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: https://www.facebook.com/Surviving-Female-Friendships-839907162798307/?ref=hl https://twitter.com/ZangaraNicole

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolutions and Friendship

I found this article from January 2013: 5 Friendship Resolutions to Keep Your Relationships in Shape by Laura Marie Meyes

I agree with what Laura writes, especially #4:
"Know when to forgive and when to let go. 
You're busy, your friends are busy, and it's inevitable that at some point, you may feel disappointed. Practice patience and empathy, and remember that your most important friendships should be more or less unconditional. And if a friendship does start to feel draining or painful, recognize when you need to create some extra distance. No need for dramatic friend breakups — just create the boundaries that feel right for you."

Good advice to remember - not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year.

Wishing everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hugs and Friendship

 

I am a hugger; I like to hug my friends and family.  When I see close friends, I embrace them and give them a hug that lasts for a few seconds.  For friends that I may not be as close with, the hug does not last as long.  If you hug for too long, it can become awkward...right?!

I have memories of hugs from certain people and I clearly remember the emotions from that hug.  For example, when I was going through a difficult time many years ago, I remember a close friend hugging me while I cried.  I was still sad, but I felt a burst of energy and love from this friend.  It's amazing what hugs can provide in times of crisis or need.  Furthermore, I've given hugs when I felt the friend needed it.

Hugs can say so much more than words can, especially when we're not sure what to say.  Hugs can provide emotional and physical comfort, and it sends a message of affection, connection and friendship.  There's something very intense about a hug, especially with a close friend.

However, I realize not everyone likes to hug and is the huggy-type; it depends on the person.  Some of my friends just don't seem to like to hug and even though we may be close, the hug is more of a quick thing and not an embrace.  It truly depends on the person and the comfort level she has with physical touch.  It's one of those things you notice right away about your friends. 

What are your thoughts on hugs?  Do you hug your friends or are you not the huggy-type?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Female Friendships on TV

This is a great article about female friendships on TV:

'Parks and Rec' and other 9 shows with female friendships that do us proud by Rachel Simon

Because of my love for New Girl, I would have added Jess and Cece.  I also would have included Rachel, Monica and Phoebe from Friends.  The list would not have been complete without the fabulous women from Sex and the City, so I'm glad they made the cut!

What do you think?  Did you feel there were any female friendships left out that should have been on that list?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Friendship With Men vs. Women

An old friend from high school shared with me that for a long time, she only had male friends, which was easier for her to maintain than female friends.  For me, I find that my male friendships do seem easier.  I have one very close male friend with whom the relationship seems to flow naturally; even though we live in different states, I feel the friendship is solid and drama-free.  Thus, I can understand why women sometimes prefer male friends over female ones.

I find this topic interesting because there is a difference when it comes to having male and female friends.  I often hear women discuss how they can't stand the drama of some of their female friends, and so they spend more time with their male friends.  But as we all know, males can have drama too!

I also believe that when females have been hurt by other females, they may be more inclined to seek out male friendships due to past painful experiences.  There is a fear of entering into another friendship that may end badly.  I can understand that mentality, however, we can't let our fears get in the way of potential positive friendships.

I think there are benefits to having both male and female friends, and having a healthy balance of both.

What do you think?  Do you prefer one group over the other?  If so, is it because of your friendship experiences?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Friendship Quote of the Week

"Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.  Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.  Just walk beside me and be my friend."
~Albert Camus

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Friendship Article

I recently read an article called Not every woman has a strong unit of female friends.  It's time to stop feeling guilty about it by Rebecca Holman.  I address how the media can portray unrealistic female friendships in my book, so I felt the article did a fabulous job of exploring this topic.

An excerpt from the article:
"For one thing, plenty of women simply don’t have the time – one of the most unrealistic elements of Sex and the City (more unrealistic than Carrie’s beautiful apartment and ridonkulous wardrobe on a writer’s salary) was the idea that four friends with busy careers, relationships, and later children, still found the time to meet up several times a week and talk on the phone several times a day. Some women find it easier to form friendships with men, and for some women, making friends, or negotiating the tricky relationship politics between women just isn’t that easy."

I agree with Rebecca and also focus on Sex and The City in my book, as I feel it creates an expectation that all women should have friends who they see and talk to almost daily.  However, how realistic is that?  Yes, it would be fabulous to meet up for brunch on a whim and to chat for hours on end, but in real life (you know, what you wake up to each morning?), it's just not that simple!

What do you think?  Does the media (television, movies, magazines, etc.) influence how you view friendships and/or impact your expectations of your friendships?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gifts and Friendship

In an older post, I discussed holiday gifts and friendship.  I have come across another dicey gift/friend situation: a friend has an event (baby shower, wedding engagement, etc.) coming up, and so the question is how much to spend on this person?  Now, if you're close with this friend, it's a no brainer: you get her a nice gift and attend the event.  Duh!

However, if it's someone with whom you're not that close, what do you do?  And how much is enough for someone you're not that close to?  Do you spend $25 and/or get something on her registry and apologize profusely for not being able to make it (because you don't want to)?  Or do you over-compensate and spend more money because you feel guilty for not going (again, because you don't want to)?  Hmmmm...awkward!

This is a tough situation.  A gift should be appreciated no matter what the value, right?  Yes.  But we all have those friends, er, acquaintances, who we're not sure what to get and/or how much to spend on them.  Maybe it's your co-worker who you're not super close to, but you feel obligated to buy her something for her baby shower.  Maybe it's your friend's other BFF who you can't stand but feel it would hurt your friend if you didn't attend the event.  Oy!  Such dilemmas we face!

It makes it difficult when you're not that close with the person who invited you; what's even worse is wondering why the person invited you in the first place.   On the one hand, it was nice that you got invited, but on the other hand, does the person really think you're going to attend?  The invite may have been out of common courtesy, yet it still leaves us in a precarious situation.

