Friendship Wars

We have all been down that road before; crying frantically on our way back home because another girl called us a �name.� I remember plenty of instances in elementary school where I would get upset about a fight with my girlfriends and cry myself to sleep. My mom, trying her best to help, would just say, �Forget about those girls! You�re better than them anyway.� Yet, it never sufficed. As I grew older and traveled through the tumultuous years of high school, friendship problems only deepened in my life. The characters portrayed by Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls were really my group of friends, treating each other badly for reasons we were too young to understand.

Why do girls love to fight? School administrators and counselors note a large percentage of their non-academic involvement with adolescent girls in school deals with trying to resolve friendship quarrels, a feat even they don�t know how to handle. Granted, boys growing up get into more physical fights throughout their school career. Girls bicker, gossip, and maliciously attack their friends � and take it to a more personal level. In a girl�s world, intimacy is the principal commodity. So it is no surprise that some of the most intense relational problems stem from girl friendships.

Do we ever grow out of this? The answer is no, but the way in which we deal with relational dilemmas change as we mature and learn to become more constructive. Being in a sorority, I learned that it is impossible to avoid problems and fights with your sisters or friends, especially if you see them on a daily basis. What did work for us were grievances.

Grievances are gatherings in which a group of people get together to alleviate the “air.” In my sorority chapter, we asked for a grievance whenever there was tension that escalated for more than a week. Instead of throwing it under the rug, we faced the issue at hand, discussing it until each side had been heard. We tried to respect each other when we had the floor, and held our comments until the person was done speaking. Sometimes we even allocated a sergeant of arms to maintain order, but it didn’t always run so smoothly. But what they did offer was the chance to reconcile with the people that matter most to you. Even if your dilemma wasn’t resolved, it would at least give you the opportunity to see the other person’s side.

Now that I’m in my 20s, I know what it means to be a considerate friend. Even gesturing for a grievance is a big step and can mean a lot. Minuscule problems should never stand in the way of friendships that you cherish. If they aren’t addressed, they can become a bigger conflict and you can possibly lose a friend you care about. Little fights aren’t worth that risk.Images courtesy of,

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