Relationships & Friendships at work

There’s nothing wrong with building connections in the workplace however think about conflict of interest, your contract and professionalism.

Friendships: Why you shouldn’t settle

Its ok to outgrow people. Whether you’ve know that person 12 years or 12 days it’s acceptable and sometimes expected to cut people off or distance yourself from people whilst you are on your own personal journey. I have spoken to multiple people over the past few months (mainly men) who have left friends behind, so they don’t fall into a life of crime or worse. I’ve also spoken multiple people who have left friends behind because they’re at different stages of their lives. I have done this too.

If you’re someone who wants to focus on your career, education, setting yourself up for the future but you’re hanging around people who are all about lads holidays, lads night outs, lads waste money then it will either go two ways. 1) you might end up drifting away and joining people on your wavelength. 2) you may abandon your plans and stay with those friends out of loyalty, guilt or stupidity.

Just because you cut someone off at a certain point in your life, doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. There might be a point in life were they friend is on your level and you are now able to let them in again. I myself had friends but grown tired of your immaturity during times where I was grow professionally. After finishing University and continue with further education, whilst working I have friends still acting like teenagers and I thought ‘I don’t have time for this, I’m too grown for the stories and the drama’ and I cut them loose. I’m still on my professional development and taking care of my mind, body and soul so I’m still at a point in which I don’t need those people back in my life and I’m ok with the fact I never will. I still have my memories and life experience and in terms of not settling by having certain people in my life, I’m happy with that. Since then I have met amazing people, on my level that I consider as good friends. Making friends as an adult is very difficult in comparison to making friends in school however it is very beneficial. When you keep hold of friends you have known for years they hold you in a certain light and no matter what happens they will still see you as that child they met years ago however, making friends as a adult, what they see if what they get. No judgement or knowledge of you before them and you connect on a different level. Whether it be through work, another friend or an unexpected meeting as adults we have more ability to say whether it was nice to meet that person and I hope they have a good life or I like that person it would be nice to hang out with them more.

We group physically and mentally, we change our views and beliefs and sometimes they are not the same as the people to keep company with, that’s ok. Friendship too can change and over time you can go from seeing someone every other day to hearing from them of special occasion but that too is ok. Change is expected in personal development and take could mean changing who you confide in and who you label a friend.

In a previous post months ago I should able leaving negative energy behind. We all stan loyalty but what if you are loyal to someone who is no good? Don’t settle for keeping people in your life due to how long you have known them think about whether you want that energy in your life and if your mental health has any healthy benefits from knowing that person.

The world is MY oyster

I love to travel. When I was at University I made a Bucket list and was adamant on going to Iceland after graduating. I didn’t care who with or how I just knew I deserved it after all the stress and hard work. So I went to Iceland a few months after graduating and loved it. For over 10 years now, I’ve always wanted to go to China. I still haven’t pursued that trip but I’m sure I’ve got enough time to make it.

Personally, I like to travel on average 3 times a year, even if its a little work trip. If I’m in a different country enjoying myself, it’s a holiday for me. A friend and I discovered we liked to travel a lot, we get along well and we’ve been travel buddies for years (she’s also my best friend which helps). Over the years we’ve discovered it’s better to travel as a couple instead of a group, to avoid hassle and drama. Having a travel buddy is important; travelling, in general, is important for your sanity and mental health. The bother of travelling to and from work, work itself, family, relationships, life, in general, can be a strain but taking time out, whether it’s 2 days or 2 weeks makes a massive difference.

If you prefer travelling alone or would like to, I believe that’s highly beneficial. When you are with someone else you need to come to an agreement on what you’re both going to do, where you’re staying, where to eat, but when you’re travelling alone, you just wake up, get ready and go. Not too long ago I travelled to Amsterdam alone; my first solo trip that didn’t involve work. I absolutely loved it. Due to always being extra organised I went with a list of everything I wanted to see, restaurants to try and booked a few tours; with an extra person, I don’t think I would have seen most the things I did.

Most people don’t like travelling alone due to fear of being alone, looking like an obvious tourist or being too embarrassed to eat alone, get lost alone or try and speak a different language and feel stupid. Don’t let these emotions stop you from accomplishing something so life-changing. You may have anxiety travelling alone (like I did with my very first work trip) but I promise you will come home with such confidence and want to do it again. I started off small and would advise that at the beginning before venturing out towards long haul destinations alone, but with your travel buddy go anywhere and everywhere.

Distance yourself from bad vibes

Sometimes with mental health we tend to distance ourselves from people; usually the ones who care about us the most. We’re too fixated on our worries, stress and negativity to think about whether the people we do keep around are the problem.

I’ll happily admit I’ve cut close friends out of my life purely because I recognised they were no good. Friendships & relationships needs to work both ways. If you’re with someone who doesn’t ask how you are doing, calls just to check up on you or only talks about themselves, you need to question what’s the purpose of this. Depending on where you’re from, taking me (a British) for example, we don’t always like confrontation, dealing with frustrating situations or not being liked however, if you have someone in your life who isn’t bringing food to the table, simply send them away from your house (not literally but I think you get the point). I’ve had friends, even an ex who were so wrapped up in their own world and superficial behaviour that they didn’t realise I too was generally going through situations in which I needed support. When we are depressed or anxious we don’t want people to worry or feel sorry for us so we don’t make a big deal or say ‘look guys I’m depressed’ but someone real and meaningful in your life should be able to see a shift in your behaviour or even in your expressions, lifestyle and appearance.  Due to this, if you see a friend that is usually dressed to the nines and suddenly stops caring about their hair, or getting dressed up for a night out, just sit that person down and have a 1 to 1; see if they open up to you and trying to have a heart to heart.  

