They Do Exist.

Believing Female Friends Are A Threat – And Being A Guy’s Girl.

Editor’s Note: When submitting this story, Rebecca asked that it be categorized under either “body image” or “straight up detrimental insecurities.” After reading it, I want to file it under, “my entire life.” Rebecca Parker blogs at OH & PS. We’re having a party on Instagram! Our username is ‘goodwomenproject.’Lauren

For more years that I would like to admit, I was not friends with many girls. I was the one that hid behind the, “I am just better friends with guys” phrase.

My primary reason for this was a humbling combination of intimidation and jealousy of other girls. My secondary, or nay, completely and arbitrarily tertiary reason, was that I drank whiskey and liked to rockclimb and camp, and well, it’s harder to find girls that are into those things.

But deep down, I believed that no boy would ever see me if I hung out with other girls, especially really pretty ones.

I was more gangly than proportional, more shy than garrulous. I was a great student, but not very driven. A good athlete, but not too motivated. I was hyper opinionated – when opinions made you no friends. I was as average as a high school girl could get. And of course, I got burned by boys. Particularly I got burned by the boys who chose girls that could offer things I couldn’t in high school: style, grace, beauty, an unwavering sense of laissez-faire cool.

Photo by Branden Harvey / / Design by Lauren Dubinsky

It wasn’t until college when opinions were respected and convictions were appreciated that the male species took note of my form. Boys actually started to notice me, and in defense of what was finally happening, I continued to keep women at an arm’s length distance away.

Again, it made sense: rock climber, whiskey drinker, “please cook my steak rare” eater. I hid here. Boy-ish attributes meant no girlfriends needed! “I am just better friends with guys,” I stammered for years and years.

So, I shirked friendships with girls thinking they were some threat to my potential, and hopefully flourishing romantic life. I crucified other women because it was easier than finding confidence and security within my self.

Now that I can see more clearly, a few years out of college, living, working, loving and surviving on my own (and with my new husband), I see my relationships with other women as the collateral damage for an unhealthy view of my character.

Not until years later, when life hits at the place where you actually need people – because life is hard and rent is due and your health insurance isn’t covering all of your problems, and food is expensive, and a real relationship is difficult work, and my car is broken again, and my boss is a wack job, and I’m trying and I’m trying and I’m still feeling lonely and tired and so tired, and because life is hard – did I see that I was a selfish, selfish fool. And that I had been missing so much for so long.

I finally realized I needed community with other women, just as much as I needed the gift of prayer to help me through those tumultuous years. And since those first days of revelation, I have been in FRR: female relationship recovery. I have cultivated relationships with women like a good and perfect gift that keeps coming. I have been abundantly impressed and humbled by these new relationships. Once I had the wherewithal and strength (from the sweet Lord Jesus) to let my guard down, I was able to feel known and supported by many women.

And in the most perfect ironic twist of all, I got married at the height of my FRR. In a cosmic sense, I have learned that the men who I have dated, and the man who I married, was made to be with me, not some other her. My husband’s personality and character reflect my personality and character. He respects me. I respect him. He thinks I am grand. And, well, I reciprocate. He sees me in the room, while all the other faces and places blur. And I am taken, to have and to hold, as one girl amidst a sea of them. And when he pursued me (and yes, he really pursued me – for months!?) I had tons of gorgeous girlfriends with incredible character and wit.

Over the past few years, in this hard realistic place of life, I see my relationships with other females as exactly as they should be: utterly unparalleled and vitally necessary. They are my lifeblood and my encouragement. They are my understanding and my nearness. These women fight for my marriage, and fight for my heart and peace. They pour my wine, and listen to me cry. They carry the burden of life upon their backs with grace and beauty.

I understand now that women have the distinct ability to hold life within their bones – all of it tied together and warmed and fostered. There is a wholeness to women that brings the tragedy and comfort of life together in a glorious unity – a gentleness and a mountain-movin’ strength. We should celebrate our femininity as much as we celebrate our potential and our tenacity.

So when I hear a fellow female say, “Oh, I just get along better with men,” my blood heats up just a bit because that phrase means a lie to me. And I want to say that I can handle a highball of neat scotch with the best of them, but don’t think that I or other women are less. Don’t think women have less strength, less fortitude, less charisma and less humor. Don’t think that women can’t eat as much, can’t run as fast, can’t smoke cigars, and can’t drink dark beer. We can actually do all of that pretty damn well.

I am glad I didn’t hide forever in my fears and insecurities. I am a better person – wife, sister, daughter, friend- because of it. Because I am not alone in this womanhood journey, and my dear, new-ish friends, they are a little less alone too.

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19 Responses

  1. Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes!

