Should you be blessed to have a Phaedra Parks as a friend, then you know exactly what it’s like to be constantly on the defense, constantly on emotional guard. This friend is often silent but deadly—a good listener, though—and a connoisseur of metaphors. When they speak, it’s usually to call upon Jesus, give helpful unsolicited advice or make grand proclamations about why everyone around them needs to get it together, because they simply do not have the patience. They’re the epitome of the upside-down smile emoji.
This friend knows how to pithily gather a messy person, but also knows when to shut up and let their smile or facial expression speak for itself. Because they do have manners. If this person is a rock in your life, you’ll want to reward him/her with gifts that show how much you appreciate their shady ways. Even if this means sometimes you’re the victim of their subtle wrath, the world would be too boring and pleasant a place without them.
A fan is an essential accessory for your friend because of its versatility and innate aura of shadiness. Anyone holding a fan simply looks like an expert shader. First there’s its obvious function as a cheap, portable cooling system on hot days. But your shady friend will also appreciate being able to whip a fan out when stating snide remarks like, “Forever 21 is having a sale,” to fully optimize their shade.
Is said friend always talking about hypothetical haters? A fan is helpful, so when the haters—fans, if you will—step into their shadow, your friend can proceed to look completely unbothered. Though a portable fan would do better at serving a functional purpose, a paper fan is best for aesthetic reasons. (Brookstone, $19.99) (beau-coup.com, $15.95-$16.95)
If your friend is like Phaedra, then they’re either super religious or always calling on the Lord (out loud), either to prevent them from cursing someone out (“Lord, help me...”), to bless a person they hate, or to fix a situation they feel has gotten out of hand (a la Phaedra’s favorite phrase, “Fix it, Jesus”). A cross, then, is the perfect gift for their home, one that says: I am a devoted servant of the Lord who shall nonetheless shade you into eternity. (personalizationmall.com, $19.95)
If there’s one thing Phaedra cannot live without, it’s a humongous, extravagant hat. The purpose of a large hat is, ideally, to conceal one’s facial expressions while offering shady remarks and to, of course, shade oneself from the elements. The bigger and gaudier, the better. But please, stick to primary hues. Your friend doesn’t want to be that much of a show-off, just enough to be the center of attention. Remember, according to Phaedra, “A wig does not count as a hat, honey.” (J.C. Penney, $120)
Tea? Your friend always has it, always craves it, always dishes it. This person is always metaphorically sipping it, so just get them an actual tea set—a nice one—to help them look the part of a shady being. You could also throw in a box of hibiscus tea for good measure because it’s tart just like your friend. (Teavana, $69.97)
The best way to impress a shade thrower? Play their game. You’ll never be quite as great as them because you weren’t born with the skills—maybe you’re good at math instead. But a gift that tells your friend about themselves—a Roomba—is a great response to all the shade they threw you all year. It’s your opportunity to not so discreetly tell your perhaps pet-loving friend that they’re messy. Or rather, “Aww, these fur balls are so cute.” (iRobot, $323)