My time off is being extended as I fly to be with one of these women during a difficult time. I thought this was a good time to repost this ode to girlfriends I wrote on Salt + Nectar a few years.
I used to bristle when people would deride women for being overly emotional. "Girls are so much drama!" they would say. I have friends both men and women who claim to avoid female friendship because the relationships inevitably lead to conflict.
I always thought these ideas reeked of gender stereotypes and sexist assumptions. After all, I think we've all met a moody male or two and Lord knows men have conflicts all their own. If they are more likely to end in a fist fight than tears, well who's to say one is better than the other. (See two can play at this gender stereotype game!)
Well, I'm sad to say I think these people might have been right. Girls are drama.
Recently, I engaged in a little girlfriend drama of my own. One girlfriend simply decided she didn't want to be friends anymore. Another was angry at me for some hurtful things I'd said to her and carried the anger around for months. One friendship was salvageable. One was not. Both situations left me hurt, a little angry, and more than a little gun shy when it comes to my current relationships.
After all, is it worth it? I had spent a lot of time with both these woman. I had shared stories and stresses. I had made them a part of my life and I had made myself vulnerable. In return, I felt like all I got was criticism and rejection.
And if these were my only experiences with female friendship I would say no. Thankfully, they are not. To say I have great girlfriends is sort of like saying I like Oprah - doesn't quite do it justice. Annie, Elizabeth, Laura, Erin, Shannon... These women are my sisters. On the most basic level, I am not me without them. They make me laugh. They make me think. They make me feel better when all I want to feel is sad. My daily prayer is that I give back even half of what they give me.
Have I had drama with these women? Hells yeah. Elizabeth, Erin, and I lived together...in college. Need I say more? We've had our conflicts but the drama didn't consume us. If anything, it made our friendships stronger. And I am so, so happy that I never let a few negative experiences prevent me from opening myself up again.
We all know deep down that all relationships contain drama because they contain people. And people (not just women) are drama. There are so many relationships in our lives that are mandatory - relationships with our spouses, our children, even our coworkers. We HAVE to work through that drama. We don't have a choice. So, maybe it's tempting to cut out relationships that seem optional.
However, I'm here to say. For me, friendship - specifically friendship with other women - is not optional. The phonecalls and gchats and coffee dates with my girlfriends get me through and make me better. I simply could not live without them.
So, bring on the drama. I can handle it - as long as I've got my girls by my side.