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Curly Nikki

Supporting a Transitioning Friend

By January 27th, 202111 Comments

Supporting a Transitioning FriendScottie writes:

How much support do you give a transitioning friend?

I have been natural for a little over a year and I am not sure if I would have made it through the transitioning process had it not been for the support of my close friend. I called her many days when I was frustrated with tangles and a perceived lack of styling options. Thanks to her “you can do it” attitude, I was able to finally let go of my relaxed ends with confidence.

Now I am on the other side of the transitioning game and I have friends that are on the same journey I was on. I want to help as much as possible. However, one of my friends keeps going back and forth. She misses her straight, bouncy relaxed hair and complains about her natural texture even though it looks fabulous. It is utterly exhausting to be around her and continually bolster her confidence about her hair. I want to support her but at the same time I know going natural is an individual decision.

So, my question is: How far do you go in supporting a transitioner? Do you merely offer words of confidence? Or do you help them find products and give styling tutorials? How much is too much?

11 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    i had a friend support me on my journey. she was great. she offered words of encourgement support. she told me about products that worked and that did not work for her. and now we support each other both being all natural. she recently started a natural hair meetup in wilmington delaware. her first meetup was a success. meeting number two planned for october 30, 2010. thanks BG for your friendship.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree this is a great post. I have a friend that has been "natural" for many years but she's been using heat and so now that I'm natural I feel as if I'm helping her MORE than she's helping me. She never tried to help me go natural. Now that I'm natural I help her so much and I wish she would've taken the same personal interest in me way back when. Anywho…..her hair is a heat damaged mess. she knows what she needs to do and is too lazy to do anything about it. I've decided to bow out gracefully. thanks to me she doesn't use heat anymore but she's too lazy to do the deep treatments she needs. She'll do it if I put them in….that's just going too far…..It's like the saying goes, "you can take a horse to the water but you can't make 'em drink"…. I love helping people but then they have to take charge of their lives themselves. I just feel bad when she compares her hair to mine. The only reason my hair looks better is because I put the time and energies in and she's just not willing….

  • Dani @ OKDani.com says:

    I give as much advice and help as my friends seem to appreciate. If I notice she's not taking anything in, then I stop the advice and just offer an ear or a shoulder when she needs it.

    Everyone has their own journey.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is a great post…and I have/had a friend and we started transitioning together. It was so hard keeping her focused. She would get cornrows and then take them down in two weeks. She got braids and she took those down in 3 weeks. I mean she was wasting money left and right…then she made the appointment to do her Big Chop. I went to the salon with her and stayed there with her for 2 hrs, but I had to leave to get ready for a party. Needless to say she was very unhappy (I knew she would be) because she didn't like the state of her hair. This wore me out!! Then she was natural, and that became a whole different journery…believe it or not I had to cut ties with the friendship, because she was just as up and down with her natural hair as she was when she was transitioning. Then she got upset with me because my hair was growing faster than hers…it was so sad.

    I believe that natural hair is a personal thing, and I wouldn't have gotten this far without the support of the ladies on this site, but I don't know if I would get the support I've gotten here if I 1) didn't listen; or 2) changing my mind every post about going back to my permed styles.

    You can only support and help those that really want to embrace this natural journey…

    Sorry for such a long post, but this really hit home for me!!! KinkyNappyHappy

  • Tiffany says:

    A few of my friends are also transitioning, so we are supporting one another. We trade ideas and are there when one is having a real bad hair day (as I am having today). Not to mention being able to log onto these blog and get help and guidance from wonderful people like you.

    Tiffany
    Peace, Love and Chocolate

  • Unknown says:

    I've actually helped quite a few transition as well as become fully natural. I give them whatever they ask for because each friend is different. Some want to transition all the way through, so I give them support, compliments, ideas on transitioning hairstyles as well as inform them about the natural community that is out there. I let them know that doing the BC is not for everything and that you have to do what is best for you. For those that are choosing to BC, I let them know the ups and downs, the products, the excellent support system, as well as encouraging research. I feel like if you like it I love it, I don't want to be overbearing but I encourage my friends to go natural, and if they don't like it they can go back to relaxers or whatever was working for them best before.

  • Natural-ness (LV) says:

    I often suggest websites, products and words of encouragement. However, these things only go so far. Like some have already said, it's really an individual journey. I went natural back when there were not many people who were natural, so it was a lot tougher to find advice and encouragement. I called one of my friends and told her that I was considering cutting off all of my hair down to the new growth and she told me that it takes a lot of confidence to cut your hair and sport a TWA. I spent many days in front of a mirror staring at myself considering what she said before I went ahead and did it. So, I believe in being there for new naturals when they need me, but I think they also need some individual time and space to really work out the transition from the inside out.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been approached by 1 friend and 2 coworkers about going natural and I've basically shared my journey, websites, and products I've used…mostly things they've asked me b/c I don't want to pressure them. The friend kept going back and forth with relaxing so I think it kinda depends on if they have truly made the decision to go natural, if they're simply curious about it, etc. ~KF519

  • 4evatwisted says:

    Unfortunately "Going Natural" is a BIG step for most poeple. To be honest if it wasn't for the fact that chemicals are so darn Damaging and Harsh I don't think many people would opt to go natural. But since this is the case I think we must be patient and understanding toward the newbies!lol I say this because it's not just the physical change that their dealing with it's i'm sure we all know is mental as well. We have been conditioned to think our hair is unattractive and ugly for so long it's just going to take some time to undo that thinking. So if it was me I'de be patient and direct the friend/relative/random person to helpful sites and give advice when I could.

  • utopia says:

    This is such an awesome post! I have always been the biggest cheerleader of natural hair and often times found myself rooting for my friends and their natural hair even when I myself was still transitioning. Now that I'm natural I have encouraged others in their time of need, even going as far as putting together "packages" of links, sites, pics and even my own hair story in the hopes to encourage them and show them the styling options that are available. I think that while you can be there to help and to encourage, in the end it is them that have to take it to the next step….kinda like riding a bike….if the person teaching is always holding on to the back of the bike then how will the rider learn how to balance, steer, and ride the bike on their own?

  • mood_indigo says:

    I find that when the person is ready to make the change, you don't have to do much more than offer encouragement and maybe some styling options. If the person is not truly ready you will find yourself trying to convince them that they made the right decision, etc. All you can do is be there for her regardless of what she does but when you find yourself trying to convince her not to go back to a relaxer than that's too much.

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