On Women Who Won’t Be Friends With Women. “Too Much Drama.”

On Wednesday, Ladies Home Journal posted a really nice blog post about the best ways to meet new friends. Yesterday, the magazine put the post on their Facebook page, and I was immediately taken aback by the comments in response.

For example: “No new gf’s they cause too much drama!” and “No thanks, I’d rather hang with the guys. Much less drama!” and “Acquaintances are the best, otherwise too much drama and cattiness.”

Those were the first three responses. Drama, drama, drama. (I once  had a roommate who said, all the time, “Drama, drama, drama. Just call me Felicity.” It’s so dated, but I love it.)

I don’t buy the whole “I hate being friends with girls” thing. There are just so many women who use that line, which always makes me think, “why don’t you all become friends with each other?”

I don’t particularly enjoy drama, either. Very few of us do. It’s no fun to deal with jealousies and backstabbing and catfights. But how often does that actually happen, really? I mean, outside of Real Housewives I’ve made a good number of new friends in the last two years, and I have had “drama” as a result exactly… never.

Since starting my new friends search: No one has tried to steal my husband. I’ve never had one new friend talk trash about me to another new friend, only to have the other friend tell me every horrible thing she said. No new friend has ever called me in tears to tell me that she hates me.

Sure, when I was in college there were, sometimes, conflicts between my friends. There were also conflicts between my guy friends. We all lived together, so that’s pretty much guaranteed.

And sometimes there is friction in adult friendship. That’s the reality of relationships. But these across the board “I won’t be friends with women because they’re bitches” proclamations are a bit, well, dramatic, no?

Listen, I love guy friends. The ones I have are wonderful. And I’m not here to push girlfriendship. Just friendship. Forge your bonds with whoever you like. But the blanket statement that some women  just cannot be friends with other women because we are too difficult and dramatic and catty isn’t sound.

After all, to those ladies who say being friends with women is the worst: You’re a woman, right? There have got to be other women out there who share your values and want what you want out of a friend. To dismiss an entire half of the population—the half that you are a part of—seems rash. Because, I hope, other ladies out there aren’t discounting you, too, on account of your simply being female. ‘Cause that wouldn’t be fair, would it?

What do you think? Is female friendship too much drama? What’s your reaction to women who say they can’t be friends with other women? Is female friendship really that dramatic?

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36 Comments

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36 responses to “On Women Who Won’t Be Friends With Women. “Too Much Drama.”

  1. My mother-in-law, 91, has been besties with her BFF for 83 (going on 84) YEARS. Since second grade. Your drama post brings up a lot of issues I’ve heard them talk about. It seems all friendships goes through their phases. In their case, two wars (WWII and Korean), the child-rearing phase, and a few tiffs along the way. The point is, they always gravitated back to one another. The drama didn’t win.

    • Wow. 83 years is amazing. Sara and I met when we were 10…. I hope we can make it to 83 years!

    • women are different now. I am a nurse and I see nothing but crazy women who like drama , It’s a fact that most women keep shit going, especially a lot of them in a circle. I have a 101 experience with women circles Drama Drama Drama. There are a few out there that just are not into competing and stff like that but I found most of them eventually show their true color. They are pretty much the same when u get close. So acquaintances are safe theses days.

  2. Ana

    Agree with you, its a total cop-out. If these women are having so much drama in their friendships, I kind of suspect THEY are the ones bringing it!
    Also, if you add up all the people who say women can’t be friends with women with those that say that women can’t truly be platonic friends with men—-ummm what do you have left? Do you sense a general negativity about friendship prevalent in our society these days? I sometimes do—as part of the whole “look out for #1″ or “people just like us” mentality that seems to be sweeping the nation (…in certain political parties. and that is all I will say about that)

    • How can you comment on someone elses experiences with women. Women are earth disturbers they are envyous, phony and a lot more. Drama is right. listening to your post bad mouthing other womens opinion based on their experience makes me wonder if you one of those. Allways not able to let woman decide what they want to decide is definetely a form also so watch yourself.

