• Tue, Jun 1 2010

Bitch, Please: Other Women Don’t Hate You Because You’re Beautiful

Do you have issues with your no-longer-best girlfriend? Is your coworker driving you crazy? Megan Carpentier is here to give you the life advice that you don’t want to hear, told in the way you absolutely need to hear it.

How do you make friends with other women? Ever since I was a teenager, I really haven’t had any female friends, but not because I don’t want to! It’s just I feel like I get along better with guys. Unfortunately, I now find myself in an extremely female-dominated work environment (I’m an elementary school teacher), and it sucks. All the jealousy and competitiveness and judgment and petty backbiting shit that made me prefer male friends is still going on, but if I want to talk to anyone at work, I have to make friends with women and I just don’t know how to even start.

Well, the best place to start is to stifle yourself when you say, or even think, things like you prefer the company of men and that women are all judgmental and backbiting. Women aren’t any more monolithic than men: some of each are petty, judgmental, competitive and backbiting. And, if you’re not involved with any of the women in question in a friendly way, you don’t actually know which of those individual women might be that way. You know assumptions always make an ass out of you and umption, right?

What you probably get out of your exclusively-male friendships that you don’t get out of friendships with women is a certain kind of positive feedback: either in terms of flattery, flirtation or compliments. If you are, by nature, a bit more of a flirt, it can be easier to start conversations with people of the opposite sex because you can turn on the charm, get that feedback and, if you choose, turn that start into something more platonic. At the very least, it probably doesn’t hurt that you are giving men a certain benefit of the doubt in terms of their personalities and potential for friendship that you just aren’t extending to women.

In terms of concrete advice that doesn’t involve you reconsidering whether all women are actually bitches or if it’s just you, one way to start is to ask your female colleagues questions. You like when people show an interest in you, right? So rather than making assumptions, ask questions. Or, even better, give compliments: if you like someone’s shoes, tell her. If she’s wearing a cute top, mention it. It might actually be very similar to how you approach making a man interested in being friends with you, it just lacks any sexual attention.

Then, try to develop a rapport. Ask about someone’s weekend, what they had for dinner last night, how their students were in class today. Listen to their answers, rather than starting a conversation by telling them about your weekend, your dinner, your students. Figure out which of your colleagues you like, or have things in common with, and then ask someone to join you for lunch, or brunch. If you’re a sports person, invite someone else who seems like a sports person to watch a game or play, if that’s an option. Try a movie. You know, friend stuff, just like you do with guys. Basically, try treating women as they are potential friends, and work at developing those friendships, rather than dismissing the rest of your gender out of hand.

I went to this wedding a few months ago, and got really drunk. And I think I said something that made the bride mad, because I haven’t talked to her since. Not that we were very close, and it was a large, casual wedding, but still I feel like I might need to make something right.

If you really think you might have said something totally out-of-line, and you have a couple of close, mutual friends, see if anyone else thinks that might be the case. I mean, you don’t get that much face-time with the average bride at a wedding, so it seems like it would be hard to fuck it up that bad in so little time unless you told her you hated her dress or she’d made a huge mistake, but that is exactly the kind of thing I’d get drunk and say to someone, so there’s that.

But if your mutual friends don’t think there’s something wrong, I would call her. It’s old-fashioned, I know, but some people are bad at email, others are worst at texting and neither provides any nuance. Don’t ask if you said something wrong, though, just ask how she’s been, express regret that it’s been so long since you’d seen her and invite her to coffee or brunch or something, whenever she’s free. And if she doesn’t pick up or call back, seems peeved, is curt with you, or is too busy right now but disinclined to schedule something when she’s more free, then you might be on the right track.

If you can keep her on the phone, apologize then: say that you are sorry for having gotten a little out of control on her wedding day, and that you hope you didn’t say or do anything that she might have found hurtful or offensive (especially if you don’t recall what it could have been). Tell her that you called worried that you’d done something wrong, and that her friendship is important to you and you hope she’ll allow you to make it up to her somehow. If you can’t do it on the phone, either because she doesn’t pick up or stay on, then email her and say something similar.

But, keep in mind: there might not actually be anything wrong. New marriages can have their ups and downs, too, and some couples do disappear on their friends either for a couple of months or, sadly, more permanently — especially if those friends are single. If you weren’t that close before, it just might mean that she’s having difficulty making space in her life or her schedule for you now, and it might not be about anything you said.

If you have a problem with a friend, relative, coworker, or other person in your life, email Megan at advice@thegloss.com. If you have a problem with your boyfriend, you should probably just try talking to him.

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  • Jamie Peck

    Fuck those bitches who say they don’t get along with other women. I think it’s much harder for a chick to find quality male friends than female ones, i.e. dudes whose interest in her is purely platonic, who won’t try to sleep with her at some point. Also, girls rule.

  • Michelle

    You know what? Fuck all YOU bitches who automatically assume that we females who tend to get on with other males are bitches. Some of us just don’t do small talk too well, and aren’t all that interested in cute shoes. Sorry to say this, but most women have their groups of friends, and their automatic stance to outsiders is “hostile”. All women give men an easier time, not just us girls who have a harder time making friends with women!
    And what’s with the assumption that it’s all about the sexual attention? Sorry, but as soon as a guy starts openly flirting, I have to cool it down on the friendship factor.

