Tag Archives: Encouragement

Thank You For Being A Friend: A Series on Adult Friends

MM-ThankYouForBeingAFriendSeriesCertain events have put a lot of things in perspective for me in the past five weeks. Over the last eight months I’ve spent more time talking about finding love and not nearly enough about my true loves—my friends.  This series is dedicated to adult friends, friendships, and the ups and downs that come with it.

Check back for these upcoming posts:

Time to Say Goodbye: When Friends Breakup

Toxic Trick: Identifying Rotten Friendships

Don’t Spend Time, Invest It

Make New Friends But Keep The Old 

Toxic Trick: Identifying Rotten Friendships

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  Toxic? Let’s Detoxify 

     Don’t act like you never saw that Apprentice clip or Vivica on The Real. I hate to use derogatory language toward any woman but let’s face it, we all know a toxic trick or two. How does one define a “trick” you might ask? It’s fairly easy.

     A trick is someone who will smile in your face and lie on your name behind your back. A trick will claim that they love you while trying to steal your joy. Require further illustration? Let me help you out. Years ago I was at a club with a few close friends. Nothing out of the blue. Summer heat, Rihanna’s blaring, drinks in hand, we’re all having a good time. In comes a guy a friend had been talking to. She breaks off to talk to him while the rest of us watch on. Now keep in mind this girl’s “best friend” is also present. She is the living example of a trick. She watches as our friend flirts with her guy and heads over to them. Before long she’s in between them and not soon after her tongue is down the guy’s throat. Being the bleeding heart I am, I walk over to my friend with my bestie ready to throw bows. She tells us it’s ok, that her friend was only helping her.

Dr. Who whaaaat reaction

Yeah you read that right. She was so sure that this person who displayed crappy behavior fairly regularly was looking out for her, because that’s what friends are supposed to do. But she wasn’t a friend, she was a trick. We found out later that her friend slept with her crush that night.

Princess Bride Shade

Identify A Trick

     So how can you avoid this? First you have to be able to spot a trick from a mile away. There are four easy steps to finding out if this person has the best intentions for you.

  1. She forms attachments too fast and has boundary problems

     After an hour of knowing her you know way more intimate details about her than you care to know. She seems to have a terrible sense of self-awareness and will attach to you quickly. Everything you do is great or funny. She may even refer to you as her bestie when you’re still acquaintances.

  1. She has no friends or extremely shitty ones

     I used to not judge people for being loners and I still don’t. A trick is not a loner, a trick is usually high on the fumes of her own self-delusion. Their friends will either be people who don’t reciprocate the sentiment or take extreme advantage of her. She continues the cycle by taking extreme advantage of them. See what I mean? Shitty. If she is without friends, that should send up another red flag. Other relationships are a window into what yours could potentially turn into. If they all look busted as hell or she mentions any variation of, “females are too dramatic, I prefer guy friends,” steer clear.

  1. Talks and never listens

     It is a well established fact that I talk a lot. I started a damn blog so I could talk even more! But I’m well aware that my friends always need a listening ear and good friends provide that. Tricks do not. The same woman who told you “females” are dramatic is more than likely a tornado-cum-shit storm of histrionics. She will tell you all about her terrible relationships, her shitty job, her crap roommate, her bad haircut, her dreadful day, her turbulent childhood, and her horrible family before you even sit down. She will tell you these things because it benefits her but unlike in healthy friendships, she will not stop or take the time to really listen to your bad shit. She’ll just keep going along, fishing for compliments and encouragement along the way until she gets her fill and then she’s out. She’ll either physically leave the conversation or check-out mentally. Everybody has their bad days so if this happens once or twice don’t pay too much mind to it. But if it’s been a year and she barely knows your last name? Drop that ass off at the curb.

  1. Talks Behind Your Back

     Everyone does it to some degree but if you are getting word from near strangers about atrocious statements being made about you and you’ve done nothing to warrant them? Dropkick a trick. Cut her loose before she drags you down an even more emotional draining rabbit hole.

