Recently, I became the bystander of a failed friendship between two girlfriends. I hadn’t given the dissolution of their relationship much credence until I later found myself celebrating birthdays with women I had sustained relationships with for almost 2 decades. At a recent dinner, one of my dearest friends lamented over how we didn’t like each other at first, and how close we’ve remained since. I call her mom, mommy and she refers to my mom as Anty. Today, while scrolling through my gram (@aidannnealpress) it occurred to me that at some point or another I shared major, “i should probably just fuck off with this girl,” disagreements with every girlfriend with whom I’ve sustained a meaningful relationship. Disagreements/tests of which I am now grateful.
Island women are very proud. Through broughtupcy or commonly shared struggles, most Caribbean women develop thick skins, repellent to common adversities. This winning trait, however, amplifies their pride, making communication an almost failed skill among my tribe. Too often, “mi nah beg ar/him nuttin”mentalities-stained with pride and acute ignorance-can cause almost irreparable breaks in relationships (friendships or otherwise). Unspoken conversations loaded with “she should have known better,” or “you just don’t do that,” add to a narrative that has never actually taken place.
A relationship that hasn’t been tested is an acquaintance, a situationship of sorts. Its not possible to be invested in anything and never reach a crossroads or have disagreements. Mistakes will be made. How we choose to move forward says a lot about us personally, more so than it does about the situation or wrong doing. Everyone’s common sense is not the same. What’s a given to you, is not a given to everyone else; and while disappointing, that’s not unreasonable. Every relationship is different as well. Just because Mary Sue woulda neva do you “dat” doesn’t mean Jane is the worst. Rest assured Mary Sue is eventually gonna do some shit Jane would have never done.
Island girls are passionate women, with almost unmatched senses of immediacy. While this has it perks in many other facets, it in turn can make her seem reactionary; making ungrounded decisions or statements on a whim and subsequently finding herself too proud to rectify a situation. But again, we come in a di world alone, and a so we a come out of it.
Caribbean women are the best girlfriends you could have. Once you are their ally, you are their family. Wherever she eats, there will always be a place at the table for you. She is unselfish with her friendships and her friends will become yours. She is your designated driver. The lady who you lived with when you just moved to a foreign land; the witness at your green card wedding. She is the girl you called in tears, who before you could hang up the phone, was immediately outside your door. However, with all that said, she simply doesn’t do confrontation well. As passionate and immersive as she is in her friendship, she is almost equally as fervid in times of distress. “You see, it’s not me, it’s you; and if I can still secure my other friendships, then that’s a testament to the fact that I am a good person, right?” Well…is it?
The island girl also travels in herds, and if lacking just enough maturity, once your relationship is threatened, so are the other relationships you had secured with “her” friends. If you are also lacking the required perspective, you may be too engrossed to realize, it’s best to let them all go. Let the pettiness reside in its own solitude, surround yourself with authenticity and love, and never apologize for choosing the latter.
All relationships require work. The ability of someone to not hurt you is not a testament of your relationship. Instead, it is the ways in which you approach the rifts that decipher the value you place on yourself and on your friend. A conditional relationship is not worth having. The “we can only stay friends if..” mentality should be left to those whose days comprise of lunchboxes and recess. Every relationship isn’t worth salvaging, and some mistakes are no mistakes at all, but truly unforgivable atrocities. Take the time before you hastily react. Take the time before you up and coin people your friend. There is no competition for who has the most of them. Having a 100 friends is almost as good as having none at all. Do not make decisions without having garnered all the information. Be discerning with those you surround yourself with, and perhaps you may not find it so easy to throw them away. Always seek out your accountability in EVERY situation. Nothing is ever just one party’s fault. No one is ever the hallmark of a friend and the other this beast who pulled wool over your eyes. Take the time to learn…..the right lessons.
Featured image courtesy of getty images.