I’m not a girl’s girl. I hate admitting that because I feel like it makes me sound like a horrible woman to not be someone who connects well with women. I used to pride myself for this — thinking somehow I was above the mold — I was the girl who could hang with the guys because that is actually what I did for the majority of my time. It was only over the past several years that I’ve started to truly desire women friendships.
Beyond the basic fact that I had been missing out on countless beauty tips throughout all my prime years (something that still obviously affects me to this day since I still can’t figure out how to properly curl my hair), I started to crave those woman bonds. As I have grown older, my sister and I have increasingly become better and better friends, something that was not so attainable when I was the most annoying 11-year-old anyone has ever met. I was lucky that our friendship has grown so strong but I also wanted strong friendships outside of the family.
And then there was 2013. A year that I like to look back on as a hidden blessing. After an excruciatingly painful break-up and feeling much like a failure, I was given one of the best years of my life. I was able to move to my favorite city of all time and land a dream job. I was given time to explore what really makes me happy and to discover things I truly enjoy. The best part: I was within five miles of one of my only close female friends. This last treat has got to be the thing I am most thankful for. This past year has given me the greatest gift of all — true friendships with some of the greatest women I know.
I’ve learned so much about real friendships with women over the past year, it’s crazy how any of my previous girlfriends ever dealt with me before. My friends have taught me some of the greatest lessons about what friendship with your best girlfriends should be like. Here is what I’ve taken away from the experience, so far:
1) Being a PMSing Jerkwad Doesn’t Mean Our Friendship Is Over
We all have our bad days. They usually come in week-long marathons known as “PMS.” Let’s just all agree it isn’t a pretty time for us. I used to think that once I acted like a total jerk, my friends wouldn’t be my friends anymore which would only send me into an even more tyrannical panic. But hey, we are going to be cranky. We are going to complain about how obnoxious everything is. We are going to only text each other to complain about the incompetent people on the metro and how badly we want to order a pizza. It’s okay, we will see each other next week.
2) Don’t act like you don’t want to talk about soap brands with me.
We are going to talk about some really mundane topics. Yes, let’s spend thirty minutes comparing the benefits of a mini-stapler to those of a big stapler. It’s a toughie — the little one is easier to use but holds less staples. These conversations are what bond you together. These are the things that make you real friends and not just acquaintances, because I don’t care how long the Metro is delayed, I am not talking to the girl sitting next to me about last night’s episode of “Scandal.” She can’t understand my dismay. She can’t!
3) Sisters Before Misters.
Look, I know us women hear that phrase (and all other versions of it) a million times but seriously, it’s true. Yes, it seems so easy to pick the cute guy that’s taking you out for sushi over the girl that just wants to watch “Orange Is The New Black” in her new One Direction Snuggie but keep in mind that you are or were at one point in that same Snuggie weeping uncontrollably over a guy, while she comforted you with pasta and movies. Pay your dues when you need to be there and leave the guy at home for a night.
4) Basically everything you own isn’t necessarily yours and I’m not necessarily paying you back
Of course you should make sure you aren’t abusing this benefit that comes with friendship but I think I can cover the chocolate milk and Oreos you want when I’m headed over to your place after a visit to the grocery store. Don’t worry, you will pay me back at some point but I’m not fretting. Likewise, we will be sharing all sorts of clothing, accessories, beauty products, etc. I’ll find another pair of jeans to wear until you return the ones you wanted to wear on your blind date.
5) What is said between us, stays between us.
Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, but I trust your judgment to not share the really juicy/bad/embarrassing stuff with your entire cell phone contact list. When you let me know that you don’t feel like going out to girl’s night because you ate Mexican earlier, I’m going to tell the rest of the ladies, but I’ll put it to them a lot more delicately. Maybe I’ll tell everyone that you couldn’t come out because you were rescuing a small kitten from a tree, volunteering, and also working part-time as a masked vigilante for the city. Your superhero past may not be a secret but your embarrassing stories are locked up safely with me… until we are by ourselves, at which point, I have an absolute right, even an obligation, to make fun of you in the most loving of ways.
Chandler Watts is a 26 year old living in Washington, D.C. She describes herself as part TV critic, part comedy connoisseur, all cheese lover. You can read more from Chandler at the blog The Penny Ledger and by following her on twitter @chandlerterp.