  3. Ana

    Oh, also, congrats on the Happiness Project interview! Its like a milestone!

  4. I think it’s a cop out. I will never forget one time as an RA we were sent a few renegade girls from one of the sports teams. I asked one of the girls how she was enjoying being in our building and she told me that she liked it so much more than the other building – that the girls in the new building were more relaxed and the girls in the other building were catty and snobs. However, her first night in our building, she stole a pizza from a delivery guy and caused some huge drama.
    So, I guess I also think that those people who think that women are too much drama are probably full of drama themselves (and, of course, there are always exceptions to the rule), but that’s the rule for me.

  5. Anonymous

    I’ve encountered some form of this expression many times: “I’m a guy’s girl and really can’t have girlfriends”, “I’m just so attractive that other women are jealous and mean to me”, etc. etc. To use blanket statements like this is just plain silly.
    Sure, I gravitate more easily to platonic male friendships but as Rachel says, to rule out half the population because of that tendency is extreme AND dramatic. My ultimate (and some might think it harsh) position is that those type of ladies are just b^%€$

    • Home and Hearth

      I think as women SOME of us are afraid to be friended because that whole relationship can be viewed as self serving on the part of the other one. Ok, let me clearify. I was the funny one,the distracter, at the time I really had no self esteem and that worked for my friends. My “girlfriends” where popular and I guess I was the not so popular one that the guys felt comfortable to talk to, to get to my girlfriend. The older I get the more I see about the dynamics of female relationships. Now that I am 50 something I long for a close female relationship, but am a little gun shy. That being said, there is also a new freedom to the female at this age. We no longer feel there is any pretense to the relationship, our husbands are greying and slowing down (like us) and we just aren’t up the bitching and scrapping we used to do! So, there is an upside to getting older afterall!

    • Let
      keep it real. More than half the population. You are a lcky person if you havent concluded that. That means you haven’t had bad experiences much. When you get older you will conclude though.

  6. Karen

    Women who don’t want other women as friends are probably terrible friends anyway (sounds like it’s all about THEM) so no loss there. I think it’s a challenge to find loyal & true female friends however when you do, they are certainly worth their weight in gold & I would not trade them for the world.

  7. “You attract that which you are.”

    If you are constantly on the lookout or have made a decision that all women give you drama, then that is what you will get from them.

    I love how you made it your intent Rachel to go in search for new best friends, and that’s what you got.

    I’m sure you’ll be equally successful if you went out searching for BBFs who would give you drama ^_^

    If your belief is girls = drama then what you believe is what you get.

    Happy Last Friday of 2011 by the way!!

    Lovely post <3

  8. I find that most if the time the type of women who says they won’t be friends with other women because of the drama are usually the source of drama themselves…which is why they have no women friends and find guys who will put up with their particular brand of crazy.

  9. Oh man … this is hard. I have to confess I’m one of those women who has given up on friendships with other women unless it’s a casual acquaintance. I completely understand the comments posted above, which unanimously agree that women who complain of “too much drama” could be bringing that drama on themselves. In my case, truly, the close friendships I’ve had have all ended like a break-up with a guy. Painfully. Interestingly, I was dumped by my peer group of friends when I was 13, which was very very painful for me.

    Ever since then, friendships with other women haven’t worked out for one reason (e.g., they were stalkers), or another (e.g., they wouldn’t put politics aside and just be friends). Often, I am the one to leave a new friendship, letting it fizzle out before it has a chance to grow. The times I don’t walk away, I get hurt. Recently I realized that it must be me — there must be something I’m doing to attract such friendships to myself. Perhaps I subconsciously choose to be friends with women who i know aren’t good for me for one reason or another — then the friendship will inevitably end, repeating the pattern I’ve built for myself (I can’t remember the technical term for that). Meanwhile, the women who would be good friends, I am too afraid to pursue. Sorry for this novel of a comment — I just had to chime in! Thanks for listening.

