Monday, April 04, 2011

Guest Post: Girls Without Friends by Suburban Princess

Do you ever read a blog post or article somewhere an it just speaks to your heart? This morning The Life of Suburban Princess wrote about friendship, in particular women friends, and it is something I think we {women} all should read and think about.  It is one of those great posts that cross every age and demographic and I just had to email her and ask to share it here on my blog as well.  So, please read, think it over and share your thoughts and make sure to pop over to The Life of a Suburban Princess and share with her as well!

Suburban Princess
Recently I have met a lot of new people. We moved to this town 5 years ago, didn't know anyone and have built a life here out of nothing. I am one of those people who talks to anyone and everyone so it should come as no surprise I know many, many people here. We can easily fill our home when we host our annual Christmas party and I can find someone to go to dinner, drinks, movies with almost any time I want - if I make it happen.

At the Little Prince's birthday party I was standing with a group of women discussing popularity. I fessed up and admitted I was decidely unpopular in school. I never really had any friends. Five women stared at me in silence.

Hermes Scarf Friend: Seriously?
Suburban Princess: Yeah...it was awful!
Hermes Scarf Friend: I so don't believe that!
Suburban Princess: Why do you think I am so popular now!?

What I am finding out about so many of the women I know is that they dont really have any other friends. They know lots of people and get invited to things...but they dont have any friends. Nor have they ever had any friends.

We all know you must be a good friend to have a good friends but why do so many woman never reach out and be a good friend? Or ever just try to have a social life? Why don't they make the first move and text/email/call someone to go out for drinks or a movie or just to hang out? I know a number of women who would spend entire weekends sitting home alone before they would think/want to make plans with anyone. Is being lonely and alone more attractive than simply sending a 'Hey, let's get together' email?

The Suburban Prince suggests it is because women are not able to distinguish between their dating life and their friendships.

Interesting. Is it because women are so trained to not make the first move? Should we hold other women to the same standard we hold men to? I think women often make the mistake of thinking men are like our girlfriends and function the same way so it might be correct to think women make the mistake of thinking women are like our boyfriends and husbands and should be handled the same way.

One woman told me she is so afraid of rejection that she never reaches out to anyone. WOW! This woman gets invited to every event...girls nights, parties, movies, dinners...yet is so afraid of being rejected by another woman that she would never suggest getting together. Why is there such a disconnect? When did we start worrying so much about being rejected? Have women started being cruel to each other - if I dont want to spend time with someone I simply make up an excuse that wont hurt anyone's feelings. Are women actually telling each other 'No, I dont want to hang out with you' ?

Another woman I have been friendly with sent me a text asking me if she has done something to offend me. She said I havn't been communicating and she wants to know what she has done. I simply hadn't contacted her for over a week because I have been busy with my own life. First of all, this is not a conversation to be had over text messaging and second...it isn't like she has been contacting me and I have been ignoring her. I think she is getting a taste of what it is like when I am not doing all of the work. She is taking it personally when she could've easily called or email or texted. This is confusing to me. She is bothered enough that I am not making this friendship happen but isn't bothered enough to make it happen herself! She wants to be persued. Instead of suggesting we go for drinks or dinner she attacked me. During a recent daytrip I found out this woman feels too guilty to just sit in the car waiting while I load everything and get the Little Prince strapped in, get the tailgate open, pack up the stroller....but doesn't feel guilty enough to help in any way! Does she feel as a woman it isn't her job to be a part of the team?

Many women ignore female friendships for so long that when something happens in their life they find they have no one to turn to. No support system. No comforting hugs. No one arriving at their doorstep with casseroles and baby gifts. No one holding their hand at funerals. No one to relate to. Prairie voles, a monogamous rodent, have an interesting response to stress. When a male vole is put in a stressful situation, he runs to his female partner. Female voles, when stressed, immediately run to the females they were raised with.

A number of years ago I attended the funeral of a friend's mother. She told me afterwards that you really find out who your true friends are when someone dies. Aparantly I was the only person who wasn't family who went to the funeral. But then it's always me. I am always the one who goes to the games, funerals, pageants, interventions and anything else friends are supposed to attend. The ironic thing is this friend is the same person who later ended our relationship by screaming at me, 'I am busy you know! I dont have time for your silly little dinner parties!'. Looking back at that I don't take it personally. She was so unhappy with her own life and I was easy to lash out at. This may explain why no one was there for her when her mother died.

