Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When Friends Dissipate

You have to know when to hold ‘em….know when to fold‘em….know when to walk away and when to run….. Kenny Rogers may have been singing of gambling, but the song could have easily referenced friendships.

I thought of this post weeks ago as I witnessed a ten year friendship turn volatile. I was watching the infamous Basketball Wives as Evelyn Lozada climbed on top of a conference room table and jumped to get at her former BFF, Jennifer Williams. Ev (as affectionately called on the show) was unsuccessful in reaching her target but then attempted to throw whole pieces of furniture across the room. Fortunately for all involved, that attempt was also thwarted. 

Ev & Jen during happier times
Once friends for over ten years, the relationship not only dissipated but became volatile, bullying, vicious and ugly.  Who these women had been to other people was now turned toward each other.  Hurt people, hurt people~ Bill Cosby.
Originally I thought the friendship between the two had run its course; its season was due.  I also thought Jennifer grabbed a stance that Evelyn could and would not wrap her brain around.  They were both hurt.  The pain displayed was too intense for either of them not to care. 

A few days prior to the reunion show I wrote this post and based it on their friendship gone sour.    I thought of my own dissipated friendships.  And as John Salley pointed out, while I don't relate to the violence displayed, nor is a camera in my face, we--I can certainly relate to dissipated friendships. 

John Salley Former Pro B-Baller
Television Commentator
BBW Reunion Host

I became a closet watcher.  Some of the women's abhorrent behavior had become vexatious.  However, once I viewed remorse (Tami Roman on The Wendy Williams Show, Royce Reed's Open Letter to Tami Roman), I became an open viewer again, only to reserve any adjusted decisions for the reunion show.  I admit, I expected to view the same class-less, juvenile, violent behavior displayed Real Housewives of New Jersey and  Mob Wives.  However, on The first part of the two part series a bit more civility occurred.  I thought they were saving the eruption for Part 2.
So a few days prior to Part 2, I wrote this post.  It was filled with the perspective Evelyn acted out, out of hurt, she wanted a friendship that Jen no longer desired.  Once the second of the two part conclusion was to air, I would only need to tweak my post a bit and make some minor adjustments.  However, once aired—much to my pleasant surprise—I needed to revamp the entire post.  We learned that the violence and boorish behavior was a mask of pain for a dissipated friendship—I called that correctly.  Both women were hurt about a friendship gone wrong and missing one another.  We also learned about another element that sometimes exists between friends--jealousy.  According to the administered Polygraph test--yes this is still television--Jen is jealous of Ev and Chad's relationship.  After all Jen is in the middle of a cantankerous divorce. 
Regardless of what went wrong, the reunion show aired something right.  Resolve.  We needed to see some resolution.  I say some resolution because resolution doesn't necessarily mean people reconcile.  According to s2smagazine, only pleasantries have been exchanged between Jen and Ev, the main antagonists this season.  Promises to talk after the taping have yet to have been fulfilled.  
Resolution, however, means an attempt is made at civility and mature women agreeing to disagree without being disagreeable.  Kudos to John Salley, whose keen observations and insight into all of the women facilitated resolve and alternate views for both cast members and viewing audience alike.

While, for a moment we can bask in the sunlight of at least some resolve on the show, I want to re-direct this post back to its true intention…..what happens when friends dissipate.  Friends have formed, dissipated, reconciled or not since the beginning of time.  Sometimes friends should dissipate.  The reasons can be as simple as distance or as complex as severe personality disorders.  I believe what's most important is how friends dissipate opposed to why. 
People present themselves in your lives for several reasons: to grow your stuff up (Vanessa Williams, Soul Food the Showtime Series, New Jack City), or for a reason, season or lifetime~ When the harvest is due on a friendship, barring insanity or violence it is always best when people are left whole.  If a conversation filled with listening can be achieved, healthy closure [should it come to that conclusion] can also be achieved.  
Ultimately, I have learned that ~people come into your life to do one of four things: add, multiply, subtract or divide.~  When thinking of friends or anyone for that matter, determine which category they enter, take note of when and/or if they move into a different category, then govern you accordingly.  Sometimes friends should dissipate.  Whenever you are faced with that choice, make it and make no apology for it and don't act in a way where an apology may be needed because of your actions.

In other words.. know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and when to run….

This is Toni Staton Harris, Checkin’ Up and Checkin’ in on When Friends Dissipate.

Please share with me your stories of successful and/or dissipated friendships.  Why are they successful or why you chose to release?

~I wish I made up the mathematical concept as applied to relationships.  I must give credit to an unnamed Pastor from Louisiana where I received his sermon at West Angeles Church of God and Christ.  For now, he goes unnamed until I either remember his name or find it. 


  1. Who's to say these women were really friends in the first place? They seemed more like "frenemies" to me.

  2. I don't understand why we keep talking about these broads.

  3. (paraphrased as emailed to me...)

    I have a friend that I recently dropped out of my life. Well I stopped communicating with her. She was always one I had to take in doses because of her over the top personality. Recently, I could no longer take her in doses. Many times we have fun but more times than not there is always drama, angst or a fight surrounding us. The fights weren't between us but she has an unyielding, unforgiving nasty attitude toward others for the slightest infractions. I fear(ed) that one day that attitude would hit me. It did a little. She was in a foul mood and became short with me. I tried to have a conversation with her like we often do and she was so nasty I walked away. The next day she acted as if nothing happened but my feelings were hurt. I never mentioned it and pulled away. Finally it became easier not to have any contact with her, so I didn't. I miss her a little but not enough to resume the friendship. I read your post and wondered if I should make a clean break and at least tell her why I don't hang around her. I don't want to hurt her feelings but I don't want mine hurt anymore either. Should I just let things be or should I make a clean break?

    1. I am no relationship expert so the following is my opinion only. I suggest that you sit down and figure out for yourself, what you want and why you want it. If you want to resume or re-build the friendship then absolutely sit down with your friend and talk. Figure out how things happened for you and how you felt about it. Give your friend room to accept your truth, speak his or her own truth and accept or reject the re-building. Now if your motivation is just to get stuff off of your chest, let it go. Your friend will probably be defensive and you are not going to be satisfied with the result. Now if your friend asks, what happened and why, whether you want to re-build or not, I believe you should give him or her and yourself an opportunity for clean edges. You will have at least learned something for future friendships and be able to look back on the past without blemish.

  4. Everything & everyone has a born date and a expiration date including friendships. It's unfortunate that this is so. To bad each one of us can't grow and still remain friends. I myself recently have had to let go of a 20 something friendship. The sad part is she thinks the friendship ended because of one thing, and I another. I use to want to clear the air, but no longer. I don't miss her. I wish her well from a distance. I know in my heart of hearts I would never look at the friendship the same. What a release !!! As far as BBW. Wow, did it really take a lie detector test ?!?! If they were really friends from the start and want to mend the friendship, by all means do so. A good friend once told me that weddings, funerals, and divorce bring out the worst in people....... So true " a reason, a season, and a lifetime

  5. I had a friend and figured ou that I don't like her. We'd only been friends for about 3 years but she grated my nerves. Once I figured it out, I just stopped calling and getting in touch. She reached out but I just didn't have the time to be bothered. I didn't tell her in so many words but I think she got it. Sometimes it's okay to just move on and leave that at that.