Friends Over Frenemies: Unlocking the "Mystery" of Female Friendship

I still remember the smug air surrounding the girls in high school who would shrug and announce that they were only friends with guys because (drum-roll please!) they “just couldn’t deal with the drama of being friends with girls”. Obviously nothing shows others how Not Like Other Girls™ you are than generalizing and degrading your entire gender.

Happily, this attitude has definitely decreased since college, however, this trend is evidence of a much larger issue within a society that does not value or believe in the power of female friendships. Think about it, a huge number of movies are based on the premise of some white girl escaping her back-stabbing, one dimensional, stupid friends and finding true friendship (and usually love) with a straight white man.

Female friendships, much like everything else that could possibly be attributed to women, is turned into the “other”. We’ve all heard the stereotypes, “Women are catty”, “Women hold grudges”, “Women talk behind each other’s backs”, and my personal favorite, “Men just don’t have that kind of drama”. None of these are categorically true, however, society thinks it is hilarious to perpetuate and glorify unhealthy relationships between women (because any part of a woman’s life that does not revolve around a man must be crap, am I right?). It’s time for this to stop. Despite what the media loves to present, drama will likely be part of your social life no matter the gender of your friends. In fact, as a wise old junior, I have proof.

Recently my friends and I were reminiscing about our freshman year and wound up looking at the old Group Me for our floor. I had personally forgotten how stupidly petty a couple groups of the guys could be. Here is a sample:

 

**Tyler C.  changed the group’s name to Will everyone take this Learning Styles quiz if you haven’t already?

 

Gary

Hey @Tyler C. don’t change the name of the group unless given permission.

 

Tyler C.

Do you want to start a war Gary?

 

Steve Vane

@Gary don’t talk shit you can’t back up

 

Josh changed the group’s name to World War 2 Part 2

 

Steve Vane

@Gary If you bought croissants i would put them in the trash

As stupid as this exchange was, it is pretty indicative of the groupchat the entire semester, and surprisingly enough not a joke (at least to the people involved). Eventually the dorm containing “Steve Vane”, “Tyler C”, and most of their friends left the Groupchat on a semi-permanent basis in fit of rage and spent the rest of the year avoiding most people in the hall (despite the fact that they had no involvement in this situation or others similar to it). This particular exchange occurred in October, not long before they permanently left the Groupchat. This just goes to show women are not the only purveyors of drama.

The point of my sharing this exchange is not to call out individuals, or to say that friendships between genders are not important or valuable. However, the idea that friendships between women are inherently unhealthy is harmful for many reasons. Beyond feeding the idea that female friendships are “other”, this type of thinking also encourages women, especially young women, to stay in unhealthy relationships because this is just the “inherent dynamic among girlfriends”. Everyone deserves a social net comprised of healthy relationship, it’s time to appreciate the people in your life who love and support you, and cut out those who are unkind to you, regardless of gender. Friendship can come from any gender, it’s time to stop buying into this patriarchal myth that seeks to fool women into fighting each other rather than those who see us an inferior; appreciate the intelligent, hard-working, talented women in your life.

**All names have been changed

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3