In all seriousness, it can get awkward when we're not that close with the person.  How do you handle this situation?  Do you get a gift and go to the event and/or do you kindly decline?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Friday Author Event at Squash Blossom

If you're in the Phoenix area, please come to First Friday (11/1) at Squash Blossom.  I'll be among other local authors selling and signing books!  The event will be from 6:30 to 9:30 pm.  Hope to see you there!

Squash Blossom
705 N 1st Street
Phoenix, AZ
85004

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Toxic Friends

Do you have a toxic friend?  A survey conducted by TODAY.com and Self Magazine found that 84% of women have had a toxic friendship.

An excerpt from the article:
  
"Just how bad are our so-called friends?  Sixty-five percent of you have been stuck with a self-absorbed sidekick (easily recognized by their fondness for the words "I, me, mine") while 59 percent have been buds with one of those draining emotional vampire types.

"I recommended a woman I knew for a job and she'd come in and you'd say hello and she'd sigh and grunt and tell you she had a headache or a back ache," says Lucia Patritto, a 53-year-old educator from Ironwood, Mich.  "We're a positive bunch at work, but she was like this emotional wet blanket. She wasn't just a pill; she was a suppository.  You could practically hear the Debbie Downer music.'"

It's no fun being friends with someone who is negative, draining, judgmental and/or self-absorbed.  It gets old very quickly.  However, sometimes we find it difficult to cut ties because we feel guilty and/or we feel there's no other option.  More from the article:

"Still, in all, we're a loyal bunch, with 83 percent of survey takers confessing they'd held onto a friendship longer than was healthy simply because it was hard to break up with a buddy.  

"The reason it's hard to dump a toxic friend is the same reason people stay in all kinds of dysfunctional relationships," says Dr. Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital and a TODAY show contributor.  "There's something in it that you find compelling or familiar.  Depending on the nature of what's going on in the relationship, you may feel guilty [about breaking things off].  Or it could be that the person has implied you need them in some way — that you would be a bad person to walk away."

It's not that we have no standards at all.  One in three readers say they'd call it quits with a friend who wasn't trustworthy."

If you're constantly walking away feeling worse about yourself, you may want to take a second look at this friendship and think about why you have this person in your life.  You can try and have a conversation with her about your feelings or it may be simpler to cut ties if the friendship is not providing anything beneficial.  The idea is to look at those around you and make sure the friendships are healthy and positive. 

Have you had a toxic friendship?  Did you end it?  Or are you still friends with the person?

See the full article: Toxic Friends? 8 in 10 people endure poisonous pals by Diane Mapes

Also see the video: Why do women put up with toxic friends?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When Friends Set Their Single Friends Up

When you're single, you have no qualms about asking everyone you know to set you up with eligible bachelors.  (Okay, maybe you do, but I don't!)  Your hairdresser, your co-workers, your gym buddies...the list goes on and on.  You might as well send out a press release: "I AM SINGLE.  IF YOU KNOW ANY HANDSOME YOUNG MEN, CALL ME" but that may scare some people away and make you seem a little too desperate.

So when you get that call from your friend telling you she has a guy in mind, it's nerve-racking and exciting at the same time.  All sorts of thoughts go through your mind: "Will I like him?  Will he like me?  Why did my friend think we'd get along so well?  What if he's not at all my type?  What if he is my type?!"  Girl, you're lying if you say you don't think such things!

When we meet said person, and it goes well, we thank our friend and go on our merry way of dating, and wherever the road may lead.  The problem ensues when 1. the first meeting is a disaster and 2. there's a breakup. 

Situation 1: depending on the level of closeness of your friendship, you may feel somewhat awkward telling your friend that you're just not into the guy.  Or the first meeting went so terribly wrong, you don't even know where to begin.  So you may handle it by telling her that the guy was really nice, but you see the two of you being friends.  Sometimes we're more afraid of hurting our friend's feelings because she may have really thought the two of you would fall in love at first sight and start making babies.  Yes, I've heard people say that!

My advice is to be honest with your friend and thank her for the set up.  It's wonderful when friends think of us single gals.  However, it's hard to set people up and it's always a risk, so another way to handle it is to have a conversation with your friend before you meet the guy so everyone is on the same page and expectations are clear as can be.

As for situation 2: this is a tough one.  A breakup can present some tricky and uncomfortable conversations with your friend because you want to be respectful and not give TMI, yet your friend may want to know what happened.  It's up to you to share what and how much, but be warned that she's the one who set the two of you up, which means she probably talks to the guy.  This situation may shift your friendship for a while, but the hope is that it won't shatter it.  The two of you can still be friends and over time, can work through and past the breakup.  Besides, she didn't break up with the guy, you did.

Have you been in either situation?  If so, how did you manage?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Boston Globe Article

If you haven't checked out this article, please do!

Friends don't let friends miss 'Breaking Bad' by Beth Teitell 

Do you encourage your friends to watch your favorite TV shows?  If your friend doesn't watch or like a favorite show of yours, does it bother you?  Have you ever started watching a show because a friend recommended it to you?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

GRRL FEST 2013

If you're in the Phoenix area on October 12th, please come to this event!  I'll be selling and signing books; hope to see you there!

"GRRL FEST is a festival that incorporates music, food, art, dance and spoken word to prevent violence against women and children through education and art. Our goal is to change peer culture in order to prevent increasing violence against women and girls through education, entertainment and positive representation of women."

For more information and details, please click on the link below:

GRRL FEST 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Great Article That Every Woman Must Read

Below is a great and empowering article for all women.  I especially like #20 and #21 :-)

23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing by Emma Gray

What are your thoughts?  Do you do some of the these things?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Friend vs. Best Friend

I often wonder about what guidelines we use to define "friend" versus "best friend" and how easily these terms can be thrown around.  To call someone my friend, she's more of an acquaintance, and someone with whom I feel close and can trust.  To call someone my best friend, there is a more defined history and a priority put on the friendship, as well as an intense connection that usually cannot be explained through words.  However, I believe we all have our different ways of defining these terms.
 
