Ever been in a friendship trio? It can be complicated, right?
I get questions about friendship trios all the time, and today, we’re finally tackling this topic with my guest, Brandi Cambric. We cover maintaining a friendship for multiple decades, introducing your closest friends, and existing in a friendship trio. The good, the hard, and the reality!
If you’re out there looking for a friendship trio, today’s story is going to make you realize it’s not always easy. It’s definitely not equal. Everybody fits their roles. Everybody supports their individual friendships. Everybody puts in the work.
While recording, I had a big, stupid smile on my face. I love sharing these stories – the ups and downs, the journey of these friendships. This isn’t the only way to approach a friendship trio – it’s just an option. My hope is that you’ll take what feels right for you.
In this episode you’ll hear about:
- Brandi’s real-life friendship trio between two friends – one she’s had for 32 years, the other for 20, and how she introduced them to each other
- Friends who hold different parts of your life – it’s not a competition, and it won’t be equal, just different
- The places where people often get in trouble with friendship trios, and how to maintain a strong triangle (hint: each side/relationship needs to be strong!)
- The sides of the triangle, which won’t be equilateral – at times, it will be lopsided, some lines longer than others
- The importance of refilling your “well” in friendships, and how Brandi refills hers by disconnecting
Do you have close friends who you haven’t introduced to one another? If so, why not? And if you have introduced close friends to one another, how did you do it?
Notable Quotes from Brandi:
“People have to realize that in a triad friendship, this is not going to be an equilateral triangle. No, it’s not. Things are going to be lopsided. Some of the lines are going to be longer than others. Some are going to be shorter.”
“That’s how I’m refilling my well. I’m not listening, because even in times like that, something as simple as just notifications – it’s too much. I don’t want to hear anything, I don’t want to see anything. I will turn my phone off and put it in a different room. That’s how I recharge. But you have to be self-aware to do that. Because on the flip side, if you can’t manage this triad very well, you’ll often lose your mind. And now, three relationships have been ruined.”
“We’re adults. We’re not kids anymore. We’re at the age where we learn how to use our words and articulate our thoughts. And even if we can’t articulate it, just say it, and we’ll figure it out as we go. But that’s truthfully – for me and my two friends – that’s what it boils down to. Just be an adult. Grow up, be respectful, and appreciate each other’s boundaries.”
Resources & Links
Leave Alex a voicemail!
Let’s talk Friend Trios
@itsalexalexander Let’s talk about “How to Join a Friend Group.” #friendgroupproblems #friendgroups #friendshipadvice ♬ original sound – Alex | Community + Friendship
Until next time…
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Podcast Intro/Outro 00:02
Alrighty, gang. Here’s to nights that turn into mornings and friends that turn in family. Cheers!
Podcast Intro/Outro 00:18
Hello, Hello, and welcome to the Friendship IRL podcast. I’m your host, Alex Alexander. My friends… They would tell you; I like to ask the hard questions. You know who I am in the group? I’m the person that’s saying, “Okay, I’m going to ask this question, but don’t feel like you have to answer it.” And now, I can be that friend for you, too.
Alex Alexander [Narration] 00:50
Friends, I freaking loved this conversation with Brandi so much. We had so much fun. We talked about the real stuff. We talked about what it’s like to maintain a friendship for multiple decades, what it’s like to introduce your closest friends. What it’s like to exist in this friendship trio. The good, the hard, the reality. Honestly, the reality. And that’s not to say that every friendship trio is like this. But that’s the beauty is we get to hear these stories, the behind the scenes, the real life experiences. So if you’re out there looking at a friendship trio, today’s story is going to make you realize it’s not always easy. It’s definitely not equal. Everybody fits their roles, everybody supports their individual friendships, everybody puts in the work. And it does create something beautiful. I am so excited to share this conversation with you today. I’m so excited. So with that, let’s get to the episode.
Alex Alexander 02:06
Hi, Brandi. I’m so happy you’re here. We’ve already been laughing. We’re gonna have a good time.
Brandi Cambric 02:12
We’ve been having a good time. I’m ready for more good times.
Alex Alexander 02:15
So I was so excited when you reached out because I get questions about what we’re gonna talk about today, which is kind of this idea of a friendship trio, all the time. And some people I think, maybe just kind of like happen into a friendship trio. But I’m getting messages from people who are in that situation where they have these two good friends. And they’re nervous about introducing them. Should I do it? Should I not do it? How do I make the friendship trio? And I think our conversation today is maybe going to be a very illuminating story for them.
Brandi Cambric 02:58
I hope it is. I hope it is.
Alex Alexander 03:00
So why don’t you tell me a little bit about your friends, and how you met them as your friends. Maybe that’s a good place to start.
Brandi Cambric 03:10
Individually. So the first friend, the one I’ve been friends with the longest, her name is Candace. So Candace and I have been friends for, I think it’s 32 years now. We met in sixth grade in middle school. And it was happenstance. Like we came from different parts of town. So like she lived in the part of town where our middle school was, and I was bused in from a different part of town. Because it was a magnet school. I was a nerd. I’m a nerd.
Alex Alexander 03:11
I’m a nerd too.
Brandi Cambric 03:16
So I got busted to be in their magnet program. And back then, you know, they had the schedules, and you’d move from class to class after 30-45 minutes, whatever. So the first day, we’re there, and we get our schedule, and we go to our first class. I’m shy, believe it or not, back then I was a shy kid. didn’t talk to anybody, didn’t say a lot. So I walked in the room, and I saw it and I kind of waved and that was it. She on the other hand, was very extroverted, very energetic. And I think part of it was because a lot of the kids that went to that school, she knew them because they were from the same neighborhood. She already knew them. She had relationships with them. So she’s just in school with friends, where I’m the outsider coming in. So we sit in class, and we do our little thing and the bell rings, and we go to our next class. So I walk in and I see her again and she sees me and she’s like, “Hey, you’re in my other class.” I’m like, “Hey, you too. How are you doing?” Blah, blah, blah. So we go through that class, and we get to move to the next class. And I walk in and she’s sitting there and we’re looking at each other like, wait a minute. So at this point, now I pull up a desk next to her so now we’re comparing our schedules. We literally had every class together that year. Like we even had the same lunch period. It was not planned. We didn’t ask for it because of course, we didn’t know each other. So, we did that. And we became fast friends. So it just clicked from there because I was strong in English. She was strong in math. So we helped each other that way. So sixth grade came and went, we’re like, “Hey, have a good summer. See you next year”, whenever we have a class. So seventh grade year rolls around. Very first class, there she is. I was like, really? This is what we doing. So we sit down again, and compare schedules, and again, seventh-grade year, every class together. That year, though, we had a different lunch period. But same classes, we were scheduled together. Seventh grade year comes and goes. “Have a good summer, see you next year.” Eighth grade, here we go again. So all three years of middle school, we were together. And that’s how we became fast friends. We got separated when we went to high school, because again, she stayed in that neighborhood and went to high school there. By then I had moved to another part of town. So I went to high school in my part of town. But our high schools were rivals. So we still got to see each other like at football games, because she was on the dance team and I was ROTC. So we would be there together. I’d see her at halftime and we’d hang out whatever. High school came in when we got back together in college. So we both ended up at Prairie View A&M University.