  1. Her Middle Name Isn’t Taraji

     Does she celebrate your successes or does she try to downplay your triumphs? Does she support your efforts or does she try to persuade you to focus on hers first? Does she distract and talk you out of doing the things you want? When you’re winning, does she stand up and applaud? Real friends have your back. True friends will be as enthusiastic for your dreams as you are. Good friends support you. The only word for a person who doesn’t is an enemy. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

How To Confront

     But what about those of y’all who got the memo late and are already in toxic relationships with tricks? How do you confront the issue?

     If we were dealing with adults with some kind of emotional structure I would tell you to be honest, to be fair, and to be tactful. But we are not dealing with adults. Truth is to a trick what water is to the Wicked Witch of the West. “TTs” don’t understand the truth because they’ve yet to confront it in their own lives. They don’t mess with it and well…you’ve seen the havoc it’s wreaking. Your main priority is you. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine your leg gets caught in a poisonous vine. It grows rapidly and at this precise moment is already to your knees. To your left there’s a machete and to your right some supergro fertilizer. Seems like an easy enough choice, right? Nope. In reality, toxic people are poison and yet so often we allow them to creep and grow until they’re sucking the life right out of us. You don’t have any more time to waste being miserable. Cut it off. Even though you may want to act up, don’t. Do not expend anymore emotional energy on this person. Be blunt, not brutal. Be assertive, not angry. But know this, a trick is essentially an emotional vampire. They feed off of your energy and will do anything to get more out of you. They may bring a whole new level of drama. They may beg. They may even start acting better. But what they do is no longer your concern, so let them go. Cold turkey. Do not give these people access to your life. They don’t deserve it and most importantly, they haven’t done anything to earn it. Put those boundaries up now and realize there will be resistance from both sides. It will seem a heck of a lot easier to fall back into the old status quo but stay the course. Good things don’t come easy and you deserve to have a toxin-free environment.

How to Prevent

     If you’ve ever found a mouse or roach in your home what was the first thing you did? You set a trap, you got some spray to keep their friends from joining them. What is TT Raid? Boundaries. Be upfront about your boundaries in all relationships. If people know they can push you, they will. Don’t give them that opportunity. Give new people an “observation” period before deciding to proceed into friendship. Don’t test them because that’s also another toxic behavior but watch how they react to things. How do they talk to you? Is their concern genuine? Do they have an agenda? Pay attention then make the judgment call. Last but not least, stay in your lane. In the words of the great poet, J.Cole, “don’t save her [if] she don’t want to be saved.” Bleeding hearts like me always want to help people but before you throw your hand out to lift someone up make sure the person grabbing onto you won’t be pulling you down.

What do you think? Have you experienced toxic tricks before? What’s your advice on how to handle them? Subscribe and leave a comment below!

I’mperfect

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My finger kept running across the label.

Valium. For Panic Attacks and Anxiety. 

On my left was a bottle of wine. The bridge between the two sat with me for a little too long. Sure it wasn’t new. I’d entertained the idea for years. But this time I was considering dancing with it. I could hear my family laughing downstairs, gathered around a Christmas movie, enjoying each other’s company. The haphazard note I’d written wouldn’t help. Somewhere inside me I knew I didn’t want to die but I didn’t want to live either.


I don’t know the exact moment it happened but I learned to hate myself at a very young age. At seven, I took a brillopad to my leg to get off the “dirt” because I wanted to look like all of my white friends. As a teenager I underwent radical diets to look like the thin girls who got asked out. In college, I struggled with suicide ideation. All different expressions but they all came from the same place of a deeply rooted and internalized hate. I was never one of the pretty, popular girls with straight hair and boyfriends. I wasn’t tall and gorgeous like my sisters. I was sick for a good portion of my childhood and it showed in scabs, scars, rashes, and other unsightly skin reactions. I was a walking freakshow as I was told numerous times. That made me an easy target for bullies. I can still remember in vivid detail the laughs of my tormentors. The happiness in their faces when they could call me fat or ugly, pull my hair, kick me, or find some new form of torture. Each time I absorbed the shock of the blow and let it sink below the surface. Each day the pain grew. Each day the message got louder and clearer, “You’re not wanted.”

I began to hate myself intensely. I told myself I didn’t deserve to take up the space that I did. I didn’t deserve to breathe the air everyone else did. The hate morphed into impossible standards. If I didn’t get an A, I was even more worthless. If I didn’t lose the weight, no one would ever want me. If I stopped reading and thinking so much, I’d get a boyfriend. If everything that made me unique was destroyed, I’d be accepted…acceptable. 

