Black Women...Stop Being the "Platonic Friend"

This is a Pygmy Service Announcement. Stop everything you're doing and pay attention.

Note: Lesbians, this post is not directed at you, though it may or may not apply in your world (if it does, let me know).  If you have no sexual interest in men whatsoever, by all means...more power to you.  So rock on, my Sapphic sisters; rock on.

Hetero gals, on the other hand...we need to have a little chat.

As we are all hopefully aware, the "Comfort Shop" is closed.  The 21st Century black woman will no longer be playing the role of the sassy, supportive best friend who's sole purpose in life is to selflessly take care of everyone else in their lives, white women in particular - fuck that.  Those days are over, or at least rapidly coming to an end.  And ladies, if you see any films portraying this outdated bullshit, boycott that shit, and write the actress of color to let her know you feel let down.

But I digress....

White girls aren't the only ones who want a "strong black woman" to take care of them.  American men in general seem to want that too.  They want to come crying to you when some other girl doesn't want them.  They never want to talk about you.  They never want to know what's going on in your life.  In their minds, you're their therapist and it's your sworn duty to listen to them talk about themselves and their problems all day.  These are the losers who sit with you at the bar, not buying your drinks, and audaciously pointing out to you all the "hot" women they want to bang.  When you ask them to go talk to said women, they start with that, "I can't; I'm shy around women" bullshit.  When you point out you're a woman, they give you the "You're different, you're special, you're precious" speech which, you should know by now, is utterly meaningless.  They then launch into a self-deprecating yet self-indulgent spiel in hopes you'll ply them with compliments and encouragement to build up their confidence.  With their egos freshly stroked, they then go after some other woman.  Freshly rejected, they come right back to you.

Do they realize they're fucking up your vibe and chasing away potential suitors?  Some do, some genuinely don't - but neither really care.  So don't be shocked whenever they show possessiveness towards you or jealousy towards a guy who's interested you (or whom you've shown interest in), but don't be fooled by it either.  Don't think it gives you leverage in your "relationship" or that you can manipulate their feelings to your advantage - you can't.  They don't want you.  They want you to want them. They see your being independent, desirous of others, and desirable to others as an inconvenience.

Kick them to curb.  STAT.

When they're into another girl, you two are "best friends" with a "special friendship" they don't want to ruin with sex.  But when they're lonely, miserable, and feeling down on themselves, they suddenly want to have [very unimpressive] sex with you.  Uh...no.  You're not a damn bed-warmer, ladies.

Black women are not the only women who find themselves in this position, obviously; but we do tend to find ourselves in this position more often than other women and for the longest periods.  We're often landed in this position because American society touts this asinine notion that black women are great listeners and caregivers and you can walk up to them, unburden your woes, and never even have to ask their names.  Uh...no.

For some black women, it's difficult to avoid such - and I use this term loosely - "friendships" because they can be established as early as middle school.  Most become ensnared because they don't know how to look for red flags.  And some get stuck because they fall for manipulative psychology when they do try to assert themselves and break away.

So naturally...Fashion Tips from Moi.

Know Your Red Flags

The old adage pretty much rings true; unless they're gay, men don't track down a woman and keep her close because they want to be friends.  Don't get excited when he asks for your number; there's still much to be seen.  So if you and a man are "talking", and he doesn't ask you out on a real date within the first week (and that's a longer than you'd imagine), congrats...he's waving a red flag.

However, within the first week, if he invites you out, but doesn't tell you how beautiful you look, doesn't pay, doesn't try to get to know you at all, talks an awful lot about himself and his problems and other women...guess who?  Red flag.

Feel free to walk out, by the way.  Do not pass GO, and do not ask, "Did you really invite me out for this?", because all you'll get is, "Well...I'm sorry if I offended you.  That wasn't my intention.  I just thought you were cool and easy to talk to and thought you might want to get to know me a little better...."

*retches*

Assert Yourself

Establish boundaries from the get-go.  If a week passes and he's not expressing romantic interest, but always needs a ride somewhere, or always wants to borrow a few dollars, or copy your notes from last week's class, or talk to you about his girl problems, or get you to cover for him at work, and other such unattractive behavior, create and maintain strict distance immediately.  Delete his phone number if you have it and avoid him like the plague he is.

He may or may not ask you what "the 'tude is all about", so if he does, tell him 1) It's not 'tude; it's standards, and 2) You're not getting the romantic vibe off him, and you're not interested in being some guy's platonic friend.  You've got girlfriends for that, so he needs to go find him some guy friends.

