I have always been suspicious of women who don’t have any women friends. In my mind, these women fall into two categories: those who just can’t get along with fellow ladies, and those who prefer the company of men for some sort of attention factor. I do not mean to pigeonhole; I’m just basing this on my personal experience. And while the suspicion of those women who don’t have female friends will probably never cease, in some ways I think they’re lucky — in some ways they avoid a lot of drama.

For those of us who do have women friends, it isn’t exactly the easiest of relationships to maintain. I have found that with the majority of my female friends, even though we’re all adults now and this shouldn’t be the case, I will always lose when it comes down to choosing a man or me. Even if it’s someone who is new to the picture, I have found that women, if it means procuring a potential husband, would rather throw their female friends under the bus than pass on the opportunity to find themselves in a relationship. While I’m someone who has never defined or validated my life by being someone’s girlfriend, I can’t say the same for a lot of my female friends.

So when it does arise that I’m left somewhere waiting for a friend only to recieve a text too late that they’re not coming because Johnny Cakes is coming over, the next thing that follows is anger, which of course will lead to drama. Unlike my male friends who will shrug off that they were left at a bar waiting for their friend, I will not let it slide (as most women in this case will not, as well.) I will call out my friend on this behavior and not only will this lead to drama, but it will also have me labeled “jealous.” Of course, I’m jealous! I so wish I was dating someone just like Johnny Cakes and his impeccable vocabulary of all of 30 words and his penchant for Miller Light! Such a statement will further solidify my “jealousy” and this will result in not speaking to each other for days or weeks — depending on the length of the Johnny Cakes situation.

Eventually things will resolve and all will be well again in “girl world,” until there is a “look”:

“What does that look mean?”

“What are you talking about? I didn’t give you a look.”

“Yes, you did! You totally just gave me a look! Do you think I’m too fat for this dress?!”

“No! I was thinking about something unrelated to you.”

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

“Where are you coming up with this?”

“Your face doesn’t lie!”

And a slushy or a champagne glass will be thrown on the ground for dramatic effect and both parties will disperse in opposite directions while each one swears up and down that they’ll never talk to each other again. They will, of course, but in the heat of the moment, assuming otherwise is just nonsense.

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