And as we all know, friendships change over time, so our best friend may be put back in the friend category due to various circumstances (she moves and so the friendship changes or she becomes busy and get togethers seem to decrease); on the flip side, a friend may quickly become a best friend after, for example, experiencing a similar event (both getting pregnant around the same time, being in the same professional career, going to kick boxing class each week, etc.).  It's interesting to see how fluid friendships can be, and how we should learn to be grateful for those who are in our lives now versus who should be being a better friend or best friend.
 
Furthermore, at what point do we call someone our best friend?  Do we tell this person that she's now our BFF?  Do we bring her balloons and say, "Congrats, you are officially my new BFF!"  Probably not!  More than likely, we don't have this conversation because it's not done through words; it's done through quality time, connection and trust.  Same with someone who goes from being your BFF to friend status - does she get demoted?  It's funny how these things happen so often, but are not openly talked about.  Plus, for everyone, this process is different.
 
What are your thoughts?  How do you define "friend" and "best friend"?   

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Do These Jeans Make Me Look Fat?

Ah, the conversation between two good ole friends when one asks how her jeans/dress/top/whatever piece of clothing looks on her and whether it makes her look fat.  Depending on your friendship with this person and how comfortable you feel answering such a booby-trapped kind of question, your answer may differ.  How honest can we be with our friends and what's too honest?

I once heard a story in which a woman was told she was fat, and that's why she wasn't getting any dates, by her BFF.  This woman did not ask for her BFFs thoughts on this matter, but the BFF took it upon herself to give her two cents...or maybe that would be two cents too many.  Obviously, this woman was hurt and felt put down by her BFF.  Who wouldn't in this situation?

Sometimes we don't want to know what our friend is thinking because it may upset us.  But when we ask for feedback, we have to understand that we're opening ourselves up to judgment - good or bad.  As for me, I'm not too sure how comfortable I'd feel telling my BFF that yes, she does look fat in those pair of jeans.  It sounds rude and offensive.  However, some women I know have no qualms about being brutally honest with their BFFs and that's great for them, but I just cannot go there with my besties.

Many years ago, I was asked if I liked a friend's skirt; I honestly didn't and made a comment that it wouldn't be something I'd wear but it looked good on her.  This friend felt I insulted her and stomped off into the other room.  I thought I handled the situation fairly well, but according to her, it wasn't what she wanted to hear.

If you tell your friend she looks great, she'll think you're lying; if you say she looks fat, she'll be hurt.  It's not a win-win situation regardless of what you say, so I just take the high road of squirming out of the answer.  In all seriousness, I don't want to be the type of friend who puts her friends down or makes them feel bad; I'm too sensitive to my friends' feelings, even if they want my honest opinion.  So, fellow friends, please don't ask me if your jeans make you look fat.  I'll just say they don't and leave it at that.

What do you think?  How do you handle this situation?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Flirty Friends and Boyfriends

Here's a difficult situation: you attend a party with your boyfriend and your BFF starts being flirtatious with him - for example, she compliments his oh-so dreamy ocean blue eyes or continues to make comments about how good looking he is.  Ummmmm, awkward!  This is a challenging situation because many of us would not know what to say in the moment - do you call out your BFF and tell her to back off or do you pull your boyfriend closer to you?  Probably no to both!  You may look like the crazy one.
 
When alcohol is involved, many people get touchy-feely and so it's not unusual for it to be seen as flirting.  But when it's your boyfriend and your BFF is the one telling him how amazing he looks in his new pair of jeans, that can be a bit unsettling.  If it's a good enough friend, I believe it's worthwhile to say something to her.  Maybe she was unaware that it made you uncomfortable, maybe she was nervous about meeting your boyfriend and didn't know how to act normally or maybe she had way too much to drink and doesn't even remember what she said.  Or perhaps no one has ever told her about this behavior in fear of hurting her feelings.  Lucky you if you're the first one to break the news to her!  In all seriousness, the goal is to confront her in a calm and respectful way, and to let her know how you felt regardless of her reasons; it may be a good learning experience for her.
 
This brings up a tough issue when it comes to friends and how easily jealousy can arise, especially between two female friends.  No woman wants to feel threatened when she hangs out with her boyfriend and BFF.
 
Have you experienced this situation?  If so, how did you handle it? 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Things We Do For Our Best Friends...

When it comes to our BFFs, we go to great lengths to be there for them; we provide a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen and offer to pull back their hair when they get sick from too much alcohol.  We do these things because we care and also because they'd do the same for us...at least that's the hope!

Below is a list taken from 20 Things I'd Do for My Best Friends:

"1. Be designated driver on a girls night out because I know you need a glass of wine (or shot of vodka) more than I do -- and trust me, I need one.

2. Say, “That skirt/dress/jumpsuit makes your butt look fat,” when that skirt/dress/jumpsuit actually makes your butt look fat.

3. Explain that jumpsuits only look good on Rihanna and Rachel Zoe — and encourage you to stop wearing them.

4. Pretend I need you to fix my bra strap to save you from a tedious conversation with a boring mom at the playground or that annoying guy at Starbucks.

5. Despise someone I barely know because of something they’ve done to you, and then treat them kindly if you decide to forgive them."

Read more at the link above!

What's the craziest thing you've done for your BFF?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CultureBlaze.com

Many of you know I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook...and social media, for that matter.  I go back and forth with how helpful or how hurtful it can be, especially in how it impacts our relationships.  Thus, below is a great article to share about this very topic (and you may even recognize a familiar name in the article!).

Are You Suffering from Social Network Syndrome?

What are your thoughts about social network syndrome?  Do you feel you have a good balance with how you utilize social media?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Awkward Situations in Friendships

Here's an awkward situation: when you don't like your friend's friends.  We've all been there: we meet our BFF's friends and have this thought: "How is she friends with these people?!"  There is a mix of emotions: shock, disappointment, and then a realization that this may pose a difficult situation for the friendship.  Uh oh!

