The Downside to Girl Talk

Ladies, if there’s anything we’re good at, it’s talking. And I don’t mean about the weather, I mean about our feelings, thoughts and daily catastrophes, which we absolutely must discuss with one another otherwise there’s a good chance we’ll spontaneously combust in line at Starbucks.

Thankfully, there are at least 5 forms of communication we can use at any given time to express our frustrations and to seek advice from our girlfriends. Heck, I have an on-going group chat on WhatsApp between myself (Toronto) and 3 of my girlfriends who live in Delhi (yes, India), Los Angeles and New York. Can we get a round of applause for being the coolest friends ever?

Thank you.

On a serious note, the other day while facing an epic emotional crisis (ok fine, I was just having boy issues), I turned to my girlfriends for some perspective and felt a little let down. Not because they’re not awesome—they give the best advice and I’d make a lot of embarrassing decisions without them—but there are certain pros and cons to girl talk that we tend to ignore. The pros are obvious—there’s no denying the benefits of a good soul-session—our friends are our unpaid therapists. However, what we rarely (if ever) consider is the downside of talking to our girlfriends. Yes, there’s a downside. Hear me out.

Conspiracy theory. Sometimes your concerns are 100% legitimate. You have every right to be worried/scared/anxious/having a meltdown. But sometimes, and I’m gonna argue more often than not, you are probably blowing things out of proportion and over-analyzing something that may never even happen; something that might just be a manifestation of your own insecurities and suspicions.

As much as we’d like to think our friends will play it cool and stay sane for the benefit of the greater good—there’s a pretty good chance they’ll be just as irrational and support our stories with ‘facts’ and ‘revelations’. Never underestimate a woman’s ability to weave a great tale from a few small observations. Now multiply that by 4.

Fuelling your negativity. This usually goes a little something like this:

Friend a: “I can’t believe she would DO that to me.”

Friend b: “I know. She’s always been a little two-faced.”

Friend a: “Remember that time we called and she didn’t pick up but two seconds later she updated her Facebook status via mobile!!??

Friend b: “Yup. We’re not dumb! We know you’re on your phone!”

Just stop.

My shoes are your shoes. Even though you’d like to think you and your best friend were separated at birth, lived parallel lives then found each other again at 14 and rekindled your past-life-sisterly-soul-bond—you’re actually two separate entities. You are designed differently. You have different personalities, different experiences, different expectations, different buttons, different outlooks, different beliefs and values. This is a good thing; if we surround ourselves with people just like us we probably wouldn’t progress in any one direction (except backwards maybe).

Sharing is NOT always caring. Let’s admit that ‘girl talk’ often involves discussing other people in a negative context. Yes, there are times when we’ll sing someone’s praises, but when we’re not—which is more often than any woman would like to admit—it’s unfair and unproductive. It’s unfair because the person in question doesn’t have a chance to tell their side of the story and stands defenseless—it’s unproductive because it doesn’t actually solve anything, it simply reiterates the negative internal dialogue, paints a less than charming picture of the subject and has the usually leads to making mountains out of molehills. Bad bad bad.

This isn’t a teenage epidemic—it starts in middle school and basically never stops. And everybody does it to a certain degree. Our girlfriends can be a pillar of strength and offer better advice than Dr. Phil, Oprah and Jesus put together—but what we choose to discuss with them, the words we use and the feelings/actions that follow can be toxic—to us, them, our family members, coworkers and significant others.

Listen, I’m not saying don’t spill your guts or stop gossiping because it’s bad, every once in a while a girl needs to vent—how do you think I’ve managed to avoid being arrested? All I’m saying is be mindful of your feelings, words and actions. Be aware of how much you share, how often you share and most importantly, how your girl talks affect you and/or someone you love and care about—directly or indirectly.

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