By Isha Khawaja
Amongst hook-up culture, it can be difficult for college students to draw the ambiguous line between friend and lover. However, for black college students, the residual effects of slavery can also complicate exactly what a healthy relationship may entail.
This past Thursday, ASILI, the black student union at Fordham University, invited Na’Im Najieb to inform the community at Fordham on how to have healthy and loving relationships in honor of Black History Month.
Na’Im embodied the essence of a strong black man because he had his most important women right beside him. His mother was supportively recording in the audience, as was his wife. Tyomi energetically guided the discussion session, which truly shows that you are only as strong as your support network around you.
Guiding the lecture from his book, Love is Not a Game, Najieb went over several concepts that actively engage people to carve out unhealthy behaviors in their relationships. Below are the four most important concepts from this lecture.
1. Setting a goal
Setting the goal is the foundation of the entire relationship. It can be awkward asking your boyfriend or girlfriend, “what are we doing?,” but it is vital that you two are on the same page. Whether you two are friends with benefits or decide to be in a serious relationship, it is critical to be on the same terms and to set a goal to enable clear communication.
2. Stand Together
Na’Im and his wife highlighted the importance of standing together and working as a team. Na’Im describes it best with this analogy: “You would not have a member of your basketball team go and shoot a ball for the opposing side. So why allow yourself to be in a toxic relationship?”
3. Fear and love are not compatible
Fear can sabotage a relationship. A relationship can go south once a partner confuses the particular elements between love and fear. Paranoia and worrying are not components of a healthy relationship. If your partner gets paranoid of your faithfulness when you are hanging out with your friends you need to move on.
4. Relationships are a reflection of yourself
Whether your relationship is romantic or platonic, they are all a reflection of yourself. So look at your relationships and see how your friends serve you. What element of yourself are your friends fulfilling for you? Do they make you laugh? Do they encourage you to work on your passions? Or are they just people you like to waste time with? If there are some people who you need to cut off, it may be because you have outgrown that part of yourself in which your friends no longer serve you.
If you want to engage in more concepts of what a loving relationship is, you can read Na’Im Najieb’s manual on loving relationships: Love is Not a Game on Amazon.