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 23, 2014

Positive Spin on Not Having a Best Friend in Your 20s

I came across this interesting article:
7 Amazing Things You Gain When You Don't Have A 'Best Friend' In Your 20s by Rebecca Adams

Adams discusses the reality of getting older, including how we become busier with work responsibilities and family life, as well as how time is more limited.  Instead of looking at this transitional time as a negative experience, she puts a positive spin on the wonderful things that can happen.

Below are two of the seven things you gain:
"You make room for new types of relationships.
If you and your bestie are finishing each other's sentences, it might be hard for anyone else to enter the picture, platonically or otherwise. As your relationship with your best friend matures, you'll become more accessible to people, even ones who've been around all along. Maybe you'll finally grab that happy hour drink with your co-worker or you'll realize that your next-door neighbor is actually pretty funny (and also shamelessly watches "Say Yes To The Dress")."

"You might discover different sides to yourself.
It can be easy to default to the "you" that you are around your best friend, even if you're a multi-faceted snowflake of a person. Surrounding yourself with different people more often can allow you to discover a side to yourself you didn't even know existed. Sure, you're a 12-year-old goofball around your best friend, but you might just be a film noir buff in-the-making, too -- and you should allow yourself to try that on for size more often."

What do you think?  Would you add any other things?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Huffington Post Articles

I'm thrilled to share these articles that were featured on Huffington Post!

Girl Fight or Cat Fight?
I discuss the latest New Girl episode and how female friendship is portrayed.

The Inquisition of Singledom at Holiday Parties
Not a female friendship-related article, but I'm sure many women can relate to my candid experience of being single around the holidays.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Friendship Breakups

I want to share an article I was sent by a new(ish) friend.  I have known this woman for quite some time, but only recently got to know her better through spending time with her at a women's expo (see last month's post on women's expo).

In Why Ending A Friendship Is So Much Harder Than Ending A Romantic Relationship, Kat George does a fabulous (and realistic) job pointing out how difficult friendship breakups are, as well as reasons why they are so challenging to experience.  I address these issues in my book, including how similar friendships are to romantic relationships in terms of how close we can get to our friend, and how painful and devastating the breakup can feel.

Below are two excerpts from the article:
 "Over time, all relationships change. Friends come and go, most of them without much ceremony. One minute you’re partying with Irina, and the next minute you’re brunching with Georgia. There’s no hard feelings, but rather a recognition that as you grow up, schedules fill quickly, and long absences from friends aren’t necessarily earth shattering or revelatory. It’s the circle of social life. But what happens when you consciously and dramatically de-friend someone that was especially close to you is absolutely cataclysmic. When that one person, your BFF perhaps, to whom you text every mundanity of your every day life, who knows you inside and out, whose side you are always by, betrays you, hurts you, or otherwise removes themselves from your life in some very obvious capacity, it can be more destructive that the loss of any romantic partner you’ve ever experienced."

"At the end of a relationship, “getting back on the horse” is one of the best and most helpful things you can do. Starting to date again can be scary, but it’s also wildly fun and at least very distracting. Finding a new friend is not that easy. People just don’t prioritize “new friends” the way they did when they were younger, so between existing friends, personal relationships and careers, it can be very difficult to meet a new potential BFF. There’s no OKCupid for friendship." 

Friendship breakups are emotionally tough and that's why it's incredibly important to give yourself time to grieve and process all of your emotions.  In my book, I go into more depth about letting go, and helpful ways to do so.

How have you managed a friendship breakup? 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

More Friendship Articles

Having a hard time figuring out whether your friend is acting more like a frenemy?  Can't stand your friend's friends?  Are you moving and afraid to start over?  Is your friend too busy to spend time with you and you don't know how to handle it?  I've got you covered with the below articles!

How To Tell If She's A Friend Or Frienemy on Ladylux.com

5 Ways To Tolerate Your Friend's Friends by Danielle Page

The Secret to Finding Friends After Moving by Ellena Fortner Newsom

5 Ways To Deal With A Friend Who's Always Busy by Danielle Page


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thoughts About Women's Expo

A few weekends ago, I attended the Arizona Ultimate Women's Expo as an exhibitor, where I sold and signed my book alongside two other female authors.  As women would pass by the booth and catch a glimpse of my book's title, it was interesting to watch the reactions, which ranged from laughter to some funny comment said to the woman they came to the event with to "OMG! That is so true!" to "I have no female friends."  Yes, it was quite a range! 