Now, ladies, brace yourself...'cause this is normally where the passive aggressive bullshit erupts.  They start asking dumb-ass questions like, "How do you know I'm not into you?  For all you know, I could've been working up the nerve to ask you out."

Um...yeah right.

For Women Already in This Sitch

Duh, get out!  Now!  And don't fall for the, "We're special/we're not like anything else/this is a modern time/ you mean so much to me/for all you know I could fall in love with you some day" bullshit - fuck that.  Run.  Tell him that's nice and all, but you're unsatisfied with this unhealthy-as-hell arrangement and you need to move on.  Delete phone number, change locks, and focus on you for a change.

Depending on the man, he may not give up easily, so it's best to not to take his calls or emails - delete and move on.  Some will say some dumb shit like, "You're better than other women" and "We're closer because we're not romantic (please, that's a girl's line)" and even try to convince you that if you're not being desired, complimented, or shown chivalrous treatment of any kind, it's because you "matter more."

Like I said...run.

And Ladies...Don't Fall for the Lonely Guy with the Broken Heart

That's some other woman's mess, so let that bitch bring her ass back and clean it up her damn self.  If you see a guy sulking at a party or drowning his woes somewhere or sitting on a park bench with his head hanging down or whatever - dodge that motherfucker.  If he's lonely, there's probably a good reason for that (granted, not always, but still...not your mess).  Either he got dumped for reasons you do not give a shit about, or the people who actually do know him can't stand to be around him.  Either way...bounce.

Comments

  1. this right here...this right here needs to be printed on Tees and on the back of church fans because that was the TRUTH. I'm in a new setting meeting new people and I'm avoiding this at all costs!!

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  2. Damn! I knew thus dynamic existed with WW but the platonic friends thing is brand new to me. I can see how something like this could transpire. I'll definitely be on the look out. I agree this is some fucked up shit

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  3. And as a woman who does have platonic male friends, they treat me, well, like a friend. As in, they're interested in my problems and my happiness, not just theirs.

    Though damn I wish I'd read something like this when I was a teen/early 20s. It would have saved me a bit of heartache.

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  4. And as a woman who does have platonic male friends, they treat me, well, like a friend. As in, they're interested in my problems and my happiness, not just theirs.

    Good point here, because you will have some men who treat you well and respectfully, like a friend.

    Though damn I wish I'd read something like this when I was a teen/early 20s. It would have saved me a bit of heartache.

    I think it is a relatively new phenomenon, so our parents couldn't really prep us for it.

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  5. Bravo!!! Forwarding on to a few women I know who just don't get it.

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  6. Hi there,
    Thanks for coming by my blog. I really like the no excuse, no nonsense approach you have going on here.
    chizzy D

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  7. Okay, second attempt at this since the interwebs ate my first post.

    First off, well said. I think this is something people should listen to regardless of race or gender. Never mix friendship with sex unless you're planning on ending the friendship one way or another. The Platonic Best Friend doesn't get the guy/girl in real life most of the time, that's all Hollywood.

    In addition, not sleeping with friends avoids the whole creepy "Friends" thing where everybody has dated and slept with everyone else in some weird incestuous group dynamic.

    And while I doubt anyone who reads this blog is like this, the reverse of the above where one member of the "Platonic Friends" is just hanging around like a vulture for the other to have a moment of weakness. Geek guys have a serious problem with this, ladies, don't let them get away with that shit, its not healthy for anyone involved.

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  8. Black Butterfly,

    Good idea...how do you pass this on to someone who might need a little...guidance?

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  9. Thankfully, I don't know a single black woman in real life who would ever accept this role. Oh hell no!!! Platonic? That word is alien to me. I've been married several zillion years and I still expect men to want me. I don't deny my nature and anything less than this is unacceptable. I can't see myself being friends with a sorry pathetic bastard of any "race," color or national origin.

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  10. I could have used this no-nonsense advice five years ago! I had a relationship like that with a white dude. He never talked about other women or his woes, but I heard all about the minutia of his day. He wasn't that great of a listener when I wanted to talk. My friends would complain about how he would make flippant comments whenever I wanted to chat about something serious.

    I was the girlfriend without the sex or romance part. I was cool with the no sex bit--I am very old fashioned in that regard, but the no make outs got to be a problem--especially when homeboy started cooking candlelit dinners for me. I'd occasionally get a "you look amazing" when we'd go out to a function together that required me to dress up. At one point I thought we were dating as did most of our acquaintances. But, when I told him I wanted more he said he didn't want the same. Yet I stuck around for another two years because I loved him. I thought I got something out of the relationship too, but I just got dependence and pain.

