When dating or in any other relationship, whether it be your boss, friend, or relative, there should be some non-negotiables, boundaries, and standards that you set and enforce. Recently, I was listening to a new podcast Around The Way Curls, and they inspired me to think about my own non-negotiables. They created the list below as an entryway into someone's thought process:
Malcolm vs. Martin
Generational wealth or Familial happiness
Jay vs. Nas
MAC or Sephora
Palestine or Israel
In the light or In the Dark
Prince or Michael
Sweet or Savory
Marriage or Long-Term Commitment
Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods
Family or Career
Evolution or Creationism
Nicki vs. Cardi
Missionary or Doggy Style
Protection or Pull out and prayer
Pro-Life or Pro-Choice
Love Jones or Jason’s Lyric
Sir or Rumi
Make your man a plate or Let him get his own
Knuck if You Buck or Ante Up
9-11: An inside job or Terrorism
Rihanna or Beyoncé
Biggie or Pac
The philosophy of Killmonger or The Black Panther
Money and dicks or Love and light
While this may be a fun and quick list, it’s important to ask the critical questions early in a relationship, rather than sticking around only to find out that your partner doesn’t value the same ideals as you do. When I think about my non-negotiables, I’ve realized that I’ve been selling myself short and tolerating less than stellar behavior. For example, regardless of the relationship---friendship, familial, or romantic---when someone disrespects me or has vastly different values, I’ve learned to speak up and stand firm in my beliefs, despite possible backlash.
I’m almost 27 years old, and I refuse to bend over backwards for anyone who’s undeserving. Here are my non-negotiables, so far:
Anyone who doesn’t believe that Black Lives Matter
Anyone who doesn’t believe in human rights
Anyone who believes that they have ownership over women
Anyone who’s emotionally insecure
Anyone that doesn’t understand or aren’t willing to understand how to handle money
Anyone that I don’t have chemistry with
Those who aren’t self-motivated
Anyone that isn’t open to therapy or dealing with their past trauma
Anyone who isn’t spiritually grounded
Anyone who doesn’t take care of themselves physically, mentally or emotionally
I am not a rehabilitation center for damaged beings. We can support and uplift each other, but I will not raise a grown individual, and they will not dump their unprocessed issues onto me.
I am learning that I am not going to change myself to make you like me. Because, what’s the point? I deserve more than a man that doesn’t make time to learn who I am at my core. Looking back on my twenties, I feel for the woman that allowed others to dim my light. It’s important to not shrink yourself, and not to have your boundaries shattered at the expense of someone else’s comfort.
Always listen to your intuition. If you feel something is off, something is probably off. Quit rationalizing or making excuses for someone’s behavior. It’s not petty to have high standards and non-negotiables. There’s someone for everybody, and that person whose behavior you're rationalizing is probably not for you.
I’ve had friendships that have deteriorated because we’ve had different values, rather than just differing opinions. It’s essential to have people around you that may not think like you do, but differing values are non-negotiables, for me. For example, victim-blaming women for being sexually assaulted and supporting abusive men is a difference in values. I’m teaching my daughter to stand up for herself and what she believes in.
What are your top 3 non-negotiables in a relationship?