If I’m going to be honest, I had been outgrowing my friends for a while but I didn’t want to admit it. Admitting that I didn’t really enjoy the company of women that I vowed only a few years back to grow old with, share stories with, and bury the dead bodies with, was too much for me to face.
The reality was that I was changing, my friends were changing, and were not changing in same direction and with no fingers to point. And that reality made me feel like a failure and wildly flawed. I mean, I was a Black woman. And aren’t we, above any other group, the most loyal, most committed, most sister girl, most ride-or-die?
At least that’s what I had internalized.
Didn’t Mama Toni say, to paraphrase, that she pitied the woman that didn’t know the unique love that comes from a female friendship? Facing it—if I descended deeper into the psyche of the truth— would mean that I would have to come face-to-face with a heavy loneliness that I wanted to avoid.
Loneliness is one of those feelings that seeps deep into your bones like a good seasoning and stays there. Beneath your smiles, your jokes, and your laughs, that loneliness lingers.
It took reading a lot of different self-help books, positive self-talk, and journal writing to help me understand that it was futile to run from any emotion, especially a negative one. What I learned was that emotions, especially negative ones, served as messages and signals about what is missing in our lives and where our energies should go to address this need.
The idea to search Craiglist for friendship came on a Sunday afternoon as I watched an episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta. Something that NeNe said to Cynthia reminded me of a webinar that I listened to where the guest speaker boasted that she met her husband on Craigslist.
“Craigslist…” I said to myself. “If it worked for her, why couldn’t it work for me?”
I clicked on the “Strictly Platonic” link and found that I was not alone in my quest for finding a new BFF. In fact, many of the women seeking close friendships with other women were brown girls, just like me.
Before I decided to post my own ad, I decided to see if my soon-to-be-friend was already waiting for me to find her. Of the 100 invitations that I sorted through, I only responded to four. Of those four, I received two replies. Of those two replies, only one of the women and I continued to correspond.
But after a month of emailing back and forth, it became clear that our respective schedules wouldn’t allow us to meet in person. But as my mom always told me when I encountered an obstacle in life, “ One monkey don’t stop no show.”
Part two of my “Craigslist Friendship Challenge” is now in full effect. I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed about not meeting my match immediately. But I know that a second, third, or fourth attempt at friendship will yield success.