PODCAST EPISODE! Your late 20s/early 30s are full of all sorts of life changes. People are making big decisions that send us all down different paths. Let’s talk about how to move through that time in life. Listen here.
Alex Alexander [Narration] 06:29
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. Do you know how sometimes I say that as adults, we often forget that we just met our friends somewhere. And slowly over time, we built this friendship with them. And now in Brandi’s case, we have 32 years of history. So obviously, not a lot of new friendships are going to match that at the moment. But this is such a beautiful example for all of us that we don’t stop making friends until we’re in the grave. If you want to make more friends, tune into your younger self. Remember that you just met someone somewhere. You befriended them over time, we can still do that today. Just listening to the story really blew my mind. Because it’s such a beautiful example of the slow and steady build a friendship.
Alex Alexander 07:30
Was that planned? Where you guys like, we’re going to apply.
Brandi Cambric 07:33
Yeah. That was kind of planned. That one was. Because I don’t think she had intentions of going there. But I had. So my plan had been to go to PV because that’s where my mom went. So I was following my mom to go to PV, keep it in the family. So I plan to go there and I told her that and she was like, “Okay, well I’m gonna go too.” And I was like, “Okay, cool.” So we ended up in PV together. Different majors. She was an accounting major, and I initially was computer science. Different majors, but we still ended up being dorm mates, because at that time they had the freshman dorm. Of course, that made sense. Like, why not? And that’s what we did. So we went throughout college, we pledged. Actually, I pledge first I joined Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated. Then I brought her in. So I came in, I joined in, I believe it was October of ’99. And then she was there the next year. And at that point, we were inseparable. So we were sorority sisters. We were there with the college. She’s my daughter’s godmother. I found out by accident I am her power of attorney.
Brandi Cambric 07:42
I have a friend who’s our power of attorney. Yeah.
Brandi Cambric 08:41
Yes, yes, I am her medical power. And I found out it was a random conversation she was having… we were having about something. And that came up and she’s like, “Oh, yeah, Brandi, by the way. You’re my medical power of attorney.” And then she just kept going into conversation. I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.”
Alex Alexander 08:55
That’s kind of what we did to our friends. We’re like, “Hey, by the way, you’re the executor. You’re my medical power of attorney.” And they’re like, “Should I know anyting about that?”
Brandi Cambric 09:05
Exactly. Right? What do I get to know? Like, what does this involve? What do I need to do? She’s like, “No, no, no, no, don’t worry about it. It’s okay. It’s okay.” Like, okay, that’s pretty big deal. She’s like, “Don’t worry about it. You’re fine.” It’s like, okay. So that was our friendship. It did have some hiccups, where she hid some things in life. She had a rough patch in life. And she actually withdrew from me and from everybody, because she didn’t know she was dealing with some stuff. And she didn’t want it to drag us down. So she literally just disappeared, probably for about a five-year period. I had no idea where she was, if she was okay, what she was doing. I just kept the hope alive that she’s fine, she’s getting herself together. And once she’s good, she’ll come back. And that’s exactly what happened. She reappeared and we picked right back up like we’d never… that five year gap never happened. And it wasn’t stressful. It wasn’t awkward. Like we have an understanding with each other. And we’re very blunt and straightforward. So I’m like, okay, I’m not going to pester her with questions. When she’s ready to talk about it, we’ll talk about it. And if she’s never ready to talk about it, that’s fine. Because she has her life. She did what she felt she needed to do. She came back a better person, she was in a better mindset, better frame of mind, better health. Like, okay, cool. So as long as you’re good, I’m good.
Brandi Cambric 09:10
You saw shift, and you’re like, great. Welcome back.
Brandi Cambric 10:30
Welcome back. Let’s keep rolling. So we did that. That was us. Now my second friend. And this is where my second friend comes in. So her name is Osha. She and I have been friends for 20 years. Osha and I met when we both worked at Target together. She was already there. And I came in as like a part-time cashier. But I think I worked there for probably about a year before I actually met her, because she was like a department lead. And then I got promoted to department lead. So then that’s how we met. And it was like, usually work talk, just chatting about what was going on in our departments and all this. And then the team leads, we had an office. Like all the team leads had a desk. So me and Osha’s desks were right next to each other. So we would take our breaks together. And then we would kind of start talking about our lives. She told me about her kids, and I was telling her about my daughter, and it just clicked. It just clicked. It wasn’t hard. I didn’t have to make it happen. I didn’t have to work at it. It just happened. And over time, we got closer and closer. And it came to the point where I merged the two. So for me, it was natural, because I’m one of those people. I don’t surround myself with a lot of people. So my friend group is very small. And I’m very protective of them. So for me, it was like, Okay, I need to see how Osha is before I bring her in because I know how I Candace is. Like I know how Candace is. So I need to see if I think they’ll mesh well together. And it was I think it was one night I was going to Candace’s house and I had been hanging out with Osha. and I was like, “Hey, we’re gonna go to Candace’s house.” And she’s like, “Okay.” I’m like, “Yeah, you’re fine.” And she was riding with me and my stroller, she brought her car to my house and parked it. So we were riding together. So I’m like, yeah, you really don’t have choice. We’re going. So we got there. And I was like, “Hey.” We walked into the house. And when we pulled up to Candace’s house, I got out and I walked in, opened the gate, pulled out the keys and she’s like, “Wait, what are you doing?” “Like, what do you mean? What are we doing? We’re going to her house.” “You have a key to her house?” “Yes, I have a key to her house.” I have a key to her safe deposit box. I’m her power of attorney. I have the keys to everything. I know her passwords for everything. I’m like, “Yeah, that’s us.” So we walked in. I was like, “Hey.” Her mom was there. I was like, “Hey, Mama, how you doing?” Chit Chatting. And Candace is like, “Who is it?” I say, “My bad.” I’m so rude. “Candace, Osha. Osha, Candace. We’re all friends now. Talk.” And that’s literally what I did. And then I walked out of the room. And Osha was shy. It took a minute for her to open up. And so she kind o…f once I came back to the room, and we were sitting at the table, it was mainly me and Candace talking. And Osha just kind of sitting there observing. So we were there probably for a few hours. And then we got up and left. And on the way home, Osha was like, “She’s different.” I said, “Yeah. She is. She’s very different.” And she asked the story, like, how did y’all meet? Blah, blah, blah. So I told her the story. And she was like, “Okay, so why did you want me to meet her?” I said, “Well, why wouldn’t ya?” I’m like, “You’re my best friend. She’s my best friend. Why shouldn’t my best friends know each other?”
