Earlier this week I found these blog posts about women who say they don’t have female friends. It reminded me of a discussion forum I found online some time ago with a similar discussion about women who say they don’t get along with women. In both cases, the discussion about these women was negative and full of assumptions about women who say these things.
I wanted to post earlier this week some thoughts about this, but exhaustion, laziness and difficulty organizing my thoughts in any sort of articulate manner have kept me from doing so. And I still don’t necessarily feel that I can quite articulate my thoughts, because my thoughts have not continued fully forming on this.
Disclaimer: I didn’t read all the comments at the link above, but I did read about half of them.
If I were going to make either of those two statements–“I don’t have female friends” or “I don’t get along with women”–it would be that I don’t get along with women. But I’m not sure that’s accurate. When I was in law school, there were a lot of women I got along with. And some women won’t appreciate my writing this, but my observation was that women who attend law school or who practice law tend to be more logical and less emotional than other women are, though that’s not always true. I think my communication style is in between that of the average woman’s and the average man’s, for lack of a better way to put it…but it’s still too different (harsh) from what most women appreciate, and it can cause issues.
That’s not an insult or a way of putting women down, either, but I think sometimes it has been interpreted that way. I understand it sometimes because I have to deal with men’s communication styles, too, and I can hear how being too straightforward sometimes, for example, and/or using a certain tone of voice can be bothersome. I guess that part of what I’m saying is that I met more women in law school than I have any other time of my life who could handle my communication style, which does tend to be very honest, direct, unemotional and not always thinking about your feelings.
I also met more women in law school than anywhere else who do not keep up drama. And I’m talking about women my age, because my personal experience has been that women cause drama with other women within their age range. I have heard stories where this hasn’t been true, but, for me, I’ve never really had issues with older women. Law school just seemed to be full of women who felt good about themselves and secure and, thus, there were less problems with them. They were intelligent women who were on the track to good careers, and they usually had good personalities. What was to feel insecure about? I think it’s a little hard to find women like that.
Let me put this another way:
Women who feel good about themselves don’t…cause…problems. You can be friends with them as another woman, as long as you feel good about yourself, too.
The problem, I think, is that the majority of women don’t feel good about themselves. I think the older women get, the more it changes for them. But for women 30 and younger–maybe even 35 and younger nowadays–definitely, the majority of them don’t feel good about themselves. Our society has seen to it that women grow up not feeling good about themselves. This is where I’d have to disagree with the implication that every single woman who says “I don’t have female friends” or “I don’t get along with women” is the problem, is self-hating, is “male-identified” or whatever else negative you want to say about that woman. I think it’s certainly fair to say that sometimes, yes, the woman making these statements is the problem or she just seeks male attention or whatever. But the thing I’ve noticed is women who are obviously confident and comfortable tend to draw negative attention from other women who are insecure because those women are jealous, threatened or just completely perplexed by this woman who feels good about herself. There are also certain communities that have certain issues that almost immediately bring up at least some tension between women. More on that later.
There’s a quick distinction that must be made. Everyone has things he/she is insecure about, things where his/her self-esteem is not that high. That’s different from having an overall low self-esteem or overall issues with insecurity. I don’t think I’m physically attractive, and I never will. But I feel good about who I am because I know I’m intelligent, talented, a good person and so on. I see so many women who seem to think they’re attractive, but it kind of seems as if they don’t think there’s anything else to them. Or there are women for whom nothing is good enough about them, including their looks or bodies. But the biggest thing with women, I’d say, is more than half of heterosexual ones strike me as not thinking they’re complete or good enough if they don’t have a man or a husband. And then some of those get a man or a husband and it doesn’t resolve their issues with themselves because now they’re worried about keeping him or other women taking him and whatnot.
But when I really sit down and think about me and the desire to say “I don’t get along with women,” I realize it doesn’t exactly stem from anything in my modern life–it’s all based on my childhood and teenage years. I could easily say “I don’t have female friends,” but, as I wrote a long time ago here, I really don’t have any friends due to my definition of what friendship is. For me, friends are people who are there when you need them. Catching up with each other once or twice a year or every few months is not that, to me. I understand people grow up and have lives, get married, have kids, move away, etc. But you’re either there for each other or you’re not. People who are not there for me and I’m not there for them when things are going on–how do you call that friendship? It’s more so that kind of thing as to why I don’t have female friends, not necessarily that “I don’t get along with women” or don’t have anything in common with them.
But, for whatever reason, I didn’t get along with women when I was younger–except they were girls then, not women. And I think that was part of the problem. And let’s face it–black girls have issues with each other. When I was a kid in school, I was always the lightest black female, the one with the longest hair and the one with the most money. All three of those things are touchy issues in the “black community,” i.e. skin color, hair and social class. Some of those things more so than they are now were immediate dividing lines–I think social class among blacks still is. They cause immediate assumptions on both sides of the line. I was also nerdy and wimpy, and I think girls look for and spot the weakest chick among them to target–especially nowadays.
