Happy Sunday, BBGirls (: This weeks blog is going to be a little different than most, but I definitely feel like its an important topic to discuss.

Earlier this week, I was rushing back to school from a long day at the clinic, and I came across a Beauty and Brains post on my timeline that I did not approve of. I wanted it deleted from our profile & fixed immediately... so I deleted the post, and hurriedly texted our Ambassador group chat to fix it. When I clicked send, I didn't think much of what I said besides the fact that it was honest. However, rereading it 5 seconds later, I realized just how rude I was. Like, these girls don't get paid to work for our organization... they are simply doing it because they too believe in the vision. So who am I to tell anyone that something they took their time to do was "sooo tacky"... (so rude, I know😭) I felt SOO bad immediately after, but the thing is... once I pressed send, there was nothing I could do to take that back. Of course I let her know that I didn't mean to be harsh, and she honestly probably didn't think much of it, but it caused me to sit & think about how easily conversations can be misconstrued, especially through text message. Tone is so variable, and it's hard to tell the intent behind a message without hearing someone's actual tone of voice or noticing their demeanor. Even aside from that, it's the words you choose to use and how you put them together that can totally alter the message being received. In order to form good relationships, it is important to take note of the way you communicate with others, and the manner it comes across to them. In this blog post, I want to talk about some of the "do's and don'ts" of good communication skills! I'm gonna share a few situations that I've personally witnessed, but I'll change the names & stuff so that its not too obvious lol. I’m hoping to make this entertaining, but also get yall thinking, so I hope y'all enjoyyyyy. This should be fun😂

1. Misunderstandings: A few days ago, two sisters, Maya and Marie (did I make this too obvious? lol), were having a good day out & about running errands, and they were finally on their way to pick up some food and go back home. Maya had called in an order at Hooters, and Marie was driving them there to pick it up. When they arrived, Marie told Maya to go inside and grab the food since she drove. Maya reluctantly agreed, but she told Marie that she needed to use her credit card to buy it. Their mom had already agreed to give them the money back, so in Maya's mind, it shouldn't have been an issue to use Marie's card. However, Marie did not think it was that simple. Marie did not understand why Maya would not just use her own card, and kept asking Maya why, because she believed that Maya had some ulterior motive behind using her card. Maya kept telling Marie that she "just couldn't use her card", but she never told her exactly "why", simply because she didn't feel that she needed to explain herself. In Maya's mind, Marie should just trust the fact that she she said can't use her card, and give her her's. Ok, now pause... y'all see how petty this is getting, right? But wait... it gets worse lmao. Marie is now so frustrated that she decides that she is not giving Maya her card until she tells her why, while Maya doesn't like Marie's attitude, so she decides that she's not telling her anything. So, this entire situation turned into this big petty mess, and at this point, they've been sitting in the parking lot going back and forth for about 20 minutes. As time goes on, Maya sarcastically tells Marie, "If you not gone give me the card, you might as well just drive home then because clearly we not eating." Maya did not think in a million years that Marie would actually drive home and not get the food, but guess what? She did! They drove all the way back home, and at this point they are both PISSED. Over literally NOTHING. When they get home, Maya calls her mom, because she just cannot even believe that Marie wouldn't give her the card. As soon as she called her mom and begun telling the story, her mom immediately said, "Yeah, Maya can't use her card because she's dealing with overdraft fees from the bank." So yup, there's the reason. Now Marie is like, you could have just said that, and Maya is like, I shouldn't have had to... I told you I had a reason I couldn't use it. Soooo, after all that, they end up going back to get the food, and that was just that lol. Overall, this situation could have been so easily avoided though, if Maya and Marie had better communication skills. I think that Maya definitely could have just told Marie why she couldn't use her card, but I also think that Marie shouldn't have felt entitled to know personal details about Maya, and should have just trusted that Maya had a good reason. Also, Maya should have made it VERY clear that she was being sarcastic about driving home, because Marie took that very literally. Overall, this was a pretty stupid situation, but it's a good example of how a small miscommunication can ruin an otherwise good day.