Alex Alexander [Narration] 11:35
I want to drop in and touch on two points here. The first one, you will notice that Brandi is saying like oh, she’s my medical power of attorney. I have keys to her house and her lockbox. I know her mom. Hi, Mama. Like, there’s a deep connection between her and Candace here. Obviously, lots of years have passed, lots of opportunities to get to know each other in all the various facets of life. But for all these people out here for you, or somebody you know, who are wishing they had more support for this bigger stuff, even the mundane stuff, like being your medical power of attorney or being that extra set of keys, that kind of stuff, I don’t think I’m reaching by saying this having chatted with Brandi for a while, that kind of chosen family stuff quite often happens by just having a conversation. And it doesn’t have to be all-encompassing. It’s not that asking a friend to do that means they have to do everything. They might be uniquely positioned to be the friend that has the extra key or can go get your mail or has knowledge, works in the medical industry, whatever to be that. Whatever it is. That’s point one. Number two, I love we end right here, where I dropped in. Brandy said, “Why shouldn’t my best friends know each other?” And I want to draw attention to this. Because quite often, when people tell me that someone is their best friend, or they’re having best friend problems, or they feel bad because they have this one best friend, but then in another time of life, they develop this other one, like I’ve heard it all. My question is best friend for what? Because it’s very unlikely that your quote-unquote “best friend” really has the ability to hold you and support you in absolutely every area of your life. You are a unique person, they are not the same. They may not have the right skill sets. So what Brandi is really saying here is I have these two really close friends. I’ve known Candace forever, basically her family. I know, her mom and her family, and I can let myself into her house and we take care of each other. I also have Osha, who I worked with, who I’ve really gone through these last few years with. Like they’re holding different parts of life. So it’s not a competition, the ways they came to be are different. And I think in any friend trio, friend group, friend whatever, if we can get rid of this idea of best friend, or at least lean into this idea of best friend for what, but more so just take a little time to reflect on why these people are important to us, how they show up for us, how we show up for them, then it makes it so much easier to balance multiple friendships at once. Because we don’t feel like it’s a ranking system. Suddenly, we can look at it and say, oh, she supports me in work. She knows my past. She’s the person I would call in an emergency. You see where you’re valuable in their life, and where their other friend is valuable in their life. And that makes it easier.
Alex Alexander 16:05
If nothing else, if nothing else. Stories, past experiences, like examples here, you should just if nothing else, now you know who that person in that story.
Brandi Cambric 17:36
Yeah, now you can have a face to the name to go with the story. And for Osha, it was more… she had not had a strong female friend in her life. So that was me. I was that person for her. So I was her shoulder to cry on. I was her ear to bend when she was upset or whatever. So she got comfortable with me. And over time, it took her time to get comfortable with Candace. Because in Osha’s mind it was like, why does she want to be friends with me? That was her thing. Like why does she want to be my friend? And what does she want from me? And why would she want to be my friend? I can’t give her anything. And I was like, “Okay, so let me explain something to you.” I said, “Candace and I are friends because we met, we clicked we liked each other. At the time we met it was about how we could help each other but we were in school. So she was helping me pass math. I was helping her pass English. We were good. Beyond that, we don’t want anything from each other. Except friendship, an ear to bend, the loyalty, the dependability, the reliability, the comfort. We just want to be friends with each other. And that’s it. There’s nothing else. Candace is not a friend with you because of what you can do for her. She doesn’t know you. So she doesn’t know what you can do for her.” And I said, “Let’s just be real.” In the very beginning, I told her I said, “Candace is cool with you because of me.”
Alex Alexander 19:01
Brandi Cambric 19:02
Because, yeah, that’s it. No other reason. And she was like, “Wait, why?” I said, “Because again, because Candice and I know each other, we’ve known each other for so long, she knows the type of people that I deal with. She knows the type of people that I have around me and that I hang out with. So she knows without us having a conversation. But yeah, Candace knows if I’m introducing her to somebody that’s from a different avenue of my world, she knows that they’re solid people, that they’re not on the bull, they don’t play the games and they’re not full of that dumb stuff.” Because that’s not how I operate. I don’t deal with people like that. So Candace knows it’s okay. You’re good people. If Brandi is bringing you around and Brandi is hanging out with you, then you’re good people. And that was it.
Alex Alexander 19:43
Irrelevant of whatever happens between Candace and Osha, doesn’t matter. Candace cares about you. And I was like, okay, well, if you’re enjoying your time with Osha, I’m happy for you. Maybe you have a work friend. I’m happy that you have somebody to talk to about this thing and that thing and you share these interests. For Candace, that’s a plus. It doesn’t detract at all from your relationship with Candace, as your friend. She can just be happy. You have Osha, if nothing else. That is why Candace would care about Osha. Because you care about her. Yeah.