And then when I became a teenager, I had slightly different issues which are not that different from issues I have today. I wrote a popular post about introverts and extroverts at work, in which I wrote about how I only speak to people who speak to me. I’ve been that way for years, including–to a lesser degree–in high school. I mentioned briefly that it especially seems to bother black people. My observation today is that most black people aren’t introverts and don’t get the concept. It’s like it doesn’t exist to black people, just like being gay doesn’t exist to a lot of black people. You either interact with black people, or you’re stuck-up or want to be white, and that’s that. So that’s what I started getting as I got older from blacks, especially black women, i.e. stuck-up and/or want to be white. That was really the only issue I had with women in college or law school, and that was, of course, with some of the black women.
I usually didn’t and don’t have issues with non-black women, although my white co-worker has obviously been a huge exception. But I was never truly able to be friends with non-black girls when I was growing up because we essentially weren’t allowed to be friends. A lot of parents around here were just racist, so I almost never was invited to hang out with white or Asian girls outside of school. Nowadays, I would say it’s not a matter of getting along with non-black women so much as just feeling a big cultural divide. It’s hard to explain it, but black women and white women are [usually] different in so many ways, and the fact that most white women really seem to have no idea the depths of the differences makes it worse for me. I used to have several good white female and/or Asian female friends, but I’m at a point where I’m too exhausted of the differences and having to talk about them vs having friends who already know…things.
So, I think the past has something to do with my not having female friends and sometimes thinking I don’t get along with women. I haven’t necessarily judged all black women to be a certain way or all white women to be a certain way so much as I’m just tired of the same schitt (told ya in the introverts/extroverts post that I have low patience, low tolerance) and don’t feel it’s worth it to make an effort. I was tired in high school, and that’s how I became “anti-people” and “I don’t speak to people unless they speak to me.” And now that’s just who I am.
A few other interesting points related to objections to statements from women such as “I don’t have female friends,” “I don’t get along with women,” “I have more in common with men” and “I relate to men more”:
-I think saying men and women are not that different is PC bullschitt. Men and women are different, whether it’s because of society or biology or a mix. It’s fine to admit that. It’s not the same as saying masculinity is better.
-Just because a woman thinks she relates more to men or has more in common with guys doesn’t mean she’s just seeking male attention. I have said things like this before, and I’m a lesbian. I am not trying to be “one of the guys” just so I can be the female center of attention or get boyfriends. Any time an intelligent woman says she relates more to guys than women, it’s for lack of a better way to express that she tends to find more men who share her interests than women. Again, whether it’s because of society or biology, men and women are not often totally on the same page when it comes to interests. Again, that’s fine–it doesn’t make one better than the other. Personally, I’d love to find even just one woman who can talk football all day–I really would. Sure, there are women out there who like football. It’s not even unusual to find women who love football. I just simply have never known another woman who lives and breathes football, though, or who even just likes to sit around and have the equivalent of a lengthy “intellectual” discussion/analysis about sports. The closest I get to that is guys.
Friendship between men and women and between women and women is different, too, and I prefer the dynamic I’ve experienced with male friends more. The sports thing is a great example. Sitting around talking sports is so not an emotional connection you’re making with someone. In other words, unless the guy is interested or you’re interested in him (or you’re like brother/sister)–or at least this is how it’s been for me–a friendship between a guy and a girl is not emotional, and it’s not close. Especially when I was younger, female friendships always seemed to carry the expectation or the reality of closeness. Even now, I sit around upset because I wonder where my female friends are when I need them. I’d never think that about a guy friend–that’s just not how our friendships work. I don’t look to guys for emotional support, but they do tend to have your back, which I wouldn’t call “support” so much as “loyalty” and/or “trust.” There’s a lot less fuss and muss. For me, guys are for sitting around and just shooting the breeze–often about unimportant stuff–whereas women are for much deeper friendships.
The more simplistic your relationship is with someone, the less problems the two of you have with each other–that’s what I like about my friendships with guys. And that’s not to say women can’t have simplistic, shallow friendships with each other–they can and do. I just don’t feel like we’re taught that, though (think about all the movies and TV shows featuring a group of good, close friends), and I don’t feel like that’s usually what women really want from each other as friends–at least not when they’re young and single. That usually leaves one woman in the friendship upset about what she’s not getting out of the friendship. I’m as guilty as any woman on this one because, as mentioned, I see female friends as being for deeper friendships. But those friendships are harder, as well.
-It’s always funny how many women talk about these women who don’t have female friends, then they try to excuse themselves and talk about why their situation is different. Why do you get to be different? What makes you think some of these women you’re putting down don’t have perfectly reasonable excuses, too? Assumptions, assumptions. And I understand that some of the women over at the blog link try to make a distinction between women who seem proud of not having female friends and other women who don’t have female friends, but it seems like a half-hearted attempt as evidenced by the number of times they equate saying “I don’t have female friends” with automatically not liking women or not liking to be women without any qualification. As far as I read, they also failed to state or point out that saying you don’t have female friends sometimes is…well…simply a statement of fact.