The Interesting Thing About Female Friendships: Self Doubt

Does she really even like you? Megan from MamaBub shares her experience with female friendships and vows to let go. Oh goodness, this post really speaks to me. Leave a comment if you can relate.

Female Friendships

I’m about to admit something that’s going to make me sound less than awesome, and I don’t think there’s any nicer way to say it. In friendships, I generally assume that I’m more invested than the other person. There are exceptions to this rule, sure. I have good friends, and I have great friends, but the path to friendship is full of self doubt.

When I was younger, much younger, I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to be married because then I could stop living in fear that my boyfriend of the moment would spontaneously break up with me. Also, marriage seemed like a fairly good indicator of mutual love and respect. (Let’s just let that gigantic oversimplification lie for now.)  There’s no such level of commitment for friendships though. There’s nothing that permanently binds us to a friend in such a way that walking away would be, at the very least, pretty inconvenient.

You would think that this level of doubt would make me an awesome friend, since I’m always trying to win someone over. What happens in reality is that I hold back. I’m rarely the one to make the first move, so to speak, because what if they laugh at my forwardness? What if we grab coffee, or get together with our kids and they’re just being friendly? How do I know which friends are the kinds I can do school and kid things with, and which friends are the kinds who will want to grab dinner with my husband and me?

Do you think like this, or am I completely insane?

Of course that’s totally unfair to any potential friends. It is an utter miracle that I have any friends at all with this attitude, and yet there are so many great women in my life. (What if they’re all just pretending?)

Do you see how this could be a problem?

The interesting thing about female friendships is that this method of keeping myself at arm’s length isn’t doing anything to strengthen my friendships, and it certainly doesn’t make me the sort of person people want to be friends with. Moving forward I’m going to let go, even just a little bit, of those insecurities. They won’t go away, but I could certainly stand to be a better friend.

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  1. I could have written this post. I’m getting better about it, but the “holding people at arm’s length” is so familiar to me. I hate that I’m so afraid to like people more than they like me, but there it is. Ugh.

  2. You could have also been reading my mind! Part of me keeping friends at arm’s length is to try to not burden other’s with any of life’s stresses and not having an easy time asking for help when I need it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. OMG YES! I especially relate to feeling marriage means commitment & respect; in reality, I don’t think it does, but it seems so many of us (me included!) think that. Friendships are hard. I think often of women I was very close with, then, all of a sudden, the communication dwindles, routines change (like seeing each other at work/school) & bye bye BFF.
    I am so content with my boyfriend, dog & parents. While I am extremely lucky to have that close knit group of friends, nothing beats knowing you’re coming home to your significant other or pup 😉

  4. I love this post, Megan! I think we as women all feel this insecurity at different points in our lives. I often wonder, “How on Earth did I survive middle school?!”. Especially those of us who’ve enduring broken long-term partner relationships or friendships have these feelings. I am slowly learning to accept myself and thereby trusting enough let people in. But believe me, even he least likely of people will surprise me with their different views of what friendship really means. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I really enjoy your company and definitely look forward to hanging out with you again soon! 🙂

  5. Emerson says:

    I’ve always had problems with walking away from friendships, even if they’re completely one sided because I feel guilty. I had a friend during college who abused our friendship for everything he could get out of it. I was his ear to talk to, shoulder to cry on, person to hang out if he needed someone (and he had mega family drama, so he needed someone more often than most), friend to help with moving, advice on women, etc…but if I needed to talk, or needed company, he would be too busy (often with those aforementioned female one night stands) to bother. Or he’d lie and say he hadn’t checked his phone although he’d been on Facebook mobile all day.

    Terrible friend, right? Yeah. But somehow, I was the one who felt bad about even thinking about walking away because “he needs me!” That’s my biggest pet peeve about myself. I wish I was more reserved about committing to a friendship, but I’ve been very lucky with good friendships so I’m too trusting. I’m in my mid 20s and still have extremely close friends from elementary and high school and we don’t take each other for granted. I like being needed but I need to only be available to people who would return the favour, if asked, not someone who has done the opposite repeatedly. You need to be more open and I need to close up a bit more. Let’s meet in the middle!


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