What surprised me the most was when women would walk up to the booth and state that they couldn't relate to the book's title because they had no female friends.  I tend to be direct and outgoing, so I simply asked them why that was so.  Answers ranged from: "Females are drama" to "Females are b$%^&@s" (said in a very matter of fact way) to some other choice curse word about females.  Not only was I surprised by these answers, but I was also sad that these women haven't had positive experiences, and because of that, they stay away from other females....very far, far away.

This is one of the many reasons I wrote this book: to have an open discussion about these experiences we've all had, and to not let these experiences stop you from seeking and then having healthy, positive female friendships.  It was clear that a lot of these women at the expo had a story regarding female friendship; a story most likely negative, and even emotionally painful, and thus, that is why they reacted the way they did to the book's title.

To these women, I want to say that things can change.  That you don't have to be afraid of having female friendships, and when you seek healthy people, you will have healthy relationships.  Yes, females can be drama, they can be mean, and they can be difficult...but so can males!  It's important and fulfilling to have female friends.  So, reach out to an old friend, or get out there and meet some new people.  Get out of your comfort zone and maybe, just maybe, you'll learn that females aren't so bad.  And then you'll finally understand and be able to relate to my book!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Arizona Ultimate Women's Expo

If you're in the Phoenix area on October 18th and 19th, please come to the Ultimate Women's Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center.  I'll be selling and signing my book!  Look for the 3 Wise and Wordy Women booth.

Details below:
Arizona Ultimate Women's Expo

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Recent Survey on Women

I came across this article, which I found very interesting:
Do Female Friends Trump Romantic Relationships?

An excerpt from the article:
"In honor of National Women's Friendship Month, which is observed during September, Skout, the leading global social network for meeting new people, recently conducted a survey among women to uncover the latest trends and habits around women's friendship in today's digital society. Skout, which helps its users expand their social circles, made more than 500 million connections among its users in 2013.

More than 3,800 women who use Skout participated in the National Women's Friendship Month survey. Key findings include: 

  • The Internet is changing how we meet close friends.  83% of women say they have a good friend who they have met online but never in-person.

  • Friends from childhood will always be special.  62% of women surveyed say one of their closest friends is someone they met as a child.

  • Friends trump romance.  55% of women say their relationship with a best friend is more important than one with a romantic partner.

  • Mobile devices and the Internet are key to staying in touch with close friends.  88% of women say they communicate with their close friends several times per week (in fact, 53% do so every day!).  68% of women say they primarily use their mobile phones or the Internet to communicate with close friends."

What do you think of the findings?  Do you agree or disagree?

Click on the link above to see the rest of the findings.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More Friendship Articles To Share!

Are you unhappy with a friendship, but unsure how to end it?  Would you like to start a business with your friend, but feel hesitant about it?  Do you not approve of or get along with your friend's fiancĂ© and struggle with what to do?  Lucky for you, there's solutions to these tricky situations!  Check out these friendship articles I was interviewed for:

5 Signs You Should End A Friendship by Danielle Page

How to Start a Business With Your Friend - and Stay Friends by Natasha Burton

Should You "Speak Now" About Your Friend's Fiancé? by Danielle Page


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why We Love Our BFFs

I came across this article called 9 Things A Girl's Female Friends Are Best At by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini.  The article includes some great reasons as to why we adore our best gal pals.

Reason #8 from the article:
"Delivering the brutal truth.
There’s a specific kind of tough love that a woman gets only from her female friends, maybe because there’s no inclination for any woman to go easy on another just because they’re women. This isn’t to say that all guys treat women like delicate flowers! (Sometimes they treat women like flowers who are really smart and strong, for flowers.) But it’s your girlfriends who understand what it’s like to be a woman trying to get ahead — in your education, career, relationship, life — and they’re the ones who can give you the constructive, respectful, and, at times, painfully honest criticism to help you get there. Theirs is often the only criticism you care about, anyway."

