My daughter had her first real girl drama this week. She made a new friend- a girl who lives on our street and is slightly older than her. They’ve been riding bikes together, only this friend doesn’t have her own bike. So, the friend rides Angela’s bike while Angela rides her brother’s. Nice, right? My daughter is sharing, and all is well. Until…. I began to notice that this new friend- we’ll call her Amanda- only came around when she needed a way to get down the street to visit her little boyfriend. Angela noticed it too, and finally gathered the courage to ask her about it. The girl avoided Angela’s questions, turning the focus back to Angela. Drama. Drama. Drama.
Can you relate? I can. I spent years in surface-level friendships like this one, and I know I’m not alone. I get to know a lot of college students, and it’s safe to say that about half of all the girls I know would choose a guy-friend over a girl-friend any day. Why?
If we go back to the beginning, we learn some interesting things about females.
- It WAS Eve who acted on temptation first.
- It was Eve who then tempted Adam.
- Now, it was Adam who started the blaming game, but that’s a whole different discussion. 🙂
In our current age we don’t like discussing the weaknesses of women, but it bears discussion. If we don’t know our own weaknesses they may easily override our strengths. Now, let me just state that I know it’s always dangerous to generalize about anything- especially people. But examination- especially self-examination will always leave us a bit wiser than we were before. I’m no expert on gender psychology, but I am a student of people.
So let’s go back to Amanda- What motivated her to befriend Angela? Perhaps it wasn’t selfish at first. Perhaps she really liked Angela. But then the she discovered the bike and something changed. Angela became a vehicle to get Amanda where she wanted to go. A person became an object. A relationship became an avenue for personal fulfillment. In my experience, girls tend to make this jump much more easily than boys. Girls can shift quickly between logical and emotional judgement, where boys tend to rely more primarily on logic. Boys may manipulate with words or even physical action, but girls manipulate with emotion.
So, as women, how can we learn to be better friends? Well, here’s my 2 cents:
- Respect your girlfriends’ choices. Give your friends the freedom to say, “No.” When a friend can’t come over for dinner or make it to your party, let them off the hook. Don’t get bitter or hold it against them, and don’t take it personally.
- Respect your friends’ opinions and preferences. Don’t expect your girl friends to be just like you. For some reason we’re totally ok with guys not being like us (go figure), but we can get frustrated when our girlfriends don’t like our favorite restaurant or think our $15 skirt was such a good deal. Enjoy the diversity in your friendships!
- Go back to first grade and live by the Golden Rule. Treat your friends like you want to be treated. This doesn’t mean canceling your plans to go to your friend’s movie night and expecting her to do the same for you next month. This just means you think through your actions and their repercussions before you act.
- Like the incredible leadership guru Dr. Sam Chand says: Treat all of your friends with fairness. Don’t try to treat them all equally. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be just as close to one woman as you are to another. Your friendships will only be infused with bitterness that way. Just be fair! Giving all women a chance doesn’t mean giving all women a chance to be your BFF.
- Stop acting out of guilt. Guilt motivates through obligation- not love. Serving is the basis of all true friendship, as demonstrated so perfectly through the life of Jesus. Love has boundaries, so never feel guilty when you reach a limit with a friend.
- Recognize that NO PERSON is responsible for your happiness. If you start to get angry at a friend, ask yourself if you are seeing them as a person or as an avenue for your own fulfillment. If you’ve been putting unfair expectations on a friend to please you, apologize and ask God to show you where your relationship with Him is lacking.
- Most importantly- pray for your friends. The space between two people is much longer than the space between each individual and Jesus. When you go to God on behalf of another you are closer to the heart of that person than you’ve ever been. And when you pray, don’t ask for things that benefit you. Be selfless in asking for blessing on their lives, even if it means creating distance between you physically (a move) or relationally (a higher leadership position).
Do you have any tips to add? How do you feel you can improve as a friend to other women?