By: Beatriz Craven, Guest Blogger
“I have a hard time making friends with other women.”
I have heard some variation of this line countless times. It's always followed up for the same reasons. Girls are: too gossipy, judgmental, or insincere. The women who share their concerns with me would like to develop friendships with other women but find that it's much easier to make friends with men and often take that route instead. “Men just tell it to you like it is,” they say. They find it much easier to trust men. So what's up with us females? I wonder about how much of this is a stereotype of women and how much of this air we are actually giving off.
Any woman who survived high school, or middle school for that matter, can testify that they've survived some form of female bullying. Did you know that that's how girls/women typically bully? Yep, women are far less likely to engage in physical fights like boys or men do. We are much more likely to engage in manipulation or gossip to hurt others. If you ask me, I'd probably rather get decked than suffer some of the emotional battery some women have faced.
So how might this relate to women forming relationships with women? Maybe for some of us gals, we've struggled to recover from old playground scars and have a hard time forming relationships with women. Perhaps some of us engage in some of this gossipy behavior ourselves at times and know how it can be. Maybe most of this falls under the stereotype category and it's mostly taking the plunge again to be vulnerable in new relationships with women. From what I've found in working with women in therapy groups, it's typically the latter. I could easily rename my group for women to “chicks who don't like other chicks but turns out they really, really like each other.” It's actually one of the coolest things to see women bond so strongly over shared experiences and hurts. But that bonding doesn't happen if we never get to that place of vulnerability. We have to be willing to go the distance emotionally and be willing to work through rough patches as they come. That takes risk and with risk comes the possibility of pain, sure, but also the possibility of something really amazing. Life is just a mixed bag in that way. The only way we can be proactive in cultivating healthy and deep relationships is by taking these risks and doing what we can to be intentional in breaking the stereotype and supporting one another.
Don't be a chick that gossips. Be a chick that supports other chicks.
When we come together and support one another AHmazing things happen, but we have to be willing to take the risk and make those connections!
- Go out of your way to support another girl--pay her a compliment, help her with a work project, be a good listener, go see her band play or check out her soccer match--see how it great it feels when we lift each other up instead of tearing one another down.
Beatriz finds incredible meaning in her work as a therapist in Houston, Texas. She completed her PhD in Counseling Psychology and works with college students at Sam Houston State University. She is an avid life enthusiast, loving wife, and movie fanatic. Check out her website and tumblr at beatrizcraven.com
image via huffingtonpost.com