    • Jennifer Wright
    • Sophie

      Could not have put it better! This post has REALLY fucked me off

    • Sophie

      Also can i just say, it’s nothing to do with an adversity to being friends with women, I’d love to have a big group of girlfriends I just don’t have time for the ‘compettetiveness, judgement and backbiting shit’ that lets not pretend, DOES exist in female friendships

    • Heather

      So I used to think women had all sorts of petty dramas and at the time most of my friends were men. It turns out I was very wrong. I get that you might feel like your flirty personality and the fact that you’re so hot/secure make other women jealous. I used to think that too. Then I met some really great women. I still have trouble making friends with some women, because there are some behaviours that I’m just not ok with, same with men. But it’s 100% worth it. It’s not all about shoes and men and backstabbing. In fact, it’s not about backstabbing at all, though I have gained an appreciation for shoes. Today, as an adult who loves that her friends are beautiful strong women who are smart enough to know that competing and backstabbing one another is ridiculous, I love having both male and female friends.

      What I’m trying to say here is that you’re making a lot of assumptions about women and if someone were to say “I can’t find a boyfriend because all men are lying cheating snakes,” we’d all wonder what kind of men they were attracted to/attracting, so what does it say about you that you don’t have female friends because they’re “competitive, judgmental and backbiting.” So yes, now that I’m no longer a teenager, I do back away from women (and men) who make sweeping assumptions about gender and personality because it’s a huge red flag. Oh and by the way, this is also a way of saying that you’re better than other women because you don’t think of yourself as competitive, backstabbing, insecure etc., and that too is a red flag.

  • Ruth

    The infuriating title said it all! Women DO hate you if you are beautiful. Women are nasty, hostile, vile and envious if another women is prettier than them, more so in the workplace than in a social setting and if they have decided they don’t like you they will gang up and make your life hell until you have to quit that job.

  • Sarah

    $20 says an ugly woman wrote this.

  • Sarah

    Also, I have trouble being friends with many women (not all!) because they don’t enjoy me being around their significant others. I’m flirty/outgoing by nature, and the need to constantly tone down your personality because someones insecure in their relationship is highly undesirable. As well as the need to tone down an outfit for the night on the town. I’m not going to wear flats because you can’t walk in heels, and I’m not going to wear pants, because you don’t like your legs.

  • Barb

    I agree and disagree. I have had trouble with other women acting weird around me, for sure. One thing is for sure… insecure women seem to go to pieces around me and will do and say some of the stupidest and/or inappropriate things.
    BUT… I love other women who are secure and comfortable in their own skin. I value and appreciate them as people, and choose them as friends and business acquaintances.

    I want people to be comfortable around me, BUT… I work hard at the gym and pay diligent attention to what I eat. I dress appropriately and with class (no low cut tops or micro mini’s). Plus, God blessed me with attractive features, and for that I thank Him daily. I will not ugly it up or dress like an oompha loompha just to make someone else feel a tiny bit less insecure for a few hours. If you are insecure, this is your problem to deal with.

    It’s hard to find quality friends of either gender.

  • lishisabbey

    omg, this is b.s. i am a black female and fairly attractive all my girlfriends ditch me on the weekends constantly its friday i just got paid got a babysitter and no one to go clubbing with AGAIN!
    I don’t go out much either, i’m not a everyweekend girl but i’m in my

    twenties and i only have one child that my mom doesnt see much

    because we live in different cities. i’m a responsible parent and never

    had problems so….why can’t my besties answer their phones during

    the weekend but hit me up all during the week am i too hot? bitches

    are disgusting when it comes to being competitive. sometimes i wish i

    looked less attractive so i could have a damn social life and that’s

    really pathetic.

  • JCshawley

    This is GREAT advise. I’ll break old habits and in God’s grace, I will work diligently to employ these communication suggestions. These are rational, empathetic, civil approaches to make others feel valuable and engaged. I’m just so glad to find steps I can take to improve the situation. I’ve feel a bit hopeless just being told is mere jealousy that other women feel toward me. Even if this turns out to be the case in most situations, I will feel wrong knowing I’ve offered every good I can muster.
    Thanks kindly for your advise.

  • Another Teacher

    I have a few strong female friends. That being said, they are rare. I find that beautiful or not, some women are threatened by confident women.
    Whether your confidence comes from beauty, brains, or brawn, some women are insecure.
    I will not hide the fact that I am smart simply to make you feel better about yourself. While I am pretty, I am not a super model. But I have friends that could be. Would I ask them to dress like a hag to make me feel better? No! I do occasionally make her eat a doughnut with me though! She makes me see stupid movies…it’s a fair trade, really!
    But the moral: we are friends because we accept and expect the best from each other.
    The trouble with teaching is that it is hit or miss! I imagine nursing to be the same. Find friends to hang with after school, and eventually, another confident gal will come along.

    And hey, writer…address her f***ing question and do not rant about your drunk diatribes. Did she mention alcohol in her post?

  • Jen

    There’s something extremely pathetic about women who don’t have any female friends. They complain that all the women they meet are bitches but that’s because you always end up attracting what you are yourself. Bitches attract other bitches.

    I have zero problems getting along with other women because I’m a nice person and other nice women are drawn to me. If I meet a woman who is nasty, I don’t attack her back, I just let it go and move on. I don’t give them any energy. Change yourself first if you want other people to change.