• Wed, Jul 25 2012

Fact: It Isn’t Always Easy Being Friends With Women When You Are A Woman

Next up will be the backstabbing. You’ll be having lunch with friends and find out that the friend, to whom you’re presently not speaking, has declared you a “bitch” or “changed” or someone she no longer “recognizes since she got that really fancy job of her dreams.” Again, this will lead to more turmoil, and other female friends are sucked into it and people are forced to take sides and before you know it people are being unfriended on Facebook, and when that happens, you know shit just got real. There will be tears, passing of blame and eventually the faux realization of  ”maybe we just outgrew each other!” But did you? Or is it just easier to call it that than face the truth that emotions ran wild and that was the reason for it all?

I’m not saying this is the case for all women or all relationships between women, but I am saying that this is a common occurrence for both female friends of mine and myself. I’m not stereotyping or trying to put all women in one category, but I’m trying to point out that it’s really fucking hard to be friends with women sometimes. We are, even if we hate to admit it, fueled by emotions. Our standards and expectations for friendships are far different than those men have for other men, and while I’m not saying this is particularly a bad thing, I am saying that it does tend to interfere and cause unnecessary fire when there was barely a spark with which to begin.

When I look at the women in my life, I consider myself more than lucky. I am surrounded by intelligent, passionate ladies who keep me grounded, sane and are more than willing to tell me off when I get haughty or bitchy. But that doesn’t change the fact that being friends with some of them can really suck the energy out of me at times and how walking on egg shells is a skill that I’ve had to master to maintain these friendships, just as I know they’ve had to master this technique to keep their friendship going with me at times. I am emotional and crazy. I do occasionally interpret a mere look as a “stink eye” and I have blown up at friends and misinterpreted tones which have resulted in weeks of not speaking. I am not exempt, and I’m completely aware of this because it is fact.

When I meet someone who claims they’ve never had a fight with one of their female friends, I’m always confused. Doesn’t every relationship deserve an occasional upheaval of emotion? Aren’t some situations and people worth fighting for or arguing over? Boats that drift without ever seeing a storm never really get anywhere because they realize at some point they never left the harbor. Friendships, even the best of friendships, need to leave the harbor and weather through the shit if they’re to realize the importance of it all.

Yes, it’s hard to be friends with women, but whoever wants a smoothing sailing situation is not likely to fight for you when push comes to shove. Fighting for something is proof that without it you’re incomplete, and that difficulty in between was necessary in realizing that sometimes the hardest things to handle are the ones most necessary to your happiness.

Agreed, or are my friendships dysfunctional?

 

Photo: HBO

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  • Fabel

    I wish I fought more with my female friends– the problem with most of my friendships with women is that there’s a lack of actual, verbal conflict. My favorite friend is the one with whom I can voice displeasure, have her do the same, and then come to some kind of an understanding. Without fights, there’s no resolution….there’s just tension, passive aggression, and buried feelings.

  • M -

    I think it really depends on the people you’re friends with, because yes, I’ve had minor arguments with some female friends (nothing major, nothing which wasn’t resolved quite quickly), but I also have female friends with whom it’s impossible to have arguments with. As in, they’re so lovely and patient that any disagreements are never personal, and never create tension. The last time I remember having a massive, emotional argument with a female friend over something was in high school.

    • Leila

      This! Yes! Am I weird that I just don’t fight with my friends or significant others? We disagree and can voice dissatisfaction, but it almost never leads to arguing, more like discussion and the inevitable conclusion that it’s your life, do what you will.

  • Ashley Cardiff

    “So that’s why Johnny Cakes broke up with me? I’m too fat and too ugly?”

    It doesn’t sound like “female friends” are your problem, so much as it sounds like “lunatic friends.”

    • Amanda Chatel

      Because they date people named Johnny Cakes?

    • Topf

      I agree with this. My personal experience has been that male friends (and that’s only concerning the numbers) have been more problematic than female friends. Most of the times, female friends are happy to have an intelligent friend. Guys, on the other hand, are often threatened by intelligence and that makes things difficult. But I actually have had similarly positive experiences with both. The deciding factor is in fact the lunacy.

  • Maggie

    I agree with you. Whenever a girl says “I hate girls and don’t get along with them,” it raises red flags. How can a girl hate all other girls? It’s usually a problem she has, and to me signifies that she probably won’t be a good friend. My best friends and I are always honest with each other and never go more than a couple of days without checking in. I find that maturity is a deciding factor; if a friend isn’t mature enough to tell me to my face that they have an issue with me, as I would them, then they’re probably only going to cause more problems and stupid “drama.”

  • L

    I’ve had this happen with 2 of my best friends. one just completely cut me out of her life when she started dating this guy in college, like all of the sudden i became not cool enough to hang out with on the weekends (we went to different schools and my only means of getting downtown to where she was, was a weekend only shuttle bus).

    the other one, who incidentally happened to console me through the break up with bff #1, pulled the exact same shit the following year. we used to have essentially the same circle of friends, she started dating a guy and basically dumped all of us and decided to only hang out with him and his friends…the final straw was when she was the only one of my friends who didnt wish me luck on the most important grad school interview.

    both of these girls are now married to the men they left me for, so i guess it worked out in the end. on my end, i have become a lot more selective of the women i let into my life.

