Written by Bibi Gnagno
I often ask myself why do people want to hang out with other people that constantly put them down, that throw shade and make them feel less than. Some of these people even make them feel like they want to drink a whole bottle of wine after a conversation or time spent with them?
I have been blessed with friends that lift me, that empower me and with whom I can develop into my best self.
I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mine who had started to rearrange her life in ways that would empower her and allow her to live her best life. She was starting to get away from people that dragged her energy down. Some of those people were confused as to why she didn’t want to hang out with them anymore. This got me to thinking:
Is it the new normal to hang out with people that put you down and mistreat you just to have someone to hang with?
Maybe this concept is foreign to me because when I moved from Ivory Coast (located on the Western Coast of Africa), I had no friends and had to gradually make friends (that my parents approve of). Along the way, I remember my mother telling me something that has stuck with to this day,
“Bibi, never hang out with people that do not have your best interest at heart.”
I never understood that until I started to experience a little more of life, maybe I was still naïve and “ride or die” for people until one particular situation, which opened my eyes.
We all go through changes in our lives as we grow, evolve, and unfortunately hurt each other through this process of growth. This is exactly what took place with a past situation that reminded me of my mother’s words.
A friend and I planned to stay with another friend at her new apartment, where she had just moved. Keep in mind that we were 17 years old so that meant complete and total freedom especially since we had our boyfriends at the time tag along. Somehow, an argument ensued and our friend threw all of us out of her house because her boyfriend at the time did not want us there.
We left in the middle of the night, at 4 am with nowhere to go. We drove around for a few hours and then went by the lake and watched the sun rise and pondered on what had just happened.
Hurt was not even the word I could use to describe the range of emotions I felt. I consider myself to be a “ride or die” friend but at that moment I learned that you have to keep people around you that will have your best interest at heart. Otherwise, you will end up in situations that are negative and sometimes life threatening.
Needless to say, that friendship did not survive.
Maybe it’s a lack of self esteem or loneliness that keeps people stuck in friendships or relationships where they do not value themselves enough to leave.
Being alone and treating yourself with love, care and respect is far more sacred than hanging with people that don’t see your value.
At first, it is lonely but when that happened to me, I took the time to build on my foundation and immersed myself in positive activities that brought me joy and the friends that I wanted in my life started to pop up.
Never beg someone to like you or be your friend. You are perfect, whole and complete, created by God. If anyone can’t see that then you can kindly show him or her door because “throwin’ shade” is played.
Edits: M. Campbell