Over the weekend, a friend and I talked about… friendships. We headed straight for the issue: understanding people. I had my own questions about friends. Women move out of each others lives. We’re too busy to maintain the friendship. We grow apart. We have different interests. Just the night before, other friends, friends who I’ve known for a long time had similar issues. The reigning question: “How do I understand this person? How do I understand this morphing friendship?”
The struggle with friendships hits everyone across the board on all sorts of levels. Making friends with new moms is hard. Why don’t we talk about it when adult friendships break up? The news says we resent and defriend our friends on Facebook. Just the other day, Miri wrote about her daughter’s friends making cupcakes for the girl who was running against her daughter for a school council position.
Why are female friendships so complex that we can hardly talk about them, yet only talk around them? Is it just easier to manage acceptance and say — some friendships are only going so far? In a Times article last year Judith Warner asks the question about the BFF culture admitting that the most time she has for her BFF is calling each other once a week and saying “I gotta go.” She writes:
There is no more powerful way that she could tell me I’m in her thoughts.
I also like what Roxane Gay wrote for Jezebel about female friendships, a list on How to Be Friends With Another Woman, but particularly, I like number 1 and 1A.
1. Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be toxic, bitchy or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses — pretty but designed to SLOW women down.
1A. This is not to say women aren’t bitches or toxic or competitive sometimes but rather to say that these are not defining characteristics of female friendship, especially as you get older.
Isn’t this the truth? As my friend was saying, “this is what it’s about.” Meaning, as you get older, having friendships, true ones with women that you can talk to–even if you’re not talking all the time–is what it’s about. Yes, yes, and yes. Until a problem comes up. Then you have to decide whether that friendship is important enough to ask “What is going on?” or “I’m pissed” or “I’m hurt.” And if that’s the case then you owe it to the friendship to do so. Otherwise, it’s not much of a friendship. Is it?
(Image: Fan Pop)