    Thank goodness for careers that led us to reside on opposite sides of the country. Now we can truly chat from time to time as friends and I know the signs to look for to avoid that sort of no-win relationship again. But, now I know and knowing is half the battle.

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  11. This is the mother lovin truth right here.

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  12. Right on time, right on time. This is something I needed to hear. Thank you.

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  13. Wow, yesterday i couldn't stop reading posts from this blog. i read around eight posts. My favorite being: Shattered pedestal. I felt empowered after reading many posts. This has now become one of my favorite blogs.
    Chizzy D

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  14. Hey Jasmin,

    My way of passing this on... linking these women directly to this post!!! Ankhesen says everything that needs to be said and REMOVES ALL the loopholes for them excusing ANY triflin' behavior.

    Sometimes people hear things better from people they don't know.

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  15. Thanks for the responses, guys! I was worried how the ladies would take this.

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  16. @Ankhesen:

    You need to do a follow-up called, "Don't play Tara to some White woman's Sookie."

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  17. I used to be that chick in college. I'd hear it from dudes about how x hot chick didn't want them, woe was them. After a while, I got sick and tired of that and told them that maybe if they quit chasing after the same six bitches EVERY OTHER GUY ON CAMPUS WAS CHASING then maybe they'd have a chance with a chick. I told them they should date girls on their level basically. That's not what they wanted to hear. And the reactions I got when I dared to present my nigrah self as a potential romantic partner? And of course, all those guys were White. I got to the point where I told them I didn't want or need any more platonic male friends.

    I have some now because I am now a married heffa and no longer available. I would not at all be comfortable with some dude hitting on me knowing I was married. But I still expect my guy friends to see me as a WOMAN and a LADY. I expect them to see me home after dark if my husband is not around. I expect them to care about my safety as a lone woman at night. I expect them literally to do the heavy lifting. I'm not a pack-mule or a stevedore! And I expect them to remember that, even though married, they're still talking to a woman. Therefore, I don't need nor want to hear about all the chicks they find hawt or have banged.

    Yeah, let's add that to the list too.

    Ladies, if you've got platonic friends that don't see you as a woman or treat you as a dude, then RUN! Yeah, that may seem fun while you're hanging out with them drinking beers and watching the game, but that shit will make you hear that record scratch in sit-coms when it's midnight, and no one bothers to escort you to your car because "you'll be just fine" because it isn't like you're a, yanno, WOMAN who could be subjected to sexual violence in a dark parking lot at night.

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  18. Basically, all of this is about what Black women need to be about in our relationships that is RECEIVING loyalty and reciprocity in all of our relationships. And feel absolutely free to scale back or drop the relationship if you're not getting that. Some folks I wouldn't trust with my shadow. Some folks are just good enough to have a couple of beers with in broad daylight. Some I'd trust the care of my (hopefully) future children with. And naturally, some of those folks get more out of me and are granted more privileges than others as it should be.

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  19. As usual, Witchsistah brings down the house.

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  20. Man, I've been away from your blog for too long!
    Woman PREACH that sermon!

    I only have two people I consider great friends, since the beginning of high school we've been tight.
    Thick and thin we're still there for each other and that is IT.
    I guess it's because of my mom teaching me from an early age that someone who does not give back and only wants to receive, is not your friend. So, in all, I've never had that problem.

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  21. Girl, nice to have you back.

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  22. To be honest, I was unaware of this. I knew (assumed) there are many white women who treat their black women friends like that (minus the sex factor). Those who like to have a reliable black friend that would help them and always be there for them, but God forbid said friend has her own life, or is considered more attractive by males or expects the same attention in return!

    But I didn't know it was like that with (white) guys. I thought white men are afraid to approach black women, and that most of them approach only if they are interested (sexually or romantically).

    To be honest, I don't have many male friends, but it would be uncomfortable for me to learn that they are attracted to me or that they see me as "female". I am not into men protecting me- I was raised not to expect that are not to see it as a good thing.

    But I digress. Nobody needs pathetic excuses such as "the fact we're not a couple makes me respect you even more". Being friends with guys is great, but like with females, if they expect you to be there for them, they must be ready to do the same for you.

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  23. Mira,

    I am not into men protecting me- I was raised not to expect that are not to see it as a good thing.


    I constantly hear and read WW saying that, but I rarely ever witness them backing that up with actions. I've never seen a WW refuse a man that she trusts to escort her to her car at night or alone in a situation she feels unsure of. At least I've never seen them refuse under the pretext of not needing protection like some damsel in distress. The only time I've heard of WW doing this with feminist vehemence is the whole door-opening deal. And even then, I've only HEARD OF it, never witnessed it myself.