Brandi Cambric 20:26
Exactly. And that’s what it is. And it took… it took Osha a while to understand that. Because again, it was… me introducing her to Candace was a dynamic that she hadn’t had in her life before. So now she went from having one solid female friend to two that had no expectations of her. There was no grandiose, oh, well, you have to do this. And you have to do that. And there was none of that. We just want you to be you. And I’m gonna be me. And Candace is going to be Candace, and we just gonna have a good time together. And it just evolved. So it began to get Osha more comfortable, I would just start when I was with Candace, if she called, “Hey, what you doing?” I was like, “Oh, I’m on my way to Candace’s house.” And and she was like, “Oh, okay, well, I’ll talk to you later.” I was like, “No, what are you doing?” “Well, I wanted to hang out with you.” “Okay, come on. Let’s go, we’re just going to go eat. So let’s go eat.” And it was stuff like that. Like, I kind of had to pull her out because she wasn’t comfortable. But I knew she needed that aspect of it. So it was just kind of pulling her out of that shell, and getting her more comfortable with being around us hanging out. And then over time, she began to form her friendship with Candace, independent of me. And it made her uncomfortable. It made her uncomfortable as we talked about it. And she was like, “I have something to tell you.” Like, “Okay, do I need to sit down for this? What’s going on?” She was like, “I hope you’re not gonna be mad at me.” Like, “Osha, just spit it out. What is it?” “I talked to Candace.” “Okay.” I’m like, “Where are we going with this?” She was like, “That was it.” “Okay, you talk to Candace. Big deal.” She’s like, “You’re not mad about it?” “Why would I be mad about that?” She said, “Well, you know, I always talk to you about things going on with me and my problems. And I vent to you.” And I’m like, “Right.” And she was like, “Well, I thought you would be upset because I wanted to get Candace’s opinion.” “No. Why would I? That’s why I gave you Candace’s number. You have her number. Yes, I am protective of Candace. But not so much that point where I’m like, she’s my friend. Nobody else has access to her. You can only talk to her when I’m around. I’m not like that. We’re not doing that.” So I’m like, “That’s fine. Because in as many ways as Candace and I are alike, we’re also different. We have different mindsets, and we think about things differently.” So I’m like, “That’s fine. If you want to talk to me about a problem and then get Candace’s point of view, because she may be able to come at it from an avenue I hadn’t thought about it you hadn’t thought about. There’s nothing wrong with it.” And she was like, “You’re good with it?” “I don’t care, Osha. Y’all are my friends. I love y’all. As long as y’all are good and y’all are healthy, you’re happy, your mental is okay, your physical is okay, your psychological is okay, I’m okay. Whether I’m a part of the conversation or not, because I’m gonna be part of the conversation because either you’re gonna tell him he or she gonna tell. Let’s just be real about it.”
PODCAST EPISODE! Staying Curious and Managing Differences in our Friendships. Listen here.
Alex Alexander 23:31
If they didn’t tell you, if it was something that was just between them, at least they have each other. Because they need someone and for some reason that’s not you, who cares? Because it’s you for so many other things. So, whatever.
Brandi Cambric 23:48
That’s what it is. Because I know to this day, there’s been conversations they’ve had together and Candace was like, “Well, I talked to Osha, she didn’t want me to tell you about it.” Like that’s okay. And Candice and I have had conversations about Osha that just stay between us, me and Osha have had conversations that stay between us and Candace doesn’t know about. And I’m like, that’s fine. We’re not being shady. We’re not being deceitful. I said, “We’re being friends. And we’re respecting each other.” So I was like, “Osha, if you have a conversation with me, because she knows that we’re a triad. So she knows ultimately, our conversations always end up… everybody knows everything.” But I told her, I said, “If you come to me, and you talk to me, and you’re like, okay, I just want this to stay between me and you”, bet. It’s gonna stay between me and you. Candace will never know we had the conversation. And there’s been a few times that she… I think she wanted to test that theory. And we would have a conversation and then she’d… and Osha would have a conversation. And then when the three of us got together, Osha would bring it up. And Candace will say something like, “What are you talking about? What?” If she’d be surprised, then Osha would look at me and she’s like, “Oh, well, Brandi didn’t tell you?” And Candace would be like, “No.”
Alex Alexander 24:55
And then you’re like, “You told me not to, so I didn’t.”
Brandi Cambric 24:58
Exactly. That’s exactly what I told. I’m like, “You told me not to say anything. So why would I? That’s your business to share not mine. If you asked me to keep my mouth shut, that I’m gonna keep my mouth shut. And if it’s gonna be shared, it’s because you share it, not me. But that’s not my business to share. If you don’t want it out there, it’s not my business to put it out there. So I will hold your secrets and they will go to my grave with me.”
Alex Alexander 25:26
It’s remembering. Like, I think when people think of friendship trios, they think of everything goes everywhere. And in reality, you have your friendship with Candace, you have your friendship with Osha, Osha and Candace have their friendship. And there is a dynamic when the three of you are together, they are all different. And you have to respect each one of them. Because if one weaknes, it’s going to affect everything. So if you’re harping on them like, “Well, you talk to each other, and you didn’t talk to me”, then that weakens these two sides. And like, people don’t see that it is not just the triangle, it is all the sides of the triangle as well that have to be strong. And that those are all individual relationships that have to be respected. So yeah, like because someone tells you, if they asked you not to share, that’s a boundary. You don’t cross that because you want to respect that relationship. Honestly, it’s like almost kind of like the sides are more important than the whole. And you have to protect the sides fiercely, to keep the whole. Because I think people are gonna listen to you. And they’re gonna be like, well, whatever, it’s going to make it back. Yeah, but that was Osha’s news. You don’t get to pick when it makes it back to the triangle. She does. And I think the other thing people are gonna hear of that, just because you said like, maybe you talk to Osha about Candace. People will be like, oh, well, that’s gossiping. And that’s bad. And that’s whatever. And one, there are dynamics happening, frustrations that happen, and sometimes you got to talk it out a little bit. And the point is not to smack talk the party that’s not there. The point is like, okay, get your events out. Is there something you need to do about that? Do you need to have a conversation with her? It’s like about the productive action at the end. And then the other piece of that is that I find is when you’re worried about someone is saying to a friend, if you’re talking to Candace, like, “Hey, I’m a little worried about Osha, have you noticed anything?” And you’re not trying to drop a bunch of details, you’re not trying to spread gossip of what you think it might be. You’re just maybe putting some sprinkle out there of like, if you haven’t noticed this, maybe pay attention, because I’m worried. And we might need to talk to her. And I find that those are really when those one-off conversations really arise when people aren’t kind of respecting that.