2. Watch your words: A few weeks ago, Madison was on vacation with a few friends, and she was out at a bar enjoying her day. She posted a picture on instagram with a group of girls, and one of her good friends, Emily, responded to her saying, "You post anybody, huh?" Madison was confused what Emily meant, so she responded, "What you mean?" to which Emily said, "What you think I mean?" Here's the first problem... If Emily had a issue, this was her chance to say it. Based on the type of relationship they have, Madison just assumed that Emily was joking, and was just saying that since she wasn't in the picture... so she played along. However, Emily soon made it very clear that she was not joking at all. She started sending lots of messages, being extremely rude and disrespectful to Madison. She felt that Madison was fake and had no loyalty. At this point, Madison was taken aback, bc she had no idea what she talking about. She immediately figured that it must have something to do with Emily’s boyfriend, because why else would she be spazzing like this? Madison asked her if that was the reason, and Emily, continuously trying to treat, told Madison to stop “acting confused” because she had been told her about this girl. The girl in the picture was Madison’s childhood friend, who had allegedly been talking to Emily’s boyfriend. Emily had told Madison about her once before, and Madison just totally forgot about it. Emily was REALLY upset that her best friend would be hanging out & posting pictures with a girl her boyfriend had been talking to, as any woman would be... Madison, however, really just did not remember. The problem was that Madison didn't know her as just "a girl Emily’s boyfriend is talking to” like Emily did. Madison knew her from childhood, and from years of summer camp together... so that's who she was to Madison. Soo... Idk. This is a tough one, because it's easy to understand why Emily was hurt, but regardless, I think that the way she approached the situation was very invalid. Here's the thing: In friendships, you get so close that you become too comfortable with each other. However, even in an argument, that respect needs to be maintained. Period. While I do agree that friends should be able to have disagreements, argue a little, and get over it... I also believe that when it gets to the point of calling your friend out of their name, and trying to hit low blows, then you've gone too far. That's just how I see it. In this situation though, its easy to understand where both women were coming from... so idk. What do y'all think?

3. Learn to speak up: One summer, two good friends, Lela and Ryan, moved across the country together. They didn't actually go "together", but they were lucky enough to both get summer internships in the same city. Over that summer, the two of them got extremely close, and spent a lot of time together. However, once they got back home, their relationship started to change a little. They begun talking less, because at this point, their lives were just in two different places. Its life, it happens. While Ryan didn't think anything of this, Lela really begun to feel like Ryan wasn't her real friend anymore. Lela was going through some hard times, and to her, a real friend would reach out & be there for her. However, Ryan didn't really feel that it was her place or want to intrude, so she sent messages here and there, but she thought that Lela would reach out to her if she really needed something. Let's pause here... people are different. Thats just a fact. We all have different desires, and respond to situations differently. So while someone in a certain situation may want friends all around them, someone else may really want to be left alone for a while. It gets difficult to understand what other people want, because all you can really know, is what you would want in that situation. And sometimes, what you want, and what someone else wants... are just different. And that's that. Anyways, Lela never said anything, but in her heart, she started to really feel the distance between them. Little did Lela know though, Ryan was also dealing with her own personal issues, and she was finally getting to a place where she was okay. As time went on, Ryan started dating a new guy, but she wanted to keep him private until she was really sure. She's been through her ups and downs in love, but this time, she wanted to approach things differently. While not saying who she was dating, she definitely made it clear that she was dating someone. Lela felt that since they were friends, Ryan would tell her who it is, however, Ryan told her to just wait... and this really upset Lela. To her, this just confirmed all her prior beliefs that they were no longer real friends, because a real friend would tell her. However, to Ryan, a real friend is someone who respects her privacy until she's ready to talk... Lela got upset, and they got into a small argument, which ended in them blocking each other and deciding that they were no longer friends. Lela never really told Ryan how she was feeling, she just cut her off, and decided to stop worrying about their friendship all together. So again, this is why people are just different. Personally, I think that Lela should have spoken up sooner and told Ryan that she was feeling some type of way... however, its understandable that in those situations, you don't want to speak up. Sometimes, you want your friends to just KNOW. But that's the thing, people don't know. And I think this is a huge reason why so many friendships end, because people are uncomfortable talking about their uncomfortable feelings. We have to trust the foundation of the friendships we build, and if we want them to work, we gotta communicate even during the difficult times. Thats just my opinion though. I totally understand where Lela was coming from, but I just think that in this case, the friendship could have been saved.

4. But also learn when to shut up: While it's definitely good advice to learn when to speak up, its also a balance between knowing when to shut up. I could talk about a MILLION different situations here, but I think a common area we see these types of miscommunications is in romantic relationships. Sooo... let's begin. Amber and John have been dating for a few years, however, their relationship has been anything but perfect. They have had many ups and downs, and currently, they were having a down. Amber was upset at the way John was interacting with a girl on social media, and although it wasn't anything serious, Amber couldn't help the way she felt about the situation. She let John know that she wasn't comfortable with what was going on, and John basically told Amber that it was nothing to be upset over. Amber understood that it was probably minor, but because of situations from their past, she just was not comfortable with this. While Amber wanted John to just accept the fact that she wasn't okay with it and fix his actions, John felt that Amber was being unreasonable, and refused to change anything. Amber spent two whole weeks going back and forth with John about the same issue, trying to get him to understand where she was coming from, and each argument ended in John either not responding or simply acting as if Amber's feelings were not real. My opinion: issa big no from me dawg. Here's a lesson for everybody: Never speak on how you feel twice- they heard you the first time! If you try to communicate your feelings about an issue, and they are disregarded... then you have two options: 1) Deal with the fact that the other person doesn't care, and stop making a big deal out of it. Or 2) Decide that it is a deal breaker for you, and leave. Basically, either you deal with it or you don't. Period. Don't continuously bring up an issue, because I PROMISE YOU, they heard you the first time! If they don't care enough to change whatever it is that you're feeling some type of way about, then you have to decide how important is it to you... and either stay or leave. My personal advice to all women especially- if your man cannot respect your feelings, and is not doing what he needs to do to make you happy, then you should probably leave. This is another topic in itself, but we can do another blog one day about women learning to set boundaries and not allowing anybody to cross them! But yeah, in this situation, Amber needs to shut up lol. Stop telling John the same thing hoping that he'll magically understand... if he didn't care the first time, chances are, he's not gonna care the 23rd time either, sis.

5. Respecting Authority: Communication can get tricky when it comes to dealing with authority figures, especially in a professional setting. Its hard to know when you're just standing up for yourself, or when you're just being disrespectful. A few months ago, Raven was having a hard time with school. She had just had some deaths in her family, was feeling a bit depressed, and it really seemed like the world was coming down around her. Unfortunately, at this time, she was in a class with one of the strictest professors at her university. He had very nit picky rules that he wanted followed to a T, otherwise he would gladly give you a zero. If any assignment is late, zero. Thats just how he was, and Raven knew that... When her life started going downhill, she begun slacking on her school work, and wasn't able to keep up with the assignments in his class. She informed her professor about the deaths in her family, and that she would be missing days to go home for the funeral, and at first, he was very understanding. He allowed her to make up a few assignments, but as the semester kept going and things kept getting worse, he stopped being so understanding. He gave Raven a zero on a really big assignment, because she did not follow all of his directions, and this brought her grade down to an F. Raven was furious, because she had no idea that one zero would make her fail, without her teacher even reaching out to let her know. She wrote a lengthy email to him, which started with "Can you at least act like you have a heart?" L M A O.. no, just no. The email continued with Raven telling her professor that she was going through a hard time, and that he needed to be more understanding. Ok... lets pause. What's wrong with this email? I really hope y'all reading this don't think that was okay, because I'm here to tell you, it's not. Regardless of Raven's personal life issues, her professor had his own rules and deadlines that he expected all students to adhere to. Everyone has their own personal lives and issues, and he cannot bend the rules for everybody. Raven sent a very entitled email, as if her professor owed her something. She acted as if he was obligated to be lenient with her, when in fact, he was not. A better email would have been Raven saying that she understands why he's given her a zero, explaining her current situation again, and asking if she could PLEASE fix it to bring her grade up in any way. Also, she should have let him know that she understands if he can't help, since he is not required to, but she just figured she would ask. Anyways, that is not the email Raven sent, and I’m guessing her professor was not happy with what he received, becaus