This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
However female friendships can be so deep and complicated that sometimes I find that friendships with men are so much easier. At least when you fall out with your husband you can have ‘make-up sex’ but not so with your female friends!
I think that we may know our female friends too well and hence friendships are more likely to be severed. We often confide our deepest secrets, perhaps after a glass of wine or two, in a female friend – like an affair or a problem with a child – and then wake up the next morning regretting our confiding. You spend the next few weeks wondering if they might tell someone or judge you differently – the balance of your friendship has changed forever. I have had female friends who were always supportive of my failures or losses but are reluctant to congratulate my less frequent successes.
I remember one such friend who, when one of my daughters got her GCSE results that were not straight A’s, made such lovely comments. She told me how my daughter was such a lovely personality and full of fun (maybe her downfall when she was meant to be revising for her exams) and would always succeed – she was right there. However the following year when my other daughter got better results she hardly acknowledged it.
Men’s friendships seem so much easier as they seem to revolve around work or sport and there is very little confiding in personal matters. Sometimes that does not serve them well as when they do need to talk things through they don’t have a list of people that they can call upon to listen to their woes.
I have no idea which is the better way – probably something in between them both.
Someone older and wiser than me once said to me, “Don’t give up on your girlfriends if you have been knocked away as they often come back.” I think the sign of a really good friendship is when you can just pick up after years of not talking. I have a schoolfriend who, due to living far apart and her workload as a teacher, I do not get to see or even speak to her that much. However when we do meet it is just as if we are carrying on from a conversation we had yesterday. I know she is always there for me and she won’t bear a grudge if, after months of silence, I suddenly call and ask for her help or advice.
I have other girlfriends who I love for all sorts of different reasons and they are a rich and varied group. I may enjoy doing different things with each of them but together they all make up the ‘puzzle’ that is my life – different shapes that come together to form a whole picture.
The only other advice I was given most recently, by two girlfriends, was to cull anyone that always brings you down. Too much negativity can start to have an impact on one’s own life. Both girlfriends had reluctantly had to do this recently and however painful it was at the time they now feel great relief.
I always say that I don’t have enough time to see the ones I truly love, so why waste time with the ones that I don’t.