  10. Christina

    I would say in my experience that friendships with men are much, much easier. I have encountered far more drama with my women friends than with my male friends. This also holds true for co-workers!

    Anyway… when it comes to friendship, it seems like it’s impossible to have just a casual “let’s get together and hang out” style of friendship with other women, because sooner or later they want to share their tales of woe with me and I get bored very fast listening to it. Women also seem to be much more insecure, emotional, needy, judgmental, and competitive.

    Another thing that I have noticed in my female friendships is that it seems like most women do not have any life beyond their significant other, their kids, and their careers.

    I’m sorry, but if that’s all there is to talk about it, then that’s a friendship I am NOT interested in obtaining or maintaining, because there is sooooo very much more beyond that!!!

    • Hi Christina! I think what you say really nails the nature of female friendships. Sure, I too have many female acquaintances, but sooner or later, if we truly intend to progress our girl-girl friendship, we end up almost by obligation sharing our stories of woe/ life/ love etc. And I mean depending on the individual, I may become engaged with her issues and want to help her out but man, if those topics are all that dominates our conversations: check please, I’d like out.

      Besides being there to vent and comfort each other, my greatest friends are those I could share my excitement for literature, TV shows, sports, and adventurous cooking etc with! The breadth of female friendships should be as wide as the things life has to offer!

  11. I’ve found that while I’m comfortable being in a group of guy friends or girls and guys, I have to do female friendships one-on-one. I can steer a one-on-one conversation away from gossiping about others or husband-bashing or all of the things that drive me nuts; I can’t do this in a group when they all get going.

  12. There is nothing like a close relationship with another woman. NOTHING. I love my guy friends, but I can’t talk to them about the intimate things that I share with my longtime BFFs. Fear of mammograms, etc.
    Two of my closest friends are from grammar school (over 55 years) and most are at least 35 years long.
    It’s the bond and frames of references that solidify the friendships. We can talk to each other in shorthand. We each have been there for each other through good and bad times.
    If there was ever any drama, it happened long ago and we weathered it through the decades to know how important we are to each other. If I want drama, I’ll watch tv.
    Now, I will write my annual notes to several of my BFFs to wish them a Happy & Healthy and tell them how they enriched my life again this year. It’s a habit I never want to stop.

  13. Posting a response before reading all that comments…

    I sadly have used this line once or twice in the past. I think I used them when I was hurt by another girl, or too afraid to make new friends with girls because of being too afraid of bring hurt or afraid of the response I would get. This was probably never really necessary, some of what I came to realise while reading your book. But we are hurt only if that person meant something to us. And if this tends to happen more with girls, then I am probably putting more into it, right?

    This is probably not always true. I have one really close guy friend, but he moved away – and I have realised that it has been easier to keep things going than with a really good girl friend. Not sure if this has anything to do with gender, or perhaps just the quality of the friendships.

    I need to stop using or thinking of that as an excuse, because deep down I know that is what it is… While.friendships with guys may be easier, I know that nothing can replace a good ‘ol girl bestie.

    Happy New Year!

    (and this year my husband and I were invited to “acquaintances” who I hope could possibly become friends… So jumped at the opportunity when we were invited)

  14. If there’s anything I learned from living with my 91 y.o. mom-in-law for a few months in 2010, and eavesdropping on her banter with her friends, it’s that the gossip, resentments and, yes, even some dating drama, NEVER END. Sometimes the the hurtful experieces with other women never go away (like so-and-so making a pay for someone else’s husband 40 years ago!)… but guess what… after a certain age it seems like companionship sort of trumps the petty garbage. The husband-stealing hussy sits at the card table across from the woman she wronged decades ago. A lesser version of the orginal hurt still simmers between them, but the bottom line is, “shut up and deal.” I’d like something MORE than that in my old age, but in a weird way I think maybe this is what will happen with some of my less-than-successful girlfriendships.

