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 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?

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