Ever since the book came out, I've received feedback about how it's made women think about friendships throughout their lives, as well as who is in their lives now. The goal of this blog is to open up and create a dialogue about friendships: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Each week I will post my thoughts, experiences, as well as various articles, topics or quotes that I feel are important when examining female friendships. Please feel free to leave comments; I look forward to hearing from you!

Email me: survivingfemalefriendships@gmail.com

Follow me on Twitter: @ZangaraNicole

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Experience Life Article

I'm excited to share an article that I was interviewed for in the April 2014 issue of Experience Life:
Making Friends as an Adult by Jessie Sholl

An excerpt from the article:
"Lifelong bonds with friends are wonderful, but not always possible. Adult friendships frequently take a back seat to jobs and spouses and children. Or partnerships end, and we’re no longer comfortable in the same networks as our exes. And then there’s geography. After relocating once — or multiple times — frequent phone conversations with dear friends often dwindle into occasional Facebook posts."

It's no surprise that making friends as an adult is challenging, and can bring up many fears.  Thus, below is what I contributed to the article:
"'As we get older, there can be a lot of fear around making friends,” says Nicole Zangara, a licensed clinical social worker, blogger, and author of Surviving Female Friendships. Asking a new acquaintance to coffee or lunch can make the most outgoing person feel vulnerable. Some vulnerability is required for friendship — trust and intimacy are built when we reveal ourselves, at least a little — but knowing when to open up can be tricky."

The key is to put yourself out there and not to let past painful friendship experiences and/or fear stop you from making future connections.  When we let go of fear, it can allow for more opportunities.

The article also discusses expectations (which I address in my book as well):
"It’s also helpful to adjust the expectations we have of our adult friends. Not only confidantes count, says Marla Paul, author of The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making, and Keeping Friends When You’re Not a Kid Anymore. She believes that light-hearted friendships are not only not superficial, they’re necessary.

“Your friendship menu needs a range of both intimates and acquaintances,” she writes. “Think of them as concentric circles. You should have an inner ring of close friends with whom you can share and who will rally around you in an emergency. And you need an outer band of casual friends and social groups that offer companionship and a sense of belonging.'"

I agree with Marla Paul's idea of the inner and outer ring of friends.  That way, you feel you have connections in all forms, and feel those connections on different levels.

All in all, it's not easy making new friends the older we get.  However, it doesn't have to feel like torture.  Grab one of your friends and go to a local social event or see if there's an activities group and join.  There are opportunities out there; it's about being brave, putting on your big girl panties, and taking that leap.  What do you have to lose?!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Girl Code

I came upon this interesting Q & A on Elle.com:
What is girl code, exactly?

An excerpt from the article:
"Here’s the BLC—Basic Lady Code: Never hate a woman you’ve never met, never date a friend’s ex, never reveal another female’s secret, never leave an inebriated friend alone at a bar, never invite a friend’s enemy to a party, never dine alone with a friend’s boyfriend (unless it’s his last meal and he’s being shot at dawn)."

I would agree with these rules/codes.  Although, I would say the above codes are common courtesy; that's why they are "Basic Lady Code."

Thus, E. Jean has "AWC: Advanced Woman Code," which consist of:
"Never trust a girlfriend who dates a married man.
Never refuse to write a recommendation for the offspring of a friend (no matter how big an idiot the kid is).
Never steal your friend’s thunder at a dinner party—when she’s on, give her room! Pound the table! Bang your glass with a spoon! Laugh the loudest at her story!"

What are your thoughts?  Do you have rules/codes that influence how you act in your friendships?  Would you add or change any of E. Jean's codes?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

WebMD Article

I'm thrilled to share an article I was interviewed for in the March/April print issue of WebMD:

Get By With a Little Help From Your Friends by Colleen Oakley

You can also view it on WebMD Magazine Digital if you don't subscribe to the print magazine (scroll down to page 14 to view the article).


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Allparenting.com Article

I'm excited to share an article that I was interviewed for: Where did all my friends go? by Sarah Kovac

What are your thoughts?  Have you experienced something similar?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Interesting Video

I came across this interesting and entertaining YouTube video: A Brief History of Female Friendship

Wanted to share it!

What are your thoughts/reactions? 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Article on Frenemies

I recently came across a great article called Why Women Should Stop Being Frenemies and Start Being Friends by Sarah Koppelkam.

