The phrase “Growing Pains” is typically reserved for children who limbs begin to ache as they grow. Today, I would like to use the phrase growing pains to refer to the emotional heartache that accompanies your early twenty-something years. In the words of Crazy Eyes, “navigating adult female relationships is SO complicated!” and I’m here to echo that sentiment.
Growing up a terribly insecure black girl attending a predominantly white school was filled with challenges. My innner Nigerian in me always wanted to excel at everything, so I put a lot of pressure on myself with my academics as well as brief tennis and cheerleading careers. However, those high expectations did not translate to my social life–quite frankly I just went with the flow and hung out with whoever hit me up.
This laissez-faire attitude I had towards my social life stayed with me for the majority of my early twenties. In fact, I would constantly complain about hanging out with this person or that. I was constantly rolling my eyes whenever I received a text from one of my “self-proclaimed best friends”. And somehow on my days off it I felt as if I was rolling up my sleeves to head to job number two when in route to my weekend brunch plans. In short, my social life did not recharge me in fact it left me in a rut.
I had placed this burden of unnecessary obligation on myself. Some may call it “The Disease to Please”. In hindsight, I would call it overextending yourself for people who do not give a shit about you.
*insert petty gif here*
My go with the flow attitude towards my social life lead me down a path in which I had surrounded myself with fake friends. Individuals who I felt were dishonest with their intentions and who did not respect my time. The word disrespect means a lot of different things to different people so it’ll be best to spend time with yourself and identify behaviors that cause frustration in relationships. It can vary in different scenarios as well. In my home life, it’s of utmost importance to me that the kitchen is clean at all times. In my personal friendships, I cannot tolerate last minute plans or cancellations (I seriously have to mentally prepare to leave my apartment lol).
The emotional growing pains are formed when you care so deeply about a friend and you realize they will never be able to understand and respect your boundaries. You’re not “overreacting” by calling someone out on their shit for example, “I have said multiple times that dishes should be in the sink, dishwasher, or cupboard” or “This is the second time you’ve cancelled the day of this is very inconsiderate of my time” are great examples of how to cut the bullshit and get straight to the point. Ultimately as my respect for myself grew, the amount of bullshit I accepted from my friends dwindled until I had reached a no tolerance limit.
Ending a friendship is complicated. I would constantly over explain my feelings and then get sucked into another 6 months of a friendship I knew was not working for me. Everything takes time – it took me a while to get comfortable with not having plans every weekend. And it took me even longer to stop wallowing in self pity and begin to invest that time into myself (which is how this blog was born!).
I realized that as I shifted my focus from the unfulfilling relationships my existing relationships began to flourish. I coincidentally run into people on the street I hadn’t seen in years and we picked up exactly where we left off. I even developed a more in-depth personal hair care and skin care routine with the added alone time and my pores have been so thankful! The universe is a beautiful thing when you surround yourself with people who love and appreciate you for who you are.
My mom would nag me, “People treat you the way you let them” but honestly it’s true! Once you address someone on their behavior and they do not change DO NOT STAY. By their actions they have made it clear they have no respect for you, and staying and trying to work it out does more harm to your self-esteem than good. So grow sis, and let them go.