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

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Camp Memories

Every summer, I become nostalgic for my sleep-away days at Camp Matoaka in Maine.  From the age of 10 until 15, I would spend 8 weeks at camp and I loved every second of it.  Those unforgettable experiences were helpful for when I moved to attend college, since I was used to being away from home.
I also learned how to live with other women – we shared cabins with at least 10 other campers.  For example, I learned that we couldn’t blow dry our hair at once (power outage!) and that it was fun to share clothes (another wardrobe!) – among many other things young girls discover during the bumpy rollercoaster ride that is adolescence. 

I developed some truly amazing connections over those summers.  Every now and then, I will see what these women are up to while logged onto Facebook.  As an adult, I long for those easy care-free days – not a worry in the world.

Do you have moments from your childhood that you become nostalgic for?  Do they involve childhood friends and/or certain seasons?

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Ping-Pong Game

A woman in her 60s was telling me about a recent encounter with an old friend – the two ran into each other after not seeing one another for quite some time.  They engaged in small talk for a while and then the topic turned to their adult children, and it became a ping-pong type of conversation.

Somewhat exaggerated version: 

Woman 1: “My daughter just got married.”

Woman 2: “That’s nice.  My son and daughter-in-law just had their first baby.”

Woman 1: “Oh, well since my daughter recently got promoted, she is going to wait a few years before having a baby.”

This type of encounter seemed to go on, until they ran out of things with which to top one another.

When you run into old friends/acquaintances and catch up, it can become a game of one-upping one another.  Why does this happen? 

I’ve experienced this game and I’m sure you have, too.  However, I believe it’s worse when you have children – the conversation turns to being about them and becomes a competition of whose children are doing better.   Maybe you and your friends' children are applying to college, and so you two discuss which colleges…which turns into which scholarships have been awarded…which turns into some other type of nonsense.  It's natural to discuss your children, but when you feel you’re playing a game of ping-pong, it can become exhausting. 

And it’s not just what you’re saying – it’s how you’re saying these statements.  It’s as if your life depended on it.  If your son is not married but your friends’ daughter is, you may feel the need to defend your son: “Well, he just hasn’t found the right person yet.”  It’s ridiculous!

Have you experienced this or seen it happen?  Why does it (often) become competitive when we’re catching up with old friends?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Movies and Friendship

I recently watched You Again – a movie about a successful young woman, Marni, who finds out that her brother is engaged to Joanna, someone who bullied Marni in high school.   All Marni wants is an apology from Joanna, but Joanna pretends as if she’s never met Marni – even though it becomes clear that Joanna remembers her.  

Marni’s mother and Joanna’s aunt have a history – they were BFF’s in high school but had a falling out, and so the audience watches them also try to work through their feelings from the past, albeit in juvenile and comedic ways.

I found the movie interesting as it pertains to those from the past, specifically how our painful female experiences truly affect us, and make us who we are today.  It brings up the question: Can people change?  I was also reminded of the movie Mean Girls and what happens when the girls grow up and enter adulthood.

Have you experienced running into someone who wasn’t that nice to you when you were young?  Or vice versa?  Did it bring up memories or were you able to resolve your feelings with the person?  Is this why so many women get anxious/fearful/a bit insane about high school reunions?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Past Friendships

Now and then, I wonder about those friends from my past – maybe they are ex-friends, or friendships that fizzled out due to various reasons.  I’ll be reminded of a past friend when going through photo albums or remembering her birthday – it can trigger mixed emotions and memories.

I sometimes think about reaching out to them, but then stop myself before picking up the phone or sending the email.  There is a reason the friendship ended – right?  Similar to a romantic relationship that ended, we tend to remember the good stuff – not always the bad.  We also try to understand what happened – similar to a romantic relationship, we’re often left with little to no answers.

I believe it’s natural to miss our old friendships, even the ones that caused heartbreak.  There’s history with those from our past – experiences shared with each friend that probably include important events (she was there for you during a breakup, she was in your wedding, she was the first person you called when you got the promotion, etc.).  These memories are difficult to remember without your friend present in them. 

Do you think about past friends?  If so, are there certain ones in particular you think about?  Do you find yourself looking at the friendship with a different set of eyes?  Or is it out of sight, out of mind?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Friendship Quote of the Week

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."  ~Albert Schweitzer

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Olympics

With the London Olympics under way, it’s been fascinating and inspiring to watch each event.  The amount of determination, focus and strength is shown as each individual gives his/her all – and hopes to take home gold.

Especially intriguing is watching the female groups: Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (beach volleyball), Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt (swimming) and the Fab Five's Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber (gymnastics) – to name a few.

To experience competing at the Olympics, these women are in an elite class.  They have trained and spent countless hours together, which has most likely led to a deep and powerful bond.  When we spend that much time together, it’s difficult not to become close and learn to trust each other – as these women seem to do.  There’s a lot of pressure on these women, and so they must learn how to depend on each other – learn and appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses.   

As we watch these individuals exhibit such poise and professionalism, we’re also reminded of beautiful friendships that are a result of sharing amazing experiences – ones that only a few get to experience.

What do you think when you watch these women compete?  Have you experienced the camaraderie that we often feel when we're members of the same team?  How does it impact the friendship?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

E-Reader Clarification

Many people have been telling me that they want to buy the book, but do not have a nook or kindle.

Good news: You don't need an e-reader to buy the book!

There are two options:
1. Go here to download an application to view the book on your computer, iPad, etc.
2. Go here - scroll down to the bottom of the page and it provides many options for downloading the book.

Happy reading!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thanks For Sharing, But I Wish You Hadn't!

How much can we share with our friends, and how do we know if what we're discussing is share-able?  I struggle with this topic; when I feel close to a friend, I open up and share various things.  Some may consider it “TMI” (too much information), while others may not think twice.  But when is it really TMI?  

There are the “safe” topics with friends, such as discussing non personal things: what we like to eat, what movies we like to watch and/or where our favorite place is to vacation.  Then there’s the personal topics that require the friendship to be at a certain level so that you both feel comfortable discussing these sensitive things.  But how do you know if it’s okay to share?  Sometimes we cross the line and not realize it because our friend is embarrassed to speak up since it may be too awkward to even address.  

Oftentimes, I’ve walked away from a conversation thinking, “I can’t believe she told me that!”  Not that my friend said something horrific, but because of how personal the subject was and the ease of the statement.  Imagine your friend tells you she’s having an affair in a nonchalant way – as if she were describing her grandmother’s curtains.  Or your friend tells you about her romantic relations and starts going into descriptive detail.  Some of you may have preferred never being told because now you can’t shake that image and can’t look at her partner without turning red.  Thanks, Friend.

I’ve also walked away from conversations berating myself for opening my mouth.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the conversation that we begin to “Me too!” or “OMG, when this happened…” and then we find ourselves sharing stuff we never thought we would.  Oops!  

Think about what information you share with your friends.  Are there friends with whom you share more or less?  Is it dependent on the nature of the friendship and how long you’ve known the person?  Have you had moments of regret?

Maybe it’s time to purchase that diary…