Why I’m Grateful for Female Friendships
posted on December 28, 2018 | by Sanhita Mukherjee
If there’s one thing I’m grateful for in 2018, it is how negative sentiments around female friendships are well and truly on their way out. In the past, we’ve all heard people say cringe-worthy things like “I just get along better with guys because being friends with women is too much drama”. Not to mention, the way movies always portrayed other girls as mean and calculating – people to compete against rather than befriend.
All that has changed over the last couple of years, and I’m so here for it! Women all around the world are calling out these outdated attitudes, and are being more vocal in their support of and solidarity with other women.
As someone who grew up in a family with lots of sisters, went to a school that was largely for girls, and attended an all-women’s college, this positive view of female friendship is much closer to my own experiences. Today, I want to highlight a few reasons why I am so grateful for female friendships.
You have a pretty vast idea of what is normal
A lot of the times, women are told that there’s one ‘right’ way to be. When you’re younger, it’s more about the way you look (remember how getting a zit felt like the end of the world?). In our twenties, we are judged by how successful we are, or whether or not we are married by a certain age.
The more time you spend in the company of other women, the more you realize how extremely broad this idea of normal really is. While some of my friends are still passionate about the careers they chose as teenagers, others are giving up their jobs to study something completely different. It is as common for women in their twenties to be saving up for a house as it is to be budgeting for a trip half way around the world.
And of course, every woman has different perspectives on weddings too. While some have been planning their big day since they were little girls, others do not want to get married at all. A friend of mine was super particular about every detail of her wedding outfit, down to the hair pins. Another did not even buy her wedding dress until a week before her big day.
And what’s not
We’ve all been there. You upload something on Instagram and it gets a strange comment from a male acquaintance. Or a guy you just met sends you a sort-of-creepy message. You feel uncomfortable, but then you ignore your instincts and start justifying their behavior. Maybe they didn’t mean it that way. Maybe you’re just overthinking it.
Unfortunately, thanks to social conditioning, sometimes we go against our gut feeling and accept things that are not ok. But your female friends will be right behind you, helping you pick up the cues you missed (or ignored). This is really important, as missing those cues can affect your personal wellbeing, your career and even your health.
A couple of my friends only realized that their debilitating period cramps were not normal after they discussed it with other women. Going by their doctors’ reactions, they had always accepted it as a usual part of the cycle. They suffered through the pain, missing school or work – not realizing that most women are able to go about their lives while on their period!
The incredible support
While it’s important to develop a healthy self-esteem, we all have those days when we don’t feel great about ourselves. From lifting you up when you’re feeling insecure about your own abilities to speaking up for you when someone is talking you down, you know your girl friends will always have your back. After all, hell hath no fury like a girl whose friend has been scorned!
And it’s not always in times of serious insecurities that we need our squad to back us up. Sometimes we are just overly critical of ourselves – and about the weirdest things! But just try telling your female friends you’re having a bad butt day, or bad shoulder day, or anything else that sounds like it cannot possibly be a thing – but sometimes totally is. They’ll immediately jump to your defense and shut that kind of negativity right down, until you end up feeling great about your butt (or shoulder or any other body part).
The shared experiences
Sometimes, it’s just nice to know that you’re not alone in going through certain experiences in this phase in life. Be it sharing a laugh about cheesy wedding trends or having a heart-to-heart discussion about dealing with mansplaining in the workplace – just knowing that someone feels the same way you do can be so positive and affirming.