Women are wonderful, truly! I am grateful for each and every one of my female friendships. All of my female friends add different things to the pot pourri of my life.
I have an admission to make. It wasn’t until recently that I developed a real understanding of what it means to not only have but to be a good female friend. It’s funny how middle age has focused my lenses about certain matters. Looking back at my first act, I can see that I approached my female friendships with a certain wariness. I have a sense that I am now playing catch up. Better the getting of wisdom late than never.
Recently, I found I’m not alone in what was my wariness. I happened upon a book, The Twisted Sisterhood by Kelly Valen which explores the negative side of female relationships. It is a fascinating read and it demonstrates that women from all walks of life and levels of education have suffered at the hands of a fellow sister or several sisters. The behaviour cited tends to be insidious, passive aggressive and enduring. It seems to be particularly magnified when tribes or cliques of women are involved. This bears out my own personal experience of finding it easier to relate to women one on one than in a pack.
What I don’t get is why this adolescent sort of behaviour has to translate into adulthood. I have no issue with women bonding with each other over common interests or experiences. There is much solace and comfort to be gained from sharing. But does this have to come at the expense of the feelings of those that are not part of the sharing? Why does clique thinking have to be so black and white?
I’m in, she’s out.
I can’t be friends with her when I am with my clique.
I’m in the know, she’s not and she’s different.
And so it goes. Bonding through mutual jealously and dislike for others is anything but positive. Bitching and creating barriers and territories is short-sighted. Emphasising difference is self -defeating.
I have seen women who are wonderful change when they are in the company of a clique or when they encounter a conflict between their own personal interests and that of their clique. From friend to frenemy in a blink of an eye. Most of us have insecurities in some way shape or form – but clique thinking only serves to feed these.
We all need to be a little kinder to our fellow sisters and a little bit more aware of our effect on others. We also all need to be kinder to ourselves and give ourselves permission to be who we are. Doing so, will only serve to make the world a better place and open ourselves to a wider array of friendships and more meaningful and empowering experiances.
After all, isn’t that what life is really about?
This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge