I could have sworn all the guest posts were from last year, only to find out they were a lot earlier than that. 2015 to 2016 was when six amazing women authored guest blog posts for me. I thought it was time to ask another friend to give it a go! As I’ve continued my journey to heal my broken heart, I’ve watered a friendship that has been a seedling for a handful of years. It wasn’t until more recently with very different, but very large things happening in our lives respectively, we found that watering our friendship has encouraged it to blossom. I’ve said this before, but I’ll reiterate it again — fostering friendships later in life is a magical thing. My adoration for a friend passionately writing about any topic has not changed. I am so excited to share a new post today, albeit a two years gap. If you’d like to take a peek at the old guest posts, here you go:
Guest Post – Thanks for More Than Just A Week
Guest Post – Friending In Your Own Way
Guest Post – A Decision that Changed My Life
Guest Post – Motherhood
Guest Post – Dying, Death, Deceased
Guest Post – An Unplugged Blessing
Tara Lindahl, PsyD
Friendships are like rose bushes; from the outside, they are all beautiful. Closer up there are thorns. They need pruning to stay healthy. With proper care, new buds will bloom each year. This is especially true for friendships among women. It’s a common belief that men are more competitive than women, but research suggests that the reality is less clear-cut. Women are simply competitive in a more covert way. Instead of making bets or having races, they’re competitive about connection. For women, the trophy goes to the friend that is most privy into the details of her friends’ lives.
This creates a double-edged sword; it makes women more prone to “backstabbing”, but it also means they can serve as a wealth of support for someone who is going through something difficult and needs to vent or seek help. In my personal experience, I have found that I have had to “prune” certain friends that have decided to take the “gossip” route instead of directly addressing concerns or insecurities. The same people pulled back from my life when they saw me getting closer to other women or having successes. Why does it have to be like that? Is there a limit to the number of people one can be close with? Does my supporting a friend in need mean that I am therefore unable to be a good friend to anyone else? Does my achievement lessen anyone else’s? I don’t believe so! I am an adult! I can multitask. I can be a friend to several people at once. The catch is, the people in my life need to treat me as a friend as well.
Sometimes as women, we end up creating false beliefs about others based on our own insecurities. This is where that competition thing comes in again. If a friend loses weight while we are struggling with our own weight, it’s not a personal slight. Their weight loss has nothing to do with ours! We should celebrate that they are happy with their body and have it serve as motivation to reach our own goals. Similarly, any success our friends have should be cause for celebration on our part, not a reason to compare or become envious. Envy leads to more false beliefs. It creates a harboring of negative feelings toward a friend who did absolutely nothing to deserve these feelings! Not going to lie, I have had to check myself once or twice when feeling this way. It takes self-reflection and examination of why I am feeling negative. Usually, it’s based on my own self-esteem, and I am able to separate these feelings from my friendship.
If as a woman, you are noticing this in a friend, address it head-on If the behavior doesn’t change, it’s probably best that that friendship is pruned. This may come with some guilt or a feeling of loss, and that is perfectly normal! Heck, it means that you are human! But in the end, it is the healthiest thing to do for your own wellbeing. I have found that selectively pruning toxic friendships have always opened doors to new, supportive and reciprocal ones.
My female friendships have changed over time. As an adult, I value quality over quantity. I only want those that accept me for all of me, not just when I am fun to be around. My girls have gotten me through sickness, family crap, childbirth, and tough races. They have celebrated by academic, athletic and altruistic achievements. Bottom line, they are there and I am there for them. They enrich my life in ways no one else can and truly make me better able to be my best me!