Why are female friendships so hard?
Supporting other women can be difficult. It's not our fault, from an early age we are trained to think being strong means going at it alone and our culture teaches us to be a little competitive towards other women.
Whether it's the fact that Wonder Woman is a party of one, that every "girl squad" in any story throughout our childhood had one queen bee and a handful of obedient minions, or that internal motivation we seem to have to be the best, the prettiest, or the happiest girl in the room.
“Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic, or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses — pretty but designed to slow women down.” ― Roxane Gay
What's behind this? From a psychological perspective, an attractive, strong, and independent woman seems like she doesn't need the support of other women. Because of this, she is also likely not to invest in other "less strong" women. This means when a woman tries to promote herself or distinguish herself from others, she often seems like a "threat" and receives hostility from other women.
She's not considered confident, strong, or willing to stand up for herself - instead she's considered uptight or a bitch. This is a natural inclination, our survival instinct, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Why community is essential for us as women:
Anyone that's been in a bar bathroom a little tipsy or snagged a tampon from a stranger has felt it - our propensity for community. But what you may not know is that as women, we are also actually wired for community. A study found that women react to stress differently than men.
While men have a stronger "fight or flight" response, women have a strong "tend or befriend" response. When we experience stress, our reaction is to nurture those around us (tend) or reach out to others for comfort ourselves (befriend). Another study found that women are wired to be more naturally compassionate, which means we instinctively know how to band together via our tend & befriend response to build a supportive community
"Female friendships that work are those in which women help each other belong to themselves" - Louise Bernikow
When it comes to stress and emotional pain, we benefit from an encouraging community who we can reach out to and process our struggles with by sharing our stories and helping each other. Our female friendships have the power to help us heal, but there is also so much joy in growing together and sharing our best moments and biggest wins. A rising tide truly does lift all boats when it comes to growth and success with the support of an amazing tribe.
Nurture your Female Friendships
Supporting each other as women means actively nurturing our friendships and intentionally reaching out to build a community. This means we have to be aware of the ways our culture and even our psychology can challenge our friendships with other women, but understand that they are worth putting in the work to develop.
- Make friendship a priority
- Be proactive in contacting friends
- Talk things out: both good & bad
- Encourage their goals
- Keep expectations in check
OUR GALENTINE'S STAYCATION
I got to escape with 6 of my blogger besties for a staycation at Renaissance Denver. We laughed, took a ton of photos, chatted about (quite) a few TMI subjects, and enjoyed sips, snacks and jumping on the bed. Our shirts were gifted to us by another one of our amazing blogger babes, Valery, who owns her own line of sassy and confidently feminist apparel. She has the cutest Valentine's day collection she let us choose from, and I just had to go with the top that says:
"LOVE EVERYBODY, Especially Yours"
This message is so powerful, and something I need to constantly remind myself of. My body is beautiful because it's mine and beauty is not a zero sum game - your beauty doesn't detract from anyone else's and its also absolutely unique. I'm still not perfect when it comes to confidence in body positivity and self-love, so this super comfy tee is the perfect reminder.
The gorgeous flowers you see were gifted by Flower Bombers. We are in love with their Galentine's Day arrangement and their third wheel set of mini arrangements is just too cute! Ren Denver also provided dinner at Range as part of our stay and it was absolutely delicious. Of course, we had some pre-dinner champagne and chocolate cake because dessert before dinner is a slumber party essential and this Tres Chocolate Celebration cake from Beehold Cakes did not disappoint.
Such a good reminder about nurturing the female friendships and uplifting those ladies in our life. And also…what fun pictures!
Great post. Women are so powerful and can really do amazing things when we work together. Your photos are so cute!
This post is excellent! I related to it on such a personal level! I really love how brutally honest it was and it made me think about how I can cultivate my own friendships in this life of mine!
YES. Female friendships are some of the most important parts of my life. Fantastic post! Hugs, Kait
Looks like you all had fun! You all look gorgeous! And the photos are amazing! Great shot!
Love this post girl. I think women have so much power, especially when they band together and support each other. Together, we can create the strongest bonds!
Omg I absolutely LOVE this!! Great girlfriends are everything! <3
Female friendships are sooo important and definitely need to be celebrated more often! I love all these photos of you ladies and love how eloquently you talked about women and nurturing those relationships!
Such a great post! Love these photos too!
Oh my gosh I’m obsessed with this whole post!
Awww, I love celebrating friendship! And yes, I totally agree….we girls need each other!
These are great tips for building those girlfriend relationships. Thank you for reminding us that we still have to put in the effort and not take those friendships for granted!
my girl friends are seriously the best! I LOVE all of these photos of you guys and this looks like the best time ever!
Absolutely, supporting not just female friends but also male friends. I felt the diversity more than ever, as much as I am all about women’s right, but a part of me always dream about a world supports everyone’s right.
Love this article. I’m all about supporting each other. You should check out Tina Fey’s bio Bossypants. She echoes a lot of the sentiments you mention here (and it’s a super funny book to boot)
What a great and fun post!! Love love love!!
Fun post and love the photos of you all!!
Oh my gosh, I love this post SO MUCH! It’s so true and really eye opening! If women could stick together and nurture their friendships, the world would be a much better place!
This looks like so much fun! Your smiles say it all! One of my resolutions this year was to strengthen my friendships! Thanks for the reminder!
These photos are the cutest! Looks like so much fun!
Such a lovely post! I’ve definitely had a hard time making new friends since I moved to NWA!
I love this!!! It’s so important to have a good group a girlfriends that you can call your girl gang! Always there for you and supporting you through it all!
SUCH an amazing post! Love! Love! Love this!