Navigating Friendships with Women

Every now and then a girl comes along as says the dreaded phrase:
“I don’t hang out with girls, they’re too much drama.”

People scream bloody murder. The streets run red with blood. Baby angels cry. The reactions to such a simple sentence is never small. Some girls nod emphatically. Others smile politely but make a mental note to never hang out again. Like any other millennial, I consulted Google about it. The results were not good for “girls without girl friends”. A vast majority of them said to steer clear of those girls because they are the drama. There’s a reason no one is friends with them. It sounded kind of unfair to me.

I can say that I am one of those girls that doesn’t have many girlfriends, but I can’t say it’s because I consider women to be drama. I feel like that’s a really unfair and toxic generalization. Honestly, I would love a group of gal pals, but it hasn’t happened yet. There’s a lot of little nuances to friendships with women that I don’t think I ever learned to navigate. I feel like the nuances are learned when we’re young. Guess who didn’t have a lot of close girl friendships when she was little? *jazz hands* This gal. I had a group of neighborhood boys, their friends, and my younger brother that were my best friends from first to sixth grade. I also don’t have any sisters. I super missed out on all the nuances of relationships with ladies. Navigating male friendship? Piece of pie. It’s what I know. Except that is kinda sketchy as you get older, though. No guy is looking to be your best friend when you’re thirty unless they want to marry you or reap the benefits of your sudden breakup. It’s a tough spot.

I made a girlfriend in the Bahamas!

Ordinarily it wouldn’t matter to me. I enjoy hanging out with myself. I think that I’m hilarious. I like me. I’m a little quirky, but who isn’t? When my fiancé mentioned how much fun he had at his friend’s wedding a couple weeks ago, he said he wanted to have one, too. He felt like we kinda owed it to our friends and family. It made sense. We’re joining two families, we should probably party together.

I’ve never wanted to have a wedding, first because I never thought I’d get married, and second, I hid behind the reasoning that they were too expensive. Seriously, they’re ridiculously expensive. The dress, the flowers, the venue, and the endless supply of alcohol… all that stuff. It’s seems like a lot for one day. There’s a lot of pressure for perfection, and I already know that’s impossible for me. I don’t operate on perfection. Eventually I’ll tell our engagement story. It’s pretty goofy and totally us. It’s not perfect, but it’s cute in its own way. On the subject of weddings, I’d deflect saying that having a badass, exotic honeymoon would be cooler. I can’t say how relieved I was when Jack initially agreed with me.

If I’m 100% honest with myself, that’s not the reason. My situation is basically the plot of I Love You, Man but for a woman. I’m Paul(ette) Rudd. It’s an uncomfortable admission, but I don’t know who I’d invite to a bachelorette party. That becomes not knowing who’d be my bridesmaids. I also don’t know how a bridal shower works. The guests are supposed to just give you stuff for getting married? Was I supposed to have an engagement party already? Are hen parties the same thing as bachelorette parties? I know the matron of honor is your mom… okay, that’s actually a guess. What group of girls do I take the picture with where I put my hand out and all the girls pretend gasp at my rings? And my maid of honor…no one comes to mind. Yeah, that’s embarrassing.

There’s a number of plausible reasons for women not to have a lot of close friends. In my case, I move a lot. I’ve moved over a dozen times between the ages of one and a half and thirty. Sure social media made it easier to keep in contact with people, but I don’t use it nearly as much anymore. It’s more of a personal choice after finding out about the Cambridge Analytica stuff from 2016. I also feel like it’s a particularly insidious way for people to just feel crappier about themselves, because they’re trying so hard to keep up with everyone else.

Another reason? Some of us are socially awkward. Going up to new people and putting yourself out there is hard. Anxiety’s a real bitch. I haven’t truly understood if I’m an introvert or extrovert yet. I’m somewhere in between, I think. I never shut up around the people that make me feel comfortable. I do weird things, and try to make people laugh. But in group situations, I’m a total mouse. I withdraw and feel weird the whole time. I used to be a total extrovert, for sure, but I got quiet one day. One exception: When I do karaoke, a drunk cougar of a Cabernet singer takes over. Think Eartha Kitt singing “Santa Baby”. It’s pretty hilarious. I don’t know where it comes from, but I always leave the stage cracking up and super embarrassed.

Let’s think of another reason. Some girls are intimidating as hell. I don’t think I’m alone in that one. There’s girls that are so really fashionable or really passionate about a particular thing, or they just have this girl chill where they don’t give a damn about anything that isn’t about living life to the fullest. Around them I kinda wonder why I’m not more fashionable, passionate or don’t have the chill. Being just a little weird is my calling card. And that’s okay, but I know for sure I’m not the only one that has felt that way.

Another reason? I’m a runner. Not that “I like jogging” type of runner, but the “hm…this person is not really making the kind of life choices I agree with or want to be around” runner. I’ve been through enough during my twenties. A lot of it took years of therapy, processing, and forgiveness to find acceptance with myself and aspects of the past. Currently, I give new people a three red flag minimum before I blow my whistle and announce a fifteen yard penalty. Stability is something that I’ve worked hard to achieve. I’m holding onto it for as long as I can. I’m not giving it up for anyone.

And last but probably most poignant reason? I’ve always been kind of a loner. I didn’t have any close girlfriends in college. I made very few friends in my classes that actually kept in contact after we received our grades. I was also in ROTC, and that whole thing was very clique-oriented. I had a handful of friends, but they were mostly guys. We haven’t kept in touch. I have a few girlfriends from high school that were mostly friends with my younger brother and his friends. I say hey every year or so. I’m not close enough to any to ask to do bridal stuff. I don’t know how I would find anyone’s address to send wedding invitations.

It normally wouldn’t bother me, but these are special circumstances. Having a one person bachelorette brunch would be a letdown. I think finding a wedding dress is supposed to be a group activity. I had planned on ordering one online and getting it tailored if it didn’t fit. Guess that’s not the protocol. Is it still considered a celebration if it’s mostly solo?

So there’s my problem. I am sure there are solutions around the uncomfortable situation of having no one with me on the “big day”. Again, I turned to Google for solutions. I’ve seen around the Internet that small wedding ceremonies or elopements are a thing. It’s like 10 people or fewer. You can have a bigger reception for everyone you invite. I look forward to having a wedding, I guess. I might be a tad stressed already thinking about it. To be continued, I suppose… I gotta go find some girlfriends.

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