Not long ago I was going through a break up with my best friend at that time. First of all, I would have never thought that in my almost 30s I will experience this. Secondly, it hit me that my heart was broken more times by my “best” friends than by boyfriends. More I was thinking and discussing it, more I realized that I’m not the only one dealing with this issue. Most of the women went through the breakup with their girlfriends at least once in their lifetime. And nonetheless, we have this urge to stay connected with other women. We need our #girlsquad. But does it really do us any good? Are we, women, able to maintain a genuine female friendship after college? Or are we all competitors by nature?
Science Behind Female Friendship
According to Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT, “Research shows that women, [possibly] more than men, need to maintain those connections. It increases serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone.” She relies on studies from Stanford and UCLA that confirms this and show that in times of stress, women release oxytocin, which can compel them to “tend and befriend,” a.k.a. to protect their kids or connect with other women. As stated by Dr Bash, these bonds are more important as we age, get busier, and have more responsibilities. She adds: “It makes us feel nurtured and validated to hang out with friends we can be totally ourselves [with], minus the outside pressures.”
For me as a single twenty-something career driven city girl, my friends became family. Especially, when I moved out from my home country. Friends abroad are not only people to hang out with. They are the closest unit to the family that you can have. And even though for a long time I spent most of my time with the guys, female friendship is that element in your life, that you start longing for.
Oprah once has said: “The therapy that I didn’t have and the therapy that I don’t need, it’s because of hours and hours spent talking with my best friend.” It was words about her longtime best friend Gayle King.
This defines what female friendship is. It is those infinite conversations with bottomless bottles of wine when you lose a sense of time; those text messages in the middle of the night when yet another fu*kboy messed up with your head and heart; that freedom to speak up all your bs without any judgment.
Differently, from men, women don’t try to fix their girls’ problems. We just let you vent. And most of the time, this is exactly what we need. I, personally, would have gone psycho so many times, if I didn’t have my girls to listen to me before I had taken any actions. Don’t get me wrong: we want solutions, but we need overtime.
This is the therapy that Oprah was talking about (obviously, I doubt, that Oprah and Gayle has a lot of conversations about fu*kboys).
There are many ways of female friendships: safety nets, tough love, know-it-all etc. Some friendships are driven by motherly instincts, some – by sisterly bond, and some – by competition, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
However, truth is that women are not good with jealousy and we, definitely, have troubles managing jealousy and competition. Consequently, it might bring us and our relationships to destruction. Sadly, this happens rather often than rarely when a man comes into the picture. For some reason, we still find ourselves fighting for a man, and making him the centre of our universe. While men, in the meantime, very rarely chooses a girl instead of their bros (anyone heard: “bros before hoes?”). Something to think about, ladies.
Have you ever get so close to your girl that you, literally, know what she’s had for breakfast and that today she has been stuck in the traffic for an hour, because, of course, she has spent all that time talking with you on a phone? And can you apply that to every single day of your life? Well, then you need an intervention, my friend.
It’s very easy to spend hours on your phone chatting with your bestie, scrutinizing every single detail of your (and not only) life. But sometimes female friendships become so extremely close that you grow up into the unit. You find difficult to thrive without your partner in crime, and other people feel like something is missing if any of you shows up by herself.
It’s amazing to spend time with your friends, and you need that, but you need as well to evolve by yourself and become your own persona that shines by herself. Friendships suppose to be nurturing but not drowning your own authenticity.
Female friendship is a complex but very beautiful phenomenon. The bond created between two women or among women group is very strong and it is something that can last for decades. That’s why it is incredibly painful when you lose that support system.
It’s not going to be easy. And it doesn’t suppose to be. The person with whom you had inside jokes, and laughed your asses off, and she, who knew all the weirdest stuff about you, and your pet peeves, now is only another person you pass by on the street.
First of all, let yourself mourn, and take all the time you need. Make yourself a priority: take yourself for shopping spree, watch a good movie, meditate. Then remember how it feels being a complete unit by yourself. In the beginning, it might be difficult: all those stories nobody to tell about, punch lines popping in your head, fashion advice. But trust me, once you start living your life at fullest, you realize how awesome alone time can be.
Female friendship can teach you many life lessons. And as any lesson, it can be bitter and hurtful, but if you’re lucky you can be left with soulmate(s) for life. So don’t give up if your heart was broken once. You never know when you can meet Samantha Jones for your Carrie Bradshaw, but, most importantly, don’t lose yourself while looking.