I am so excited to share with all my awesome followers, The Bestie Code. My good friend Renee and her two best friends TaVonna and Emma have written this book that talks about building and maintaining healthy friendships with other women in our adult lives. While it has been said that women (especially women of color) do not get along, their goals is to bust this myth with their real, straight-forward and humorous narrative of how they've managed to have an amazing and successful friendship.
The Bestie Code is filled with many topics that are near and dear to my heart - mental health, spirituality, and pursuing your purpose. I had some pressing questions after reading a preview of their book that needed answers immediately. Thank you to Renee, TaVonna, and Emma for taking time out to answer some of the questions I believe many people will have after they read this book and strive to improve their friendship with their besties.
- As we pursue our purpose, we come up against obstacles that will try to deter and distract us from accomplishing our assignment. What obstacles did you all face and overcome as you worked to get this book written?
Emma: For me, the obstacle I faced most was time management. I had to balance between work, kids, writing and everything else. I was doing everything on the go from my phone. Also, not being able to agree on things at times.
TaVonna: I had to overcome my desire to want to write the book, mixed with episodes of bi-polar issues. Some days I wanted to do it, some days I didn’t.
Reneé: I think I struggled most with balancing my current business while writing and formatting the book. I had to really be particular about my time management. At times, I got overwhelmed and had to regroup and remember why I’m doing it all in the first place.
- How did you all learn how to speak each others' "friendship language" (compare to "love language") to be able to have such a strong, lasting friendship?
Emma: Basically we had to make time for each other. The only way you can learn someone is to really put time into it. My friendship language is based on being supportive and loving. I try to love on everybody and love you past whatever pain or adversity you may be having. It’s also based on being understanding. My besties know that I always mean well.
Reneé: Yeah, it just takes time. And A LOT of patience. It goes back to acceptance. Once we honestly showed each other who we are, we all had to truly accept one another. I recognize that I bring a sense of balance to my besties. I am very solution-based and always do whatever I can to help fix problems. I’m probably the most non-emotional one of the three of us, so I’m not really sure what my friendship language actually is. But they find ways to love on me anyway (lol).
TaVonna: Time, patience and wine LOL. My friendship language is words of affirmation. They usually do really good about that. Emma pisses me off sometimes when she responds to a message of mine when I’m having a bad day though. For example, if I message them and say, “I’m so angry because I can’t find a pink shirt!” Reneé will say, “Well, maybe try this particular store.” Emma will say something like, “Just get a purple one.” NO, EMMA! I don’t WANT a purple shirt. (Lol) But seriously though, I’m typically the one that has the most issues and they have a way of bringing me back down to earth.
- Renee, there's a part in the book that talks about your spiritual journey and desire to have a more intimate relationship with God. How did you all earn to accept and appreciate where you were in your own spiritual journeys rather than forcing them to do or be like you?
Reneé: Well I recognize that everyone’s spiritual journey is their own. In the time when I decided to get serious about mine, I took time to really dive into my Bible and study. I got very active in my church and refocused my attention on finding and fulfilling whatever mission God had for me. But even still, I was very much present in my bestie circle. I didn’t go hang out as much, but I was always a phone call or text away, I came to birthday parties and other events, etc. I would never try to force someone to journey with me on what is designed to be a very personal.
- Oftentimes, it is said that Black women can't support other Black women who seem to be doing better than them. As you all are successful in your own right, what does it take to keep jealousy at bay so that you can support one another while also motivating each other to do better and dream bigger?
TaVonna: My thing is, you have to know how to stay in your own lane. I do what I do well, and I don’t think anyone can do it like I do. I also can’t design a website like Reneé can and I don’t know music or write the way Emma does. I’m very secure in what I’m good at. We’re all so different, there’s no competition. I want to see everybody win.
Emma: I think what keeps it at bay for me is recognizing how beneficial it is that my friends are so talented and I can pull on those talents. Reneé is in business development so when I need help, I have it. When I’m sick, I can call TaVonna quicker than I can call a doctor, being that she’s a health advocate. It’s a win for me that my friends are good at what they do. Also, jealousy gets you kicked out the group soooo, I need these benefits (lol).
Reneé: I wrote about this in one of the chapters. Jealousy and good friendship just simply do NOT co-exist. As a woman, you have to learn how to find joy and purpose in your own journey, so that you can love your own life and support the next sister in hers. If you find yourself on the wrong side of success and your friend is on the right side, you should be able to ask your friend to help you as opposed to hating on her. You can’t hate and appreciate at the same time. And you have no reason to hate if you know your own purpose.
- With there being such stigma in the Black community about mental health, was talking about mental health something that came naturally throughout your friendship or did you have to learn how to grow to be open and supportive of your friend as she worked through her mental health issues?
TaVonna: In the beginning it was difficult to talk about my mental health issues, but only because in the past it has been used against me. If I was having a bipolar or manic depression episode, people would ask me if I needed to be checked into a hospital. So I was afraid to share it for fear of judgement. But as our friendship grew, I knew it was important for them to know because they had to understand why I am the way I am sometimes and why I may disappear for periods of time to get myself together. Now, after conversations, I know they have a genuine concern for me, am I okay and if there’s anything they can do for me. There’s been trust built.
Emma: To be honest, I think with TaVonna, she helped me more than I’ve ever felt like I’ve helped her. She is so strong with how she deals with her issues and it made me comfortable talking about my issues. There were times I had thoughts about suicide and that’s something that the black community won’t talk about. But through sharing her issues with us, it helped me be vulnerable enough to express the thoughts that I’ve had.
Reneé: I honestly think that once she was able to share with us what she dealt with, it helped make much more sense in why she did certain things and it wasn’t hard for me to accept it at all. My grandmother is the most important person on this earth to me, and she is diagnosed bipolar. I have a ton of compassion for those who have mental health issues because of her and seek to be understanding. Her being honest allowed us to truly support her as well as look out for her when we’re conducting business and at social events and such. If her anxiety gets high, we can see it. If she disappears, we know she’s not being fake, she’s likely having a needed moment to herself. It brought clarity and we could all be supportive however she needs us to.
Now that you've gotten a quick teaser of some of the things that were discussed in their book, be sure to pre-order a copy TODAY here and add this book to your collection!