Why are women so cavalier when it comes to their friendships? Do we think female friends are as disposable and replaceable as some of the men in our lives?

One woman told me she would LOVE to have a best friend...someone to tell everything and do everything with but then this same women rarely puts any effort into her friendships. Making friends when we are kids is easy. Making friends when we are adults is not so easy. In fact it is almost impossible from what I have heard from so many women. I think there is a social stigma attached to being friendless. Is there really something wrong with someone who doesn't have any friends? Maybe there is! Is it laziness? I have to say yes when I think of a few women I know. Is it lack of time? Perhaps - but I know lots of women who have lots of time to facebook, twitter, watch tv and other time wasting activities but then they say they dont have time to cultivate their relationships outside of their nuclear family - I have never had any problem finding the time to have lunch or drinks or dinner with a friend and I have a husband, child and house to take care of too. Is it lack of interest? Maybe, but lots of these women tell me they are craving friendships!

A girl I know told me she doesn't call or 'bother' anyone because she feels she would be interfering with their happiness. Another told me she doesnt reach out because she doesn't feel she would be very good company. I find it amazing this has happened to women. This lack of self confidence has not been seen in previous generations of wives and moms and has left so many of us lonely.

My neighbour has a little girl 4 months younger than the Little Prince so one would think we would be together quite often so the kids can play together...but this mom actually told me she doesn't care one bit about a social life. She actually built an entire playground in their backyard so she would never have to take her kids to the playground where she might have to interact with other people. I can see what they watch on tv from my house but she isn't willing to suck it up for a couple of hours a week so her own child learns to socialize.

There have been times when I am lonely. It is hard being the one who makes all of the plans and arranges all of the get togethers. My friends almost always show up but they never reciprocate and sometimes I just get tired of being the glue. If I dont do all of the work I can find myself going weeks on end without any social interaction. It would be nice if someone invited me to something for a change instead of waiting for me to make all the plans. Katiesperk commented that she is a reciprocator - I wish more people would be like that! I have no problem making the first move but then we never get invited in return. So we never invite people again.

So tell me...are you in the same boat? Do you have to do all the inviting or wind up sitting home alone all the time? Or are you the person who doesnt reach out until you are invited to something?


Have a fabulous day!

Thank YOU, Suburban Princess for sharing your heart and giving us all something to think about!

5 comments:

Suburban Princess said...

Thank you so much for wanting to repost my blog from today. I am happy and sad to hear from so many women who can relate to what I go through. We should just have a town of bloggers so we can all have amazing friends like you!

Beaufort Belle said...

What a wonderful guest post. Thank you to Suburban Princess and to you Michelle! This really hit a chord with me and feel like I fit right into the post. Very timely actually!

Sundresses and Smiles said...

this is definitely food for thought..i feel blessed to have some really great friends that have been there for me through thick and thin, but i can also relate to sometimes having to be the planner, etc. my biggest fear about graduating college is being separated from all my friends and having to make new friends, so this post will definitely be stored in the back of my mind!

as a side note, bella, i went home for the day yesterday and was showing my mom my blog and all my new blog friends, and you were one of the blogs i chose to show her! she thought you were BEAUTIFUL!

AngelaV said...

This was great. Just the other day I thought "What if I just stopped calling and making all the plans? Would anyone call me?" So timely, thanks.

Kathie Truitt said...

I have an amazing support system of girlfriends of ALL ages. From early-30's all the way up to early 90's. It's nothing less than wonderful. Michelle, I know you're a book reviewer, so may I ask you to google "False Victim" my novel, and read the reviews before you think I'm 'bragging'...it took me a llloong way to get where I am today and you'll understand why I consider my legions of friends a true gift from God. And it will also explain why I reach out beyond my neighborhood for friends.
(THe story is autobiographical and was part of and Investigation Discovery series. I also sold the movie rights to Lifetime).

Kathie