Don't Save Her
According to all of my friends, I give some of the most savage advice in the world. “Are you out here treating your side pieces like they’re the main ones?” “Are you showing your ass on Twitter by using subtweets in the hopes that somebody you’ve got your eye on will slide into your DMs?” “Are you contemplating whether or not you should buy a Valentine’s Day gift for your cut buddy?” Call me now for your free tarot reading. I’ll tell you your fortune and get your ass together in the drop of a hat.
However, I was not always like this. In my younger days, I was always “Captain Save-A-Ho.” If I saw a friend about to do something stupid, I would step in and intervene. If one of my home girls was about to hook up with a football player that I knew was knocking down half of the women’s dorm, I would say something, and if she wouldn’t listen to me, I would try everything from physically cockblocking to holding a damn intervention to stop her. I was the Queen of “Are you sure you want to do this?” and “You’re about to make a huge mistake.”
When my friends wouldn’t listen to me, I would become frustrated and even angry with them at times. Couldn’t they see that I was only doing this because I cared about them? The fact that they chose to go back to the same trifling bastard despite my warnings and the receipts I pulled from numerous sources absolutely baffled me. I didn’t want my friends to get hurt, and I was willing to do almost anything to save them from that pain.
As I got older, I started to realize that many of my friends did not appreciate my no nonsense attitude. My care was often misunderstood as jealousy. My friends thought I didn’t want them to be happy when that was, in fact, the complete opposite of my intentions. In my quest to be the best friend that I could be, I often pushed my friends away and, in some cases, ruined our friendship. I never fully understood what was happening until my late 20s.
Some people just don’t want to be saved.
Project Pat and Three 6 Mafia tried to tell me in 2003, and I completely ignored their advice. J.Cole reminded me again in 2014, and it still took me three years to fully understand and recognize it.
I have learned that I have to love my friends enough to allow them to make their own mistakes. Some people are going to do what they want to do because they have a specific desire and outcome in mind. It doesn’t matter what you tell them or what evidence you present them with; they won’t be swayed. In some occasions, your protests or arguments may just push them deeper into their situation.
I also recognized that I have had a very hard time accepting the same kind of advice my friends in the past. I know that there were certain men in my life that they tried to warn me about, and I completely ignored them. I can tell you with absolute certainty that there was nothing my friends could’ve said to stop me from being stupid. Those are just the facts. After I realized that in my own personal life, I decided to adopt three major philosophies when it comes to my friends, myself and relationships:
My job as your friend is not to tell you what you want to hear, but to put you in a position of power at all times. I first read that in a paranormal novel by the late great L.A. Banks, and it’s stuck with me ever since. I’m not going to lie to you. If you’re making stupid decisions in these streets, I’m going to tell you. I’ll listen to whatever story you want to tell me and every justification you have for your and your partner’s behavior. Hell, I’ll even thoroughly review your pros and cons list with no problem, but I’m always going to tell you the truth. If your man ain’t shit, I’m going to tell you in the politest way possible. But, just know: I’ll only tell you once.
If you willfully ignore the signs, the warnings from friends, and your own gut feeling, that’s on you. I’m not going to go out of my way to change your mind. As long as you are not being abused (physically, mentally, sexually, emotionally), I’m going to keep my mouth closed. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you; it just means that I love you enough to let you live your life, and I’ll be there at the end, regardless of the outcome.
When you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. Some people are hard headed, and they have to learn shit from first hand experience. We’ve all been there, and for the most part, we’re all better people for having those experiences.
I know this sounds harsh, but once again, let me reiterate that this does not mean that I don’t love my friends. I value my friends, and I value my friendships. However, I have come to respect their autonomy and their ability to make their own decisions regarding their lives.
One of the most important lessons that any person can ever learn is how to stay in your own damn lane. When a friend wants your opinion, they will ask for it. Don’t intrude on situations where you’re not wanted or don't have anything to do with you. You’re probably doing more harm than good. After you’ve said your piece, your friend has the right to either accept it or reject it. If they’ve decided to reject it, you have to accept that, move on, and trust your friendship enough to know that if your friend needs help, they will let you know.
Remember: You can’t save those who don’t want to be saved, and that’s the Gospel Truth.