Do you agree with the reasons?  Would you add any other ones?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Playing House

I was bored one Sunday (which rarely happens, BTW) and decided to view the selection of movies and programs On Demand.  I came across Playing House and was hooked right from the first episode.  The friendship is realistically portrayed and the show is quite funny...actually, very funny.   

The main characters, Maggie and Emma, are best friends from childhood.  Maggie is pregnant and finds out that her husband has been doing some naughty things online with a German woman; Emma is a workaholic who was living in China, but after flying in for the baby shower, decides to stay to help Maggie raise the baby.

The first season focuses on Maggie preparing for the baby, as well as trying to deal with the marriage breakup.  Emma is having to face people and situations she left many years ago, including her mother and ex-boyfriend, and is figuring out her life now that she's back home.  We also see how Maggie and Emma manage their friendship now that they're living together as adults.  (I'd recommend watching the "Totes Kewl" episode, as it hysterically deals with what happens when friends have the same crush and are not honest about it).

In a recent article called Playing House: Finally, a TV Show Gets Female Friendships Right, Julie Beck writes:
"Though watching such friends together can be alienating when you don’t get their references, Playing House does a good job of inviting us into Maggie and Emma’s friendship. We see its flaws as well as its virtues. They reminisce a little too fondly about mean things they did in high school, they gang up on Mark’s wife, they pick at old sore spots from the old fights and misunderstandings that never quite resolved themselves: You work too much; you dreamed too small. Like any important relationship, friendship takes effort."

So, after spending the entire day watching the first season, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that USA renews it for a second one...pretty please, USA?!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More Articles to Share

I'm thrilled to share two more articles I was interviewed for.  One is on the pros and cons of mommy cliques, and how to cope with them.  The other is on some of the friendship changes that take place in your mid 20s, and how to manage them.

Mommy Cliques by Lucy Adams

An excerpt:
"When functioning well, however, mom groups lighten life’s load. Securing a circle of support can be critical to a woman’s well-being. A group of women with a common tie makes a great sounding board for each other when working out solutions to problems. The group is a safe place to vent frustrations and receive encouragement. Group members bring out the best in each other. They cheer on successes, and when crisis strikes they arrive with casseroles. A strong clique of female friends provides a sense of place and belonging in a world in which families are far-flung from their roots."

Why Friendship Changes In Your Mid20s by Danielle Page

An excerpt:
"Expectations change. According to Nicole, all friendships come with expectations — expectations that our friend will show up when we schedule plans, expectations that our friend will call us back when she had to take another call, etc. It’s not unusual for expectations to change as you become busier and have more responsibilities. Maybe your friend can’t spend as much time with you, or isn’t there for you during a difficult time due to her own busy schedule, so you have to shift your expectations of this friend.
It’s important to acknowledge that one friend can’t do everything or be everything. Learn to honor your friendship’s limits, and to appreciate what your friend does do."


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Town Vibe Fairfield Magazine Article

I'm excited to share an article I was interviewed for in the July/August 2014 print issue of Town Vibe Fairfield Magazine:
From Cheerios to Cocktails by Eileen Weber


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Male Friendships

As you all know, I focus on female friendships in the book and on this blog.  What about male friendships, you ask?!  Back in December 2013, there was a segment on "CBS This Morning" that explored the difficulty of male friendships, how it impacts their health, as well as similarity/differences between male and female friendships.

Some fascinating facts from the clip in terms of the similarity between male and female friendships: 1. men also have a challenging time making friends, and 2. men look for similar qualities in friends, such as someone they can trust and is dependable.  Interesting, huh?!

Take a look:

What do you think about the findings of the research?  Do you agree or disagree?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

YouBeauty.com Article

I'm excited to share an article I was interviewed for:
How Gossip Can Be Good For You (If You Do It Right) by Dinsa Sachan

It's an interesting topic, especially because when we think of the word "gossip" we think of someone talking negatively about someone else.  However, this article puts a positive and creative spin on it.

