*This is NOT a Feminist Rant*
Do you ever find yourself saying something along the lines of, “I thought I left high school drama behind X years ago!”? It doesn’t change once you’re out or as you age. My 51 year-old mother still has to deal with sophomoric issues with other women. Female friendships have been a topic that has been on my mind for a while now and is somewhat of a sore subject for me at random times in my life. I love my female friends as much as I love my male friends, but please trust me as I explain my sentiments of this post. I promise to do my best not to write a “War and Peace” size novel.
As a little girl, I was so shy around non-family and close friends that my dad nicknamed me ‘Mouse’, I was so quiet and shy. It worked that it was my favorite animal at the time too! My very best friend from childhood was my mom’s best friend’s son, Juan, who was born a month before me and was like a cousin. We were the best of friends; fighting over G.I. Joe action figures and Barbie dolls, Transformers and Legos, we wrestled like we were Pros. I helped him do well in school and he fought off any bullies who attempted to mess with me (I was a pretty big nerd). Female friends I had, but not the kind that I could be very close with. They liked to use me for my toys or snacks, or just get little mouse Heather to do stuff for them. I grew up half princess and half tomboy.
As I grew older and realized I can’t exactly do the same things as a little kid, I started to make female friends. It was helpful that I moved to Indiana from New Jersey when I was 12, allowing me to start fresh with new people and a clean slate. As I said I was a nerd; the new school offered to skip me a grade because I was “so smart”, but my mom knew that I was not mature enough to handle skipping 7th grade. I began making friends, but really never came out of my shell except for the people I knew well enough. All through high school and into college, it was the same. I was more outgoing in college and made some great friends, but I tended to have more guy friends than gal pals. I still had female friends and they are still some of the closest friends I have! When we get together it’s as if nothing has changed; we’re right back into our 20s, chatting about anything and everything with no regard of how much time has passed.
Now, that I’m in my early thirties and my good friends are all across the country and globe, it can be difficult to keep up with friends in other places. I also find it a little less likely to keep a majority of guy friends around, when you and your guy friends can’t always relate on all issues. Now, to my main point of this post. We as women do in fact need female friends. We are important to have in each other’s life. The problem is that there are too many women playing games and seeing each other as competition or the enemy instead of trying to be true friends. That, or you have girls thinking life is a group of four women taking on the identity of one of the four gal pals of ‘Sex and the City’. We repeat the same high school antics over and over again throughout our lives. Whenever you have a group of female friends or a mixed group, there will always be trouble; always someone, even just one person trying to stir the pot. All I can say to this is “Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!”.
I try to avoid drama as much as humanly possible and I like the female friends I choose to have the same opinion. It can be very difficult to weed out those who truly believe in a drama-free zone, but when you find those genuine ladies, you keep them close, because they are worth being good friends with! It’s simple, when you meet a new person, you should look at her as someone to learn about and get to know her and see whether or not her vibe will mesh well with yours. Much like meeting a guy you might be interested in dating, you should learn what you have in common and what you can learn from each other with a potential new gal pal. A no-nonsense, easy-going, fun-loving person with a good sense of humor is the best kind of friend to find, even though there are other qualities that are just as important, such as loyalty and kindness.
Why did I decide to bring this up? Because I’m tired of feeling rage towards other women who use passive-aggression to make themselves feel better about themselves and put others down. I come from a background, as shy as I used to be, that you speak your mind, stand up for yourself and others and say what you mean and mean what you say. No contradicting yourself to satisfy the person you’re currently speaking to and no hiding behind other people to confront someone else. Playing games with someone’s psyche or feelings to make them feel small is extremely immature and makes you look unstable both in your sense of self as well as your social queues.
Women have enough to deal with when it comes to competing at their jobs, being successful and breaking gender barriers (yes, even still today), so instead of playing games of, “this is MY group of friends, not yours” or attempt to divide and conquer a group of friends, why can’t everyone play nice and enjoy the fact that they share the same group of great friends!
I meant for this post to be published about a month ago, but I think the timing is perfect after the wonderful speech given by U.N. Goodwill ambassador, Emma Watson last week. It isn’t just a female to female issue. Often times, the male friends in the group make things worse by making one girl think she’s crazy and reading into non-existent signs that the other girl doesn’t like her instead of may be seeing the points and perhaps helping mediate the situation. So, we go on pretending to be fine with each other in our mutual mixed group of friends all the while giving major side eye at each other and surprising the desire to tell the other one off. It needs to stop and people just need to recognize that not everyone is meant to be friends with the same people. Although there are mutual friends, it doesn’t mean two people will mix well with each other. This would only work if we lived inside the world of “The Giver”.
So here is my challenge. You may not be fake, but you may not like a certain person and that’s fine. I challenge you to get to know a new female friend this month. It may not be someone already in your group of friends, but meet a new gal and instead of looking for flaws in her, look at her in a light of “what is amazing about this person?” and go from there. I have given up trying to be friends with a certain person in my group of friends, but I can tell you three things that are absolutely amazing about her: she’s determined, persistent and good at learning everything about a subject. Try it for yourself. Meet someone and see what traits you can appreciate about them. They don’t have to become your best friend, but learn to see the good in a person instead of the bad. Change your outlook.