  15. I have struggled with friendships over the years, but not because I thought women would make terrible friends. Mostly because I was excessively shy as a child, had only one friend (who was not a good friend, but I didn’t know that) and never learned how to make friends. When I finally found a couple friends when I was older, I felt very lucky. But I didn’t really know how or why we became friends. I have found that it is easier to chat with men and I get along with men more than women, but I believe that is partly because for most of my working adult life I have worked primarily with men, so had more contact and more in common with them. I have recently had more contact with women and have become friends with them and am enjoying them immensely. Perhaps as we get older we are less judgemental about how and why we are friends. I don’t know. But I’m not willing to write off half of the population because I have had a couple bad experiences. That’s not really practical!

  16. lawyerchik1

    I have to say that I have been looking for good, solid female friends, and I have a couple now that I absolutely love, but some of the women I tried to be friends turned out to be women who spent their free time talking about how horrible or rotten other women were – those women, I do not want or need to be friends with!

    And it’s not just women – I know men whom I also tried to be friends with, and they were bigger and cattier gossips than some of the women!! It depends on the people. Male or female, I find that I get along best with people who will express (whether in words or just letting it out) how they feel without always making it someone else’s fault and who can focus on what is good in others and what is good in the world around them.

    That’s not to say that all of my friends are constantly talking about themselves, their feelings, and their lives/perspectives – it’s just that they have a genuine interest in the world around them, and they know how to occupy the space that belongs to them without absorbing all of that space.

  17. There is no way I would make it without my girl time! Even though it’s cute that my fiance gets along with my friends and wants to jump in at happy hour, my girl friends keep me sane.

    The funny thing is that when I was young, I was the girl who would say it’s harder to be friends with other girls. I think I was just immature and repeating what other women said.

  18. VR

    I have always been one of the girls that hang with guys, but recently I have started to really miss having girlfriends. My best friend and I are no longer ‘together’ and I’m really dying to have new friends. But it’s not like I just moved to a new town, or started a new job…so I’m really struggling to figure out how to build some awesome, long-lasting friendships with women.
    Just found your blog thru the Happiness Project I’m doing, so hoping I’ll get some great advice from this site!

  19. I used to be one of those girls who had tons of guy friends and almost no girl friends because they were all about the drama :)

    But I do think it’s very possible to overcome all that by choosing properly and keeping boundaries strong. I have some friends who try to bring drama now and again, and I just don’t get into it. I’ll be objective and then move on with the conversation, because I still don’t like all the drama.

  20. Anonymous

    @ Christina: I think you missed the whole point of what friendship is. You want casual acquaintances, a buddy. Most people want something deeper. Sharing our emotions and feelings is human nature, it’s how we feel connected to others.

  21. Christina

    @ Anonymous… if sharing your feelings and emotions is human nature, than tell me…why does it always have to be tales of woe? That’s what I am sick of listening to! Women who dump on others by frequently telling them all their troubles are not friends, IMHO. They are just troubled individuals who need to be talking to a therapist, NOT expecting their friends to constantly play that role… which btw is pretty selfish of them, dont you think? Also I am puzzled as to why you think a “buddy” (your words) is not a friend. According to the various dictionaries out there it is.

  22. Anonymous

    I preferred a female friend before but after what happened to my best friend & I, I am now having second thoughts about having another female BFF. After we had a fight, she posted some really mean stuff about me on facebook. She even called some mutual friends and told them everything that I said about them. Now, I am so traumatized about having another female friend. Can you blame me?

  23. Gretchen

    I just read this blog today as it was linked to a recent blog. I am one of those women who say I’m more comfortable being friends with men. I’m not sure why this is. I think men and women do have different ways of thinking and talking and processing things. There is some sort of bio-chemical basis for this in the brain (but I am not a neuropsychologist so I don’t have all the right terms, but I know I’ve read about it!) I am drawn to those who think and act like men. Whether it was because I looked up to my dad as a child and wanted to be just like him, or because I am in a male dominated profession where in graduate school classes I was surrounded by men and I became accustomed to this and comfortable with it — I don’t know. My roommate in college said the same thing (that she gets along better with men) and we became fast friends and are to this day. It’s too bad she’s now 800 miles away.

