Good girlfriends add lots of things to our lives: laughter, fun, memories, and support. And as we get older those girlfriends become even more important. But as life gets busier and more complicated the relationships with our girlfriends can get complicated. Here are a few rules to help you be the best friend possible to your girlfriends.
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Why friendships are important
Yes, we love that special man in our lives, but let’s face it…sometimes we need to dish with other women!
Our women friends understand the struggles we’re going through because the chances are that they’re going through them as well (or have been through them already). They face the same physical issues we do – after all, no man is going to understand that craziness we may feel during our periods or understand how frustrated we feel when having a hot flash that turns us into a wet puddle.
Our girl friends, on the other hand, can nod their heads with understanding. They’ve been exhausted from dealing with kids. They’ve been on the receiving end of mansplaining. They…just…get it!
And one fact that we hate to even think about, but the odds are that since women tend to outlive men, our women friends are going to provide our support system in later years when our honey may have passed on. Not fun to think about, I know. But truth nonetheless.
Are all friendships created equal?
No. The simple answer is that they’re not.
And that’s okay.
Whether we want to admit it or not, as our lives get busier and busier, our friendships evolve and meet different needs.
For years most of my friendships centered around work – which makes sense since that’s where I spent most of my time. It was where I met most people and since life was so busy off the job taking care of home and family, it was one of the few places where I actually got to enjoy the company of other women…many of whom were also way too busy once it was time to go home.
But most of us have also had other friendships that were based on circumstances.
Tips to help you be a better girlfriend
- Don’t ever talk ugly about your friend to others! You may think it’ll never get back to your friend but you’d be surprised at how news travels. After all, if YOU just talked behind her back, why would you assume that someone won’t be doing the same to you?
- Don’t criticize her house, her kids, or her spouse. Because as much as your girlfriend loves you, these are areas that she’s even more personally invested in. One she chose to marry and the others she gave birth to.
- Don’t brag about things you have. You may think you know all about your friend’s financial situation but there’s a good chance you don’t – especially if you’re the one who is financially more secure. Just because your friend hasn’t said anything doesn’t mean she might not be struggling and just not want to tell you.
- Don’t ever reveal a secret you’ve been told. Never…..ever. If you do and she finds out, it’ll be the last secret you’re ever told (and rightfully so!).
- Don’t expect your friend to include you in everything she does. Even if you’re an extrovert and love being around a ton of people, your friend has interests of her own and the right to pursue them without you. It’s not personal so don’t take it that way. Besides, think of how much happier you’ll both be to see each other when you haven’t spent every moment together.
- Don’t expect your friend to forego other friends. She may be your BFF but she’s not married to you and friendship isn’t an exclusive relationship.
- Don’t assume your friend holds all the same attitudes and opinions you do. She might, of course, but just because she’s not arguing a topic with you doesn’t mean she agrees with you.
- Don’t assume your friend even WANTS to be a part of everything you do. Being friends doesn’t mean you’re clones of each other.
- Don’t attempt to monopolize your friends time. This goes back to Rule #5 and the fact that everyone needs time to do their own thing.
- Don’t force your friend to choose between you and other friends. If you do there’s always the chance that you’ll be sorry.
- Don’t run down her other friends even if you absolutely despise them. It only makes you look bad and may make her start questioning why she’s friends with you if you’re so critical of everyone else.
- Don’t compete with your friend. If she tells you something don’t “one up” her or tell her how you’ve got it better or worse or how you’ve already done that. Even if it’s true and you have already “been there and done that”, you’re not scoring any points with your friend by pointing it out – you’re just sowing the seeds of frustration and resentment.
- Don’t be negative when your friend tries something new. In fact, some encouragement would be appropriate and appreciated.
- Don’t assume you know everything about your friend. Everyone has a few secrets.