Brandi Cambric 28:16
Yes. And it’s funny you say that, because we have had those situations where I noticed something in Osha and I would say to Candace, “Hey, have you noticed something weird going on with Osha lately?” And she’d be like, “No.” Because at the time that it happened, she’s like, “No, I haven’t seen anything.” I’m like, “Okay.” She’s like, “What’s going on?” I’m like, “I can’t put my finger on it. And I don’t want to say, but just kind of be aware. Because sometimes I tend to, at least I think I do, sometimes I tend to overthink something and maybe make it something that it’s not. Or maybe I’m looking too deep into something, but it’s really not that deep.” So it’ll be like, “Okay, pay attention, and let me know what you see. Because maybe I’m just out there. And I’m just imagining things, and it’s nothing. But then maybe it is”. And that’s what it would be. And then… like one time we did it, it turned out it was nothing. I was just digging too deep, thinking too much. And Candace was like, “No, she’s fine. Chill out.” I’m like, “Okay, I’m just asking, just asking.” But it’s, like you said, the sides have to be stronger individually before you bring them together to make that triangle so that that triangle can be solid, and it can survive the disagreements because there will be disagreements. Candace does stuff all the time. It drives me up the freaking wall. Like I just want to just grab her and I just want to shake there.
Alex Alexander 29:43
I might be. I might be Candace in some of my friendships. That’s what I’m laughing about. It might be.
Brandi Cambric 29:48
Right. But our friendship is strong enough where I can be like, “Kid, come on, you know better.” And she’s self aware enough to be like, “Well, you know what, Brandi? I know. But I just want to try it.” I’m like, “Okay, but you know how this is gonna end. Why?” And we just go back and forth like that. But at the end of it, there’s no feelings hurt. Nobody’s mad, the friendship isn’t suddenly over. We keep moving. Now Osha and I, on the other hand, we’ll have those conversations. And I know my friends, so I can go wrong, as I need to with Candace, and I will be fine. With Osha, I can go wrong. But I have to prepare myself that she’s a little more sensitive. So she’s going to take it differently. So when we’re having those conversations, I’ll already tell Osha like, “Okay, so what I’m about to say is gonna make you mad. So just be prepared. And you know I don’t say it to be mean, you know I say it because I’m not that friend that’s going to sugarcoat. I’m going to tell you the truth, even if that truth hurts you. Because, one, either you know it, you just refuse to acknowledge it. Or two, it’s never been said to you, but it needed to be said, or like they say it’s that elephant in the room that nobody is talking about, but it needs to be talked about. I come to you from a place of love. Yeah, it’s a little brutal sometimes, but I love you. So I’m gonna give it to you.” And I already know with Osha when I make her mad, I’ll get, “Okay, B. Okay, B. Okay, B. Well, I gotta go. I’ll talk to you later.” “Okay, cool. Not a problem.” And I know I might not hear from her for a day or two. And after that day or two passes, if she comes back to me, 99.9% of the time, it’s always, “You know B? I thought about what you said, and you were right.” I’m like, “I knew you were gonna get there, you just had to get out of your feelings and understand that I’m not attacking you. I’m not being mean, I want the best for you. And sometimes, in order for you to see that you need the best, I have to beat you upside the head with my words, for you to understand it.” But we all have that dynamic. We’re respectful of each other. We make time for each other. We understand what’s going on in each other’s lives. If we’re at the point, it’s kind of like a relationship, we get to learn them. You can know the tone of voice. Like I’m that one. I can read somebody’s emotion through a text message. Like Osha sends me a text. I’m like, “Hey, how you doing? What’s going on?” And she like, “I’m okay.” I’m calling her, what’s wrong. “But what you mean, B? What you mean?” “No, no, no. You can’t slip a can of oil, what’s going on?” And we’ll get it. Candace on the other hands, if she’s going through something, she will fall back. She’ll just go silent. She’ll go radio silent. So I know something’s going on. She’s not ready to talk about it. I just sent her a random text, “Hey, just checking on you to see what’s going on. You want to go eat lunch, whatever?” And then when she’s good, she comes back in. But we understand that about each other, and we make it work. And it has worked fine to this day, and it continues to work.
Alex Alexander [Narration] 33:04
I wish you could see me for the speakers right now. I am smiling. This dumb, stupid, big smile. Because I mean, this is like the real stuff. Right? These are people, Brandi specifically, thank you, Brandi. Sharing the friendships of what’s working, what the realities are, what this looks like, I’m just… I’m so thankful we’re putting this stuff out in the world. Because this is the kind of stuff people are going to hear and realize, oh, sometimes there’s some tension in my friendship and like, that’s okay. That’s normal, that will pass. But the other thing I came on here to say is that I love this story about knowing, you know, she knows that if she talks to Candace, she can talk one way. And if she talks to Osha, it’s not necessarily that she’s talking to her a different way. She just knows that maybe Osha is going to react differently. And you know what that is? Emotional intimacy roots. This is such a prime example of knowing these details about your friends, having these past memories of how they’ve reacted, that help you make choices on how you give feedback, how you check in, how you say whatever you’re gonna say. And even though it sounds like Brandi is going into it the same way both times, she knows that her friends react differently. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just different.
Alex Alexander 34:47
And this was making me think, right, if we’re talking about like the sides of the triangle, those relationships are all different. There’s like, different dynamics, different roles. So it sounds like you’re kind of the ‘I’m going to call your bullshit person in the triangle’. I’m quite often this person like… you’re like mentally prepared that they may not talk to you. I have done this many. So when that happens, and you have this one on one conversation with one friend, then what commonly happens is Osha might go to Candace and be like, “Can you believe what Brandi said to me?” And I think you have to remember, people get themselves into trouble when… you’re saying it’s like a relationship, like a romantic relationship? It is. Because these are all just relationships. If you go into these friendship triangles, we’re Osha’s like, “Well, Brandi said this.” Like, sure. She’s mad. She knows this is your role. This is what you do. This is the kind of friend you are. Candace is the one she can go talk to you about it. But instead of going and maybe like smack-talking you, it is them talking about like them versus the problem. It’s not them versus you. It’s them versus the problem, or the knotch problem, where Osha can come back and be like, “Yeah, I don’t believe that that’s right, and you’re overreacting, and we need to move on.” But it’s taking this feedback that then you’re going to talk to somebody else about and instead of being like, “Well, Brandi is so terrible.” Not sure, she can be hurt maybe by the way you said it, there’s feedback, whatever. But people I think really get in an issue in a friendship trio when instead of talking about the problem, they got feedback on, they’re like smack talking the other friend, exactly. You can’t do that, people.