    I do know, however, that as a married woman, it is not appropriate for me to have intimate relationships (even if platonic) with men other than my husband. So when I was engaged and married, I started to distance myself from these friends. (They were also busy getting married/starting families). It was a loss, but I got wrapped up in being a newlywed, and in a few years, I became a mom and focused on my child. Now, my little one is in school all day long, and I find myself with free time I didn’t have before. I am now reaching out and trying to make friends with women. I don’t hate women, I was just more comfortable with men. Now at almost 40 years old, not only do I have the challenge of finding new friends but it is so out of my comfort zone to be friends with women that I am finding it a scary prospect.

    So I am asking for those readers out there to not hate those of us that for whatever reason just feel more comfortable with men and please be patient because it may be the first time in a long time (20+ years) that a new friend may be reaching out to women as companions. I did like one suggestion that those of us who have typically had male friends should band together. :) I’m not sure how we find each other. Until then, I have been inspired by Rachel’s book to make new friends, and I’m going to make a serious effort. I hope I can find some nice ladies to be friends with.

  24. Anonymous

    I’ve wondered about this and never been able to put my finger on why making friends with other women can be so hard sometimes. But in reading this post and thinking about the comments, I began to remember my first impression of women friends. It was through my mom, watching her and her friends gossip, complain, bitch about men, dissect other women. If someone had told me this type of female bonding was an aberration of female friendship, I think my life would have been different. I thought it was mean and unfair then, and still think it is, especially the guys are from mars girls are from venus (and so superior to men) attitude they lived. However blatant or subtle, this is a friend turnoff for me.

    I now understand it doesn’t have to be this way, and that these kinds of women are insecure, anxious, or genuinely unhappy. Men can be like that, too, and I avoid them as well. Still, knowing this doesn’t make it any easier to find the right BFF! Good everything in life is hard to find and might simply be about right place right time right attitude.

  25. The female friends I connect with are a wide variety, but definitely I don’t pare well with the catty, jealous or snippy types. There are plenty of those, but also many of the other kinds to go around too. As in, there are very nice female friends out there. It’s just that well, they are often the more shy, less popular perhaps, and maybe even less outgoing ones. Perhaps even introverted. They are the ones who don’t talk behind your back because well, they don’t talk that much either. Those are the ones I’ve really bonded with for over ten years, and the ones who have rung true in my heart. :D

    Thank you for sharing.

  26. Anonymous

    Find a male friend who will hold your hand while you’re waiting to have a biopsy and I’ll believe that men make better friends. A drinking buddy isn’t a friend. Bros before ho’s, right?

  27. e.l.

    I’m surprised no one’s said this but… I agree with a bunch of you guys that said after you were rejected or hurt by a lot of girl friends was when you said ‘oh whatever I’ll hang with guys instead’, like a friend of mine who was badly bullied by mostly groups of girls in school, and is going to a therapist only now to get over that somehow (how I don’t know, hypnosis?!). Because she got a boyfriend and realizes it *is* sketchy to have one and hang out with guys all the time.

    I’ve struggled with this a long time, I always felt like I had more in common with guys, like wanting to talk about science, astronomy, underground music, politics, news, etc. which honestly I’ve only known very few girls that give a crap about any of that. And then if they did, it’d seem like thats all they care about, and they wouldn’t talk about silly stuff or hair styles, fashion, etc. Ones that do like that stuff, usually have been clueless about all of the 1st topics I mention (and others those were just ex’s). Anyway it’s tough to find my niche.

    My last point, is about how after many guy friends, and many times being eventually hit on, I’m sad to acknowledge it’s not really a good idea to have guy friends, unless they’re gay or super not attracted. I hate that it’s true, but it is. Ever think, hmm, why is there ALWAYS a willing guy that’ll hang out with me, but its never as easy to find a girl. Because there’s a chance you’ll sleep with them. Yep. It’s nature.

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