  • Kimberly @ Twen-Teen

    “before you know it people are being unfriended on Facebook, and when that happens, you know shit just got real”
    LOL!

    I’m wary of girls without female friends. It’s usually a red flag that they aren’t a good friend. I would never pick a guy over a friend nor would I trust any girl that does either. And so many do. It’s sad.

  • Jlove

    I really think some of your friends suck, seriously. I’ve had disagreements with female, but we always resolve them. I’ve never had to deal with passive aggressive cattiness. I’ve always been a NO DRAMA kind of person. If I meet a woman who all about stirring up trouble, I don’t engage with her anymore. All my friends are the same way too We love and support each other. Not to say their aren’t problems/issues but we deal with them like adults.

  • Jamie Peck

    My roommate and I fight like sisters, partly because we spend like 8 hours a day together and partly because we collaborate on a lot of stuff and we’re both used to working alone. But I love her like the sibling I never had and we also have lots of fun together, so it’s okay
    Everyone else, though, can fuck off if they’re going to cause drama. I am too old and busy for that shit. When I have free time, I just want to relax and have fun, and pretty much everyone who’s messed with that mission is not my friend anymore.

  • Brianna

    Sad, but I don’t see my friends enough, now that we’re in our 30′s and all living an hour or more away from each other, to even get mad at them. It’s just catch up every time we see each other. None of us are really phone people anymore.

  • Amanda

    I really think the title of this article needs to read, “Fact: It Isn’t Always Easy Being Friends with Girls When You Are A Woman”. Seriously, at some point you need to move beyond the drama of “My friends are my whole world!” to focus on more important things, like a career, a family, or other big important goals. Women will respect that. Girls don’t.

    • Amanda Chatel

      I think good friends are just as important as a career or family, and I feel bad for someone who would think a career is something that trumps friendships.

    • Melinda

      I feel bad for people who judge others for having decent priorities, like their family and their career.

    • Gab

      @ Melinda. Amen sister!

  • Patricia

    Seeing as you asked… Yes, your friendships seem a bit dysfunctional.

    Who has time for all this drama? And how about the whole bit about backstabbing? Do adult women really behave like this?

    I can’t remember being ditched by a friend in a Johnny Cakes situation, but if it did happen, I wouldn’t be mortally offended. I’d just catch up with said friend some other day. What’s the big deal? I truly don’t feel like women have a different expectation of friendship than men have and the notion sounds odd and a bit comopolitan-ish to me.

    • Jenn

      I agree about the drama. I have a male friend who decided to inject some much-unneeded drama into our relationship by taking something personally that really didn’t have anything to do with him. We’re not really friends anymore. Women do not have a monopoly on this.

      And I recently reconnected with a female friend of mine from grade school and the best part was how easy and nonjudgmental the whole “first friend date” felt. We see each other every week, now.

  • Deb

    I don’t hate other women, I’m just not friends with women like you describe. I don’t have time for passive aggressive bullshit.

  • Ozay

    I used to have two friends, one of them who I considered to be close to. Then I started dating a guy, one of the girls (“M”) got passive aggressive/jealous/weird, and after two months, I had to dump her as a friend. Reasons she gave *me* for suddenly being a bad friend:

    I wasn’t spending every day with her.
    I was exhibiting too much PDA (which was hand holding). And this bothered her.
    I wasn’t being attentive enough to her.
    She would purposely ignore my calls as pay back.
    Invite me to go out with her and then made snooty remarks, gave me the stink eye, and had an attitude.
    She said she was giving me “constructive criticism” which I wasn’t taking.

    I understand that in the beginning of a relationship, it starts off with puppy love and you get a little sucked into it, but at that point I felt like I was being made to date her too, and I was being a bad “boyfriend” to her. Finally I said “Ever since I started dating X, you’ve been treating me like crap, even when I reached out to you. I can’t handle your bi-polar disorder anymore.” We haven’t spoken since. This was 5 years ago. A year after I told her off, the other friend had to tell “M” off too.

    It’s difficult when you have friends who create drama constantly. I have other circles of girlfriends, and we never have this problem. It comes down to the type of girls you are dealing with.

  • Cee

    I have a hard time having lady friends. As a lesbian, I don’t hang out with guy for male attentions..I could give two shits about that sort of thing. The thing that I have experienced with the ladies I’ve tried to be friends with (not that ALL ladies are like this) is that they are flakey. They disappear for looong periods of time and bounce back in when they need something and bounce back out, ESPECIALLY if a dude or lady is in their lives. I’m planning a wedding and I need lady friends dammit! Though it was quite fun to have my guy friend pretend to be a bridesmaid while i tried on my wedding dress.

  • Jessica

    If you’re a cool lady with few female friends, it’s probably because all the woman you’d want to be really close with are keeping to themselves thinking the same thing- “Endless drama? No thanks. I’ll pass.”