    I wrote a blog post a few months ago that sounded so much like this. I spent so many years disliking girls that it was pretty much one of my defining characteristics – Monica, one of the guys who'll tell off the first girl to set foot in her social circle. And as amazing as those guy friends are – I'm still close to them and love them dearly – there was so much more behind my hate for the females around me. I was so insecure and yet I found such comfort and security in being 'one of the guys' – I didn't have to be girly and therefore didn't have to compete with the girly girls. What seemed like a win/win situation at the time. I was afraid I couldn't measure up to other girls, even as a friend to these guys and not in a romantic sense, that I kept them far. A lot of girls feel that way and, just like you, every time I hear a girl say this I want to look her right in the eye and shake the lies out of her! There's so much behind the "I'm better friends with guys" statement that people don't realize unless it's in hindsight.

    Thankfully, I pray and God provides. I don't have that close community of Christian female friends that function like a support system – I'm not fully there yet – but I have made some amazing female friends who sustain me as I put stricter boundaries on my friendships with the males in my life. I find it difficult, though, to find Christian women within my age range (20s) that I can genuinely befriend. There just seems to be a giant gap in interest and lifestyle and … everything. Did you feel that way during your FRR?

    Thanks SO much for writing this, Rebecca. :)

    May 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    • monica, thank you for your kind words. and to your question: yes, absolutely. and although i have made many changes, its not that i have tons of girl friends now. i have a few women who i am very close to and it has taken time (years) to find them. and i have not found them all in the church either. it seems like a beautiful gift when one of these women comes around- and i take them just as that- one woman. it doesnt need to be a group or a clique or a sex-in-the-city quartet.

      i really hope and pray that you will find them! thank YOU for reaching out and sharing. glad to know im not the only one :)

      May 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing your story Rebecca! It was very interesting for me, particularly because I find myself on almost the opposite end of the spectrum- I don't have many guy friends at all. I wish I had closer friendships with guys.

    May 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

  3. @lindz529

    love this.

    May 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm

  4. AMEN.

    May 30, 2012 at 6:04 pm

  5. @Dawn_N_W

    I SO needed to read this!

    I’m in the beginning stages of this transition. Added to the fact that I’m always afraid of people liking other girls better is the “women are just so catty and dramatic” excuse. I’m learning that some are, but many aren’t and I’m increasingly thankful for a community (online and off) who understands more than I ever thought they could.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    May 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm

  6. Thanks for this! I have always had only one or two girlfriends, and when my roommate moved away I had to "force" myself to really reach out to some other women for the first time. Now the two/three girls I am friends with have become precious gifts in my life, and I wish I had not always made my guy friends the "default" before.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm

  7. Pingback: Friday Favorites: If You’re Really A Christian… | Allison Vesterfelt

  8. Ouch, you read my mail! So good! Thanks for your transparency!

    June 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm

  9. Pingback: I prefer my steak rare and my whiskey neat « golen girl

  10. glenlivet

    Thanks for writing. As a guy this is a strong reminder of some of the lies present in my friends' lives.

    June 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

  11. this is amazing! I think that so many people (including myself) can relate to this! It is so easy to size other women up and compare ourselves to them instead of looking for qualities we respect and pursuing friendships.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

  12. “Oh, I just get along better with men,” my blood heats up just a bit because that phrase means a lie to me." <— THIS. Exactly this. I wrote about this phenomenon for the Feminist Odyssey Blog Carnival today. Just…yeah. Thanks.

    June 27, 2012 at 10:19 am

  13. I just posted this comment elsewhere, but in honor of these great female friendship posts today I wanted to put it here as well: "Thank you for this! I worked with a woman last summer who always said this shit, and it is REALLY hurtful to be in a conversation with a woman who is saying TO YOUR FACE that women are bitchy and mean and she doesn’t want them as friends (guess what? Now she doesn’t!). I went to a women’s college, which was a surprise to myself as much as anyone. But I loved the friendships, the intellectual energy, and the solidarity with one another’s lived experiences. Imagine my fury when this coworker, “parroting bullshit” as you say, insulted my entire college experience in one fell swoop! Ugh, I wonder if she even recognizes the self-hatred she spews and deep offense she causes other women, who would have liked to have a friendship with her?"

    July 2, 2012 at 11:11 am

  14. apriljoyphotography

    Thank you for writing this. I am just beginning my own FRR for the very same reasons.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm

  15. Sarah

    I didn't realize my having pretty much no close girl friends at the beginning of college was a problem until one of my best guy friends said to me "…maybe you should be talking to another girl about this stuff." ouch. lol. But that's what I needed to overcome my insecurities and befriend some girls. And, something that I feel like many people/women forget is that if you are real with people; open about who you are and what you like.. you'll find some people who are like you, and want to be real with you too. Too often we generalize/categorize and stereotype people instead of getting to know them and allowing them to truly know us – yes, it's risky but that (to me) is how true friendships are formed.

    August 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm

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