This happened to me a few years ago; I met one of my friend's friends from her graduate program.  I really did not like them, but I had to find a way to move past those feelings and be nice; I felt my friend deserved that from me.  However, it took a lot of super human strength not to react to certain comments these women would say, and on top of that, not to say something to my friend.  I was surprised that my friend was hanging out with these women - not simply because she attended class with them, but because she chose to spend time with them outside of class.  I found these women superficial and judgmental - qualities that I didn't see in my friend.  But how do you tell your friend that?  Enter ridiculously awkward and painful conversation...no thank you!

In this situation, I'm not too sure you can say anything; it really depends on the friendship.  Unless you are 100% sure of your friendship, your BFF could feel hurt and then be left with not knowing how to handle social situations because if she invites her friends, that will include these people...and now she knows how you really feel.  The friend is put in a bad spot because now that she knows how you feel, that may limit what she plans and who she invites.  Thus, you may end up seeing her less or being invited to events less over time.  Or she may try to balance out her time and make plans to see you minus those friends-we-shall-not-speak-of.

There's no easy way to handle this type of situation.  As adults, we try to be mature and get along with everyone, but come on, it's hard to do!  Imagine your BFF telling you she doesn't like your school/work/gym/mommy friends...how would you react?

What's been your experience with this?  Have you ever told your friend you don't like her friends?  If so, what did that conversation look like and how did it go?  Did it help or hurt the friendship?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Girls' Life Magazine

If you haven't already, please pick up a copy of the August/September print issue of Girls' Life Magazine!  I'm featured in an article called, "What's Your Friendship Style?"  I give some advice regarding two of the situations...you'll have to get a copy to read more!

Below is the link to the press release, which has more information about the article:
Girls' Life Magazine Press Release

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Time and Friendship

One of my best friends emailed me a few days ago; she was struggling with one of her friends and shared her thoughts and feelings about what was going on.  What she wrote A. impressed me and B. got me thinking a lot about time and friendship, and how we manage both in our busy lives.  Thus, below is what my friend wrote to me.  We shall call her Watson; she's just cool like that.

Time. Time is a constant in all of our lives and has become either an excuse or answer to things working or not working out.  Whether it is work deadlines, applying for a job, when to take your medication, when to get your oil changed, paying bills or when to have a baby, these are all questions of time and also making time to get these accomplished.

Lately, this has been appearing in my life more frequently, as I have gotten married and my friends have either started relationships, gotten married, or are dealing with daily life.  All of these things take time.  I just wonder: when did we start using the excuse of time as an answer for not being a good friend, parent, partner, sister, brother, mother, daughter?  Should this be a legitimate reason for not being the best of all of those things?  Or making just a couple of those things a priority?

Just the other day I realized that my friend Eliza (who I thought was a good, trustworthy friend) used the "time" excuse for not being a good friend.  "I have been trying to manage my life better and be there for my friends who live all over the place," she said.  Yet, she still manages to find the time to post on Facebook, continue her postings on her blog, have a busy job, live with her boyfriend...and they just recently got a dog.  In some ways, I wish she just would have used time as the answer, even if at the moment it stung, she could have just said, "I can't be the friend you need me to be right now; I just don't have the time."  It sounds cruel when I say it out loud but at least I would have an answer and not be strung along or hurt by the excuses that keep coming my way.

Is this unreasonable?  Are my expectations too high?  Do I have too much time on my hands?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pitch Perfect

I recently watched the movie Pitch Perfect.  It was filled with amazing singing and hysterical one-liners (Rebel Wilson is hilaaaaarious).  It was also filled with female friendship and what happens when you throw a bunch of women together who are all different and unique in their own ways.  I enjoyed watching the process of these women (aka The Barden Bellas in the a cappella collegiate singing group) as they learn to respect and actually come to like one another.  It showed how first impressions are not always right, and also, that over time, we can learn to like others as we accept who they are, the good and the bad.

In one scene, the ladies go around and share something that others don't know about them; it was a growing moment for everyone as they opened up and allowed themselves to be vulnerable.  It was a funny, yet genuine scene that reminded me of when you learn something personal about a friend that deepens the bond of the friendship. 

The entire movie was so much fun to watch (at times, I wanted to get up and dance), so I'm including the final scene (SPOILER ALERT: don't watch if you haven't seen the movie!!), where The Barden Bellas come together and share their awesomeness with each other, and the audience...oh yea, it's a rockin' number!  Go ahead, have a dance party!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Phoenix People Profile

Check out this profile written by Nicki Escudero:

Nicole Zangara: Author of Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I sat down with Nicki one day in June; we ate lunch while she interviewed me about the book and the writing process.  She asked excellent questions, and since she also read the book, we were able to discuss various chapters.  At the end of the interview, Nicki had me share five reasons why I love living in the Valley.  Check it out!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Scottsdale Living Magazine

I'm pleased to share an article that recently came out in Scottsdale Living Magazine:

Helpful Book By Local Author, Nicole Zangara, Explores Female Friendships by Jamie Mitchell

I sat down with Jamie at a local Starbucks, where she interviewed me about the book; she asked great questions and was excited to discuss the topic of female friendship.

Enjoy the article!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Value of Your Words

We've all been there: a friend tells us she will do something, and then she doesn't follow through.  On the one hand, I completely understand; we say we'll do something and then we forget or just can't seem to find the time to do what we said.  On the other hand, I'm going to be honest and say that sometimes it bothers me.  Whew - I said it!

What gets me into trouble is that if you tell me you're going to do something, I believe you.  For example, if we're talking on the phone and you tell me that you're getting another call and you'll call back, I believe you.  Or if you say you'll meet me for coffee at 3 pm, I assume we will see each other then.  I find the value of words to be extremely important, so when I tell someone I'm going to do something, I will try everything in my power to do so.  Maybe I'm weird (don't answer that) or invest too much in what people say.  Who knows, but promises hold meaning.  In my mind, why would someone promise or commit to something that she has no intention on fulfilling?  I have a hard time accepting false promises, especially in my friendships.