  • Southerngirl

    I think friendship should be a supportive and fun,not painful and annoying. But some people love dysfunction, my sister for example. I try and limit my friends to mature people, which has nothing to do with age.I am very selective about my friends and the one non negotable I have is no drama. I do not do drama.Everyones life has tough moments, but that is not an excuse to behave like a emotional wrecking ball. I also firmly believe men are as emotional and vindictive as women, they just are much more covert about it.

  • MM

    I don’t know if I’m living in another universe here but I have NEVER had a serious fight with any of my close friends since high school. Granted, nobody’s ever stood me up at the last minute to go hang out with their boyfriend.

    While I used to hang around guys more than girls as a teen, as an adult I actually find it more difficult to be friends with men. It’s harder to establish a friendship with a straight guy without it being read as having a sexual/romantic subtext.

    • Mel

      Completely agree with MM. While there has certainly been conflict in my adult relationships with other women (and men!) that resulted in a direct conversation, I haven’t had a fight with a friend in years. The people I love have lives now — stuff comes up, plans get cancelled, but we’re there for each other when something more serious than happy hour is going down.

      That said, even in high school, none of my friends ever threw a drink on the ground or over-interpreted my facial expressions. I hope you’re exaggerating, Amanda!

    • Amanda Chatel

      Once. A champagne glass was thrown once on the floor at a wedding while we all watched in horror. But yes, since I did have slushy listed in there, I was exaggerating and trying to put out how ridiculous the situation can be when people start throwing shit.

  • Renee

    This is my opinion, so taken with a grain of salt ect.

    I think fighting in any relationship can be done in a healthy manner. But if every major disagreement leads to a dissolution of the relationship, then the relationship wasn’t that strong to begin with.

    You know you have a real friend when you can get seriously pissed off, completely disagree, and still know in the heat of the moment that they will still be your friend when all the emotions have cooled down.

    I’m super emotional and passionate, and I worry that that pushes people away. But I am also someone who is tolerant of those who don’t share my opinions, and I never give up on people. So if someone is willing to deal with my flare ups, then I am just as willing to deal with and forgive theirs. And I don’t think this means my relationships are difficult with women, because honestly, I act the same way in my relationships with men. It just seems to be hard to find people who are willing to wait out the storms. But when you do, it is pretty damn great.

  • Kj

    Yeeeeeeeah my vote’s on “dysfunctional.” If you get ditched at a bar for Johnny cakes, that fucking sucks and the friend deserves to be called out. That’s disrespectful crap.

    I mean, as some people say up there, there comes a time when someone’s significant other/family is going to take up a larger portion of their time, and it sucks, but that’s life. But if they are a good friend, they will keep in touch when possible. If they don’t, they suck and deserve to be ditched. Period.

  • Joyf

    Women! So much drama! Must be all those emotions!

    I’m kind of disappointed in this article, I must say.

    Yes, relationships between women can have drama. So can male friendships, if you pay any attention to guys at all when they talk about their guy friends. And most friends who are close enough will fight or exchange words at some point because that’s part of being human and having conflict.

    Frankly, it does seem like this writer has more histrionic friends than my own (throwing cocktails? are you SERious??). But let’s just leave it at “some PEOPLE are drama” rather than “women are drama.” How’s that sound for an improvement over lamely rehashing old stereotypes?

    • Kj

      AGREED.

    • Amanda Chatel

      @Joyf
      Please note this is what I wrote:

      “I’m not saying this is the case for all women or all relationships between women, but I am saying that this is a common occurrence for both female friends of mine and myself. I’m not stereotyping or trying to put all women in one category, but I’m trying to point out that it’s really fucking hard to be friends with women sometimes.”

      Perhaps, you missed that part because you couldn’t wait to get to the comment section…

  • Amy

    So funny, I was just talking to my best girl friend about this kind of thing and how sad it is that so many people seem incapable of being happy in their friendships. I have plenty of female acquaintences who always seem to be fighting and talking shit about/to/with their girl friends like it’s a normal healthy thing to do.

    My best girl and I have never had a relationship like that and we’ve been friends for 15+ years. We would never say or do anything to intentionally hurt eachother and our time spent together is always positive. I feel incredibly blessed to have a friendship that revolves around support, respect, and mutual admiration. I have always tried to steer clear of friendships with anyone (regardless of sex/gender) who revolve their relationships around jealousy, cruel language, or pettiness.

  • Hall

    I’m late to the party, but wanted to throw in my 2 cents. I have no real female friends. I have a few girls I’m friendly with, but we only hang out because their SO is friends with my husband.

    By nature I am introverted & awkward. I don’t enjoy shopping, I live on a tight budget (we have a child to care for & my husband is a small business owner) so it’s difficult for me to go out all the time like the other females I know. I also have a low tolerance for drama & am honest to a fault. Every girl I’ve ever been friends with has either just faded away because of a new relationship or birth of their child, or I’ve had to remove myself because I don’t have time for their drama. Not saying I’m not to blame for some friendships ending, but between working full time, taking care of my house, running errands, cooking, and taking care of my family, I want to enjoy my downtime & I don’t want to waste it hearing someone complain about someone else.

    I’ve noticed it’s getting increasingly more difficult to make friends as I get older also.