Female vs. Male Friendships
What is it with female friendships and why are they so complicated, emotional and difficult? Male friendships are easy; you go to the pub, you watch a football game, you occasionally talk about job/wife/kids, and the friendship totters along until one party stops calling the other and the friendship slowly meets its demise in a quiet and unobtrusive way.
Are we all just crazy bitches?
When it comes to women, friendships can be intense, volatile, emotional and heartbreaking. Some friendships breaking up can be as hurtful as a relationship breakdown. Of course women in general are complicated, emotional, hormonal, fickle and, yes, sometimes bitchy. I have more than once been the recipient of bitchy behaviour, but I also admit that there have been times when I have been bitchy in my lifetime, not necessarily intentionally, but usually as a reaction to a crisis of some sort or what someone said, but bitchy nonetheless. Which is why it isn’t surprising that female friendships can be so difficult. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/treva-brandon/friendship-breakups_b_6263788.html
Friendships can take years to create and a few moments to destroy
I’ve been thinking a lot about female friendships recently because I have recently witnessed friendship heartbreak first hand in young girls. I thought these things started happening in your Tweens but in this case it is much, much earlier. The details aren’t important, it’s all the same; your best friend finds a new best friend/you change school and your old friends forget you/you change classes and your friend doesn’t want to know you/out-of-sight-out-of-mind type thing. In this case, it was more because of extenuating circumstances, but nonetheless child heartbreaks do happen.
Rejection is never easy
It’s always hard being rejected. For a child, it is simple. If one asks for a playdate and it doesn’t happen, they will eventually feel rejected. Even if it is no one’s fault and there are larger extenuating circumstances at hand. But when a child feels rejected, how do we manage their feelings? Adults understand extenuating circumstances or that things change. That there are bigger things in life that are uncontrollable, but for a small child, it can leave them confused, lost and vulnerable. How do you manage a young child’s feelings, and how do you make them heal the best way possible?
The different stages of Female Friendships
I don’t remember that I was teased at 8 yo for medical problems I had (someone told me years later) but I certainly remember when my best friend ‘dropped’ me when she had her first boyfriend as a teenager. I’m not the only one: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3133777/Forget-men-girl-friends-greatest-love-life-female-friendships-just-significant.html Luckily I found friend ‘soulmates’ in my 20s, but since having children, I have found that some motherhood relationships can be quite tough: the competition between who walked/talked/ate/peed/farted first, which nursery/school they go to/lying about tutoring or what activities they do/being excluded, feeling judged or feeling like an outsider/clique formation: both between the children as well as the mothers. As an adult, you know how to process these things, learn to shrug things off, Keep Smiling And Carry On. You win some, you lose some.
How to mend a child’s broken heart
But I wish had the wisdom to give my children, on how to get over a broken-friendship-heart when they get their hearts broken. Many of us will have had our hearts broken over friends, and now that I am seeing this for the first time, I wonder if it’s best to shield them from the truth just a bit longer. But I guess this is just a part of growing up and I may just be a little neurotic/intense/emtionally oversensitive. (Needless to say Mr. X has no time for this kind of girl-drama). They will eventually get hurt one day, and they will have to learn from it. But as a parent, it is really hard not to get involved and want to protect them as long as you possibly can.
Best Friends Forever?
The truth is despite all the heart aches, female friendships can also be some of the best, most precious, special experiences. They are certainly worth it, and just as we have to kiss frogs to get our princes, we go through our friends until we find the ones that will stay forever. And those friendships, are irreplaceable. And when you really need them, they will – hopefully – be there for you. So perhaps I will learn to let my daughters hug lots of frogettes to meet their princesses, learn about life, and try not worry too much.
Do you have any female friendship stories – good or bad – to share?
6 thoughts on “The Difficulties of Female Friendships….”
Rejection and exclusion are always difficult whatever age and stage you are but by the time you’ve been through a few life phases it becomes more understandable though no less painful; now that I am in the third phase of life I have come to know the wisdom of the words:
“You have friends for a season, reason or a lifetime”
also when somebody chooses to leave you its often about them at least as much as it is about you – especially in todays highly competitive world a female friends or indeed any other person may leave you because you are more talented, pretty, rich or well connected – you evoke uncomfortable feelings in the other person.
Its also worth reminding yourself that when somebody is ostensibly telling you what is wrong with you or where you fall short, they are often telling you a lot more about themselves; that being so you might not value their opinion all that highly.
kind regards and thank you for your interesting blog content.
Thank you very much for your comment. Yes, you’re right it’s never easy. And also your comment about friendships being for a reason, a season, a lifetime is one that is full of wisdom. I am glad you wrote and appreciated this post. Your words were very kind and helpful. Wish you all the best in life’s trials and tribulations! Xx NHYM
I enjoy female friendships more but the one issue I have and it’s not the bitchiness BC truth is I find that many don’t know how to argue without having to end a friendship or let it fester. My best friends are ones I’ve been able to have screaming matches with but get over it and remain friends. I don’t believe it when certain women say they’ve never argued with a friend. I argue with the one I love the most – my husband – so how could you always be polite? Having said that main issue with friendships is the disparity in the importance one places on a friendship. It seems feelings get hurt and is actually way more damaging than any argument. Like a romantic relationship, sometimes one has stronger feelings than the other and people just need better emotional boundaries. I once “broke up” with a friend but she couldn’t handle it and I nearly had to ring the police to get her out of my house after acting loony for 5 hours. Then she tried to act normal and be a casual friend but that was never going to happen so she started to spread horrible rumours about me. I didn’t make new friends for about 5 years after that.
Thanks for your comment! Yes it is difficult to know how to fight with friends. Somehow its more acceptable to fight with a partner than with a friend strangely. I can’t say I am any good at it, so I could use some tips! And placing different levels of emotions on a friendship can be tricky. It’s not easy to find friends that just work easily. Or at least that’s what I think. Best of luck with it all! Xx NHYM
It must be really tough for your daughter, but if she is going through a transitional time she could probably do without a fairweather friend. Now that Hannah has moved on hopefully your daughter will meet a really good friend who can support her and be consistent. I am sure that having your support will help immeasurably! Good luck with it all! xxx