This friend of mine has had a disappointing past when it comes to guys. A break up here, an “I just want to have fun, not date you,” there and plenty of he’s-just-not-that-in-to-yous. In some cases I can totally relate to her, I mean, I’ve had my share of heartaches too. The other situations that she likes to deem “only ever happen to me” I do my best to comfort and encourage her, letting my friend know that it simply means he wasn’t the right one, but don’t give up because, when the time is right, he will come along.
Speed things along and one day I get a boyfriend. Now the once man-less duo has dwindled down to one. And for the past three and a half years, one has fallen in love with plans to marry her sweetheart in the future while the other—her words, not mine—still has the ability to catch em’ but just cannot reel em’ in.
Needless to say this has caused a few problems. Let me give you some background first. I am in a long distance relationship with both my friend and my boyfriend e.g. neither live in the same state as me (or anywhere near any states by me) at the moment. We are all from the same city and knew each other in high school, so he isn’t a stranger to her. You’d think everything would be smooth, right? Hometown friends, come back on holiday breaks, meet up and hang out—but it’s far from that.
My friend has, what I’d call, a kind of dislike-really dislike relationship with my boyfriend. One minute she’s cool and is helping him decide on a Christmas gift for me, the next she’s rolling her eyes asking “How are you and what’s his name?”
There have been plenty of times when he has done something very sweet or surprised me in some way and, like any romantic, I want to share it with my girls. But with this friend I always have to be cautious about what I say, filtering what I do and do not share with her for fear 1) she won’t want to hear about it and 2) it’ll make her feel sad because she doesn’t have a man doing the same for her.
Sometimes my constant walking on egg shells becomes daunting and I wonder about the depths of our friendship, but this new year of 2013 opened my eyes to something. Just before new year’s eve, my friend and I had a huge disagreement about…well you can guess. She suddenly didn’t want to be around him—or us as a couple, I should say—and thought it would ruin the night, even though we’d already agreed on our plans weeks before. With the new year about to roll in and me already being tired of the same old thing, I was completely done with it. And when I talked to my boyfriend about how I was feeling, he said something to me that was so honest and so real, something that truly opened my eyes to what I’d never realized before:
“Shala, I am not going anywhere. So she (my friend) is going to have to learn how to be your friend with me in your life.”
I have never been one to choose a man over my friends or cut off everyone when in a relationship, and at that moment I realized that I kept putting up with my friend’s behavior for fear she would think I was doing just that. But my boyfriend was right.
We all know when a guy is no good for us or someone we love and, in that context, an apprehensive friend is understandable. But my boyfriend is a gentleman and treats all my friends with the utmost respect, even this one in particular who doesn’t return the favor.
When someone is a significant part of your life, you want others to share in the joy you feel for that person. For most of my relationship I’ve been trying to hide the good or suppress my happiness because I didn’t want to offend others. I understood where my friend was coming from and would never want to add to her pain.
But ladies, let me tell you this is a new year, and I have a new perspective. God has blessed me with a great man and I deserve for my friends to truly be my friends and rejoice with me, just as I would with them.
I still love my friend and pray for her daily, but I refuse to allow her or anyone else to make me feel bad about what I have. And in this new year, my sistas, I urge you all to take a long look at your relationships to solidify who’s really there for you and who just claims to be.
Service is her passion, writing is her platform, women and the Black Community are her avenues. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Marks aspires to help make a difference in society through the messages in her writings. She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Check her out at: