Edited by: Gauri Jhangiani (UG 18)
In college, between all the obviously huge life changes of moving across the country and adjusting to life alone, there was one change that was a little more subtle, but I think affected my life a lot more — I suddenly found I had no girl friends. Now don’t get me wrong; I’ve made some great friends in my nearly one year here. But, upon greater inspection, I realized that my friends are disproportionately male. Which, while not necessarily a bad thing, changed the dynamics of my life in initially unperceivable ways, but ultimately threw me off just a little bit.
Growing up, I only had female friends, I had girls nights, mass sleepovers, and nights out specifically with the girls. In general, I was more used to singling out the guys in my life as an anomaly. It never occurred to me how so many of the specifics of my relationship with these girls were affected by our gender. Just by default, our collective femininity changed the way we shared experiences, thoughts, clothes, everything. I took it for granted until I finally moved away and suddenly I didn’t know how to attract the same kind of group that I used to have. It seemed like it had to be a conscious effort to create something that used to be so organic for me. Incidentally, I had also suddenly found myself in the company of a lot of guy friends, which was honestly a really great experience. But by the time I had solidified most of my college friendships, the girls were few and far between.
I rarely find myself thinking too hard, or even feeling necessarily sad about this fact, because I love my friends and I’m having a great time. But this last weekend, I met up with a couple of friends from back home and all of a sudden, I experienced a level of friendship almost impossible for me to find anywhere else. I don’t know if my relationship with girls is the same as other girls. I know my individual friendships with them certainly aren’t, but the distinctive difference that gender plays in our friendships, I think is pervasive, and more importantly, I think is important to maintain.
There’s a lot of implications for this piece. The way in which girls stand together for so many political reasons, but the way in which it affects our daily lives is so much less identifiable, but just as important. I don’t know what I mean for you to take from this, except, remember the girls in your life, give them some love, keep them around.