- Gender and Relationships
Be The Friend You Wish To Have
How We Become Friends
Let's face it, friendship between women can be complicated. From the time we are little girls, I think it's a universal feeling among women to want to have that best friend to rely on and also be there for. Someone you can call in the middle of the night when you have a problem, someone who will never let you down.
I am discovering though that the truth is that as women we are harder on each other than we are compassionate and understanding. We are a tough breed when it comes to our needs for friendship to last.
It does seem to me that it is becoming harder to live up to the expectations of other women in our lives, and harder for them to live up to ours. I really think that we need to start giving each other a break!
If you are truthful with yourself, you'll realize that when it comes to making friends with a woman you are introduced to you probably size them up within the first 10 minutes of knowing them and decide whether or not she could be someone you could call a friend or if you don't like her and would never want to get to know her any better. Come on now, you know it's true! haha
Friendship is a Gift That We Need to Nurture
Friendship is a gift everyone needs, during every stage of their lives. When we moved out of state seven years ago my children were 15, 12 and 7 and it was really tough for them to leave the friends they had.
But what I told them was that they would still have those friends and they would make new ones after they moved. I told them that I knew from experience that they would continue to make new friends their whole lives whether it was because they were moving into a new school, a new job, or a new path in life - it's my opinion, I told them, that you can never have too many friends.
We are born into our family and we don't get to choose who they are, so to speak. We can argue with them and pick on them and somehow we know we will be forgiven and that we will forgive them as well, and that's part of the reason we can act the way we do with our family and get away with a lot more. They have to forgive us because, well, they're sort of stuck with us, lol!
When a friend let's us down, though, or perhaps says something we don't like or voices an opinion that upsets us, we can decide we don't want that person in our life anymore and the friendship may be over because of the particular situation or a lot of little things that add up to one big blowout.
Losing a close friend through a misunderstanding or a misalignment of values or a circumstance out of your control can be devastating and painful and leave a void in our life that's truly hard to fill. I know that I never want to let my friends down, but I'm sure I have unknowingly.
It's been my experience that women hold their girlfriends to a very high standard. Have you ever heard the quote, "Our friends are the family we choose for ourselves"? I love this quote and I think it is so true because friendship - true friendship is a gift.
What do I do if my friend is upset with me?
In my opinion women are harder on our (girl)friends than our family because we actually did get to choose them to be in our lives. And - and this is a big AND - there is something about being given the choice to find that someone in our life that makes us expect them to be "the perfect, wonderful, nurturing, all-knowing, never let's us down, helps us the way we need to be helped, says all the right things and everything we need and want to hear best friend." We expect A LOT from our friends. Sometimes too much.
There is a huge amount of stress on women to have it all today - be the perfect weight, always look their best, have wonderful well-balanced healthy beautiful children that never make mistakes (haha), have perfect homes, marriages, and heck, even the perfect garden, lol! You know what I'm talking about, you see it on every magazine cover. Well, guess what, none of us are perfect! We all make mistakes and do and say things inadvertently that hurt someone's feelings.
That's exactly why I think we need to give each other a break. Even if you don't think you ever rub anyone the wrong way, you do. It's okay. You're not perfect. It's okay to say you're sorry (even if you don't change your mind about the situation but just because you might have hurt someone's feelings), and move on. Chances are you didn't mean to hurt anyone, and chances are if a friend is upset with you, that probably all they want to hear is, "I'm sorry I hurt you."
Some friends will be with you for a lifetime after you meet; others will be in your life just for a certain period of time. But remember that friendships need to be nurtured and if you want to have friends, you need to strive to be the friend you wish to have but don't expect perfection from them and especially - and listen carefully - don't expect them to do exactly what you would do in any given situation or react the same way you would to something because they are not you and just because you are friends doesn't mean you have to ALWAYS agree on EVERYTHING.