The Girlfriend Dilemma
When I was 13 I would have given my right mosquito bite for this kind of attention. I have two new friends whom I get along with amazingly for the first time in my entire life. And I'm 27. And they're both 34. (I like older women.) Initially it was all very exciting and surreal because these are cool women too. They aren't like me. They weren't awkward in high school. They don't have weight problems. They were cool girls. The kind of girls I could never have been friends with. And yet, today they are my friends!! It's amazing!!
Or, at least, it was amazing. Then things got complicated.
Not having girlfriends through most of my childhood and teen years left me a little...backward. Instead of learning how to do my makeup with my female bestie, I learned how to do a spot on Ace Ventura impersonation from a boy I grew up with and considered my closest friend. I wrestled with the boys until I was 13 and my Mom informed me that boys were suddenly icky and I couldn't wrestle with them anymore, I climbed trees and jumped creeks until I was told that one day I might regret all the scars and broken bits on my legs (and I totally do), and while most girls were having phone convos with their little friends, I was setting my old Barbies on fire with lighter fluid and matches, and dive bombing them from the roof on our second story house, onto my little brother and his friends in the yard.
All the makings for a fabulous bff I was not.
As a teenager I actually wanted female friends, and had a few, but they didn't last long when they came around. Inevitably I still didn't "get" how to be girlfriends and broke the friendship up. Unintentionally, of course, but it happened all the same. Then as a young adult the complications continued, until I gave up on having female friends all together a few years ago and settled semi comfortably into being a loner. I made several online friendships, two in particular that are especially close, but having flesh-and-blood-down-the-road-go-out-for-drinks girlfriends still wasn't an option.
Until a few months ago. All of a sudden two fantastic women blew into my life and for some reason actually wanted to be my friend. We've hung out, our children get along amazingly, we parent very much the same, we believe much of the same things, and we have fun. I've had 3 months of girlfriend bliss and even began thinking that these could be lifelong friends. But, as is my lot in life, things are getting complicated.
I now have two great friends. And I'm having a hard time balancing both friendships. I'm having to split up weekends between the two, organize separate playdates to avoid "3's a crowd" type situations, and I've had to cancel on each of them at least once because I already had plans with the other. This is where it always gets sticky for me. It turns out I'm not bad at making friends, but I'm bad at keeping them.
Women are so complicated. I may be one, but they've always seemed so foreign to me. I don't understand the fine dance it takes to handle multiple friendships with women. If you can't hang out with a dude friend, you just tell him and it's done, no biggie. But if you can't hang out with a female friend you have to apologize over and over, and immediately make other plans, and apologize some more, and it's so involved and frustrating and I'm just no good at it.
So, I've got these two friends. For the first time in my life. And I'm in way over my head here. How do you keep friendships with women afloat? Because I'm terrified our ship is going to go down if I don't start speaking Girlfriendese asap.
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