Why Women Need Each Other

2 May

Guys are great.  They can make you feel protected and cared for and loved and pretty.  “But when I need to talk my feelings to death, really sit and analyze why I am confused/lonely/ecstatic, they’re just not up to it. It’s not for lack of trying, but men can only go over the same thing so many times. They don’t understand that, as women, we crave having someone validate our feelings.  And then do it twice more.”  – MWF seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

I read this and laughed out loud.  And got annoyed because she basically said what I’ve been wanting to say.  Then I read this:

“Here’s my idea of real intimacy”, Ann Patchett writes. “It’s not the person who calls to say, ‘I’m having an affair’; it’s the friend who calls to say, ‘Why do I have four jars of pickles in my refrigerator?'”  I want someone with whom I can talk about the deep stuff – hopes and dreams and expectations and disappointments – and also the minutiae. Sometimes it takes talking about everything to get to the place where we can talk about nothing. – MWF seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

Women make great friends because we can and do validate each other. We instinctually know that sometimes we need to dump or talk things out. We don’t need a solution or even expect one. But we need to say things and have you agree that we did/though/experienced something normal or abnormal and that our reactions were correct. And we also need the four jars of pickles conversations.  Revealing our neuroses, asking for advice on why we are the way that we are, realizing that we’re all pretty similar even if on the surface our issues manifest themselves differently, and then re-engaged with mainstream life once we feel validated.

Sometimes, my girl friends and I have conversations that don’t have a point.  (Every guy reading this, if there are any, has tuned out by now.)

Sometimes, my girl friends and I over analyze things.  And sometimes we just analyze them.  I don’t think we ever under analyze things.  Not even the tabloids or the grocery circular sales.

We feel indignation and rejection and betrayal on behalf of each other. We feel excitement and anticipation on behalf of each other. We aren’t all catty and overly-fashionable and self-consumed.  At least not the women I’m friends with.

The frustrating bit is when we forget to seek each other out for our feelings discussions and prey on an unsuspecting or unprepared male.  Doesn’t matter if it is husband/boyfriend/friend/stranger, it never ends well.  We talk.  They interrupt to offer a suggestion or a solution.  We feel invalidated because they never said “Yes, those feelings are natural.  I would feel the same way.  How did that make you feel?  Are you okay?  They said X because they were implying Y and that obviously hurt your feelings and I can’t believe they would do that.”  Instead, they say “Don’t worry about it.  (Which means: Don’t worry about it.  But we take it to mean: “Your feelings are not valid, get over them.”)  And they say: “They said X because they meant X. And you took it as Z when it was really just X.” (There is probably some truth to this if it was a male speaking.  If it was a female speaking, not so much.)  Sometimes they say “Are you okay?” but that usually happens because they realize an important sports game is about to start and they want you to say “Yes” so they can stop listening and when you try to rehash everything over again, they can say “But you said you were okay now.”

Which is why we need each other, as women, to have these conversations with.

And to discuss the four jars of pickles in our fridge.  Or the horror of swimsuit season. Or why we had a bad day even though we can’t pinpoint a single thing wrong with it. We just felt it was a bad day. (Good days are much more easily explained.)

Clearly, women need each other.  (Right? Can you validate me on this?)

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