Wow. A month sure does fly by! What with the election, some craziness at the office, and a case of the Mondays that ran into the Tuesdays, etc. This poor little blog has taken a back burner…But here I am! I HOPE YOU’VE MISSED ME 😉
Tonight I was waxing nostalgic over some posts from what feels to be another life time. I decided to include the following post because I feel that it is so relevant for women who are single and dating, newly attached, or in the throws of wedded bliss (or not-so-wedded-bliss for that matter). I hope that this post is especially helpful; That it puts your friendships in perspective, or it salvages a friendship that is struggling and that you cherish, or allows you to recognize that maybe it’s time to walk away from a friendship that is no longer healthy.
I have often struggled with female friendships. Women put so much responsibility on each other to be a safety net from the treachery of life. We seek solace in each other. When the relationship is going well, a sense of solidarity and understanding causes an extreme bond. When a rift develops (and inevitably does) we feel abandoned, betrayed, and misunderstood. Here is my take in a nutshell:
I have had many different types of friendships with women in my youth and adulthood and have found an undercurrent of co-dependence and competition in all of them at one point or another. I have been the less-pretty wing woman for a particular girlfriend with daddy issues who needed the attention of men in order to feel validated. I have been the stronger, supportive friend who is relied upon as the “shoulder to cry on”. In either situation, one woman is in a position of power over the other. It takes a highly evolved person to maintain female friendships because of the constant power struggle. In my late 20’s I have found these relationships challenging because the different life stages women find themselves in. This is where I have found the statement “birds of a feather flock together” to be true. Married women and single women have a more difficult time relating to each other and resentments can stem from jealousy. Likewise, with women with and without children. Priorities are shifted. In order to bridge the gap there needs to be more compassion for each others lifestyles and priorities. Since female relationships rely heavily on the support system, trying situations cause us to take things personally and seek validation from other friends which lends itself to cattiness, gossip, and exclusion. Just like any relationship, ebbs and flows will occur based on circumstance. Being true to yourself, having an open heart, and cultivating self worth from within and not from the opinions of your girlfriends can lend itself to maintaining long lasting friendships with women.
Like a game of Survivor, I have been voted off the island more than once. It’s hurtful and infuriating. What I have learned through these experiences though, is that each person who comes into our lives serves a purpose. Friendships do not have to last forever. If we are fortunate, they do last a life time, but not without bumps in the road a long the way. Choose to stick with friends who make you feel good about yourself and be sure to nurture them to ensure you make them feel the same way. Give each other space to lead your own lives and don’t meddle or be too opinionated about the other’s life decisions.
Since this blog is dedicated primarily to dating I will add that sometimes our girlfriends don’t give the best dating and relationship advice. This isn’t to say their guidance isn’t well-meaning, but let’s face it, the people who love you are more inclined to be over protective or may not be brave enough to call you out if you are your own worst enemy. Your girlfriends may encourage you to game-play or tell you not to give a guy a chance because they don’t see them as dating material. So who do you turn to? You could hire a match maker for starters! Of course, we will always turn to our girlfriends for advice and support so I will give some basic tips for both perspectives
- Be supportive and ask questions. Don’t assume your friend is giving you an unbiased version of what’s going on
- Don’t be judgmental, or poke fun. Your friend will get defensive and shut down.
- Ask permission before giving advice. If she says she just wants to vent-zip it! You will get to give her advice later, anyway.
- Be solution driven instead of feeding into her anger and frustration. In doing so you will keep yourself from being too emotionally invested in her ultimate choice. If she ends up with someone she doesn’t think you like, she’ll avoid including you in activities with them and your friendship could suffer.
- Don’t be offended if she doesn’t take your advice. NEVER say “I told you so!”
- Don’t give ultimatums if you value your friendship. You will lose sooner or later.
When asking for advice:
- Preface with if you are genuinely seeking advice or if you just want to vent.
- If your friend is brave enough to give you constructive advice, count to 5 before responding. What they are telling you could have some truth. Try responding with a question instead of a statement to avoid getting defensive.
- Remember that your decision is yours. You should date people that make you feel good about yourself, not that make you feel good about what your friends think
- Go to friends that are generally positive and who have similar goals or who are in relationships that you admire.
Every woman should be able to find a good man and keep her girlfriends!