Which brings me to my next point about people who are considered "flaky" and seem to have a difficult time following through on what they say.  I have a challenging time being friends with someone like that.  Even though she may be the sweetest gal on the earth, if she can't commit to her word, it's frustrating and can lead to feeling disappointed over and over again.

It's important to have patience with your friends and be aware of your expectations, but it's also important to feel as if your friends are respecting you.  It's a fine line.

Have you experienced this in your friendships?  If so, how do you manage it?  Am I being too harsh?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mistresses

Summer television is not all that exciting - unless you enjoy reality TV, you're in another category - so I tend to watch shows that look semi-interesting and then decide whether or not to stick with the season. 

One of which, Mistresses (ABC, Mondays), is about four women and their complicated lives: in a nutshell, each woman is dealing with her own issues, such as infertility, love and sexuality, to name a few.  The concept of the show is also about cheating and how that impacts these women, their families and their relationships.  In last week's episode, one of the characters shares with her friend that she cheated on her husband and the friend has no sorry feelings.  This scenario made me think about my own friends and how I'd react if they were married, cheated on their spouse, and then shared it with me in confidence.  Would I think differently of my friend?

We want to be there for our BFFs, but they may make a decision (like cheating) that rocks our own views/morals/feelings.  Depending on your experience with cheating - say your boyfriend of five years cheated on you or your parents divorced due to an unfaithful parent - you may not be cool with your friend's actions.  Would it break the friendship or cause awkwardness or tension between you two?

Have you been in this situation - either you told your friend that you cheated OR your friend told you that she cheated?  How did you react?  Did it change the friendship? 

I'm actually quite curious to know your views, so please feel free to share them - you can comment anonymously if that makes you feel better! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Money and Friendship

I write about this topic in my book; money is a touchy subject - that's a fact.  I often hear women complain about birthday dinners or other types of events when everyone "goes in" and ends up paying for alcohol or food they didn't even have.  Um, not cool! 

Here's the scenario: it's your best friend's 30th birthday dinner.  There's about 20 of you going to a somewhat decent restaurant.  Many of the guests order appetizers, drinks (a couple of rounds), dinner and dessert.  If no one has asked about split checks, one large check goes to the table and oftentimes, one person takes the bill and decides that it'll be split up 20 ways (or 19, if someone doesn't want the birthday gal paying). 

I've been in many of these situations, so I tend to ask the waiter/waitress if it's possible to do split checks.  Maybe it's obnoxious to other people or maybe they are secretly relieved because they, too, have been in this situation and feel awkward about asking.  On the other hand, I've been to a dinner where everyone ordered at least 1-2 drinks and lots of food and I didn't, and I had to pay a huge chunk of money towards the rather large check.  I went home slightly angry and felt that wasn't fair.  In this situation, I didn't feel comfortable speaking up because there were a lot of people I didn't know and come on, if it's people you're not close with, it sounds a little nutty to make a big deal about it.  But, it IS a big deal!

Unless your boss or partner is paying, it's challenging to figure out how to maneuver around seeming stingy, yet not wanting to shell out more than $50 if all you ate was a salad or small entree.  Here's what people don't want to say: it's not fair.  Here I am, saying it for you!  It's not fair!

I believe that if you are good enough friends with someone, it's okay to pull her aside and say something - especially if she's the one who orchestrated the event.  Or maybe ask the table if it's okay if the waiter/waitress does split checks.  I'm fairly sure you wouldn't be told no - in this day and age, who wants to shell out more money for what she didn't order?!  However, if you're too timid to say something to your friend, that may be a sign of the friendship - and not a good one.  In a healthy, positive friendship, we should be able to be honest with our friend about our financial concerns.  In my mind, it just seems logical to be fair and have everyone pay for what they ordered. 

Have you been in this situation?  If so, how did you handle it?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Book Review

I'm honored to share a book review written by Nicki Escudero.  The stellar review hits the major points of the book. 

Nicki also shares how she could identify with some of the situations from the book:
"I enjoyed reading it because, as a perfectionist, I wish I was the perfect friend to people — and this book is comforting in that just about any woman has had friendships change even when they did everything right. The book places emphasis on treating friends respectfully and putting in as much effort for your friend as she is doing for you."

To see the entire review, click the link below:
'Surviving Female Friendships' by Arizona author lets women know they're not alone in social challenges

Doesn't it make you want to buy the book?! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bad Habits and Friendship

We all get irritated when we're in a relationship and the person does something we don't like - maybe your boyfriend forgets to put the toilet seat down or he leaves his dirty dishes in the sink.  Maybe you're the one who leaves the towels on the bathroom floor.  It can be challenging to learn how to accept the good and the bad when it comes to our romantic relationships, but we try our best!  People are not perfect and we all have our idiosyncrasies; some more than others!

What about our friends?  Are we allowed to be more picky when it comes to their bad habits?  Maybe your friend always forgets to call you back or is always late to events.  Or worse, she has poor manners and when you're out with her, she is rude to total strangers.  Would you continue to stay friends with someone who has bad habits?

Personally, it would depend on the bad habit and how much it impacts me.  If it's something so egregious, then I'd either try to talk to this friend, or I'd have to examine how much I want this friend in my life.  Bad habits don't get better, they usually get worse; unless this friend can see what she's doing and how it's affecting others, she may not understand and not view it as a big deal.

Do any of your friends have bad habits?  If so, what are they?  Have you had to end a friendship over a bad habit?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Nest Article

I'm excited to share an article I contributed to:

5 Tricks to Ditching a Bad Friend by Sasha Emmons

It can be quite difficult to end a friendship - okay, like REALLY difficult!  There's no easy way to do it, but as long as you know for sure that the friendship is over and you've tried without success to make it work, then it may be time to say good-bye.

Thus, I gave my two cents regarding how to keep your mouth closed when it comes to the urge to spill to your mutual friends about how evil this woman is - yes, it's challenging, but you wouldn't want her gossiping about you to your friends behind your back, now would you?!  I didn't think so.