What a concept!  I've never been a fan of the term "frenemies" but I do believe that we all have them due to various reasons: jealousy, competition or the mere fact that we have people in our lives who we don't get along with but can't get away from.  However, is it possible to become friends instead?

There's a lot of research out there that shows the health benefits of female friendship, so one could argue it's not only possible, but it also could improve your health!  (See Good Friends are Good For You by Tom Valeo)

An excerpt from Koppelkam's article:
"For women, oxytocin promotes stress reduction and relaxation, has antianxiety and antidepressant effects, and increases social intelligence, trust, and generosity.  While these feel-good effects can also arise from intimate male-female relationships, researchers believe women can reap the benefits of oxytocin simply by spending some quality time with the girls."

That seems like a good enough reason to me to put aside any ill-will and figure out a way to relate to and get to know someone whom you consider a frenemy.  Who knows, you may realize you have something in common and actually become friends! 

More from Koppelkam's article:
"Our brains’ decisions to trust or mistrust someone are affected by our biological “friendship expectations” — i.e. qualities we look for in friends that will benefit us in some way.  Researchers have found that men and women report different criteria for choosing new friends: In general, women have significantly higher expectations for trust, loyalty, commitment, genuineness, and acceptance (while factors such as common interests, status, power, and physical appearance hold approximately equal value to to all genders).  When we detect a behavior that goes against those values, that’s when mistrust happens."

From my own personal experiences, I can confidently say that women have higher expectations in their friendships, and that's why there can be more drama, tension and intensity.  Thus, if a woman is not trusting or accepting of another woman, she may view her as a frenemy or someone she greatly dislikes.  However, how many times have we made assumptions about other women and they turned out to be false or completely far-fetched?

All I ask is that we look at those around us (and even look at ourselves and our expectations/views of others) and try to be more accepting and understanding.  We may realize we're adding unnecessary drama or being too judgmental of other women.  (If the woman is so horrible of a person and you just can't seem to find any positive or redeeming qualities in her, then fine, at least you tried.)  As it is, we got a bad rap for being "catty" or overly dramatic, so let's all try and put this frenemy label to rest.  Who's with me?!  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jealousy and Friendship

I recently came upon an interesting article on jealousy and friendship:
How to Overcome Jealousy Within Friendships by Karen Kleinschmidt

We don't like to admit that we get jealous of our friends, but let's be honest: we do!  Maybe a friend recently got an amazing job promotion or is now dating a very handsome and funny guy OR maybe your friend just won the lottery (hey, stranger things have happened!).  It's normal to feel conflicting feelings for our friends; we feel happy for them but at the same time, we feel jealous.  As it says below, I believe it's important to acknowledge what you're feeling, and if you feel comfortable, to let your friend know.  If you don't, it will start to feel like there's a polka-dotted pink and blue elephant in the room.  In other words, it would be hard to ignore!

An excerpt from the article:
"Jealousy Is Counterproductive
Step 1 
Accept that you feel jealous of your friend. Acknowledge this feeling within yourself and pinpoint what it is that makes you feel this way. Do your best to avoid pushing your jealous feelings away as your friend will likely pick up on your jealousy through facial expressions and/or your actions. Admitting this feeling to yourself will allow you to explore ways to overcome your jealousy.
Step 2 
Take action by telling your friends you are proud of them when they accomplish a goal or something of importance. Face-to-face interaction might be too difficult at first, so a phone call, text or email might be a better route if you fear your jealousy will show.
Step 3
Force yourself to congratulate your friend despite your jealous feelings. Raghunathan said in his article that forcing yourself to act as though you are happy for your friend will help you overcome your feelings of jealousy. It works in the same way as forcing a smile when you are less than happy."

Regarding Step 3, I think it would depend on the friend.  If it's a close friend, I would tell her how I'm feeling rather than pretend I'm feeling something I'm not.  For example, you could say, "I'm thrilled for you but it's bringing up my own struggles with being single/jobless/whatever the situation may be.  I hope you can understand."  In genuine friendships it's important to be truthful about your feelings instead of hiding them.  If it's more of an acquaintance, I'd force myself to put my feelings aside and try to figure out what's going on with me. 

What do you think?  Have you ever felt jealous of a friend?  If so, did you tell her?