real friend. You should not forgive that. Any kind of betrayal—speaking ill on your name, spreading your personal business, lying to you or on you, messing around with your ex or anyone you’ve been with—just any example of what most people would consider lowdown and dirty (things that a real friend would never do to you).
5. Tips for maintaining healthy and genuine friendships.
So, going along with the things I mentioned in #3…
1. Support your friends without always looking for something in return. Show up for them when they need you the most.
2. Be happy for your friends when good things happen in their life, even if things in your life aren’t going good. Don’t feel the need to compete, outshine them, or plant seeds of doubt to discourage them.
3. Be honest about your feelings. If something bothers you, communicate that. Don’t assume your friends can read your mind.
4. Don’t always just tell your friends what they want to hear. Tell them what they need to hear too, but in a respectful way. Real friends are honest with each other, even if it doesn’t feel good to be honest about certain things.
5. Set boundaries. Let your friends know when you’re not in the mood to be bothered or if you’re having a hard time in life and just need some time to regroup. Don’t always feel pressured to hangout with your friends or do what your friends want you to. It’s okay to say no sometimes.
6. Keep what you and your friends discuss between y’all. Don’t tell your friends’ personal business to other friends or family members. It’s no one else’s business what goes on in your friends’ personal life. This will show your friends that you can be trusted and have their best interest at heart.
7. Stand up for your friends in their absence.
8. Don’t always tell your friends negative things to hurt them UNLESS it’s necessary. Petty gossip or the negative opinions of others aren’t always necessary. Choose wisely.
9. Abide by the girl (or bro) code. Genuine friendships are rare. Don’t ruin yours over a guy (or over a girl if you’re a guy reading this).
10. Respect your friends’ personal values and beliefs. Don’t try to pressure your friends into things that make them uncomfortable or go against what they believe in.
11. Be real with your friends at all times. Don’t switch up when you’re around certain people. If you’re authentic from the start, this won’t be an issue.
I could list a lot more, but I think I covered the most important tips.
Those are the most commonly asked questions. Thanks to everyone who submitted a question. I hope you all enjoyed this Q&A and got some really good advice. Comment below any friendship advice you have. Let’s get a conversation going in the comment section.
Would you like to receive notifications by email whenever I post? All you have to do is enter your email address and click subscribe down below. *Don’t forget to check your email to confirm your subscription.*
I hope to see you back here next time.