A clip of an episode of Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett-Smith and Gabrielle Union has been circling on Instagram recently. Gabrielle's clip discusses ways she found her true self and healed, including setting up boundaries.
In the full episode, the women sat down to discuss their dissolving relationship over the years. Jada Pinkett-Smith started by saying she reflected on her reactions and, "that was some petty ass shit," but that's where she was back then, and Gabrielle admitted that she could have initiated a conversation too.
Gabrielle drops gems throughout the conversation, but what genuinely resonated for this article was her revelation that she thought the issue between her and Jada wouldn't affect her. Still, it did immensely because her mind kept going back to it. The other part that resonated is that Gabrielle began to see the similar trouble extend into her first marriage, her day one best friends, and her shows that were getting canceled. She was at the root of all those issues.
It's popular to discuss how we can carefully protect our space and select who we allow in our lives. What's less trendy is taking accountability for our role in our dissolving relationships. If you continue to see a pattern of disruption in your romantic relationships, with family members, and with your good friends, it's time to reevaluate who the common denominator is.
If you are not emotionally well, you can't develop and sustain strong relationships with other people, romantic or platonic.
Each scenario with the people in your life can yield varying stories, but there's always an underlying pattern that you control, which is your emotional response and actions. We cannot control much of what happens in our lives, nor can we control the people we love. They don't fit neatly into boxes or get it right all the time. However, we can control our attitudes and reactions. Here are six ways to tell you are the problem in your relationships.
1) You Find It Difficult to Maintain Friendships with Other People
You may start off making friends and having a good time. You build fun relationships, and then something happens that causes a fall out with one of your friends. Having disagreements with people you care about is normal, but there are healthy ways to mend fences. If those fences never get repaired, and this is a pattern that often happens with various people, you may need to take a closer look at your responses within your friendships.
2) You Refuse To Talk It Out
Not seeing eye to eye with people you love is normal. It's how to bridge the difference that matters. If you are someone that gets hurt or upset by people you have relationships with but choose not to communicate it, you may be the problem. People can't read your mind, and it's up to you to speak up when needed.
3) You Communicate in Harmful Ways
Perhaps you always communicate how you feel, but do you do so out of anger or in harmful ways. The people you love deserve to be respected when spoken to, even if you are hurt. If you are someone that lashes out, cusses at, or yells at the people in your life when you are upset, you need to find a different way to express yourself. Whether platonic or romantic, every healthy relationship can communicate without belittling, hurting, or attacking the other person.
4) You Talk To Other People About Your Issues, But Never To The Person
If you are someone who vents to other people about your issues with your partner, relative, or friend, you may need to self-reflect. Venting to other people is normal, and most of the time, we do it to get another perspective on the situation or ask for advice. But sometimes, venting becomes more harmful than helpful. It's never okay for your intent to vent to other people is to bash, diminish or hurt a friend. If you also never discuss the issues with that person you're venting about, it's time to reassess your actions. Relationships take trust, vulnerability, open-healthy communication, and genuine care. If these attributes aren't being displayed in the way you handle disagreements, it's time to reassess your actions.
5) If You Belittle, Disrespect, or Diminish Your Friends
In many relationships, joking around or picking fun at each other is normative. Someone may say, "girl, you can't parallel park," or joke about another quirk. However, there's a difference between playing around with friends in a mutually agreed-upon way and intentionally belittling, disrespecting, or diminishing our friends. Intentionally belittling, disrespecting, or diminishing others comes from our insecurities and frustrations with ourselves. If this is a habit you have, it's time to assess what you are uncomfortable with internally and where the root of your insecurity may be.
6) You Have Difficulty Maintaining Relationships In Every Aspect of Your Life
If you see a pattern of having consistently rough relationships with family members, friends, romantic partners, and coworkers, you are most likely the common denominator. There's a quote from Grown-Ish that goes, "everywhere you go, there you are." It was said to the main character Zoey when she discussed leaving her college to get away from the trouble she had started. The quote is meaningful because it implies that the same issues will arise if you go somewhere else without healing yourself. It doesn't matter where you live, what new people you meet, or who you cut out of your life; you'll have the same problems. This happens because though we may meet new people, we carry the same relationship habits into each one we enter. If our relationship habits are unhealthy and unconducive for maintaining healthy long-term relationships, we will always yield the same results.
If you've reached the end of this article and think you may not be the greatest friend in your relationships, it'll be alright. I was too at a point.
This article's importance is acknowledging that you may have some pitfalls in your relationship building and then committing to filling them in. Gabrielle Union did the same thing, and now she's happily married and a mother, enjoying friendships with other people and mending fences with old foes like Jada Pinkett-Smith.
Stay tuned to BrownGirl SPACE for part two on How to Become a Better Friend/Partner. Yours Truly,