Brandi Cambric 36:38
You can’t do that. At the end of the day, you have to be an adult. You have to be aware and recognize that okay, maybe the delivery wasn’t the way you liked. But once you get past that, and you actually listen to the message, then it’s like, okay, you know what? Yeah, she hit the nail on the head. That was it. Or it was partially accurate, but not so much because I even tell Osha that. Like when we do that, I’m like, “What I say to you, it may not be 100% accurate. But once you pull the emotion and your feelings out of it, and you analyze what I’d said, some parts of what I said are going to be true. And you know it, you just didn’t want to hear it. That’s it.”
Alex Alexander 37:20
Otherwise, you wouldn’t have said it because you probably spent a lot of time thinking about it before you set it. Not wanting to just be reactive. I get this. This is me too.
Brandi Cambric 37:29
Exactly. And then the other part of it too, is checking your ego. Because it’s one of those where like with me and Osha, like if I had a big ego issue when she would just not talk to me, I’d be like, “Okay, fine. I’m not dealing with this. I don’t want to talk to you no more, we’re done.” But I don’t take it personally. Because I know her upbringing and her life is different from mine is different from Candace’s. So I’ve learned that about them. And I understand how there are some things in like how Osha reacts and behaves and says that, “I’ll take from her because I know her background.” Whereas with Candace, it’s totally different. Like, “Okay, come on. Chill out now. Watch it, watch it. I know you’re upset but watch it.” So it’s just… it’s understanding those different, like you said, the different dynamics and the different aspects and the life experiences that we’ve all gone through because Osha has dealt with things in her life that I’ve never dealt with. Candacce has dealt with things that Osha has never dealt with. Like we all have different paths in life. We’ve walked different paths. Osha has multiple children, I only have one. Candace has lots of medical issues, I really don’t have much other than maybe a common cold or something. But it’s just that different things like that affect us differently. Even our upbringings affect us differently, and how we think and how we process. So it’s just understanding all of that, just being a human. Being sympathetic and empathetic at the same time. So it’s like all of that just works in it for us. It just works.
Alex Alexander 39:04
When… I’m thinking back to when you’re saying that, you know, Candace is your… well, sorry, you are Candace’s power of attorney, you got the key to her house. Is there ever, or how have you dealt with if there has been, your closer in one way shape or form to one of them? Like, has there ever been any struggle with that? Is it just understood? Are we all adults here? Like I think some people are like, well, you asked her to do that thing and not me. Like how do you three approach that?
Brandi Cambric 39:41
So, the short answer is no. There’s been no struggle with it. It’s what Samuel L. Jackson said a lot in one of his movies, it’s a unknown known. So that’s kind of how it is with us. So to your point, in some aspects, yes, I am closer with Candace. So for example, the key to the house. So I have a key to key In this house where I don’t have a key to Osha’s house. But OSHA has a key to my place and Candice has a key to my place. So there are no hard feelings there. There are no… with me and Candace, it was just… we never discussed it. It just happened. Candace is just like, “Okay, here’s your key to my house.” And I was like, “Okay, cool.” And we just went from there. With Osha, it’s different. She was like, “Well, what if something happens?” And I need to have a key to get into your place.” I’m like, “Okay, cool.” And I just made a copy and gave it to her. Not a problem. Like I’m not tripping about it. It just basically that both ouf us are adults.
Alex Alexander 40:29
Which probably has less to do with her like wanting this key that Candace has, and more with her feeling close to you and if something went wrong, wanting to be able to be there for you.
Brandi Cambric 40:38
Exactly. Yeah, it’s definitely that. There’s definitely no competition at all between the three of us like, especially because I am… it’s almost like, I’m the little sister of the group, when actually I’m the oldest of the three. So it’s like they’re separately, really protective of me. But I’m the oldest of the three of us. Not by much. Like there’s… at the most, there’s a year, maybe two years between us. So it’s weird like that. But there’s no competition. There’s no competition, everybody is kind of, like you say, understands the role that they play. In the single relationship, the triad, everybody understands their role. And it’s effortless.
Alex Alexander 41:22
Yeah, I think if we’re not focused on the sides, and people are focused on making this triangle work, a lot of people then focus on trying to have the triangle be equal, whatever that means. And instead, if you focus on, Osha is your go to person for these things. And Candace is your go to person for these things and they go to each other for these things. And you enjoy these activities with Osha and these with Candace, and everybody really just kind of like thinks about it. You know, a lot of things out there say that friendship is this all or nothing. And that if you can’t be somebody’s everything, then you’re not really there. But the joy, like the joy of this trio is that it’s not you and Candace having to be there for each other for quote unquote “everything.” You can’t spread it out. And when life gets overwhelming, if you need a moment, they still have each other. And you go to them for this and that. And so it’s like, instead of focusing on what’s not there, there’s like 10%, that you don’t have. Focus on the frickin 90% that is there and encourage the 90% between that other friendship, that other side of the triangle and be happy they have that for each other. That’s the other piece. You can’t do Osha and Candice is work. And they are responsible for their own friendship. And if they don’t prioritize that make time for that, figure their own stuff out, that’s going to impact the triangle. But like, that’s their problem. You can’t do that. And I think a lot of people get themselves in trouble trying to.
Alex Alexander 43:10
Thanks Candace. Thanks Candace. We got Brandi here.
Brandi Cambric 43:10
And that’s it. So I’m trying to… she takes the opportunity to work with me to try to get me more into areas and avenues where I can speak on stuff that I know. So like, I work in retail, been in retail for years. I mean, retail management, so she’s like, “Brandi, you know how to coach people to lead teams. You know, how to develop people. You know about learning how to get people to do what you need them to do without being that dictator standing over them with a whip.” I was like, “Well, yeah, I have to be in order to be successful with my job.” She’s like, “Yeah, people need to know that.” “Oh, okay. Okay.”Like, I think on the example of you can… you can be very educated and still be a little slow sometimes, like little slow on the pick up.
Brandi Cambric 43:10
Yeah, and people also have to realize that in a triad friendship, this is not going to be an equal lateral triangle. It’s not. So they are going to be lopsided. Some of the lines are going to be longer than others. Some are going to be shorter, like to your point. So, I’m a tomboy. So I am not a fashionable person. I don’t know nothing about hairstyles and doing all of that stuff, like I’m natural right now. But Osha is my go to for hair. Because I know nothing about it. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. She’s my go to. Candace knows nothing about that. So I know, okay, I can’t go to Candace if I have questions about getting braids or stuff like that, because she’s not knowledgeable in that area where Osha is. On the flip side, Osha is not a math whiz, mathematician and like that, but Candace is. So I know if I have… because she got her degree in accounting. So I know if I have tax questions or stuff like that, I know I need to go to Candice but not Osha. And everybody… we all know that about each other. Like we understand and recognize what each other’s strengths are and what each other’s… I don’t use the word… I try to get away from using weakness, areas of opportunity are. So we recognize that about each other, and we accept it. So Osha doesn’t get trashed because she’s not as strong and math as Candace is. Candace doesn’t get trashed because she’s not as strong in fashion as Osha is. I don’t get trashed, because I’m not as strong in schmoozing the public and doing red-carpet interviews like Candace is. So we all recognize our strengths. And we recognize our areas of opportunity, and then we try to encourage each other to strengthen those areas of opportunity and support. So for example, this podcast is a perfect example. And I didn’t mention it. But Candace and Osha, and me and one of our other sorority sisters, we started a consulting firm. So Candace has been kind of like the face of the firm. Anything, just a consulting firm, you see Candace. Everybody sees Candace, everybody sees Candace. She’s like, “Okay, I’m not just the only one in this firm. Like, I am not the only mouthpiece. You all have your strong suits, we need to monopolize on that. We need to capitalize on that. And y’all need to get out there and do more.” So this podcast is Candace’s… she was like, “You need to do this.” Like, okay if I have to, okay. But she’s like, “Brandi, people need to see you more. They need to hear you more, they need to learn your expertise. They need to hear your background, know your history, know that you’re part of the firm, that you are a very intelligent person, and that you’re not just a shadow in the background or a picture on the website. You actually play a part in this firm.” So that’s her way of forcing me to address my area of opportunity of just being out there and speaking. Like, she’s the one. She’s like, “Brandi, you would do really well, that public speaking.” “Like, really? I don’t see it, but okay.” She’s like, “Brandi, when you talk about something that you’re passionate about, and you know a lot about, there’s an authoritative tone in your voice and you get excited and you’re animated. That resonates with people.” I’m like, “Okay, if you say so.”
Alex Alexander 45:45
She’s just pushing you out. She’s encouraging you.
Brandi Cambric 47:23
She is, and I appreciate it for that. I’m doing the podcast. See, I’m listening. So that’s what we do. Same thing with Osha. Osha loves it. Osha does hair. So there’s been times that she’s done my hair and I’m like, “Okay, you need to take a picture, create your portfolio, I’ll be your model. I’m not much of a model, but I’ll be your hair model.” So you can take picture of what you do to my hair, and then create your portfolio and post it. I’ll tag her and stuff that I see on Facebook or on TikTok or Instagram, whatever. So, that’s me pushing her. And then she does the same thing with me. So it’s just… it’s truly just learning and understanding and appreciating each individual for their strengths, their faults because even our faults make us unique. Our faults make us who we are. So it’s like, oh, she tells me a lot. She’s like, “Brandi, you know what? Sometimes you can be an asshole.” “But you love me.” She was like, “Yeah, but that’s not the point.” I say, “No, actually it is. But stop and think about that. You say that. But you know without a doubt, I am that friend, who is never going to lie to you. I’m never going to deceive you. I am never going to say what you want to hear just to sugarcoat the situation. You know I got your back. I’m gonna be there for you if you’re wrong. I might not uphold you in your wrongdoing but I’m gonna support you. Imma beat out.”
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Alex Alexander 48:48
It sounds like we approach friendship very similarly, Brandi. So I’m the friend that like says the thing that no one wants to say . You know, they are all like, oh, Alex will say it someday kind of thing. And then they are like ready to you know, like, catch that friend when they’re mad at me. And I’m like, all right, well, mentally prepared for the three weeks they’re not going to talk to me. But what I was gonna say about that is I have a friend who is like, not confrontational at all. And one time she said to me that sometimes my directness really is hard for her. And that in situations where I say the thing, she’s sometimes uncomfortable or what not, right? It’s not her favorite. She was like, “But then I realized that it’s also in the moments where something is like immediately bad happening, I turn and look at you. Because I know that you will say the thing that will protect us all to stop someone to set a boundary, be direct, whatever, like you will do that.” She’s like, “So I can’t really be mad at you. on that time for doing this. It’s also one of the things that I appreciate most about you.” Which is exactly what you’re saying, like we all have our unique things that we bring. And sometimes they’re a little bit of a struggle. But they can also have positive things that people find endearing, and turn into things that they appreciate about us. It’s interesting. And balancing that in a group friendship in a trio setting can be hard. Like all of this managing, this is the thing. People want this trio friend group, whatever. It’s a lot of dynamics. And they’re beautiful. It’s great. But you can’t force it. Everybody’s responsible for their peace, everybody has to be into it, and want to invest energy and time and deal with conflict and differences, and approach things with curiosity. You can’t force this. And really, I think thinking about it as the sides being strong versus looking to create this triangle. And like, every time you’re uncomfortable, thinking to yourself about how things being quote unquote “equal” or the same, is not actually serving. Because every relationships unique and like those sides are all unique. And those are what need to be strong.
