NYC Mo Bro sits down at local barbershop
Andrew Licout at Blind Barber NYCImage by: Max Rosenstein
NYC Mo Bro sits down at local barbershop
2 May 2022

Andrew’s Story: What Happened When I Broke the #NoNewFriends Rule

Mo Bro
Andrew Licout
3 minutes read time

I've always been someone who relies on knowing what's coming next and feeling that I have control of a situation.Last year, I lost my job, I got out of a long-term relationship, I was moving into a new place, and living by myself. And everything felt, for the first time in my life, so out of my hands. When you have more time to sit with your thoughts and sit with yourself, it kind of forces you to think about how you’re thinking. A big part of what I realized was what I was neglecting.

Most of my life I was prioritizing work. Once the work was kind of forced out, I realized that sustaining outside relationships was much more healthy and helped me maintain a healthy outlook on everything. I had a support system around me. People that were able to remind me that life has ebbs and flows, and that this time of uncertainty was just a down that will come back up. They encouraged patience, but also drive – that reminder that you can make things happen and encouraged me to take action.

I had never been big into social media before, but when I lost my job, I decided to start experimenting with TikTok. It really served as a creative outlet – a way to put things out there. It let me spend my time creating and producing, rather than thinking about the things that I didn’t have anymore. Being a creator on social media has allowed me to make a lot of new friends. People who are out there in the world, who are not necessarily in your direct circle, but are going through similar things. I found people who offered different ways of thinking. Which was great, because a lot of the time, when we look for advice, we look for people who will tell us what we want to hear.

I was always someone who kept my feelings and thoughts close to the vest. I never really talked about things. But during the pandemic when it was just one bad thing happening after another and I felt I couldn’t handle it anymore, a friend of mine reached out. They said, “Whenever you’re ready, I’m here.” And that was kind of big for me.

" Just that simple statement of, “I’m just here to listen,” gave me the permission I needed to talk to them when I needed to. "

On TikTok, more than anywhere else, I’ve seen the encouragement of talking about mental health. I have a lot of creator friends who that’s part of their content. It’s allowed me a whole new type of conversation to have. Growing up, you weren’t really encouraged to express your emotions, so just opening up can be the biggest challenge. A lot of us have had to reframe our thinking about what being strong emotionally means. And that’s been very liberating. To be able to be honest about those emotions and feelings and thoughts. I hope expressing how I feel will show people younger than me that it’s okay to feel those things -- that being vulnerable is actually a strength.

Follow Andrew on Instagram and TikTok.