What's been your experience with ending a friendship?  Did you use any of the above tricks?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Friendship Quote of the Week

"A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely."
~Pam Brown 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Roles in Relationships

We all have different roles in our friendships.  Some of us are the ones who our friends come to for advice, whereas, there are those who go to their friends for advice.  There are those friends who our are talking buddies or walking buddies or those friends we are assured we'll have a good time with because they are social butterflies.
 
I often look at my own role; in some friendships, I tend to be more serious, whereas in others, I can be more silly and laid back.  A consistent role that I find is I tend to be the one who initiates the phone calls, get togethers, emails, etc.  I sometimes wonder what would happen if I stopped initiating: would the friend contact me or think something was off?  Or would the friendship fizzle out due to lack of contact?  I don't want to "test" my friendships, but sometimes I wonder what would happen if I stopped being the one to reach out, especially with those who rarely reach out to me.
 
What intrigues me is the roles we have, and how it can be so easy to stay in these roles once the friendship has been established. 

Think about it for a second: what role do you tend to have in your closest friendships?  Is there a common theme?  Have you ever switched roles?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Grandparents.com Article

I'm excited to share an article I was interviewed for:

7 Friends You'd Be Better Off Without by Sally Stich

From the friend who doesn't get back to you (even though she's tech-savvy) to the friend who can dish it but can't take it, these common scenarios can be challenging to manage.  The goal is to have friends who can engage in healthy and honest communication when there is an issue.  If not, it's time to take another look at the friendship.

Have you had to end a friendship over any of the above scenarios?  If yes, what happened?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Working With Women...Oy Vey!

I often hear women discuss their experiences working with and/or for other women, and sometimes, it's not too positive.  I did a google search and found a couple of articles about this topic, and want to share one about female bosses I found rather interesting: 


An excerpt:
"Forget the sisterhood. Forget smashing a hole through the glass ceiling and throwing a rope ladder down to her younger female colleagues. The Queen Bee is alive and well and — watch out — possibly sitting at the desk next to you.

‘A Queen Bee is someone who has worked her way up to the top in a male-dominated organisation, and she’s probably got there by behaving how a man would behave — appearing tough and not at all soft and mushy,’ says psychologist Professor Cary Cooper, of the Lancaster University Management School. 

‘She’s unlikely to mentor younger women because she quite likes her unique position, and may feel threatened by younger females rising up the ranks. 

‘She had to work hard to get to where she is, so she’s not about to give other women a helping hand — they have to work their way up just as she did.'"

It's fascinating (or depressing, whichever way you interpret the article) that women may not be as helpful with their women colleagues.  I can only speak from my experience, and I've had positive female role models; in one particular job, I became great friends with my female co-workers, which now after reading the above article, I feel grateful for!

I wonder if it depends on what field you're in - if it's competitive - as in The Devil Wears Prada.  If you're always eyeing the person next to you because you're afraid she's going to get the next promotion, that can create an unhealthy work environment, and definitely not help a friendship.  There's a difference between healthy competition and cut-throat, conniving and manipulative competition.

What has been your experience working with and/or for women?  Do you prefer having a male or female boss?  Have you worked with a "Queen Bee"?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Challenge You!

The recent tragic events at the Boston Marathon remind us that life is short and can change in the blink of an eye.  Thus, I challenge you to reach out to your friends and family and let them know you're thinking about them.  We get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget to reach out and let those we care about know how we feel. 

So take a moment, pick up your phone and make that call (yes, an actual call).  Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Yahoo! Voices Article on a Long-Distance Friendship

I'm excited to share an article I wrote for Yahoo! Voices:

An Ode to My Friend, Mary

Do you have any long-distance friends?  If so, how have you managed to maintain the friendship?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Upcoming Event: Book Signing

If you are in the area, please feel free to attend!

Book signing on April 9th at Desert Camp Community Center from 10 am - 12 pm.  I will be discussing the book, as well as signing copies ($12.95 available for purchase).

Click here for more information

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My...How Communication Has Changed!

Now that I've joined the world of Twitter (@ZangaraNicole), I'm noticing (and learning) a lot about how we communicate and share information.  First of all, when something happens, one must take time to post it on Facebook, write a tweet, put it on Instagram and/or link it to one's blog.  Oh, plus send out an email, text message and possibly make a phone call (but who does that anymore?!).  Is this how we're communicating?  It's exhausting!

Add to these several modes of communication, Twitter only allows you to tweet 140 characters, so you're limited in what you can write...which for some people, may be a good thing (you know who I'm talkin' about).  What I have noticed on Twitter is that some of the tweets are filled with so many hashtags and/or shortened words, that I'm left feeling puzzled about what the tweet is about in the first place!  Am I the only one?!  And what is a hashtag?  I seem to not fully understand Twitter - maybe I'm Twitter-challenged...

It seems we are communicating through all of these sources instead of just having one source.  Remember calling someone and that being the only other form of communication besides seeing this person?  I remember those days!  Now I feel as if I'm trying to keep up or else I'll miss something.  I can only imagine how my parents and their friends feel about the constant changing of technology.  Or am I just getting old?  Wait, don't answer that.

In addition, many of us are so connected to our mobile device that we're staring at that all day, instead of having real-time person to person interaction.  Rather than saying, "I laughed so much last night at so and so's party," we're saying, "Your Facebook post was hysterical!"  What happened to simple communication between two people instead of between everyone, including your mother and probably your third cousin.  It feels chaotic to me.

In all seriousness, I'm starting to wonder how technology and social media are impacting the younger generations and their friendships.  Can we truly get to know our friends through Twitter and Facebook?  Is that the direction we're going - most of our communication/interaction is going to be through social media? 

