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Why Are We So Hard on Our Girlfriends?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

The guy from that one October who strung you along for three months hit you up recently. The two of you share a flirtatious banter, you are glad you remained friends, and then happily move on the next morning – after boasting about it to your roommate of course. When you arrive to class later that day, Melanie makes eye contact with you. You roll your eyes. She pissed you off last week, when she flirted with your current flame right in front of you. This is the grudge you are choosing to hold.

Melanie is a pretty close friend; someone who has held your hair drunk and shared notes with you. She helped talk you through Last October Guy, and validated what a jerk he was. Why is this incident worth your entire friendship?

As a woman, I pride myself in being a forgiving friend. I hate how catty women are perceived in the movies, and I aim to fight that stereotype. However, I have found myself taking part in this grudge-holding culture. Why is it that we are so set on maintaining being “chill” with our former flames who treated us like less than we deserve, but we can’t seem to let it go when a close friend of ours messes up?

It’s because we care so much, probably more, about our friendships and so it is more hurtful when a friend hurts us. What we should learn to do instead is express our hurt and frustration, because we care so much. If this small deed inflicted so much pain because we care so much, it probably means the friendship is worth saving, too. People are important, and in this hurting world, we need to be mindful of how we treat others, even if it means being the bigger person. Who knows, maybe you’re actually the one in the wrong.

Recently, I watched an episode of New Girl where the lead and her best friend get in a huge blow up and respond passive-aggressively. While the characters hadn’t responded this way in arguments prior to this episode, the series was attempting to point out and maintain the stereotype that women hold everything in and are instead passive-aggressive to each other. It was not only sexist, but infuriating, because I realized how I had, in fact, experienced similar situations as the one the series portrayed.

Again – I stand by that I tend to let what bothers me roll of my shoulders. We live in a world full of so much anger already. At the same time, I do remain hurt longer by friends’ minor misdeeds than I do by frivolous flings’; or those who have broken my heart. If I do decide to “delete” said friend out of my life, I do so because “I deserve better.” Yet, I happily comment on the boy who crushed my heart’s new Instagram picture of him and his girlfriend: “How fun! You look so happy! *lime green heart emoji*” because I, again, am just soooo chill!

If you are someone who realizes you hold your friends to a higher standard and because of that, are also much less forgiving, you should learn to talk it out with them. Attempt empathy! There are usually two sides to every story. Think about what they did; is this out of character? If so, is it possible you read the entire situation wrong? Or, maybe your friend is going through something difficult and really needs you right now. While it is never okay for someone to treat you poorly out of self-projecting their own problems, humans are imperfect beings. You have probably projected yourself, and appreciated when those you hurt stuck by you, anyway.

This is not implying that protecting yourself from potentially mentally-damaging people is less important than being nice. There is a big difference between a Frienemy – Urban Dictionary defines this as “A ‘toxic’ person who poses as a friend but subconsciously or consciously wishes you harm”– and someone who cares for you and simply messed up. Keep in mind which one this friend is.

Before I learned how to be more straightforward with friends who hurt me, I was taught how helpful writing a letter is. Not a text, maybe an e-mail – a phone call is the best option – but writing out a letter about how you perceived the situation and how it was hurtful, and how you would like to fix it, is a helpful way to fully express yourself and your feelings. After writing a letter, you could even call, and have the letter there for notes to help you talk it out.

People say that good friends are hard to come by, but I disagree–maintaining friendships just takes actual work. You will lose friends if you are bad about giving that relationship the attention it needs, just as you will lose a lot of special people if you choose to hold a grudge. People are worth the fight. Choosing to easily discard of a person who hurt you may not seem to have any impact on your life, but think about how it could impact theirs. You could cause real damage to a person by deciding they aren’t worth your time and effort anymore. That is just as unfair as the hurtful comment they may have made to you.

So, if you have a Melanie in your life, and you feel so strongly discouraged about how they hurt you, consider reaching out to them. They will appreciate the effort, and they may surprise you and apologize, and learn for next time. Growing into a better person comes with growing pains, and we should be there to help each other become better. If you aren’t going to give your friend the benefit of the doubt, the least you can do is let them know what made you so upset.

We shouldn’t be so hard on our friends, especially if we are so easy on the men – or the significant others in general – in our lives. I’ll say it again: People are worth it. Let’s fight the passive-aggressive stereotype together.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Don't make this ginger snap... just kidding. I'm usually pretty nice. I am a happy-go-lucky, Avril Lavigne lovin' and poodle obsessed San Diego girl. I think I'v been handling the cold weather pretty well! Communication is my degree of choice, although maybe someday I'll be a world reknown astrologer... One last thing: I'm pretty sarcastic. 
Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor