Several weeks ago a black woman in Louisiana was kidnapped by her boyfriend when she went to pick up their child from day care. The police did a requisite search for her but came up empty. That’s when her family got involved.
An uncle and other male relatives tracked the woman down to an abandoned home in the sticks. They heard her cries as they approached the house. And that’s when a cousin sprang into action. Like something out of a Hollywood thriller, he busted down the door to the house. When he saw the boyfriend stabbing his relative, he shot and killed the man.
In the news photos accompanying the story, the woman is shown being cradled in her uncle’s arms as he appears to be loading her into a vehicle. She’s cut up bad, clearly scared but alive, thanks to him and other family members.
I read that story and thought, “Dang, every single woman needs men like this in her life—problem solvers” who gets things “handled” like Olivia Pope. That got me to thinking about what other types of people—male and female—a lady needs to get by. This is what I came up with:
1. The “Elder” Stateswoman
She’s got seven to 10 years on you, and those few years give her an insight to your life that is priceless. She’s young enough to remember how she was at your age, and old enough to help you sidestep unnecessary drama, especially when it comes to work and men. Whatever advice she gives, 99 percent of it turns out to be right.
2. A Lady Problem Solver*
You have a good reputation and some sense, but every now and again a situation occurs when using them doesn’t solve a problem quickly. You can’t be caught acting a fool, but she doesn’t care and is willing to take the heat. When you’re at a party, if someone’s flirting with your man, she will handle it. When you find out your man is cheating, she’s willing to confront the woman (even though it’s not really the woman’s fault). You got beef, she asks, “Do I need to come up there?” (The correct answer is no.) Whenever there’s drama, she’s got your back.
3. The “All the Way Turned Up” Friend*
She’s not your day-to-day friend because you’re grown folk with a real job—and, let’s face it, too dang old to be in the club every night with her. But when you need to plan your birthday party, your bachelorette party, your get-over-an-ex party, she knows where to go—and she knows the doorman and the manager, wherever that is. She’s never a dull moment on vacation, but you can’t talk about those details—what happened in Vegas (or anywhere else) stays in Vegas.
4. The “To the Lord in Prayer” Friend
You remember her when she was “all the way turned up,” but now she can’t finish a sentence without referencing the Bible. And despite her past, she can be really judgmental. That combination drives you nuts when you’re just trying to “do you.” But when you’re down and out and have nowhere to turn, she will pray with you and for you. And surprisingly, it helps.
5. A Platonic Male Friend
Sure, you could just go to a blog and get male insight, but a lot—not all—of male dating and relationship bloggers are just in it to meet more women, or are just plain misogynistic. You need someone who is 1) not trying to see you and 2) going to analyze your problem and give you the insight he would give his sister or his daughter. This is where you find genuine advice.
6. The “Keep It 300” Friend
She’s the friend people are referencing when they see a woman looking crazy in the street and say, “Dang, she ain’t got no friends?” If you’re not sure about your new hair color, you send her a pic and she’ll tell you if it works. You want to know if you should give a guy you’re dating another chance? She’ll break down your relationship history. You want to know if you look fat in your dress? She’ll tell you the truth. Utilize her liberally.
7. A Happily Married Friend
If you want to be married, and especially if you didn’t grow up with married parents, you need to be around someone who can keep it real with you about the ups and downs of modern relationships and how to make one work. It requires patience, sacrifice and a whole lot of communication, which is easier in theory than in application. She shows you how to do it.
This friend also helps you keep life in perspective. Your daily “dramas” are important but pale in comparison to her dealing with a sick kid, a demanding husband and an overwhelming job. Sometimes she makes you feel thankful you’re single.
8. The Vault
If she wasn’t with you on that vacation with the “all the way turned up” friend, you broke the rules and told her about the trip. She knows your deepest, darkest secrets, including that one time you did x, y and z that you would take to your grave, except you already told her because she’s the exception to the rule. You trust her because when you ask about other people’s business, she shrugs and says, “I don’t even know.” When the secret comes out years later, you found out she knew the day it happened. She might even have been there.
9. The Investigator*
She’s unapologetically messy, but it can work in your favor. You have too much pride to follow your ex on social media, but this friend will gladly do so and report back what he’s up to. She knows all the gossip, from who said what about you to who has “beef” with you. You think you know, but only she has any idea.
10. The “I Know Someone (Who Knows Someone)” Friend
She’s similar to your “all the way turned up” friend, but with much better connections. You apply for your dream job—she knows someone (who knows someone). You need to hook up your dad with floor seats to a game for his birthday? She knows someone (who knows someone) on the team. You need a hookup for a last-minute vacation? She knows someone (who knows someone) who can get you an upgrade at the hotel.
*Befriend in limited quantity.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of the upcoming book Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love.