“I just want a bosom friend, a kindred spirit like Anne had with Diana..” I exclaimed. “You will baby, one day, you will” my Mom replied confidently.
I grew up in a podunk town in the hill country. You can drive through this town in 15 minutes stat, and the population was primarily white. My parents negotiated for my sister and I to attend a private school (more on that story in another post) that was—you guessed it–all white. We were the only black students in the entire school. Even though I made a couple friends while we lived in Kerrville, I longed to be accepted and dreamed of the day when I could live in a big city, go to public school and be surrounded by people who looked like me. I thought that I’d fit in, be accepted, and all would be well.
We ended up moving to Houston the summer before my ninth grade year (due to my Grandmother being diagnosed with an illness & my Mother offering to be her caretaker), and I was so delighted to attend a public school with diversity.
Picture this… it’s the first day of 9th grade, and I’m in Mrs. Ford’s class. She teaches Algebra. Math isn’t my favorite subject and I know I’ve gotta be more diligent with it… I raised my hand and said, “Excuse me, Mrs. Ford, when’s our first quiz?” The girl sitting in front of me yanks her head around and yells, “WHO’S THIS UPPER CLASS BITCH?!” and gives me a death glare. I was mortified and thought, “did I do something wrong?”
You can imagine how the rest of that year went, it was HARD. I hated high school and I don’t think I would’ve attended if it wasn’t required.
(Sidenote: My Mom told me later that she was so surprised that I enjoyed college, because of my experiences in high school. I told her people were much more serious in college and actually cared about learning… ha!)
Today I don’t have many friends, but the friends that I do have are gold. They are the sisters I never knew I needed. And I think every human being deserves at least 1 or 2 people who help them feel heard, loved, appreciated, encouraged and challenged. Here are my tips for you:
Decide that you’re worthy.
I know that sounds silly, but honestly, I’ve never chased a friend (or a man for that matter). Even when I didn’t understand why I didn’t have the friends I desired, I’ve always known that I was worthy. Even when friendships were seasonal, I knew I was worthy. Why?
I’m a good friend.
I truly believe that and I feel strongly that if you’re in my circle—it’s an honor for you. No one told me that initially, it’s a belief that I decided.
You can decide at any time that you’re good too.
Show up accordingly.
I take care of myself first. I have my own back. I trust and listen to myself. And most importantly, I am growing daily.
Why is this important? Because I’m not a dump truck for other people’s bullshit.
I don’t want friends who are build-a-bear projects, and see me as their personal therapist or life coach. And it’s equally important that I don’t give off this energy to others. “But how do you do this, Melodee?” You take care of your needs first. You make sure that you have the proper support in your life, so you’re nourished and well taken care of. In some cases that means you hire help and don’t do everything yourself.
When you start doing that you’ll find that you have less tolerance for conversations that are bitch fests.
By doing so, you’ll open a gateway to new people.
While I do have one friend that I still keep in touch with from high school, I met most of my current friends through either an in-person conference, online course or workshop—where they were already investing in themselves.
Trust me, when you invest in yourself, it’s hard to listen to someone else complain about why they haven’t done so themselves.
List your characteristics.
Listen, I don’t club, bar hop, or get wasted. (Btw–nothing wrong with any of those activities — that’s just not my idea of fun.) I’m obsessed with reading books, writing blogs, building my business, eating fresh foods, improving my home, serving my clients… basically showing up brighter, living bolder, and being the best me that I can be.
I like to hang around others who desire similar, it’s a personal value of mine. This doesn’t mean if you drink alcohol and eat meat, I won’t hang out with you. Not at all. All of my friends drink alcohol and eat meat. I’m the only one that doesn’t. Here’s the deal though, I’m not going to a club, bar, or winery to hang out… so we need to have something else in common or be open to finding fun in other settings, ya dig? (Thankfully, a lot of restaurants have other drinks besides alcohol and serve other food besides meat 🙂
Of course there are other characteristics like kindness, honesty, consistency, trustworthy, generosity, etc. and list those out if you need to make it clear — to me those are a given and a part of the definition of a friend, but if you need to list them, list ‘em!
I think the biggest tip of all is to require more of yourself than anyone else, because if you do that you’ll automatically look to your right and left and see happy humans besides you who will lock arms with you as you go.
Hi! I’m Melodee Forbes, and I help leaders declutter their calendar, so they can create more time for self care. I’d be happy to support you in decluttering your physical items and digital systems. You can start to create more self care by clicking here.