I believe our friendships are being affected by social media.  I also believe that there are both positive and negative impacts; on one hand, we are able to connect faster and in an easier way through social media.  We can share information in a matter of seconds to a great number of people.  On the other hand, it seems that quality is being substituted for quantity - how many friends one has on Facebook or how many followers one has on Twitter - and so I wonder about the impact this all has on friendships.  Many people would rather share exciting news through Twitter than call a friend - yes, it saves time, but our are friendships suffering due to easier ways of connecting?

What are your thoughts?  If you're a Twitter/Facebook/Instagram user, how often are you on it?  Is that how you keep up with your friends?  How have these modes of communication impacted your friendships?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cosmopolitan Magazine!

So there's this magazine, called Cosmopolitan...have you heard of it?!  I'm sure you have!  I'm thrilled to share an article on frenemies that I was interviewed for; it appeared in the online version of Cosmopolitan: cosmo.com!

For those of you who are confused: friend + enemy = frenemy.  Unfortunately, we all have them, and many of us have come across situations in which we don't know how to manage - from how to handle a frenemy being way too nice to when she starts dating an old flame of ours...yikes!

Thus, I was asked to offer my expertise on how to handle eight common scenarios (cool, huh?!).  If you haven't noticed, I'm excited and honored to share this article - being a Cosmopolitan fan and all!  And for those of you who haven't read my book, I address the topic of frenemies...and much, much more!

Check it out:
Cosmo.com article on frenemies by Natasha Burton
 
What's been your experience with frenemies?  If you've been in these above mentioned situations, how did you manage them?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Author's Luncheon

I was given an exciting opportunity last Tuesday to attend an author's luncheon at the Silverleaf Club in Scottsdale, AZ where I discussed the book with about 15 women.  Questions ranged from how to handle the changing nature of friendships as we get older to how to model healthy relationships to our daughters; the questions sparked interesting conversations and topics about female friendship. 

What I enjoyed most about the afternoon was watching these women interact.  Many of the women came with a few friends, so they looked happy as they were laughing and catching up with each other.  One of the women brought her friend from out of town who is currently staying with her, and they discussed their 40+ years of friendship history.  It was beautiful and heartwarming to witness these real-life friendships, and ones that seemed to pick up without a hitch.

Another interesting part of the luncheon was when a woman asked about how to handle those friends who drain you, and don't get the hint that the friendship isn't working.  This woman coined the term "emotional vampires" - which I absolutely loved and had to share such a funny, yet true term.  She mentioned how these emotional vampires suck the life right out of you.  It's a hard dance when someone doesn't seem to "get it" and keeps contacting you - or she always has drama and chaos that weighs down the friendship.  I offered my feedback, and some of the other women provided their insight; yet everyone agreed that it's not easy to be honest and tell someone that the friendship is over and/or it's not working.  This led to a discussion about friendship breakups, and how difficult and painful they are for both parties.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the luncheon and want to thank the women who attended, as well as those who helped to make it happen.  It was wonderful to discuss the book - as it created a dialogue about various friendship experiences - and yes, Facebook was discussed and even these women shared their frustrations with it!   The best part was witnessing the beauty of female friendship and seeing how it can last. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Facebook Unfriending

Another interesting article on Facebook: unfriending and the consequences of doing so.

The Huffington Post: Unfriending On Facebook May Affect Real-Life Relationships

I address de-friending in my book, so this research makes it even more clear that it can have a negative impact.  My love/hate relationship with Facebook continues...

What are your thoughts?  Have you experienced any negative consequences after deleting a friend from your Facebook list?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Do You Need a Facebook Vacation?

For those of you who have read my book, you know I have mixed feelings about Facebook - and that's putting it nicely!  I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, so when I saw this article, I had to share it:

San Francisco Chronicle article on Facebook

In the past year, has your Facebook activity increased or decreased?  If it's decreased, why?  Do you ever feel as though you need a Facebook vacation?

Monday, February 18, 2013

All the Single Ladies...

Valentine's Day came and went.  For those of you who are single, it can be somewhat of a challenging holiday to see all of your friends and family celebrate with their loved ones.  In past years, I have spent the holiday with friends, which tends to make it more about celebrating the friendship rather than feeling bad about ourselves.

One Valentine's Day, I took myself to see Avatar; I'm very glad I did since the movie was spectacular.  It was the first time I had gone to the movies by myself; I didn't make it a big deal, so it didn't feel like a big deal. 

I know people who celebrate the holiday by having a singles party or by having an anti-Valentine's Day party.  I'll be honest and say I'd like to attend one of those!  I'm curious about what goes on at these parties...

If you're single, how did you spend your Valentine's Day?  Does the holiday bring you closer to your single friends or is it just another day?  On the flip side, if you're in a relationship, have you ever spent the holiday with friends?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Check It Out!

Check out Dr. Irene Levine's book review!

Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Review

Dr. Levine is the author of Best Friends Forever: Getting Over A Break-Up With Your Best Friend.

Thanks, Dr. Levine!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Forgiveness and Friendship

How do you feel about this topic in terms of friendship?  I often think about past friendships and wonder how forgiveness (or a lack thereof) impacted them.  Are you the type of person who is easy to forgive or do you hold on to past conflict/situations/interactions?

As I continue on this journey of examining female friendship, I'm trying (really, really trying) to be more forgiving of my friends, and at the same time, be aware of my expectations of them.  When conflict happens or there is a hiccup in the friendship, I now take a step back and look at what happened with a different perspective - one less emotion-driven and more accepting.  It's challenging but as I attempt to be more open in my forgiveness, I find I don't become upset as easily, which then allows the friendship to blossom in a more positive manner.

At the same time, if a friend hurts me or something happens that is too painful, I think it would be reasonable to take some time and decide whether the friendship is worth continuing - especially if I have already tried addressing the issue with no success.  It depends on the friendship, how long the friendship has lasted, and if there seems to be a dysfunctional pattern in the friendship.  You can forgive someone, but as we all know, you never forget.

All in all, forgiveness is tough.  Do you agree?  What's your stance on and experience with this topic?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Question of the Week

If you could be friends with any celebrity (dead or alive) for a day - who would it be and why?

