• Alex

Your Black ass needs to set some Boundaries…

Recently, I met up with an old college friend for lunch in New York City. We hadn’t seen each other in almost a decade but had recently reconnected over the infamous FACEBOOK. Reconnecting with my friend Dorothy brought back so many great memories. Similar to myself, Dorothy was a woman that at one time was so desperate to travel, that she some how let me convince her into taking a 2 day trip via Greyhound from Jackson Mississippi to New York City (LOL when we got there we were sooo dirty that we pulled straws to see who would shower first). My friend Dorothy was and still is a strong minded, bossy, adventurous woman, whose comical, loves to laugh, and craves to see the world. However, in our early 20’s we were both still finding ourselves and I sucked at expressing myself, setting boundaries etc and so I let a few minute situations that could have been easily talked about end our friendship by just becoming socially distant. Years later we talked about these situations over the phone and it went very well. All was expressed, apologies were said and the next thing I know we were planning a one day trip to NYC!

Talking with Dorothy made me realize how important setting boundaries in relationships are. Although some people may think this is childish but sitting down with your friend, family member or lover at the beginning of a relationship and saying, “Hey if we are going to be friends we need to discuss our deal breakers, pet peeves, and expectations”; and so upon meeting Dorothy in NYC for lunch this is just what we did. Looking back on two major friendships that ended over this past year I realized that it was due to me probably not setting appropriate boundaries with those two ladies, and me also not meeting their expectations as a friend. Some people believe that a real friend will do ANYTHING for you, they will never decline to help you, they will never charge you a dime to utilize their talent or services, reciprocity isn't or shouldn’t be a big deal, and paying them back money on time shouldn't matter either. However, based on my experiences you can not have long lasting healthy relationships without boundaries and clear expectations. Someone will always feel like they got the short end of the stick, or become resentful towards the other. For instance, a couple of years ago one of my friend girls vomited on me and in my car during one of our drunken nights on the town (I wasn’t upset that she vomited, because things happen) I was more so annoyed that outside of her apologizing she never offered money to have my car cleaned (Do you know how hard it is to get the smell of vomit out your car) this is something I should have confronted her about instead of keeping quiet about it because there were two more drunken fueled instances over the course of our friendship that I’m sure led to the end of it. I’m sure she felt that as her close friend her getting drunk and vomiting all over the place or becoming violent wasn’t a big deal and that I should have her back no matter what, and I should have expressed that I didn’t have the desire to be that kind of friend (regardless of how it made her feel).

We must also set and have our deal breakers. I'm sure everyone gossips from time to time but revealing deep intimate conversations that a friend has trusted you with is definitely a deal breaker for most. Ive seen girls stay in friendships like this and the two become frenemies more so than friends. We must realize that long term friendships are similar to the romantic relationships we have with our partners when it comes to loyalty. A few years back I was out to eat with a friend girl who decided to bring another one of her friends along (I knew the girl but we weren't friends), only to have her friend bust me out at dinner about my personal business concerning a guy I was dating . Although the next day I did confront my friend about the situation, I had lost a lot of respect for her and more so my feelings were hurt. She apologized and said that she must have told her by mistake. However, I continued the friendship with her but things were never the same. Instead of holding on I should have accepted that our friendship had completed its cycle, and to be honest when it finally did it was a relief.

I have some almost 20-year friendships with some awesome people and I must admit that in those friendships we’ve grown, set boundaries, accepted boundaries, argued, gotten over it, reciprocated, and given each other space. I think at times some folks have unrealistic ideas of what it means to be a good friend, loving family member and awesome lover. It doesn’t mean that I have to deal with all your bullshit or trauma you never got therapy for, it doesn’t mean I’ll continuously forgive you for hurting me or putting me in compromising situations. To me a healthy relationship is built off both parties saying, “Hey, these are my boundaries and expectations, is this something you think we can build a positive relationship out of”. And although a person may say ‘yes’ out their mouth, over time their actions will show if they were telling the truth. As Maya Aneglou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”.