The funny thing about friendship, by Yvonne Orji

The Nigerian-American actress is best known for playing Molly, Issa Rae’s best friend, in the HBO comedy series Insecure. She makes a compelling case for doing away with competitiveness between women


“I have this joke with some of my friends: ‘We should never break up. You know way too much about me. Even if we argue, we’re gonna set this thing right.’ I think that’s not only the funny thing about us but the beautiful thing: we see each other through dark times and beautiful times and those bonds are what sustain us in life. When I think about the relationship between Issa and Molly on Insecure, it’s about these two women who have built their friendship on being brutally honest, but in a way that they have each other’s hearts. Once you know that someone has your back, you don’t take offense as easily and can allow each other to inhabit a certain space in each other’s lives that other people can’t.

I definitely believe that behind every successful, powerful woman, there is a group chat cheering her on, encouraging her and making her laugh. We are our own elevation crew – your biggest cheerleaders, your biggest advocates, but also your biggest critics. Women have relationships that are like: ‘Mayday, Mayday, I need all seven of you to come over right now because I am going through something and I need every perspective’. And we’re there. We have our go-to tribe with all the different players, all different but all essential. Somebody is going to want to fight; someone is going to want to pray; someone’s going to be like, ‘Girl, when it was me and this happened…’ Then there’s the friend who’s like, ‘I made you a playlist. Just cry, fix a bath and call us in the morning.’ If no one else supports you, we will support you.

A long time ago, I had an aunt tell me, ‘When a woman looks at you, it’s for two reasons: either she’s admiring you, or she’s jealous of you.’ That didn’t sit well with me. That’s why I go out of my way and make it a point to say, ‘Your shoes are amazing,’ or, ‘Oh, you look beautiful’, because if I’m looking at you, I want you to know it is because I admire you. And I see the response, the immediate, ‘Wow, oh, ok’ – it takes people back. We need more of that. If the general conception or misconception is that you’re looking at me because you don’t like something of mine or are jealous of me, let’s just get that out the way. There is no competition. There can be more than one pretty person at the same time in the same room. And I can acknowledge your brilliance without diminishing mine. Imagine if everyone was giving out a dose of, ‘I love how much of a go-getter you are,’ and, ‘I love how strong you are, and how assertive you are in the things that matter to you’. Imagine!”

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