Can Women and Women Be Friends?

“It’s been my experience that people who make proclamations about themselves are usually the opposite of what they claim to be. If someone is truly a loyal friend, then they wouldn’t need to broadcast it; eventually, people will figure it out. I have a lot of good friends and not one of them has ever introduced themselves by saying, ‘I’m a very good friend.’ ~ Chelsea Handler

I’ve never had a lot of success with close female friendships.

Women don’t like other women. We don’t trust them. We compete, we knock each other down, we say terrible things and disguise them as “truth.” It’s a common belief that women and men can’t be friends – because one of them always wants more, because someone will have their heart broken, because eventually they will cross the line – and you know what? That’s mostly true. But it doesn’t make them NOT friends. Looking back over the vast majority of my warm fuzzy friendship moments – the past or the future of the relationship notwithstanding – it’s mostly the boys who have been there for me. The girls mostly judged, betrayed, criticized, dismissed, bailed. Or I did.

The few girlfriends that I have are, of course, priceless. I still talk to my next door neighbor from childhood several times a week. I fly out to visit, we each know enough incriminating bits about each other to bring Armageddon. She is my closest friend, these days. I love her, trust her and I am grateful that she is in my life. But we only became closer after she moved several states away. I wonder – did the distance make it more precious for both of us? Or safer?

Historically, my girl friendships have ended horribly. Mushroom-cloud horribly. Whose-blood-is-on my-shoes horribly. Never hold-hands-and-drive-into-the-Grand-Canyon horribly.

(And y’all need to hear me: I loved Thelma. Mostly I wanted to cross-check Louise into oncoming traffic. I don’t care how cute she was. Stupid is a major detractor.)

One of my longest-running girlfriendships lasted 20 years and ended with what can only be described as an explosion of decayed, reeking, emotional garbage on my 40th birthday. The details skew the picture of what is a very simple truth: We could not take any more of each other. We started keeping score, and once that begins, so does the countdown.  She was an addict, whose main course of alcohol was periodically complemented with side dishes of cocaine and meth. And me? I was a recovering social misfit, attention-starved and insecure, needing constant validation of my worth from the outside.  She would say I was toxic, the partial truth of which cuts me.  Our history is beautiful and hideous and dark and bright and funny and painful and deep and petty and….over. I miss her terribly, and I never want to see her again.

I just spent an inordinate amount of time reading about women friendships on a site called “Hello Giggles,” in an effort to find clarity and I think I probably got what I deserved for my time. Lists and GIFs. A list for every topic, and a GIF for every bullet point of every list.  Friendship summarized for those who are reading at stoplights.

I’ve never called anyone a “BFF” in my life unless it was with bitter sarcasm. I don’t ask my friends ridiculous questions. I don’t want to be told the unvarnished truth about my ass in the dressing room mirror. I KNOW THE TRUTH! Your job is to make sure my skirt isn’t tucked into my spanx!

So it is, that I find myself at this stage in the game with very few close friends. The “boys” all grew up and got married, and I can’t have those kinds of ambiguous relationships in my life anymore, anyway. (Love, platonic hugs and inappropriate kisses to all of them, though. Thank you for getting me when no one else did.)  I kept most of the women at a distance or we flamed out, small fires early or infernos later.  I have made a few small forays into new friendships, with some success. I am lost, and it is a very strange feeling.  I don’t know what I am looking for.

I suppose I could make a %$#! list. With a GIF.

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12 Comments

  1. This made me want to stand up and cheer and celebrate my small circle of female friends! I know lots of women but I keep my inner circle small. I’ve always jibed better with boys, even before I figured out how wonderful and flattering they could be. I can’t have those kind of friendships anymore as my husband is my best friend. Sometimes he’s the only friend I have on any given Sunday, and that’s ok because he loves and excepts all those wonderful qualities and perfect flaws as I do his. This is a fabulous posts and there wasn’t a list in site. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t have a lot of girlfriends either. My tolerance for drama is very low and it keeps most people at a distance. I have managed to make a few though (a very few) and they are very important to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can totally relate to what you are saying here. I have the worst luck with staying friends with women who are around my age. I do have friends who are a lot older than me and I value those friendships like treasures, but the women around my age have turned out to be catty, jealous, and petty. It makes me sad. Hopefully this will change. Xoxoxo.

    Liked by 1 person

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