Why The Phrase "I Don't Have Any Female Friends" Is Toxic To Women
Nothing Like Great Wisdom, Until Its Misguided
Your grandparents can be a great source of wisdom. They can recount the social and community issues of yesterday year. They can provide you valuable life gems based on their experiences so that you don’t have to make those same mistakes. They can also be your biggest big cheerleaders! Long story short, grandparents are the bees knees.
Not to say that they can’t be wrong at times.
My grandma was the first to tell me about the “dangers” of having too many female friends. “They are jealous and can be sneaky. You can’t trust them.” I looked at my grandmother with a crazy look when she said this. I was a child at the time, but for some reason this advice seemed…well, off. But I never saw my grandmother with many female friends and as I looked more, I realized the same with my mother. She didn’t have many female friends. These were the two strongest females I knew and amazing role models. Obvisiouly, they had to be on to something.
As a child I ended up having one strong female friend. We were best friends who lived right next door to each other. Though the power dynamics of our friendship was a bit lopsided, she was the only friend I had as I was afraid to gain any more, because they were sneaky and what I was quickly learning, was that I was a bit of an odd duck. I was a different type of little girl and sometimes it threw people off. I thought that my bf at the time would be the only chick who would really like me enough to be friends because I was so quirky, all over the place, and just downright goofy.
However, that lesson from my grandmother still loomed in my head. “Women are sneaky.” With that thought process I became cooler with the boys, who unfortunately had obvious ulterior motives at that stage in life. You thought they were cool until they wanted you for some sexual activities or to use you for something important so that they could look cool in front of their friends. Luckily, I got the game from my mother about boys in school, but I just couldn’t imagine how they received a better friend wrap than women. It sounded like some of these men, were just as sneaky as some of these women, so can we really just say women are sneaky?
When What You thought You Knew Was Wrong
My bf actually had a few close female friends, and although I had a friend here and there, I didn’t really have any other close friends like her. Until I went to high school and met some wonderful women who changed my life. As me and my childhood friend started to grow apart my life made room for some of the most amazing women that I had ever met.
Jessica (who would later become my best friend) was a straight hater on me. I remember she got me in trouble with our cheerleading coach and he made me do more of these evil exercises called ‘6 inches’ that were killer on the abs. (Although they are a great way to get in shape by the by.) I remember not liking her so much that I ended up putting her on my make believe list of people I would push down. Now looking back, I’m sure if teachers would have found that list, I probably would have been expelled from school. (Thank God for Jesus.) Over time I came to love (and sometimes misunderstood) Jessica’s ability to be the level headed mother figure that we needed. Sometimes we misunderstood her matter of factness as judging, but she is a rock. Able to weather the toughest storms, even if you felt that you couldn’t do it.
Next there was Marquita, aka Kita/Quita boo depending on your location in your life. She went from the little sister who made me say ‘doh!’ to the little sister who I was proud to say we were fam, even though we weren’t blood related. At the age of 18, She was the first mother in my friends group who taught me that no matter what you go through, if you have faith you will get through it. She also taught me that being objective is extremely important as a human to understand other humans. We often only see things from our perceptions, especially when we are hurt, but that can be a huge weakness against us.
Finally, there was Shanna. Shanna was the cool white girl who had tons of soul, but wasn’t pretending to be anyone different. When I say that, you think of some of the white people who immerse themselves in black culture. They take all the “good” parts of black culture and create an amalgamation of what black people are perceived by others to be. Then when they are done using black culture, go back to living the way that they were. This wasn’t Shanna, she was always who she was, all day, everyday. Shanna was always a free spirit who pushed me to be something greater that I thought I was. She always supported me, even when I couldn’t support myself. We have the ability to sit and just kick it for hours talking about our lives, dreams, and our goals. If I had to give her a title, she would be my kindred spirit.
I Don't Have Any Female Friends Is Toxic And Purposeful
I encountered all three of these beautiful women in high school, and at the time I never realized that we would still be close friends in the future, but I did pray that we would be. I had hoped that my grandmother was wrong. Especially as I grew older and experienced certain things in life, it’s nice to have a friend that I can share those things with and not felt judged or isolated. As I grew older my friendship circle didn’t stop. I was able to bring in tons more female friends who not only wanted to see me grow but were the most supportive people ever. People like Veronica S and Veronica M, Gigi, Trine, Sonia, and too many more to name that have been nothing but added value to my life.
I looked at women who didn’t have friends and it almost looked as though they allowed bitterness to settle in where love and friendship should have been. Taught not to trust women, and too hurt to trust men, those women stewed in their bitterness, teaching other women to adopt such thinking. I had noticed that my grandmother wasn’t the only one who didn’t trust women, but other women didn’t trust women. I’ve heard remarks such as “That’s why I don’t have a lot of female friends”, or “Chicks today are shady! That’s why I keep to myself.” Futhermore we have shows such as Love and Hip Hop, Housewives of where-ever-the-fuck, and other shows that aim to reconfirm that women cannot be pleasant for long periods of time in the presence of other women.
As we keep teaching this narrative to other women, how can we come together to grow as healthy women? Why are we so quick to say women can’t be trusted but yet, give a guy who is stringing us along or a cheater, 2, 3, 600 chances? Women can build healthy relationships with other women with ease and if done properly we can come together and make some amazing changes to our society and the world, if we just stick together. Even some men take notice that they can throw in a grenade and walk off creating havoc amongst us women because we automatically believe that this woman is our enemy. We believe that we have to fight each other to look more appetizing to a male because we are afraid of being the single old cat lady.
This Too Could Be Your Friendship SItuation
This past weekend, Jessica and Marquita took me on a road trip for my 33rd birthday. (Mind you, they have like 20 kids between them…I’m kidding ya’ll, but they do have kids.) These ladies took me out to eat at Pappadeux’s in Cincinnati, to a quaint winery, the hair store (I needed edge control ya’ll) and finally a 90's concert. I even got to meet my childhood crush Ginuwine who I first saw in concert at the age of 16 with Shanna. I could have cried this weekend because I was overjoyed at the love I received from these women. They spent tons of money on me and made sure I had the time of my life.
I know what you are thinking. My situation is one of few. That for some reason God has chosen to bless me and only me with amazing female friends. Though I enjoy thinking that I’m God’s main follower and he focuses solely on me, I know that this is incorrect. There are many women empowerment groups that are springing up all over the country. They may be small in numbers but groups like Femergy and Women Of Sovereignty not only provide services to women in the community but also helps to empower and encourage ladies all over to be a part of something greater.
There are plenty of women out there who love and appreciate each other and aren’t afraid to show it. They rebuked the idea of women being unable to friend other women and instead built power houses, clubs, and other life changing effects. In fact, Spelman was built by two women, Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles, who were the best of friends. Their desire to provide something great coupled with an amazing friendship led to an amazing accredited college institution that has had famous graduates such as Alice Walker and Sue Bailey Thurman. Let’s dispel the myth that women can’t be friends, because we can and we are.
Sound Off Ladies!
Do you think women can be friends? Do you have strong female friends?