An excerpt from the article:
"While people think of gossip as spiteful and unproductive, experts believe it can have great emotional benefits. "When friends come together, gossiping can help with bonding," explains Christine Weber, Ph.D., a Long Island, New York-based clinical psychologist. "It forms closer relationships with friends who share the same values, activities and interests."

Gossip can also boost social support where you didn’t expect it, says Nicole Zangara, a licensed clinical social worker and author of “Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” “When we learn information about a friend that we might not have known because they felt ashamed to tell us themselves—for example, they were recently diagnosed with a disease or are going through a separation—we can then reach out and be there for them.”'

Thus, Dinsa provides some tips on how to gossip the right way, which includes being smart about who you're gossiping with, as well as knowing when not to gossip.  

What are your thoughts?  Are you someone who likes to gossip?  Do you view gossip as a good or bad thing?  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Facebook and Friendship

I'm sure you've seen people post or share funny ecards from someecards.com; they can be hysterical.

Thus, I thought I'd share some about female friendship and Facebook.

Warning: you may laugh out loud.





Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mother's Day and Friendship

As you know, Mother's Day is coming up.  I adore and respect my Mom and feel that as I grew older, she naturally went from being my Mom to my friend.  Good job, Mom!

It's important to value your Mom, as she probably taught you a few things along the way about female friendship and the various roles women can play in our lives.

Thus, here's an article on female friendship which was written before last year's Mother's Day, but I feel it's still relevant today:
10 Reasons Women Should Value Their Female Friendships by Jennifer S. White

Below are the 10 reasons from the article:

"1. No one knows you like a girlfriend. Those embarrassing moments, those hard-to-recreate experiences of hilarity—your girlfriends know more about you than you’d like to admit to a judge and jury under oath. How special is that?

2. Only another woman can understand. There are a plethora of life occurrences that only another female will get. Don’t get me wrong, a good man will try (thanks, honey), but no matter how much effort he puts in, he cannot understand everything you go through. You know who can? Your girlfriends. 

3. Wisdom. I’m also extremely fortunate to have been blessed with a wise mother. I’m aware that not everyone can say this. I know that I’m fortunate, but, let me tell you, being able to walk through life’s journey with someone who always (and I mean always) sees the pieces that I’m missing is enough to make me thank my lucky stars—and my mom.

4. Pedicures. Okay, this one might seem comparatively shallow (or at least, some of the commentors from one of my recent blogs would say this). However, there’s something purely relaxing and wonderful about sitting in a massage chair next to one of your best pals, delighting in something as basic as having pretty toes. (Yes, I’m aware that this could definitely be done with a man too, especially since one of my favorite movie scenes ever is Bernie Mac getting a pedicure in Bad Santa.) Let the negative feedback roll in, I’m sticking to my guns on this one—pedicures rock. 

5. Evolution. I can see the evolution of my own self by looking at the friends I’ve chosen at various points in my life. At the same time, some of my closest female relationships have been around since I was born, or shortly after. Surely, these relationships are special and worth investing in. Likewise, rather than viewing out-grown alliances as a waste of time or something to lament, try looking at them as learning experiences and simple opportunities to see how far you’ve come.

6. Fun. There’s a reason that “girls night out” has a connotation of joie de vivre—women are a blast, plain and simple. All women every where need to have the occasional girls night out—or they should if they want more laughter and joy brought into their lives and souls.

7. Sharing. No, I’m not only referring to sharing clothing or make-up (although, truth be told, that’s great too). The stereotype that women are better communicators is not necessarily spot-on, but I really do think there is truth to the notion that women share more—and bare more—in our relationships than many of our male counterparts; and, speaking from personal experience, sharing words, thoughts and affection with my girls is enriching to my life on more levels then I can name.

8. Beauty is ageless. Cheesy, but absolutely true is that beauty is timeless. Some women actually do grow more physically beautiful as they age, but I’m not talking about this. As women grow older, there’s a certain confidence, radiance, and authentic inner light that dazzles. Wrinkles be damned, I can’t wait to get older.

