Monday, October 1, 2012

Oh, Lady Friends, Feelings, and Growing Up

I can admit, I feel a little weird writing this. Although it's foremost in my mind right now, it feels more personally revealing than a lot of the other things I write about. Ah well, here goes.

I've been thinking a LOT about close female friendships lately. And I'm not sure why, but I really feel like I am lacking in tight female connections as of late. It's threatening to make me despondent and I'm writing this as a way of processing. It's long and a lot of self-reflection and general rambling, so proceed with caution.

You see--I am an extrovert in that I gain energy and happiness from being with other people. Of course, the person I am around the most is Ronald. He makes me exceedingly happy. He's everything I could ever ask for in a partner, but I also think it's dangerous and unrealistic to expect your partner to fulfill all of your needs. (That's a recipe for codependence.) As such, it's always been a priority for me to have my own stuff going on. Specifically, I mean mah gurls are important.

Like really important. I'll be the first person to call out a woman who says, "I'm just better friends with guys. Women are mean." Or "I don't really like women." (Aw, aren't you just the special snowflake.) That's all probably why I'm so weirded out when I don't feel super connected to a group of female friends.

I mean, when I lived in Indy, I was surrounded by a core of friends who had been in my life for years. When I was bored or when I just wanted someone to hang out with, I had a pretty solid group of ladies who I could run through and usually find someone who was free and we would go on our merry way. Despite having a somewhat similar list here, it seems like when I'm bored and alone, I kind of stay bored and alone and I'm not really sure what's going on...but I have a few theories:

1) It's on me. I know that I've grown a bit complacent in this situation. I'm not really doing a lot to change how my situation. Sometimes I just sit around thinking that people should come to me. As we all know, that's not really how it works. So I've got a few options... a) I can put myself out there more with the people I know. b) I can try to get to know more people. or c) I can deal with how things are.

Side note: I don't mean to make excuses for myself, but "meeting new people" is extremely difficult for me. While I'm an extrovert in a how-I-gain-energy way, I'm not an extrovert in a meeting-new-people way. In fact, I really, really hate meeting new people. I have a small level of social anxiety but beyond that, I kind of assume people won't like me. I'm not sure if other feminists can relate to this, but I'm just usually worried that random people I meet will offend me or judge my "radical" views or my body. So while I often try my hardest to meet new people, if I'm not meeting them in a way which pre-screens racist, sexist, homophobic, fatphobes, I get really too nervous to reveal who I really am for a long time.

And when I'm not revealing who I really am, I'm not really making friends, am I?

Then there's the second "it's on me" issue: I'm super sensitive. (That might be the first time I'm really admitting that.) I've come to see quite clearly, when someone does something inconsiderate (usually unintentionally) I take it personally and I have a hard time moving past it. Now I'm not saying that I shouldn't have expectations of my friends (more on that in point 3) but I probably could stand to learn that people make mistakes and it doesn't mean that they don't like me. So I need to get better at not having my feelings hurt. (And if they actually don't like me, to hell with them and move on.)

2) It's part of growing up. I'm suspecting that if I were to talk to people my age and older, they'd probably agree that this generally happens in your late 20's. As more people pair off, start families, and get busier in their fields and careers, you just have less time to bum around with your "gal pals." (Blech, I actually hate that phrase, but it seemed appropriate.)

Along with that, I'm trying to remember that part of my problem is that I'm comparing a life where the majority of the people in it stayed unchanged for 25 years to one where the longest I've known anyone is 3 years. That does make a difference. Plus, in this town, it seems like everyone is a bit more transient. People are continuously moving in, but they're also pretty frequently moving out too. Of course, that makes it harder to be really connect, ya know?

3) I'm not going to settle. Years ago when the organization I was with created a friendship building program for girls, one of the topics in the curriculum encouraged girls to think about their expectations for their friendships. The idea behind it is that you have to know what you want in relationships for them to be successful. I've been thinking a lot about this concept. It makes sense. So what I want--over a long list of cool chicks I can text--is meaningful connections with a few ladies who are thoughtful, reliable, intellectual, progressive, accepting, and passionate. And I suppose, as my preferences evolve to quality over quantity, I need to understand what that means as far as my excess of free time.

So where is this all going, really? To be honest: I really, really miss my best friend. She lives 1,200 miles away. September has always been our month and it was a rough, long month missing her. We're pretty good at keeping in touch, but it's still never the same as living in the same city. Secondly, I'm just at an interesting place where I'm trying to understand how my relationships are evolving and either making the changes I need to get happier or accepting that life is about growing and changing.

Change is hard sometimes though, isn't it?

PS One final note: For those of you who know me in real life, please don't take any of this negatively. I really do mean this as a self-reflection, and like I #1 complaints in this situation are on me. But please rest assured that I really love when we hang out. Hey, maybe we should do it more, yeah?


  1. I can relate to this SO hard. I'm 31, I'm living on the other side of the country from where I grew up, and my best friend in the world is living in another country altogether. I've been worrying lately that I'm too picky to make new friends. I want my friends to believe in the same things I believe in, to care about the same causes, and to be able to relate to the struggles & experiences I've gone through. But it seems like that is seriously narrowing the potential friend playing field. Still, I've really started making an effort to get to know more women in my area and I'm hoping I'll find a kindred spirit.

  2. Holy crap. I feel like we could be the same person. I can totally relate to this!

    Great blog, by the way. Even though I feel like I'm a fairly conscientious person, you make me think more critically about feminist issues.

    I've been a silent reader, but I just had to comment on this one. It really said something to me.

    1. Thank you for the kind words! I hope you comment more :)


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