Do you have female friendships that just work and some that leave you wondering why you even bother? The interesting thing about female friendships is…what, exactly?
Today kicks off the first in a 10-week series exploring the sometimes complex and interesting dynamics of female friendships. Each Thursday, I will feature some really great writers who will explore their own friendships and try to answer the very question I have posed to you.
Up first: me! I’ve wanted to write something about female friendships for some time but didn’t know exactly how to go about doing it. What came of this piece is far different than what I had imagined it would have looked like when I started on it. I had a real epiphany writing it and I hope you come to same conclusions after reading it.
I’m going way back…so settle in. In fifth grade, I had a friend named Charlotte. I was new at the school and she and I took quickly to each other. It was probably because we sat next to each other in the classroom. Wasn’t that how you made all your friends in grade school? It was easy then, right? By the middle of the school year, she decided that we were no longer going to be as close as we had become. She decided that she only wanted to be “Hi-Bye Friends.” I was devastated and confused because what the hell was a “Hi-Bye Friend” anyway? She wanted a casual friendship, one where you don’t hang out at recess or have sleepovers at each other’s houses but instead you exchange pleasantries as only fifth graders could.
That “Hi-Bye” status lasted a whole minute before we were back sitting together at the lunch tables and riding bikes after school. But I still carry that the sting of rejection I felt that afternoon on the playground.
Fast forward thirty years give or take.
I’ve got plenty of friends. Mom friends, cancer friends, college friends, high school friends, blogging friends, former workplace friends – hell, Charlotte and I are even still friends. With the exception of a close few, I have found myself with a lot of casual friendships – or “Hi-Bye Friends.”
Shasta Nelson, author of “Friendships Don’t Just Happen” suggests that we all value belonging. Simply, we want to fit in and have others care about us. She says that we need relationships beyond the casual friendships to satisfy that sense of belonging. She calls them Committed Friends and they look like the foursome from Sex and the City.
Yes. That. Please!
But, the interesting thing about female friendships is that they don’t have to be as complicated as I have been making them out to be. See, I have agonized for months about my widening my circle of Committed Friends. I didn’t realize until writing this that it’s not about the number of friendships in that circle but instead the quality of them.
Come back Thursday, June 5th as Tracy Jensen of It Builds Character explores what she finds interesting about female friendships.