Brandi Cambric 51:40
And then part of it too, a lot of it is being… like for me, it’s almost kind of like I’m the… since I brought them together, I’m like the nucleus of the triangle. So for me, and I’ll say that to your viewers that are struggling with it, if they’re the one who, let’s say, created the triangle, there’s a lot that goes on within yourself. So like you said, the other two, so in my case, Osha and Candace would have to put in the work to make their friendship work. But if they didn’t, as the creator of a triangle, I can’t beat myself up for that. Because it wasn’t my job to make their relationship work. That’s on them. But I can’t beat myself up. I can’t guilt myself and be like, oh, I never should have done this. This is the dumbest idea ever. I can’t do that to myself. I have to be patient, and be fair with myself and understand and that’s how I went into this. And I understood that like, okay, just because it was seamless for me and Candace, it may not be that seamless for Candace and Osha. So I was aware of that. And if it worked, it worked. And if it didn’t, it didn’t. That was not going to take away from my relationship with Osha, or my relationship with Candace. It’s just if, let’s say, this had not worked out, for me, that would have been okay, cool. So now I have to figure out how to manage both relationships independently, to make sure that I’m not neglecting one or the other. But at the same time, like you said, at some point, you have to step back, because it may become too much because it is a lot. It is a lot. Even though you’re not trying to force it to work. It’s still a lot managing it. So, I do have my points. Because Osha brought that up. Like at one point, she was going through a really, really tough patch. And we were on the phone for hours with her like literally multiple times a day, every day. And at one particular point, we were talking and she was like, “B, how do you do it?” And I’m like, “How do I do what?” She’s like, “Well, it’s like, every time I have a problem, every time I have a concern every time I want to vent whatever, you’re there you listen, you give advice, you don’t give advice. You’re whatever I need you to do. Doesn’t that get exhausting?” I’m like, “Yeah, it does.” And I was honest with her, like, that’s the other thing. You have to be honest about it. And I’m like, “Yes, it does get exhausting. And sometimes it gets overwhelming. Because while I’m trying to be there for you, I still have my own stuff that I have to deal with and manage. Yes, it does get exhausting. It does have its time when it gets overwhelming.” And she was like, “So what do you do?” I said, “I disconnect.” She’s like, “What do you mean?” I said, “I disconnect. Stop and think, there have been times where maybe for a day or two, you can’t reach me.” And she’s like, “Yeah, I’ve noticed that.” I say, “Yeah, that’s me disconnecting. It’s not a bad thing.” Because like you… the way… we talk a lot about like biblical references and stuff like that. So I’m like, “I am your well. You draw from me whatever you need. And my well is pretty deep. But sometimes life hits you hard with a lot at one time. So now you’re having to draw more often from my well, and the way I refill my will is I disconnect.” I turn off… like when I come home from work, my phone goes off, like I literally turn it off. I don’t silence it, I don’t vibrate it, I turn it off. And I’m like, That’s what I have to do. That’s how I recharge my batteries. Even if I’m not coming home and going to bed, or whatever, I may come home, and just sit in my bed and channel surf for five hours. But that’s how I’m refilling my well.” I’m not listening, because even in times like that, something as simple as just notifications is too much. Like, okay, I don’t want to hear anything, I don’t want to see anything, I will turn my phone off and put it in a different room. That’s how I recharge. But you have to be self-aware to do that. Because on the flip side, if you can’t manage this triad very well, you’ll all lose your mind. And then now, three relationships have been ruined. So it’s like you have to be aware of when to go all in, when to go halfway in, and when to fall all the way back. And everybody has to respect and appreciate that from each other. So that’s… honestly I mean, it’s… and I keep saying it, but it really just boils down to respecting each other, communicating, because you got to talk. And just going from there, just being honest with each other. Like, if it’s going to hurt your feelings, and even be honest about… if you say something… like you say it with your friend, that tells you that she’s uncomfortable with some things, say that. Just say that. Just say that. Like, I’m not psychic, I can’t… for the most part. I’m like I told… I told Osha, “I know you better than I know myself. I know you better than you know you. But in some ways, I don’t know everything. So you need to tell me, but then also be adult and mature enough. Like if it’s a discussion in a situation and whatever, agree to disagree and move on. You can do that.” Like Osha and I have a situation like that, Candace and I have a situation like that. We’ve gone back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth. And it’s like, “Okay, you know what? We’re not gonna keep doing this. So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re going to agree to disagree. We’re going to drop this, it’s not going to come back up, and we’re gonna move on with our lives.” And that’s what we do. There is none of this petty throwing stuff up in your face when you mad. There is none of this embarrassing one in front of the other because you’re trying to make a point, or they pissed you off. Like, grow up. We’re adults. We’re not kids anymore. We’re at the age where we learn how to use our words, and articulate our thoughts. And even if we can’t articulate it, just say it. And we’ll figure it out as we go. But that’s… truthfully for me and my two friends, that’s what it boils down to. Like just be an adult, grow up, be respectful, and appreciate each other’s boundaries. Respect and appreciate each other’s boundaries. And that’s it.
Alex Alexander 57:37
Brandi, I think you should become a public speaker. You’re just laying down the effing truth on this podcast over here, because this is so much drama, and I love how you just close this up. Like be an adult, communicate. And if you don’t have the skills, go learn them. They’re gonna serve you in every area of your life. So, go do the thing.
Brandi Cambric 58:01
Go do it. Go do the damn thing.
Alex Alexander 58:04
Thanks so much for being here.
Brandi Cambric 58:06
Alex Alexander [Narration] 58:07
This was so great. And there you have it, friends. The real behind the scenes of Brandi, Osha and Candace’s friendship. I love being able to share these stories. I love that we get to hear what people are doing, what’s working, what’s not, the ups and downs the journey of this friendship. And my greatest hope is that you hear these and you take what feels right for you. This isn’t to say that this is the way to approach a friendship trio, or these long-term friendships. It’s just one option. Take what feels right for you. Give it a try. Let the rest go. With that, I’ll talk to you next week.
Podcast Intro/Outro 58:58
Thank you for listening to this episode of Friendship IRL. I am so honored to have these conversations with you. But don’t let the chat die here. Send me a voice message. I created a special website just to chat with you. You can find it at alexalex.chat. You can also find me on Instagram. My handle, @itsalexalexander. Or go ahead and leave a review wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts. Now if you want to take this conversation a step further, send this episode to a friend. Tell them you found it interesting. And use what we just talked about as a conversation starter the next time you and your friend hang out. No need for a teary Goodbye. I’ll be back with a new episode next week.