I learned how platonic relationships work mainly through friendships with guys.
Perhaps that is why I sometimes struggle so much with female friendships.
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A tomboy who loved sports growing up in a house with two big brothers… my main interests as a kid were more in the realm of playing outdoors with my brothers vs playing with make-up. (Unless it was to use my moms blue eye shadows to create a convincing fake black eye.) I did have female friends as a kid… in fact I am still very close with my childhood best friend. But big birthday party sleep overs always made me vaguely uncomfortable. I felt out of place, never a part of the super girlie clique.
After leaning into the girl groups in high school, architecture school gave me five years once again in a pseudo-fraternity atmosphere to hone back in on my tomboy roots. I was just one of those girls with guy friends and minimal female friends. I stayed away from the girlie-girls and they stayed away from me.
It was a mutual, unspoken agreement that we would simply not get each other.
Something has been happening in the last two years though. My reliable guy friends have been coupling up, moving away or just disappearing into their own lives. I have been meeting a whole handful of lovely ladies and developing strong friendships with them. Some of them are rather girlie, too. It’s good, but different.
I am out of my comfort zone.
I feel like Cady from Mean Girls. I have been working really hard on navigating “Girl World” and figuring out all the rules. I’m not always the greatest. And I’m certainly not always successful.
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And maybe that is why I don’t always have patience for “girlie stuff”, as I like to call it. It simply doesn’t make any sense to me. So I can’t deal with it. I don’t know how to.
The following, therefore, are assumptions I make in ALL friendships:
– If you tell me everything is fine, I will take you at your word. I will always take you at your word.
– If you don’t tell me you are upset at me, I will probably not get the message. I’m not willfully ignoring, I’m just not a mind reader and rather oblivious.
– If there is a disagreement or misunderstanding, I assume you will express it when you are ready to talk. In the meanwhile, I will also assume that we are absolutely cool.
– If we don’t talk, we can’t fix anything. Communication is key in all types of relationships.
– And if you decide not to believe me, there is not much I can do about it. That’s your gig. I’m not going to try and convince you to believe me. Friendship comes with assumed trust.
I also know I am not the most experienced at this girl friendship thing. So I will screw up and hurt feelings and say the wrong thing unintentionally. What I hope for in my friends is that they will express this to me so I can learn and grow.
I’m aware this might sound cold, which isn’t my intention. I’m just more logical than emotional.
This is just how I think.
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The thing that gives friendship its incredible power and importance, in my opinion, is that it is a two way street. Both individuals learn and become better versions of themselves because of the other. Friendship is valuable and amazing and really one of the main reasons we do this whole life thing. It is certainly the driving force for doing this life thing well.
One of the things I value the most in my girl friends is how they allow me to tap into my girlie side more often and put the logical boy-brain on the back burner. Yeah, it’s still like spotting a white leopard, but it does occur. I’m getting more comfortable with it.
So have a little patience with me, female friends. But also realize that I approach friendship from a place of logic and not emotion. I may not be your typical girl friend, coming with an instruction manual like this, but I can assure you that I always mean well. And I try. So if we can just be understanding and give some leeway, I think we can make this whole life thing a complete success… with each other’s help.