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Friendship is Hard

Recently I sat in on a seminar with probably a hundred other women, all of whom work in the same field as I do. We gathered to discuss not only issues directly related to our jobs, but things nearer to the heart, too – issues related to being a woman in this world today.

Prior to this session, many of us had completed a survey about what we’d like to hear addressed. As the speakers moved through the list of hot topics, is it any surprise that one of the first subjects that came up was friendship? More specifically… friendships with other women.

Why is this so hard, y’all? Having girlfriends who you can trust and be real with should be simple. But it’s definitely not. Girls can be so fake, shallow, judgmental, and just plain mean sometimes.

You’ve probably heard a girl say – or you’ve said yourself – “My best friends are guys” or “I just get along better with guys.” Have you asked yourself why that is?

I’ll tell you: It’s because our friendships with guys aren’t filled with the judgment, comparison, and competition that we heap on each other as women.

Have you noticed that we instantly judge each other? Consciously or subconsciously, the moment you see a woman you haven’t met, you are comparing yourself to her. Is she prettier than me? Does she have a boyfriend? Do our mutual friends like her better? Within seconds of seeing another woman, we often have our minds made up about whether or not we’re going to like her – sometimes before even having a conversation with her!

This is crazy, really. Girls, we need to be aware of our thoughts toward other women. This is not a competition. It’s life, it’s hard, and we’re in it together. We need more friends, not more enemies.

So how do we make friends?

As one of the seminar speakers so eloquently said: “Find someone who cares about what you care about, and ask her out to coffee.”Right? It’s really not that complicated. As girls, we’ve been taught – sometimes the hard way – to be safe, to be careful, to “guard our hearts.” Not a bad thing, but if we’re going to have real, honest friendships, we have to be willing to be open, to be vulnerable, to take a risk. To say, “Hey, I think we could be friends; do you want to have coffee sometime?

What wonderful friendships could we be missing out on, either because we are judging someone we don’t truly know, or because we’re keeping ourselves too guarded to let someone in?

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