In whatsapp group chats there is usually one person in the group you’re closest too, or the loud one, the one with all the banter, the one with the gossip, the one who replies every 5-7 working days, the meme one and the one who reads but ‘forgets’ to reply. It’s very easy to act okay and to have a good time together but there’s no harm in opening a direct conversation with someone in the group if you pick up on something they said within the conversation that didn’t sit well with you. Sometimes people in group conversations can be indirect or like me quite passive aggressive. Check on your strong friend.

The thing with certain friends, especially the loud or the gossip is that you may question their intentions. The gossip could easily spread your business and the loud could easily make the situation about them. If there’s someone in your circle you don’t trust or can’t rely on, cut them out. If there sometimes there, sometimes not- cut them out. If you feel you’ve out grown the friendship- that’s right, you cut them out. Sounds harsh and rude but honestly, it’s a breath of fresh air to get rid of bad vibes. I’ve known people for many years and have outgrown friendships and acknowledge I’m better off without them. If I can’t confide in you and rely on you to help me get out my bad mood or to at least support me as a distraction then there’s really no time to entertain this. Sometimes it’s the people you’ve known for less time that become really good friends and its usually down to maturity and the stage in life you’re at.

Its not always friends that could be a problem. In the black community, especially within older generations (our parents, grandparents, more on) they don’t acknowledge mental illness as a thing. You must get up and continue with life, no point crying over spilled milk. The older generation believe we’re just lightweights and that they’ve been to hell and back so whatever we are going through isn’t that bad. Truth of the matter is, this world hasn’t become easier, everyday they’re constantly struggles. Culture sometimes stands in the way of treatment. In addition, seeking professional help, statically its hard to find a black professional in this field or if you do go to a Caucasian professional, would they truly understand your issues? It really depends on their experience.  I don’t think my professional understood that you can’t always just walk into a black household, sit down and openly talk about your feelings. In addition to family, your partner could have an impact.  Not everyone will have the most supportive, affectionate or understanding. How they help you deal with your mental health will determine whether they deserve a place in your life; unfortunately, you may love someone but its not always enough. Toxic behaviours and love could be one of the reasons you are feeling worried or stressed or depressed in the first place. If this is the case there are multiple reasons why you may not want to let go: fear of being alone, thinking you’ve found the one, thinking this is what you deserve, embarrassment or ending a relationship, the list goes on. However, when it comes to doing what is best for you, you need to be selfish and what’s best only  for you. Bearing this in mind, picture your life without the emotional and mental affect of this person. Think about the benefits of losing that negativity. You won’t automatically start feeling better, but you develop as a person and get to a stage in life were you will wonder why you put up with them in the first place. If you have to tell someone in your life to take a step back or to leave you for good, do you and maybe with maturity and time they will understand why.

Speedy Experience

So we went speed dating for the 1st time…

As this experience includes a close friend who did not want to be named, she’ll be called Miss X.
Me: What words would you use to describe our speed dating experience?
Miss X: Just weird.
Both: (Laughter)

Surprisingly for an unsuccessful first time, I would try it again, just not the same one. It was a strange experience but I went not expecting it to be anything other than awkward and left feeling socially confident and with that warm feeling of accomplishing something new.

The event was located in Brighton and hosted by a local organiser I called Love Doctor (purely because I forgot his name and I’m sure he said people call him that). The concept was to spend 6 minutes with each guy and after 6 minutes, we had to text the Love Doctor yes, no or coffee; coffee meaning, hmm I’m not too sure but about you, maybe we should meet again. Unfortunately, when we entered the room there was only two other women and seven men. Being a small group we could tell this would be over soon but looking around the room the saying ‘the sooner the better’ came to mind.

Before the event Miss X and I agreed we would make this into a fun social experiment and write down 1) Who we both would like (to see if we liked the same guys) and 2) Words we thought best described the experience. As you can tell from the beginning of the blog, the only answer I got was ‘Just weird’ and I agreed. Once all was over and done we both looked at each other, laughed and called an Uber as soon as possible. Sadly, none of the guys left a memorable mark. Miss X found a few cute in an ‘I feel sorry for you way’ whereas, due to my blunt personality every guy was a straight NO for me. Some came dressed very casual and didn’t seem very interested in holding meaningful conversations and others seemed like this was a night out for them and somewhat full on. I personally wasn’t attracted to anyone there physically or mentally and felt as if I had to drive all the conversations just to give through every 6 minutes.

So, you are probably thinking, Nadine why would you go through this again. Well, never let one experience prevent other experiences similar to it. Maybe if we went to a speed dating event in London, hosted by a bigger company, had a different target audience or a different theme it might have been more interesting and successful for us. We didn’t meet anyone we would have liked to meet again but we felt happy knowing we put ourselves out there and gained confidence, speaking to people we would never speak to in general. Mentally it was a success.

I would 100% recommend leaving Tinder, Bumble, your multiple boyfriends/girlfriends for the night and have some fun speed dating. You might not leave with the person of your dreams but you will leave laughing with your best friend and making memories. You never know, you may find someone you like and end up exchanging numbers or continue drinking throughout the night.

Little Note! I know people who have done speed dating with a twist by going to a Dating Against Humanity or Jenga event – give these a go! I will be next time.

Preparing myself.