For me, it would be a tie between Beyoncé and Zoey Deschanel.  I find both women fascinating - Beyoncé because she is a talented mega-star and Zoey because I think she's adork-able. 

So Beyoncé and Zoey, how does coffee sound this Wednesday?!

Who would you choose?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pogo

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of the television show New Girl.  Last week's episode was so good I had to rewind my DVR a few times to make sure I wrote down the correct word: Pogo.  For those of you who did not watch this episode, "Pogo" is when you make fun of your friends behind their backs for something they do that bothers/frustrates/annoys you. 

The episode focused on the roommates' Pogos and what they are, such as being the know-it-all (Jess) and having gross toenails (Schmidt).  As a viewer, it was interesting to see how the characters reacted to finding out what their Pogo is and that their friends talk about it behind their backs.  It made me think of what my Pogo is - what my friends talk about behind my back that they can't stand.  Maybe it's my weird sense of humor or my need to be early to everything?  Actually, don't answer that...

I also thought about the idea behind Pogo-ing: that even our closest friends talk about us behind our backs.  I would be lying to say that this doesn't happen.  There are things our friends do or say that bother us and/or things that we don't like about our friends, yet many of us are afraid to speak up or do not want to hurt our friend's feelings.  For example, Schmidt's gross toenails - I probably would not tell my BFF if she had gross toenails.  There's being honest and then being just plain rude and insulting.

The whole idea of Pogo-ing is interesting, especially how it relates to female friendship, and how there are some things you don't talk about in front of your friends - rather, you do it behind their backs.  So horrible, but kind of true.  

What are your thoughts about this?  What's your Pogo?  What are your friends' Pogos?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Arizona Midday Segment!

I'm thrilled to share the segment I did on Arizona Midday on January 3rd!  Enjoy!






Monday, January 21, 2013

Mean Girls

I was channel surfing one night and came across Mean Girls; I own the DVD but I found myself still wanting to watch it for the millionth time (okay, maybe it hasn't been that many but I've watched it more times than I can count).  This movie is funny, heartbreaking and painfully true when it comes to adolescent female friendships.  Mean girls do exist, and I'm sure you know a few...regardless of your age.

I have countless favorite lines from the movie, but one always sticks out:

If you're post adolescence, the hope is that you're no longer dealing with mean girls, but sadly we have interactions with them on a daily basis; perhaps you work with a mean girl or your BFF is friends with one.  It's challenging because sometimes we cannot get away from them; rather, we have to smile, be nice (even though it may feel forced and unnatural) and try to be an adult.  But let's be honest - that is hard to do! 

The goal is to confront the person in a respectful way and let her know that her behavior and actions are not appreciated.  Difficult?  Of course!  But I'd rather stand up to a mean girl because there were many times as a child and adolescent that I didn't.  Therefore, as an adult, I feel it is even more important to use my voice, especially to those life ruiners.

Do you know someone who is a "life ruiner" and/or have experienced someone like that?  If so, what happened?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Friendships That Pick Up Without a Hitch

I spent the holidays with family friends I hadn't seen in years.  As children, my parents, brothers and I would take vacations with this family who lived in another state; it was fun to share many experiences together.  I refer to the parents as my "aunt" and "uncle" and always felt close to the five siblings.  As we grew older, we drifted apart - not uncommon when everyone lives in different locations - and so I'd get updates on Facebook or from my parents as to the whereabouts and news about all of the grown children.

Therefore, when an opportunity presented itself over the holidays to celebrate one of the son's and one of the daughter's wedding engagements, I couldn't pass it up to see them.  Talk about picking up right where we left off so many years ago!  We were laughing, re-telling stories, as well as creating new memories and experiences that will, I'm sure, be told again when we're all together.  We also watched old videos of family vacations...gotta love fanny packs and clothes of the 80s!

It's these friendships that are amazing because you can't explain why or how they work - they just do.  There's a comfortable-ness (not sure that's a word, but I'll continue) and a feeling of connection that cannot be re-created in other friendships.  There's also history, which helps to move the friendships along.

I came back home with a sense of awe about these people and the positive benefits of good, healthy friendships.  Even though time will pass and we may not contact each other on a daily basis, I know these friendships are built on a solid foundation that only became stronger because of this trip.  

Have you experienced this phenomenon?  If so, how do you make sense of it?   

Monday, January 7, 2013

Holiday Gifts and Friendship

The holidays are over, which means that shopping malls are less crowded and there are no more holiday parties - phew!  Ugly sweater parties are not my cup of tea...but that's for another post.

Every year, we spend a ton of money on holiday gifts; gift giving is a holiday tradition and one that allows us to show our appreciation with (usually) material things.  Especially when it comes to our BFFs, we like to give and receive gifts to show how we feel about the friendship.

Some of you may be still going through all the gifts you received, and are deciding what to do with certain gifts that you're not too thrilled about - re-gifting, anyone?!  We've all been there: we've received a gift and even though our friend may think we'll like it, we don't.  It's awkward and sometimes you have to bite the bullet, smile and say you like it...when in fact, you don't. 

When we give someone a gift, we run the risk of the person not liking it.  And then it becomes a dilemma because no one wants to be honest - come on, do you really want to make your friend feel bad because you don't like the gift?  Then you're seen as selfish and rude.  Oy vey! 

However, some of you may feel as though you can be honest and tell your friend that you don't like the gift without causing a rift.  As for me, I'm too afraid even if I feel the friendship is secure; I'm scared of hurting the person's feelings, which would then make me feel even worse.  It's supposed to be the thought behind the gift - it's the thought that counts...right?!  So when I receive a gift I don't like, I find myself feeling more grateful for even getting a gift in the first place.  I think about how that friend put time, effort and thought into the gift, and that's what I focus on.  If I like the gift, then I consider that just fabulous!

Have you received a gift from a friend and lied about liking it?  What's the weirdest gift you've received from a friend?  What are your thoughts about holiday gift giving and friendship?

Saturday, January 5, 2013