Friendships among Women
I love this post: How to Be Friends With Another Woman.
I often notice how we women can be our own worst enemies, tearing each other down, gossiping about one another, harshly judging. Guys don’t act like that — I always think back to a pick up game of basketball. Scott can go out with a ball and just start playing with a bunch of guys he has never met. Can you imagine a woman doing that with a group of women playing a game or sitting having coffee? It would be a total invasion of space – it’s not how we are normally wired. How about we just accept one another, support one another, lend a hand to one another –
I love this part of what Michelle Obama said during her 2012 Convention speech - it can be applied to our friendships and relationships with other women:
You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you … Now, we must be careful not to “slam the door shut behind us.”
Here are a few of the author’s suggestions:
1. Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be toxic, bitchy or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses — pretty but designed to SLOW women down.
1A. This is not to say women aren’t bitches or toxic or competitive sometimes but rather to say that these are not defining characteristics of female friendship, especially as you get older.
2. A lot of ink is given over to mythologizing female friendships as curious, fragile relationships that are always intensely fraught. Stop reading writing that encourages this mythology.
2A. The female friendship in Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? is actually awesome and powerful. If you read it as otherwise, ask yourself why.
3. If you find that you are feeling competitive, toxic, or bitchy toward the women who are supposed to be your closest friends, look at why and figure out how to fix it and/or find someone who can help you fix it.
4. If you are the kind of woman who says, “I’m mostly friends with guys,” and act like you’re proud of that, like that makes you closer to being a man or something, and less of a woman as if a woman is a bad thing, see Item 3. It’s okay if most of your friends are guys but if you champion this as a commentary on the nature of female friendships, well, soul search a little.
4A. If you feel like it’s hard to be friends with women consider that maybe women aren’t the problem. Maybe it’s just you.
6. Want nothing but the best for your friends because when your friends are happy and successful, it’s probably going to be easier for you to be happy.
6A. If you’re having a rough go of it and a friend is having the best year ever and you need to think some dark thoughts about that, do it alone, with your therapist, or in your diary so that when you actually see your friend, you can avoid the myth discussed in Item 1.
6C. Don’t tear other women down because even if they’re not your friends, they are other women and well, this is just important. This is not to say you cannot criticize other women but understand the difference between criticizing constructively and tearing down cruelly.
6D. Everybody gossips so if you are going to gossip about your friends, at least make it fun and interesting. As a corollary, never say, I never lie or I never gossip because you are lying.
Make sure you read the rest of her suggestions. They really make sense….and let’s make a pledge to change how we view our female friendships. Let’s just change –