Kimberly Ndubizu, the founder of Rich Little Brokegirls, sat down with Chelsea Rojas, Glynn Pogue, and Sade Parham, the founders of Black Girls Texting, to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of friendships in Essence Girls United Creator’s House panel D.N.D: You’re a Sh-tty Friend’ during the second day of Creator’s House.
We all have friends in some capacity or another whether meeting in kindergarten and never being able to get rid of each other after or crossing paths through mutuals in your adulthood.
Friendship is essential to the black woman’s experience. Yet, they don’t come without their challenges. The Black Girls Texting cast has sustained over ten years of friendship. Here are some lessons from their authentic, open conversation on navigating womanhood and friendship.
Friendship Takes Effort
For Pogue, being intentional about her friendships makes all the difference. “Now, with life, and schedules and work stuff, it requires effort to maintain those relationships,” she said. “I literally have to pencil in my friends on my calendar.” Understanding is equally important for Rojas. “At this point in time, we all have so much going on, and I need friends that are okay if I don’t call every day and understand I still love them and I’m thinking about them and I care about them, but I’ll see you when I see you.” The effort requires communication. Parham has found open communication to be pivotal to her ongoing friendships, especially in business. “We are in a relationship, the same way that you may have a romantic partner and use open and honest communication,” she said.
Have Multiple Group Chats
As working friends, a grey area between personal relationships and business can easily develop. BlackGirlsTexting suggests having multiple group chats that serve various purposes. “It’s like slack channels in the iPhone, and so it helps a lot with communication and like keeping things separate so that we can have a discussion laughing about a TikTok we saw or telling each other about our nights,” said Parham.
Relationships Have Ups And Downs
As decade-long friends, the three girls have experienced each other at several stages of life. “Our friendship dynamic has changed so much,” said Rojas. “Sade used to be the fun one, and now she’s not. She’s boring,” she jokingly added. Work, romantic relationships, and life, in general, may cause some of your friends to change as you all grow together. BGT encourages young women to welcome those shifts. “I used to be a grandma, and now I’m out in these streets,” added Pogue.
Friendship Break-Ups Are Inevitable
It is ultimately up to us to decide what we value in people and whether the good outweighs the bad in potential relationship rifts. “Certain things, I’ve realized, and it comes with age, I cannot tolerate. I cannot tolerate a friend I can’t trust,” said Rojas. Sometimes, this can require confrontation. “I think its best if you’re having an issue with a friend just to tell them and then recognize how they react,” she added. “If your friend is doing something that you have an issue with and you never tell them that issue, that’s not fair.” Voted the most mature of the group, Parham recognizes that it’s okay to grow apart. “Communicating that you’ve grown apart or you’re different people is fine, no harm, no foul.”
We All Have Sh-tty Friend Traits
Perfect people are a myth. We all have shitty friend tendencies. Recognize and address them but also give grace to people. “We all have our things,” said Parham. “I can live with the fact that, as I know, I can send you a billion texts, and you will not answer them. Then, I will see you posting on Instagram,” she added as she looked at Pogue.
Welcome Tough Conversations
Before the panel wrapped up, the audience and the panelists engaged in an ‘Ask Wendy’-esque moment, sharing everything from shitty experiences with friends to how they can improve. The question, ‘How am I a shitty friend?’ is the perfect way to reflect and can segway to an honest, authentic conversation about how you approach relationships with the ones you love.