Monday, October 25, 2010

Mean Girls

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 others life decisions.


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