My contemplations today- why do women have such issues with their friendships compared to how men handle their buds? Men in my office, after taking an informal survey, said it was because we are so emotional, drama seeking, competitive or grudge holders...but I think that there is something deeper to this.
Granted women are complex creatures- but I noticed that as men get older they usually have a select group of "boys" or "buddies" from work, teams they play on or guys they grew up with. Their circle of friends tends to shrink if left independent of themselves. Their circle of friends only expand depending on what their current other half invites into their social life- they are balancing the mingled dynamics of other mothers of their kids, co-workers, college sorority sisters, the neighbors, their mom's friends, etc. (you get it). Women are usually collecting the friends, trying to keep the friends, apologizing to the friends or wanting to keep everyone happy. Always wanting to be the good girl, they are afraid often times to speak up to these women warriors they try to collect into their tribe.
The Friend Collectors are afraid. What are they afraid of? To be shunned? To Be Left Out? The confrontation? I am starting to think this goes back to hunter and gatherers days. Women were left behind while their men were out hunting- no assurance he wasn't going to be killed off. These females were fending for themselves and their babies; collecting berries, keeping the home fire lit, alert, taking care of the old folks. Who wants to pick berries for themselves? Who wants to get stuck with the geriatric fire all the time- and what if you need some help with your toddler when you are looking for kindle or some toilet paper leaves when your man didn't come back from the mammoth hunt?
This carried all the way past the women liberation movement straight into elementary schools everywhere in every girl's childhood. Who wanted to sit alone at the lunch table in the cafeteria? The mean girl behavior starting in elementary school and the pack mentally starting- who would be established as the alpha female. The concept of the Alpha females going back to the fire in Hunter and Gatherer days. This female the rest would follow- giving a sometimes false sense of security- if you accepted by her- you would be safe or at least you would be intimidated not to be. Follow her- to the best berries and whatever happened to your mate didn't matter if she had your back. Some women developed the girl code through the elementary school process- and some women sacrificed it- thinking to get anywhere they had to sell out their sisterhood or had to just take care of themselves. I will find my own clean water thank you very much.
In the digital age of migrations due to employment opportunities and meeting people online- women are more to mix their tribes through college and pursuing careers. Moving cities- and meeting new tribeswomen. In this exciting age, there is still at the core there is this ingrained girl code of well we have to stick together. Women are more likely to break up with a toxic boyfriend, not speak to a family member who upsets them but will have passive tendencies and afraid to speak up, break up with, stand up to either dominant female friends or act in a passive aggressive manner of communication towards another woman. We are afraid to break up with a friend who doesn't turn out as we thought or that we outgrew someone? We are afraid to say No to something we can't take on our over laden plate, but will hide and duck the person asking.
When meeting a new friend- we are all on good behavior like a first date. Why are women so different that as you get to know them- they may not turn out to be what you thought as a Match.com or Tinder swipe would turn out? Why do we think we have to keep these friendships- even though we may find out we don't have as much in common? We feel guilty or "feel bad" getting rid of them? Or we think that our friendships have to fulfill every need-meanwhile in truth you can have certain friends for different needs. My true friends I can call at 3 am and will understand me- and love me enough to tell me when I am wrong. My acquaintances are the ones- I shop with, I do cultured stuff with, etc. I also have learned to start trusting my instincts- just like with relationships- that if something doesn't feel right- it probably isn't. Women can be jerks too just as they can be psychopaths and murderers.
Somehow we are afraid to be choosey in our circles- not wanting to be snobby. But guess what, we are not in high school anymore. We won't get left at the cafeteria table. And you are allowed to outgrow friends. You are allowed to thank the higher power for bringing them into your life at that point in your journey- you learned the lesson and it was time to keep moving. And we can pick who is in our tribe. And when you do find the rare breed that you want to keep on your team- keep them and hold them tight.
Because friendships are like relationships- sometimes we put a lot of work into our marriage and sometimes it is on autopilot. But we know at the end of the day- we love our mate and we say I appreciate you just like we do with our closest warrior women.
Now let's gather some grapes and have some wine.
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