Friendship is love’s perfect partner. The foundation of any great love affair is friendship. As I look at all of the amazing friendships I am blessed to have, I realize how free, open and myself I am when I am around them. We have a bond; there is a trust that allows me to feel safe and protected when I am around them. These amazing ladies know me and love me despite my faults and they don’t judge me. They are honest and will hold me accountable and call me out when I get oversensitive or even neurotic. I have a deep love for my friends because of the honesty that is at the center of our relationship. In the last few years my friendship circle has become smaller but tighter. I always know when I’m moving in the right direction because things and/or people start to remove themselves from my life. Right now…I feel like my friendships are in a great place. I have a circle of sistah friends that I love and trust with my life.
As I think about those relationships, I realize why friendship is so vital to any romantic relationship. There is an ease in my friendships. I don’t feel like I’m walking on eggshells. I don’t have to put on any masks. All I have to do is be myself. There is freedom in these relationships. That is something I desire with the man in my life. I am a complicated, layered woman who wears many hats in my life. I am focused, ambitious and very determined to accomplish my goals, especially at this time in my life. There are so many different aspects to my personality, the man I wind up sharing space and time has to understand, accept and love me the same way my friends do. It requires a man with strength, patience, integrity, ambition, understanding and a strong moral character.
This is why dating is so important. It is so easy to want to push the fast forward button and jump into a love-like relationship. Trust me…I understand. It can be difficult, especially in the beginning when everything is progressing well (or when the mask is on). The difference between the real thing and the ones that “crash and burn” is the foundation of how that the relationship began. It is during the dating/courtship phase that you learn if this man has the qualities you want, love and admire in a friend and vice versa. Is he honest, loyal, trustworthy, secure, and confident? Does he like to have fun? Does he have a sense of humor? Is he responsible and emotionally available? Can I be “open” with him? Can he handle my “vulnerabilities” and vice versa? Is he suffering from PTSD from past relationships? What’s his baggage and can I deal with it? This takes time to develop. I have ended friendships because they appeared to be friends in the beginning but wound up really being enemies with intentions to harm me in disguise. The same applies in love relationships. You have to give it time because people tend to reveal their true selves later. You have to have a fine tuned third eye nowadays; people are capable of holding on to their masks for years. You must be careful not to get involved with a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They are the predators masked as the love of your life. Time is not a guarantee against heartbreak but it helps in the weeding out process. Take your time and remove the rose colored glasses when dating. What you see is what it is. Potential is a figment of your rose colored imagination. You have to see people for who they are RIGHT NOW.
I treasure my friendships and most of them have been years in the making. They took time to grow to where they are now but there is such a comfort and ease in them. I always know where I stand with them. In these safe spaces of sisterhood there are no questions or grey areas. As busy as we all are, when we get together or talk I always feel SAFE. When I think about friendship, the parallels to love relationships are so similar. I want to feel safe with the man I choose to share my space with. I want to be free to be exactly who I am with my man. Only then can a relationship withstand the added pressure that physical intimacy brings. Hopefully by that point both of you are in that “safe” space with one another and then it begins; that wonderful journey with two people on the same road in the same space mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The foundation has to be strong. There are some things I would never do to a friend. I would never intentionally hurt them, lie to them, deceive them or intentionally cause them pain. Some of us have no idea what friendship is or what being a friend means. This makes for relationships built on a foundation of deceit which leads to unnecessary heartbreak, drama and messiness.
Maybe…just maybe, if we took the time to understand what a real friendship is the battle of the sexes wouldn’t be such a battle at all.