The HBO acclaimed series Insecure premiered it's 4th season with an opening line that shocked the fans:
"I don't f*ck with Molly anymore."
If you follow the show, then you know that Issa and Molly are best friends and have gone through loops of highs and lows, drama, shade and everything in between. At this point in the show, it is unclear what exactly transpired within their friendship for Issa to feel this way but, by the end of the episode we are reminded of a pattern that Molly has with being shady in the midst of Issa’s moment.
In this episode, we see Issa navigating a mixer to solicit sponsors for her upcoming block party event. After the mixer is over, Issa and Molly are recapping the night when Molly comments that Issa’s life “doesn’t have to be this messy.” Issa did not verbally react, but her facial expression showed that she was bothered by the comment.
This scene felt very similar to season 1 when Molly had this same shady energy toward Issa at her We Got Y'all fundraiser. Now, I don’t know about yall, but if I am having a moment, the last thing I want or need is for you to comment on my “messy life.” There is a time and place for that conversation and this ain’t it.
This recurring theme got me thinking about the intricacies of relationships, and specifically how and why Molly’s show up in our friendships.
So Molly, it’s time to come to the front of the congregation sis, we need to have a word.
How to Identify a Molly in Your Friendship:
A lot of times the Molly’s in your life look supportive; they show up to your big moments, hype you up in the aftermath of your success, but they also had major doubts about your potential and are not afraid to constantly voice these doubts at every step of the way.
Molly is the friend who presents as cautious when you share your dreams with them by suggesting alternative methods and critiquing your process.
Molly may give you a compliment with a side of shade, that feels unnecessary and dismissive, just because.
Molly also has fixed beliefs about what is and is not acceptable. Molly might express judgment and criticism of your life while ignoring the contradictions and questionable decisions in her own life.
What is important to understand, is that Molly may be projecting a lot of her own insecurities about her success, choices and role onto you. Molly may be too scared in her own life to switch it up so once you start leveling up and taking risks, that may feel threatening to her.
Looking at the fictional Molly and Issa dynamic, we know that Molly is used to being the successful friend, the overachiever, the planner and executor. I wonder if this dynamic serves the best purpose for Molly and once these roles started to shift, it was uncomfortable for her.
Molly shows up in friendships all the time and it is normal to have difficulty adjusting to changing dynamics especially if the previous dynamic served the best function for you. In friendships there is an inevitable time in which we experience growth. Sometimes when growth happens at different rates than those around us, for Molly it can feel like our friends are leaving us behind or outgrowing us. When this happens, the best way for Molly to handle it is not by making shady comments, instigating arguments or attention seeking behaviors but by confronting the vulnerable truth and being honest about why this change is difficult for her.
If you are dealing with a Molly, here are a few things to consider:
Have an honest conversation about how their actions are making you feel. If Molly continues to rain on your parade, and you notice this is a continuous pattern, it is worth addressing. Sitting Molly down and calling attention to her behavior can help preserve the friendship and lead for a more honest and authentic friendship. Molly may not realize that she is displaying some undercover hater tendencies so having this conversation can allow her room to become more self-aware.
Set boundaries. If you don't feel comfortable broaching the topic, you can begin filtering what you are sharing with Molly. Considering Molly’s comments and criticisms tend to affect you, identify for yourself what topics and situations could use her guidance and feedback and which ones would be better suited for another friend.
What keeps you in the friendship? Though Molly’s behavior is problematic, there is a reason why you are still in this friendship. Consider what those reasons are. What are the positives that you get from this friendship and what benefit does it serve you to remain friends with Molly?
End the friendship. This may be a difficult decision, especially if you have been friends with Molly for a significant amount of time. But, if the relationship continues to feel unsupportive and if you cannot identify any salvageable aspects, you should consider ending the friendship. It is exhausting dealing with a friend that you have to make special considerations for while engaging with them. Experiencing constant judgment serves no benefit for you so why continue to subject yourself to unnecessary negativity.
Friendships, as in any other relationships, have their growing pains. In a healthy and supportive friendship, growth should be welcomed and encouraged. If you notice conflict tends to arise as a result of growth and progression, these are some signs that you might be in a friendship with Molly.