Friendships of the double x chromosome
I recall reading on a blog once that one thing (among a long list) that men can never understand is the complicated dynamic of female friendships.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never had a fight with a friend. Male or female.
During school, there have been times when my friends and I tried to run away from a girl who wanted to be friends with us. Real mature, I know.
I’ve had friends turn on me or ditch me for various reasons, then come back to me.
I’ve been jealous of friends striking up closer bonds with other friends than with me.
And sometimes been insecure in my place as one of a few girls in a mainly male social circle.
But a proper throwdown, shouting or silent-treatment argument?
That said, rivalry has played a part in a couple of friendships for me. I think that it was mainly one-sided (ie, in my head), to be honest. But the outcomes were very different. One I still consider a friend, if not a close one; the other, an acquaintance whose social circles sometimes overlap with mine – we can play nice together socially, but you wouldn’t catch us hanging out by ourselves.
In the first case, we instantly bonded upon meeting in school – we were both emo, introspective soulmates, sarcastic, tough, too clever for our own good. We were good at many of the same things and almost went to the same university to do the same degree. I was glad she didn’t, to be honest. I would’ve gotten too competitive, and I don’t think it would have been healthy for us. I always saw her as a spunkier, more charismatic me (perhaps what I should aspire to be in a parallel world) and in my younger, more insecure days, sometimes that was a bit threatening. Don’t get me wrong; while she can be a hard case, she has a big heart, and I’ll never forget her taking me under her wing after my first big breakup. I admire her hugely, and she’s the only person I know who’s been toughing it out on her own longer than me, having been largely independent since about 14.
For various reasons we drew apart. We studied different things, but now work in similar fields, which brought us closer together. I honestly think that we’ll be able to catch up once every three, five, ten years and still get along awesomely, no matter where our life paths take us.
In the second case, we met, I think, through mutual friends. We were good time friends, and that’s how it always was. We were part of the same crew, hanging out after school and on weekends. I thought we had a lot in common. And I thought possibly we could be good friends, if not necessarily BFFs.
Thing is, at the core of it, she was simply cold. There were some people she treated extremely well, and others who seemed just pawns to her. It was tough to relate to someone who’d never had to work for anything. She was kinda vain (and more photogenic, if not downright better-looking than me. I suppose that’s where the competition was at, in my head, but at least I always had nice-ness on my side, for whatever that’s worth). And ultimately, she talked shit about me. (There’s discussing your friends behind their backs, in private. And then there’s straight bitchy comments – not the kind you would ever utter aloud about a true friend – just while you’ve stepped out of the room, to their flatmate, of all people. Plus trolling your blog.)
I’m really curious to hear your thoughts on female friendship. And have you ever had one of a competitive nature, real or imagined?
I’m a terrible girlfriend, I’ll admit it. I have crazy emotional and abandonment issues that I got from my parents (thanks guys!), that make me a terrible friend. Usually someone and I get along to the point of bff, then that person starts really clinging to me (which I always push away from – i hate that), then that person gets mad at me because I’m not responding to their calls/IMs/texts fast enough, then I say f-this and usually the relationship just sort of dwindles to nothing.
Fact is, I’d love a best friend – I just have no idea how that sort of thing works.
Yeah, I suck.
I think female friendships in general are much more intimiate and deeper than male relationships. My boyfriend for example, has plenty of guy friends that seem like “situational friends” – they are similar in age and interests, and happen to meet each other at some event, so they sociaize together. They don’t talk much outside of arranging for hangouts or about their common interests, they don’t share their hopes and dreams or anything personal, and they’re fine with that. My girlfriends and I share a much deeper bond, but the flipside of being so close with other people is that you do end up comparing yourself with the otehr person, and fight more often, with them. In general the competition only gets to be a problem where the friend and I are really really similar, and we are both competitive people. Sometimes a competitive friendship gets too unhealthy and actually brings me down, and I have had to cut off friends because of this.
Yep, they can be complicated. I have friends who I’ve known since middle school who will always remain dear friends, even though we rarely talk. I have other friends who have written me off because I don’t call them enough.
It can be a tricky business, but so worth it when you find that true soul sister (cheesy name, but quite accurate).