9. Not all women are b*tches. Women have a bad rap as being catty and nasty to each other. Unfortunately, you’ll be able to find examples of this almost anywhere you look. Still, I think this is like most groups in life—the loudest, most annoying participants often get heard, but this doesn’t make them the majority or the most important. Without a shadow of a doubt, I know that there are women who don’t judge each other harshly, who appreciate and lift up other ladies instead of dragging them down, and who possess the sort of self-acceptance that allows them to seek out other successful women; I know this because I am one. Believe what you want, but there are plenty of women out there who adore others of their sex—and who have no desire to tear them to bits.

10. We’ll likely be around for awhile. There’s a scene in Sex and the City where it’s mentioned that female friendships are important because, in the end, it’s just us anyways. Now, I know that I need my husband to stick around forever, and I’m certainly not putting too much stock into this sad thought. Regardless, girls, try to remember that your female friendships are important to maintain. Children grow up and husbands need their own space too. Don’t be a martyr. Put energy into your friendships."

Good reasons, huh?!  It's extremely important to be grateful for your friends, to acknowledge their strengths, and to realize it takes time, energy and effort to maintain a friendship...because in the end, it's all worth it.

What do you think?  Do you agree with the above reasons?

For all of the Mothers out there:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Heat

There's not too many movies out there with lead female characters; so when I watched The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy (two fabulous and funny actresses), I found it to be a great movie about female friendship.  

Bullock's character is an ambitious FBI agent who doesn't get along too well with her co-workers; McCarthy's character is a cop who is blunt and not very polite.  The two women are extremely different and have to work together on a case.  They challenge each other and get on each other's nerves, but throughout the movie, they learn to respect and even like the other's qualities.  They start opening up to one another and we see a vulnerability that takes place when two women become friends.  It's a fun process to watch.        

There are some hilarious scenes, which makes the fast-paced movie all the more enjoyable.

Below is the trailer:

What are your thoughts about the movie? 

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?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Trouble With Asking For Help

I'm the type of person who wants my friends to come to me if they need advice, support and/or a shoulder to lean on.  However, it's sometimes challenging for me to go to my friends; it's not because I don't think they can offer support or help me, it's because I fear I'll be a burden or become that friend who is complaining or is a Debbie Downer.  I don't know what it's about but I just can't easily ask for help.  Maybe it's a pride thing...whatever it is, I'm trying to work on it and have been reaching out more.

I think it's safe to say that some of us struggle with asking our friends for help and/or sharing stuff we're going through (you know, the icky, negative, not-fun-to-talk-about stuff).  Feeling vulnerable isn't an easy emotion for many women, especially if we fear being judged or rejected or have been in the past.  Add to that, if our friends work full-time, have a family and/or seem to be juggling various responsibilities, we can easily rationalize why we shouldn't be going to them for help.  Sometimes I feel (for lack of a better word) bad for venting or dumping on a friend; even though I know that is what friends are for: to be there for us in good times AND bad.

I recently spoke with a very close friend of mine (I'd even go so far to say she is one of my best friends).  She lives in a different state, so we keep up our friendship via phone calls, emails and text messages.  She is one of few I feel comfortable enough to share my ups and downs, so as I was sharing some emotions and situations I've been experiencing, I told her that I didn't want her to feel I was burdening her.  My friend's response was so heartwarming and accepting that it only validated why I consider her one of my closest friends.  She is the definition of a genuine friend.

Later that same day, I experienced a similar situation with another friend with whom I've known since college.  We met for dinner and since it had been months since we last saw each other, there was a lot to catch up on.  As we both were sharing - our good and bad news - it was amazing to watch how smoothly the night flowed and how much we were on the same page.  I felt confident in sharing with her parts of my life that I hadn't before, which made me feel more connected to her.

The next day, I felt very grateful for these friends I have in my life; friends who genuinely care and want to know not just about the good things, but also about the not-so-good things.  This is what a friendship is about: not being afraid to share one's thoughts and feelings in fear of being judged or the friend running for the hills because it's too much to handle (c'mon, does that really happen?!).  The truth of the matter is that we ALL go through rough times and we ALL need people to be there for us.  We'd be lying to say otherwise.

Have you experienced something similar?  Is it difficult for you to go to your friends for help/advice?