    The thing is, you guys KNOW someone will White Knight you so you don't even have to ASK for protection. You'll automatically get it anyway therefore, you hardly ever have to do without it. And you refuse it rarely.

    Not so for BW. BW are often treated like pseudo-men. Sounds good to you? Try lifting what a man can without his strength. Try fending off a male attacker alone. Try having to take care of everything yourself. Try doing all of this KNOWING you'll have to do it alone because no one deems you worthy of help and assuage their guilt over not helping you with shibboleths like, "Well, BW are STRONG. They can take it."

    While White feminists have been fighting not to be seen as basically dependent, fuckable children in status and striving to gain autonomy and independence, BW have been demanded to take on a man's role with no of the perks that go with manhood, certainly none of the power.

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  24. And don't forget we're reliable & trustworthy, like a nanny. The black woman as the new platonic friend is basically the Mammy/Jezebel hybrid to American. She's there to fuck you, feed you, chauffer you, listen to all your woes, but all the while she's not supposed to need or want anything in return.

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  25. Witchsistah,

    I hear you, but I do know a lot of women who do that (not expecting men to be knights). Maybe it's a cultural thing: there are only white women here, so men decide which woman is worth their attention and protection based on other factors.

    And my culture is not particularly feminist- quite the contrary. But women just learn they can't wait for men to do certain things if they don't want to. So if you want something to be done, you do it and not wait for help.

    (Obviously, not all women are like this- there are many who expect men to protect and do the dirty work for them- mainly their fathers, not husbands, btw).

    Women in my family did exactly what you described: we were raised to do everything ourselves. My grandmother was a war veteran. My mother grew up without a father or a brother. I grew up without a father or a brother. Like I said, fathers are main protectors in my culture, so if you don't have one, you don't have most of the male protection. So we needed to learn how to lift things or fix stuff. We didn't have anybody to ask for help.

    That being said, I don't think I'd refuse male help; I am just not used at men offering it, and I was raised not to expect it. My husband is ready to protect me, but due to health issues he can't lift or carry heavy things, so I am doing that. I am happy to have a husband who is full of understanding and doesn't demand that I do all household work (for example, he cooks because he's better than me at it), but many women in my culture are forced to do many things by themselves.

    (Sorry for this longish rant. I just tried to explain I wasn't saying it without thinking about it- I know very well what I'm talking about. I was raised not to expect men to do these things for me. )

    Also, I was talking about myself only. No doubt white women in general do receive attention black women don't. It's part of white female privilege. White women are seen as feminine, and thus worth male attention. If they feel like it, they can get annoyed at men offering to open the door for them, but they know there will always be a man helping them if they truly need one.

    So it's not like I don't see why black women demand men to do the same for them. To be seen as worthy of attention and help, to be seen as fully feminine and worth of protection... To be able to refuse help on individual basis if you don't feel like it at the moment.

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  26. Or better yet, sistahs just read this:

    http://yahoo.match.com/y/article.aspx?articleid=10419&TrackingID=526103&BannerID=690599

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  27. lol Witchsistah I read that article too lol. It was an interesting article that had me laughing I will admit lol. Usually in my culture the men are seen as the protectors as well, but in my case, I either depend on myself or my family, not a man, but this post helps me, cause I have found myself being the platonic friend, until I just tell them either fix w/e is troubling them or to keep it to themselves.

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  28. @ Witchsistah

    That's a great article. The problem is, I feel sometimes that men read these articles too and try to camouflage the red flags better when they want to keep a specific woman around for whatever reason. They're not good at it, but I think they try.

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  29. "These are the losers who sit with you at the bar, not buying your drinks, and audaciously pointing out to you all the "hot" women they want to bang. When you ask them to go talk to said women, they start with that, "I can't; I'm shy around women" bullshit. When you point out you're a woman, they give you the "You're different, you're special, you're precious" speech which, you should know by now, is utterly meaningless. "

    happened to me all the time up until recently...thought I was the only one, this is trend for many Black women. I find this to be very common with white males and nowadays Black males as well. Very annoying, like you're not real women or something. I'll tell you this when I was in college I was doing this rock climbing for extra credit for one of my geology courses and we had to climb up this rocky cliff and the professor told the guys to get up front so they could help the women up, so the guys (mostly white) went up first and then I was the first girl behind them and I pulled myself up by myself. When I got to the top one of the white guy's said "man, that was tough, I don't know how the girls are gonna be able to do that" and here i am ... a girl...i climbed up all by myself and I said "i'm sure if i can do they can do it, i'm not even that athletic..." but of course I didn't count...after all I am a Black woman...

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