To The Girls Who Don’t Respect the “Girl Code”

We all laugh over the scene in Mean Girls when Gretchen Wieners fervently informs Cady that ex-boyfriends are off-limits because “that’s just like, the rules of feminism.” Although Gretchen may be over-dramatic…she’s not wrong.

Pursuing a friend’s ex or significant other, simply because you’re attracted to them, is not acceptable. If there was a girl code Bible, that would be rule number one: bolded, and underlined in red.

Now, obviously, there are exceptions to every rule: if you know your friend is 110% done with her ex, and she expresses that she would be just fine with you pursuing that ex…then great! Additionally, there are those situations where your BFF has a two-week crush on a guy, moves onto the next fellow, and then you develop feelings for the guy – there was no significant emotional relationship with your friend and the guy, so it’s not a cardinal sin if you decide you want to go for him.

But every other situation where you decide you have feelings for your BFF Becky’s exes or significant others, and decide to go after them, is unequivocally wrong.

I had a friend who – although knowing I still had feelings for him, and that I was currently hanging out with him on a regular basis – expressed that she was interested in my ex, and wanted my blessing in her pursuit of him. Now… I will give this girl props for even asking me, but let’s not disregard the fact that I had only a few weeks earlier told her that I was still in love with him. She, believing that I wouldn’t say “no” because I’m the “nice girl,” only asked as a way to pretend that she valued our friendship and my opinion, when the reality was anything but.

Long story short, I told her she could pursue him if she wanted – even though I wanted to say “no,” some twisted logic inside of me told her that I should say “yes” in order to be the “good friend.” My ex told her he wasn’t interested in her, and she did not speak to me for months. Yes, you read that right – it was my fault that he wasn’t into her, and so even though I had tried to be the “good friend” by saying it was fine if she pursued him…I quickly became the “bad friend.”

Now, there are a lot of things wrong with this situation – first, I should have stood up for myself, and told her that I wasn’t comfortable with a close friend of mine pursuing a guy I had history with, and was still in love with. Second, she should have respected the girl code. Although she was attracted to my ex, she should have had enough common sense to realize that going after him with all she knew about my feelings – not to mention that we had been close friends for years – was a low blow, and completely wrong.

I wish I could say this is the only type of situation I’ve been in where a friend has valued herself and her wants over our friendship…but I’d be lying. And that’s really sad to admit.

Whatever happened to girls before guys? Whatever happened to friendship first and always? And most importantly, whatever happened to respecting other people, even if that meant making personal sacrifices?

Let’s be honest - it’s easy to develop crushes on friends’ significant others or exes because, since you are close to your friend, it’s inevitable that you’ll spend significant time with her SO’s. That’s understandable, but there is also such a thing as self-control and respect. Part of being a friend means making sacrifices: sometimes you’ll have to stay-in on a Friday night with your sick friend to keep them company instead of going out, sometimes you may have to make an In ‘N’ Out run for them in the middle of the night, and sometimes you’ll have to not give into your feelings you may have for their SO’s or exes out of respect for them.

Bottom line: the whole point of “girl code” is about respect. Friends should always respect other friends’ feelings. Relationships are already difficult enough because we put our whole hearts into them, and more times than not, we end up feeling crushed and hurt. The best way to push through the pain is to have a friend by our side that we undoubtedly know will stand by us, no matter what… not a girl posing as a friend who really only cares about what she wants.