How I Met Your Mother female friends Robin

How I Met Your Mother.

“I can’t be friends with girls.”

“I only have guy friends.”

“Girls just don’t like me.”

We have all heard the above statement a million times. And every time, it’s increasingly obnoxious. It’s almost always for the same stupid reasons, too: women don’t like me, women are jealous of me, women are full of drama. Some will say they only have one female friend because that particular woman is “different” and “not like other girls,” but are otherwise opposed to lady friends.

Literally every woman I have ever met who says this is full of shit. How do I know? I was one of them once. As a teenager, I was an insecure brat who felt competitive about other women because I was (A) terrified they wouldn’t like me if they got to know me, which was probably correct since I was a competitive insecure brat, and (B) so negative about myself that I assumed being next to other women would mean men wouldn’t see me as being of value (yes, really).

Then, I made a discovery that shocked nobody but me. Hey! Other women are actually just fine and it’s me who’s driving them away! So yeah, I recognized that I was being an immature dolt and that any guy who judged me based exclusively (or partially) on how they felt about the women around me was worthless, and then I started being nice. I also apologized to the women I had been rude toward and explained myself; they went on to become my closest friends and now we laugh about the past.

But where do these thoughts originate? Where does this notion of “women just don’t like me” spewing from?

There is this bizarre value placed on having “guy friends.” I have met so, so many women who call themselves “guys’ girls” or “one of the guys,” as though that is inherently more positive than being “just a woman.” No, you are not “one of the guys.” You are a female who hangs out with males. If you consider habits like enjoying athletics, knowing about whiskey, playing video games, watching Breaking Bad or anything else along those lines to make you “one of the guys,” then sorry, but that means you still define your favorite activities as being gendered, and that’s fucking depressing.

I grew up playing more computer RPGs than anyone I knew, played on a few soccer and tennis teams, and did. I drink a lot. I cook decently well. I wear a ton of makeup, get mani/pedis (that I do, indeed, refer to as “mani/pedis”), I don’t shave my legs, I like Breaking Bad, I own too many skincare products. I scream when I see cockroaches and love playing with rats. I feel insecure about my body, I feel confident in myself. I like avocado. I like cats. I like many of you. These are all things about me that have nothing to do with my gender; they’re just facts.

But still, people see men as being easy friends and women being difficult friends. It’s often based on stereotypes that are offensive and toward both men and women — sweeping statements that are inexplicably perpetuated by, again, both men and women. Guys are easygoing, guys don’t judge you, guys are straightforward, guys just wanna drink beer and watch football and all women wanna do is paint their nails and dabble in wearing sexy jerseys with short shorts.

And so many figures in pop culture influence this. Let’s start with How I Met Your Mother, shall we? Onto the next page…

How many television shows perpetuate this? From The Mindy Project to New Girl to The Big Bang Theory to Seinfeld to the f’ing Smurfs, there’s so often one female character with tons of male friends and virtually no female ones. Even if the main character is a female, having next-to-no other women as main characters who drive the plot is sad. Robin (Cobie Smulders) from How I Met Your Mother notes quite a bit throughout the series that she doesn’t like other women:

“Girls are always whining and crying over every little thing,” at which Lily (Alyson Hannigan) instantaneously begins crying. Robin claims that whenever she looks at other women, they seem like they want to punch her, which makes me wonder if she primarily hangs around steroid addicts with rage issues. And while they’re making fun of both attitudes — well, sort of, but they’re perpetuating Robin’s more — even in the comments on that clip, people agree. Example:

I am with Robin. Women and girls annoy me so much when they get woossy.

Here’s the thing: males are not always easygoing and women are not always sobbing. Many women f’ing love sports and many men aren’t remotely interested in them. Women are not always judgmental and men sometimes are. These aren’t bad qualities — they’re just pieces of people’s personalities that develop, or at least become more prevalent, as we get older.

Sure, in middle school, people are often a little more similar to one another. This is likely because we frequently feel that awful pressure to fit in — I know I did — and unfortunately, our society is one that regularly tells boys to be one way and girls to be another (let alone acknowledging anybody who doesn’t identify with either of those genders). As we get older, it becomes easier to find our niches, to be more confident in ourselves, to feel stronger in our beliefs and quirks and personalities.

So, when you say any of the following:

  • “I can’t be friends with girls because they’re so dramatic.”
  • “Girls are too difficult.”
  • “Guys make for easier friendships.”
  • “I prefer hanging out guys.”
  • “Women just don’t like me.”
  • “Guys are so much simpler to deal with.”

…Yeah, I get sad, because you live in an oblivious world with dick-colored glasses.

In college, I had a female acquaintance who drunkenly admitted she felt much better about herself at parties when surrounded by guy friends than “being in a group of chattering girls,” even if they weren’t attracted to her or vice versa. (Again with the weird differentiating of value between men and women, guh.)

Later on, I had another friend who would constantly talk about all the cool things her male friends would do for her, always adding the word “guy” in front of “friend,” even when including the person’s name, as though that made the nice deed any different. In fact, after  myself and another female held her hair back for 2 hours at a party while she vomited, one of our wasted friends (a male one) patted her on the back for 1 minute, hit on her and then walked out of the bathroom. She spent an hour telling people the next day the tale of how the aforementioned male friend was “such a good guy, thank god he was there.” Sigh. These are just 2 examples, obviously, and are by no means universal, but I promise, I could go on; even at 24, I still hear shit like this constantly from allegedly adult women.

Pro-tip: If “all girls” you are involved with are “drama,” then chances are, it’s not them…it’s you. Now, click onto the next page for a toxic work ideal that may surprise you.

These thoughts aren’t just in our social lives — they’re also featured in the workplace. A poll recently came out stating that more women would rather work for a man than a woman, which is completely nonsensical to me. Wouldn’t you just rather work for a person who is fair, firm and effective at their position? Obviously, you want them to like you, but gender should not be a deciding factor in that.

When I hear things like, “I prefer men to women,” I don’t hear anything positive or indicative of something good about you; I just hear, “I’m too insecure with myself.” When you say, “Girls don’t like me,” I hear, “I don’t like girls.” When you say, “Bitches are too much drama,” I hear, “I’m a dramatic, insecure tool who can’t handle being around other females.”

As a side note, I realize some people have a genuinely difficult time making friends. As somebody who finds human beings terrifying, I totally understand that. Some people have psychological issues with people of a specific gender (ex.: I know one woman who was violently bullied by a group of girls as a kid and still fears being around multiple females at once). I also get the circumstantial thing, like living or working primarily around men, and how that would obviously influence your friend group. What bothers me is this weird, sweeping mentality of “girls don’t like me” and that “girls are more drama” (which is grammatically incorrect as it is offensive). And it’s this sad, innate desire to define yourself as “one of the guys.”

Here’s a novel idea: why not just, I don’t know, have friends? Make friends with people you like, do not make friends with people you do not like. If those all happen to be men, okay, but it might be beneficial to look at why that is. If all the people you like happen to be women, then it’s the same deal. But don’t just generalize or rule out people based purely on gender — you’ll miss out on so many wonderful human beings. And you’ll look like an asshole.