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Lauren Rankin, in a piece at Clutch magazine, explores friendship and other relationships from a feminist angle. She relates how ending one toxic relationship helped her learn to take care of herself and become a better friend in healthier situations.

… As women, we’re taught to maintain the peace, to keep our voices down, to smile, to be hospitable, to avoid stirring the pot, to brush the conflict off of our delicately feminine shoulders. We’re taught to politely pretend it isn’t there. We’re taught to be sugar, spice, and everything nice.

For years, I did as I was taught with a particularly challenging person in my extended family. I quietly tried to both reconcile my differences with this person and simultaneously appease the burgeoning tension between our families. I wrote numerous emails, explaining how I felt, where I was coming from, who I was, what I believed in, and how I respected and valued this person. I went to painstaking lengths to reach across that proverbial aisle, connect on a personal level, and make the relationship successful.

In the end, it just didn’t work.

I tried so hard for so long to understand why it wasn’t working, what I was missing, what more I needed to do, what the underlying problem was. And then one day, after a particularly hostile and dismissive interaction, I realized something: the underlying problem wasn’t me — it was a lack of respect.


Read Lauren Rankin's entire piece at Clutch magazine.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.