Most of us can agree that making friends as an adult is hard. Beyond that, once you’ve established bonds that feel as though they could last, you’ve got to put in the work. I do think that sometimes it feels like you have to do a lot, and I also think, as Black women, we do that disproportionately because we pour so much of ourselves into people.
Friendships are like roller coasters — they can have highs, and they can have lows. Sometimes they are exhilarating, and other times they can be scary and frustrating. But if it’s truly with a person who is worth having in your life, you learn how to manage that ride.
I met my best friend in Mrs. Eads’ fourth-grade class at Greenwood Elementary. As we sat in class on the first day of school, Mrs. Eads called us one by one to her desk to give her our birth date. Shinita and I learned we had the same birthday — and the rest is history. We bonded over pigtails, Michael Jackson, and wearing matching outfits. We had a bond that was different from everyone else, and although we’ve had our ups and downs, it has been a friendship we have nurtured for over three decades.
Like children, Black women’s best-friend relationships begin with similarities and then graduate to loyalty, understanding, and dependability. Black women have an innate sisterhood no matter what we do. Friendships can also be very complicated, and, because of the kind of friends we are as Black women — we care, we want to take care of each other — it can get messy sometimes. That’s okay though. Mess can be cleaned up.
Every week, we see how Black women are portrayed on reality television, as if we fight all the time, lack kindness, backstab, and are incapable of having substantial friendships. It can be assumed we are all the same and act the same way. An article in the Bay State Banner asks, “Are these shows, although heavily scripted, presenting some of the realities of Black womanhood, or are they merely repackaging what America thinks of Black women (and men) and pulling an audience by confirming stereotypes?”
In a society that works so…