I was doing a fashion event not long ago where my wife, Sheena, brought our son to watch me walk the runway. There were other little kids there in the back of the room who were face deep into their mom’s iPad waiting on the show to start. My wife and Ja’Mauri were seated in the front row when one of the seven something year old boys walked up to them and asked, “can he come watch a movie with us?” After an extremely brief introduction of names, our son was off to watch Netflix in the back of the space.
Childhood was something easy when it came to making friends wasn’t it? Well, not for me but that’s a whole other story in my book Katrina: When God Closed His Eyes on New Orleans that you can get a copy of here. However, for most it was as simple as walking up to some kid on the playground and saying, “let’s play!”
But what about now? Why can’t it be that simple to make friends now as an adult as it was back as a child? Even the friends you may have had have fallen off! Where did they go?! You would think it would get easier with age, but it does not. I’m darn near thirty and I still struggle to connect with people. I can tell you there is a list of reasons and solutions I study when I consider adding new folks to my friends list and why others find it challenging to keep their seat at my Comrade Table that you may want to consider:
Stress with What I’m Wearing
The Issue: Let’s start with my most annoying yet simple reason I’m almost friendless. I am that lazy friend that has no idea what to wear to go out. Some people I know spend two hours putting on makeup, pay entirely too much on an outfit, and still needs to shower and do their hair all to go to a club where no one will look at your cute skirt. Not to mention its hot, crowded and drinks are overpriced. You may get that much effort of dressing up late at night to go out in the dark every three months from me... maybe.
My Solution: Okay so I do like dressing up and going out. It can really be fun! Just not every weekend! If you are like me, you have to find friends who find value in being at home in sweats with a bottle of liquor. It is much cheaper than VIP and bottle service! YouTube has the exact same music without that annoying horn in the middle of your favorite song (I know you know what I’m talking about). Nothing is wrong with going to the club and dressing up pretty but it’s not for me. If you do a lot of this, just count me out. I just have to find friends who are more interested in the things I like to enjoy so I can be comfortable. But there’s nothing wrong with having a friend who knows were all the good spots are! Just understand you don’t have to go out with that friend every time they want to go clubbing. If they can’t respect that, they aren’t your friend to begin with.
I have a Wife and a Kid
The Issue: This is not an issue for me. I am happily married and love being a mom. With the titles of mother and wife come great responsibility, however. One of those responsibilities is being able to positively filter who you bring around your family. I am from one of the ratchetest neighborhoods in the ghettoest ward of the most head shaking city of New Orleans. I know people that I question all the time. I see their FB post and their IG photos and ask myself would I want them saying and doing that stuff around my family. Uh no! Even when I go back home and people I went to high school with ask me to visit so they can meet my growing family, I sometimes politely avoid it.
My Solution: Some people you may know have not gotten to the point of having a spouse and kids. They don’t understand their environments effect their marriages and children. Some have and still don’t care but I digress. That’s okay for them, not for me. I had to identify those I know who don’t understand the difference in being single and being in a relationship and back away a little bit. Sometimes there are things you cannot and should not do! Would you like it if your other half was out with their single friends and those friends involved them in activities that completely disrespected your marriage? Or how would you like if your mom’s privates were plastered all over Facebook? You can’t control anyone but yourself so avoid putting yourself in situations that aren’t for you. It’s okay to have single friends but you must know your limits. There are some places I can’t go and things I can’t do, and my friends must understand that. If they can’t, in the end they start cutting themselves out of your life.
I Just Don’t Trust People
The Issue: Sorry but I don’t. Women are so nasty to each other. They like to steal the partners of their friends which is just terrible. Some women don’t know how to fix the crowns of their homegirls without telling anyone who will listen that it was crooked. Sometimes it’s two of your friends who are talking about you behind your back! God forbid you are doing better than them for a split second and they dump you (true story this happened to me). Jealousy from a so called friend can get you killed in 2019. The biggest problem I have is that my heart is so big. I can’t trust the same as I use to because “friends” will take advantage of your kindness both mentally and financially (yup this happened to me too). Worst part of that is you never know who the snake is in your garden until it is too late.
My Solution: Take it slow. I mean really slow. Give people the same energy they give you. You really have to learn who a person is before inviting them around your children and your better half. If someone even smiles too hard at my wife, they will be cut. Real friends, by the way, avoid asking for help as much as possible. There is no way someone should depend on you to help them out of a “hard spot” each and every time every other week. If I even get a whiff of that they will be voted off the island. It’s hard not to care but try not to care so hard.
The Bottom Line
Bottom line, I found out that you don’t have to have 5700 contact in your phone or 10k followers on IG to feel you have friends. Think quality over quantity. If you have one good friend regardless of where they may be in the world then you are better off than you think. Bes