I love my friends. My real friends. The ones who will drop everything and fly down to lay eyes on me kind of friends. These are the kind of friends that Black women need. Black women need the kind of friends that can hear in your voice that you’re not ok for real.
I know this because I’ve definitely been the friend who rarely tells people that the stress I’m under is taking me out. The past few years I’ve learned to be more open and honest about how I’m feeling and what I need. That has been helpful to my newer friends in understanding me and I think it has helped them to open up about their own lives as well.
So many people talk about the “Strong Black Woman” archetype. We all know that it is a farce. Women in other races aren’t posed with an idea of what they should be able to endure as an every day badge of honor. But Black women, we are supposed to bear the children, lead in the workplace, overcome all adversity, beat illness and disease all while looking fine and staying moisturized! We know it’s time out for that. We know we can’t do it all. Matter of fact, we don’t want to do it all. But we often find ourselves in situations where we are the ones picking up the pieces.
Black women are the most educated minority. We make less money than most while doing the same work if not more. We are less likely to be married or partnered, more likely to be the breadwinners, and more likely to still live below the poverty line. There’s a lot of things coming at us, so when we’re not okay, we need our people to at least say a prayer and let us know that they’re thinking of us.
If you’re not the friend who is able to hop on a plane (because resources and time are limited…didn’t I just say we we have degrees but our funds don’t match?) or drive to visit your girl who is struggling then drop her a voice text, send her a card, shoot CashApp the bestie $10 for coffee/treats, pick up the phone and let her know she’s not alone.
That’s right, call your friend right now and tell her that she’s amazing but if she’s not feeling amazing that’s ok. Give her some encouraging words. But most importantly, listen. Listen to what’s going on with her, pray with her, hear her, sit in the silence and the tears with her. Let her know she’s not in this thing alone. Because Black women need real friends. Friends who will take a moment to really check in. Friends who will be vulnerable. Friends who don’t expect perfection, or strength, just humanity.
Black women need real friends.
How are you showing up as a friend?