From birth women long to be part of a collective. We are a gender who’s very DNA craves to belong to a group of our own. Naturally society has, with it’s sexism and constant competition for resources, ruined this for women. American society has placed heterosexual norms and historical expectations on women. The unrelenting pressure we face comes in all different forms. Sometimes we feel it from the media messages we’re receiving that tell us that we must be “the best and most beautiful” in order to get a man’s attention. So we compete with each other for male affection, fighting tooth and nail for what seems like the only resource that will ensure our survival. Other times it can hit us in our workplace. The higher up we climb, the more alienated from other women we become. This form of separation says “You’ve made it, you’re the bestwoman.” It can perpetuate the belief that giving other women a step up could somehow jeopardize your success, leaving you to hide behind the excuse, well no one helped me, why should I help any one else? Women are very much expected to tear each other down and we are constantly being pinned against each other. Wives versus mistresses, successful business women versus housewives, slut versus virginal Mary, and even blonde versus brunette. The compulsive need to alienate other women is not natural but we have definitely continued to pass it on. It can be seen especially in female friendships.
Growing up in a middle class suburb of Ohio I was no stranger to catty friendships and I myself have had quite a few “frienemies” over the past years. You know, the kind of girls who would run full speed at the guy I had my eye on, simply because I wasn’twoman enough to claim him. Actually these girls were less of frienemies and more of my best friends but of course I didn’t really realize the difference at the time. Most of the friendships that have passed had fallen apart for good reasons. For a very long time I worked as the emotional punching bag for my two best friends. It never mattered what they did to me, because it could never be their fault, they were completely unable to be wrong. According to them I was the bad person, I was immoral and every problem was mine and not theirs. I know exactly why they acted like this. It’s because both of them were painfully insecure and they needed a crutch, which was me. They always had to be prettier and better than the other girls they surrounded themselves with because neither one of them had any sense of self worth. They never learned how to trust women so they were unable to be trustworthy to women. Get it? This is why women in groups tend to alienate certain members, because they themselves feel alienated from the group and probably always will.
Being brought down by other women can only increase distrust and increase one’s hatred for their fellow gender. It’s important to understand if anyone is having a negative impact on your life that you have the right to walk away from them with out an explanation or hesitation. Friends should be there to uplift you. They should act as a support system for you just as you would for them. Being honest with one another and communicating about your feelings openly is key to having any kind of healthy relationship, but especially for a friendship. If you can’t trust one of your friends with something serious, then that person probably shouldn’t be considered your friend.
I am lucky enough to have some of the most wonderful friends that I could ever ask for. When I am waiting desperately in the dark of the eleventh hour they are always there to light my way and pull me through it. These strong, beautiful women blow me away with their constant love and generosity. Sometimes even when you need it the most, it is hard to ask for help. It was especially hard for me to ask for help from my friends. Before, I would be made to feel like I was a burden if I needed to cry on someone’s shoulder (and come on, everyone needs a good shoulder to cry on), but now I understand that if I need something, all I need to do is ask and there they’ll be.
Good friends should teach you things about yourself, they should inspire you to be better than you are. Don’t be afraid to cut ties with the ones who treat you poorly, you’ll never be alone as long as you have an open and honest heart. I am a woman who supports other women, but I have no tolerance for those who do not support me. I have friends who shine brilliantly as gold, and others that due to the directions of our lives have faded to a tarnished silver, but even in spirit they continue to enrich my life. I will however, never regret letting go of the one’s who were toxic because I have no room in my life for let down, and neither should you.