My mother always told me that with each stage of life you sometimes have to make new friends. Or, put more bluntly if you are the smartest person in the room, its time for you to leave. Ashe, mama.
Well, I’m currently at that crossroad. After having children and getting married my best friend and I aren’t in the best of places.
From the constant feelings of tension when we are around each other to our disagreeing lifestyles, it is hard from me to find common ground with a girl who I once shared deep secrets and long days with. I cherish those feelings and am having a lot of trouble trying to convince myself that our bond has been slowly diminishing.
While I’m now a stay-at-home, gardening, small get-together with friends type of woman, my good friend is just not there yet. And I’m not mad at her for it. As I get older I realize that everyone has to go on their own life journey. I used to think that if you did not get to a certain place in life by a certain age you were bound to live in misery and muck. But, who am I kidding? I had my first child at 19 and got married when I was 7 months pregnant. The happiness and stability I now enjoy is a testament to the fact that the universe is not activated by timelines, its activated by faith. I always had faith that I would be happy and healthy, and I still have faith that my good friend will get there too. I now understand that parts of that journey to a happy and healthy lifestyle will be chronicled by our times together and other parts will be sculpted by our time apart. During this tumultuous time I came across a book that spoke volumes to me on how to deal with a best friend turned good friend. Former editor and columnist for Essence magazine, Susan L. Taylor’s book All About Love talks about living fearlessly and encouraged me to handle my situation with my former bestie with grace, patience and love.
So, if you are unsure whether your best friend is now just your good friend or not, here are some tips to handling this touchy topic from Ms. Taylor:
1. The Bridge Will Be There
Always remember that all roads lead home, Ms. Taylor says. If you’re friendship is truly a soul mate type love, it will recover from this mess and there will be a bridge back to her. But, you must trust that your intuition, or as Ms. Taylor calls it the God inside of you, is fully capable of making decisions that get you home. But as I’ve said the universe does not operate on your timeline, it is activated by faith. Show the universe you have confidence in yourself and your friend by trusting that just because you’re not walking together now doesn’t mean you won’t be walking together later.
2. Stop Blaming Yourself for Her Bad Behavior
Sometimes we forget that as women of this earth we have the ability to draw all things to us that we need. The same is true of friendship. You’re friend’s bad behavior, has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the energies she needs to draw unto herself in order to correct her behavior. Think of you and your friend as magnets, and each of you draws items (and people) unto yourselves that help you along your journey.
3. Don’t be afraid to say no.
Now that I am an entrepreneur I fully recognize the importance of the word “NO.” Giving the whole hand is not the same thing as giving the finger. As a general rule in all relationships I refuse to give more spiritually, physically or financially than I can afford without causing myself a hardship. Rather than giving something you will regret later, meet your friend half way. By doing this you ensure your security and your friend’s growth.
4. Take Baby Steps.
Sometimes time is just time. We all like to think that because we’ve invested so many years in a relationship it is somehow destined to be there forever. Well that’s just not true. Don’t be afraid to move towards a redefined relationship with your friend slowly. If you, or her, is going through something the two of you may need time apart. Allow that space. Instead of planning a weekend together, meet with her for lunch. When you are trying to redefine your presence in someone else’s life you have to know that they may not be initially receptive. By meeting with them in small doses and on your terms it helps craft a relationship that is comfortable for both of you.
6. Send her Lights & Love and Wait Patiently
Try not to think negatively about your friend. Understand that she is on a journey just like you. She hasn’t stopped being the girl you loved when you were teenagers. She’s just going through some things and so are you. Continue to pray for her, remember the good times and let her know that your hands are not closed. That in whatever healthy ways you can, you will be there for her.