I would sit on the floor of my closet in the dark and hug my knees. I felt safe there. Unlike most children, I wasn’t afraid of the monsters that lurked just beyond my clothes and underneath my shoes. I was afraid of the ones on the outside getting in.

But it was too late, they were already running rampant in my head.


When I started dating I was indoctrinated by the belief that I was so unloveable that any consideration from a man was met with my undying love and affection. I hated myself so much that I really believed anyone who could look past my reprehensible “faults” and at least like me was as close to love as I could get. I enthusiastically took emotional and mental abuse because I thought that was the best I could do.

When people complimented me, it never registered. Call me smart and I’d counter with, “Not enough.” Call me pretty and I’d counter with, “Not enough.” I kept praying and hoping that I would find “the enough” on the other side of some condition being met. It never was in reach and so long as I judged myself in the mirror of perfection I would always find something more to fix and less to love.

I hated myself for so long that I wanted to die. That’s all hate grants you. It exhausts you nearly to the point of no return. It infects everything good and beautiful in your life and kills it slowly. I sat in my room while my family celebrated and I wondered if it would be better without me. Then I saw their faces once they found me. Maybe they’d think I was sleeping. Maybe they’d try and shake me awake. But it wouldn’t last long and then they’d know. How could I let them feel that kind of horror? They would feel guilty for something that wasn’t their fault for years.  I didn’t want to trade in my pain for theirs and I truly didn’t want to end my life. I put the orange bottle out of sight and folded up the note. I told myself that I was either going to let my hate kill me or I was going to find a way to live and find happiness.


I used to be terrified of being this vulnerable, of opening myself up to this degree. But the more I look around, the more I see it’s necessary. I hear the little cues in conversation, “If I could just,” “When I…” “I need to do this so I can be…” and I know the little seeds of self-hate live in others. When I read the comments about Tess Holliday getting signed to a major modeling agency, I saw those little seeds come out in words. When I watched the division and negativity after the Dark Girls and Light Girls documentaries last week, I saw those little seeds come out in tweets. When I watch friends deflate because some anonymous man swiped left instead of right, I see those seeds burst and take root. We need to stop treating happiness as some carrot we dangle in front of people. No one person deserves it over another. It’s not a race. You can try and chase it the world over without realizing it starts with you.

Dark-skinned, curly-haired, wide-hipped, flat-chested, whatever you are, you’re golden. Love your rolls, love your curves, love your lines, love your shape, no matter what state it’s in because it’s yours. There’s no use in measuring ourselves against perfection because it’s just as unbelievable as it is unattainable. Why should you wait to be happy when your life isn’t a rehearsal? This is it. If you can’t be comfortable in the skin you’re in now, what makes you think the second you reach a goal, it’ll suddenly find you? You can’t fight insecurity with another insecurity. You’ll never win so chuck it in the trash. Perfection doesn’t allow you to see yourself as the beautiful person you are. It tells you you’re too much or not enough. You’re enough. I promise you, you’re more than enough.

When I stopped hating myself, I started breaking “rules” I was told to live by. I stopped relaxing my hair and let me curls show and I felt beautiful. I wore dresses that showed my dark knees and chubby thighs. The world didn’t collapse, no one was blinded by the sight of it, and I felt beautiful. I started finding joy in what I’d considered imperfections. I started finding joy in myself. Some people don’t like to see that. Let’s be honest, most people don’t like to see that. When we think of happiness as something bestowed instead of something obtained, we get envious of those around us who have it. Hurting people hurt people, doesn’t mean you have to receive it or pass it on. Let that be someone else’s fight. They have to learn, just like you will, just like I did, that the love you’re chasing isn’t somewhere over the rainbow, it’s right in the palm of your hand. Grab that happiness. Embrace that love. Reject the hate.

I wake up every morning and I write this in my journal:

ImPerfect

It’s a reminder to myself that what the world may call faults, I call beauty. What the world may say doesn’t deserve love, will garner all the love it needs right from me.

You deserve to feel that way too. Remember that as we all aspire to feel better, do better, and be better.

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