Connecting with women can be difficult when you consider yourself more like one of the guys. Jessi Sanfilippo from SHUGGILIPPO shares her experience with female friendships and what she’s learned about having girlfriends. P.S. Jessi created the awesome image for this series!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been socially regarded as “one of the boys.”
Since the first time I told a joke that made a room explode in raucous laughter, I knew that there was a peculiarity about my sense of humor that wouldn’t always play well with the ladies. Or, at least that’s what the easily impressed mind of a tween who just said the word “dong” in a room of peers was left to believe. I also seemed to communicate more openly, both generally and intellectually, with guys.
I was never the type to want to talk about clothes, or figure out how to do my makeup, or become a superstar hairstylist. Activities that the female friends I had were easily intrigued by and spoke most effortlessly about. For a very long time, I was convinced that the stereotypical attributes of “what girls like” and “what guys like” were what made me anomalous as a female. I’m happy to have discovered that there’s a whole mess of females on this planet that are just as exceptional as I am. And I was lucky enough to find them on the cusp of adulthood.
Soon after high school, I landed myself in a series of careers in industries primarily dominated by men. But it was when I ventured into radio that I realized the absence of emotional support that is unmatched by female friendships. Now this is not to say that I don’t think men have the capacity to connect with women emotionally. Rather it was telling to me that empathetic connection was crucial for some experiences we’re faced with in womanhood, motherhood, hell, just in life.
Professionally, I excelled rapidly and, when the ratio of females to males in your workplace is 1:10, there’s a camaraderie that blossoms among the meager minority in leadership positions that stretches beyond “breaking glass ceilings” and “ogling the morning show host’s pecks.”
Personally, I was handed a coat-rack of hats I hadn’t anticipated wearing for at least a decade down the road. I was fortunate enough to grow up quickly with the support and compassion of my sisters, childhood friends, and, most impressively, the strangers I found on ye olde internet. All of which extinguished the nuances I’d written to what it meant to be “girlfriends.” The judgment, the hangups, the vanity? None of that mattered when we all shared circumstance.
The magnificent thing about people is that our opportunities to relate exceed the misfortune of disconnect. That magnificence becomes formidable when we open ourselves to the virtue of building long-lasting relationships with women, regardless of the pettiness of preferential interests.
For me, the interesting thing about female friendships is that they transcend difference. Whether it’s a sense of humor we share or the experience of child birth or the mid-life chin hairs, there’s understanding, empathy and passionate support that serves as the foundation of every female relationship.