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With a little help from my (girl)friends

Posted in Life & Love, Relationships, and Women's issues

GirlfriendsWhat cannot be found, sitting in the comforting embrace of our couch, laptop propped on our knees? Holiday gifts, love, spare parts, medical advice, obscure ingredients….you name it. What once required at least a trip to the store or some effort on our part, now can be had just by clicking a few buttons. Including girlfriends.

Moving to a new city and don’t know anyone? Living in the same city but in a rut in the girlfriends’ department? If you happen to live in the US, Canada, Australia or the UK you can just try your luck with girlfriendsocial.com, a website founded by Amanda Blaine, a 29-year-old, who noticed that when women married, became mothers or moved were also forced to change their social circles.

While I hate the idea that a marriage would isolate me from, say, single girlfriends, it’s true that new mothers tend to bond with other new mothers, better equipped to listen to children’s related stories. But, from experience, moving to a new place inevitably comes with a loss of friendships. And making friends as we get older becomes more difficult – but why is it? Probably the older we get, the more guarded we become: of our feelings and our lives and it is simply harder to open up the way we used to at 14 or 25.

But there are fewer more meaningful relationships in  a woman’s life than those with her closest girlfriends. At times more important than significant others because, generally, more dependable and devoid of fraught issues such as sex and money. I am blessed with the best girlfriends under the sun: a couple in my life since childhood, a couple  of somewhat recent LA “acquisitions” and then sofagirl, my partner in crime. They live on three different continents and time and distance have not dampened our closeness, even when Skype and international phone plans were still to be invented.

But, if I were to suddenly move to Denver and didn’t know a soul and maybe wanted to find a trusted local who would listen to my love woes at 2 am, what would I be looking for? What kind of profile would I enter in a search engine?

Best-FriendHere are my non negotiable friendship rules, in no particular order:

  1. Needs to be able to stand outside dressing room in any department store and tell me with a straight face I am getting a bit too old for the camouflage jumpsuit that, in a moment of age forgetting, I find so flattering;
  2. Must help with cleaning out closet once or twice a year, by sitting on bed and help me part with pink taffeta dress, worn exactly once 20 years ago at a wedding but kept “just in case”. Short of a 80’s themed wedding in my foreseeable future, she will convince me it has to go;
  3. Should refrain from criticizing current love interest in too harsh a tone. Must strike that delicate balance of telling me that charming and loving being I am shacking up with is an asshole all in the same, comforting breath;
  4. Must be able to recall all boyfriends/flings/one night stands’ and husbands’ names when memory fails me, refraining from adding “what were you thinking”?;
  5. Never, and I repeat never ,sleep with my man, current or former (will consider former with suitable application). Better still, should be attracted to different type altogether;
  6. Must love books and dogs;
  7. Able to travel light and not be hung up on plans. Ability to leave a museum after about one to two-hour maximum;
  8. Take phone calls at inconvenient times if my world is coming to an end;
  9. Must calmly counsel on possible beauty enhancing procedures so I don’t end up looking like Madonna, something I would then blame her forever more;
  10. No gift is required but must remember my birthday.

Jokes aside, at the base of an enduring friendship are acceptance and lack of judgement. My girlfriends are the ones who can hold the most embarrassing details, my worst faux pas, my mean streaks, my crazy dreams in the certainty I will not be criticized, made to feel awful or guilty. It’s just love for the sake of it – with no quid pro quos or jealousies involved. We don’t want anything of each other if not to just be who we are, which is what makes accepting criticism and counsel easier – because if I know that no ulterior motives stand in the way, then maybe my girlfriend has my best interests at heart when she demands I return the camouflage jumpsuit to the racks. The pink taffeta dress I am still debating on but, with the right prodding, I might just get there.

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16 Comments

  1. […] The question has been much on my mind of late. As a woman who values friendship , especially female friendship, above most other things in life, I left a pretty hefty trail of discarded girlfriends in my five […]

    February 4, 2013
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  2. This is her response:

    “Probably should just say he is of Italian descent because that is truthful, he called from prison, I answered we developed a rapport. He thought I sounded nice and liked that I was not judgmental and then, because he dresses in all black and seems to refer to his group as the “guys” I added a little bit of the mob thought process. Please ALL READERS KNOW, I LIKE THIS GUY BUT AM AWARE HE MAY BE DANGEROUS. I ALSO WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY, AS COMEDIES ON T.V. DO, I MAY HAVE STEREOTYPED HIM.”

    She didn’t say anything about being sorry for having offended me or offending anyone. It’s funny that she says her posts are supposed to be funny! I recognize funny but there is nothing funny in her posts! In fact, it was one of the things I noticed about her, that she didn’t seem to have any sense of humor! lol! Well, it’s hard to know what is true with her. I wash my hands of the whole thing. I’ve got better things to do.

    January 29, 2013
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    • How do people call other random people from prison?? That was strange to begin with…

      January 30, 2013
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      • Believe it or not, I’ve gotten calls from prisoners at my home. I don’t know how they got my number and the call is collect so naturally I don’t accept the charges or the call! I found it very upsetting! Apparently, some women like it! These days I let my answering machine take all my calls. I’m on a Do Not Call list and solicitors still call and leave messages even though when companies do this they get fined.

        January 30, 2013
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  3. The older I get the less tolerant I become of racism and derogatory terms. In my 20’s, I allowed some English colleagues to call me a “wop” because I knew it was in jest and they meant no offense. Now, I would not be so tolerant because a) I learnt to speak up and b)even if it might not offend me, it might offend somebody else and, by keeping silent, I am abetting in the perpetuation.
    You are clearly rattled by it. Is this person referring to her boyfriend’s nationality as a sort of explanation for his criminal past? Or is she just mentioning it as a descriptive feature?
    Either way, I would probably mention it to her personally because you are touched by it. I think her reaction will tell you whether she was just being insensitive, racist or plain naive. And then you can decide your course of action.
    A few years ago my family and I were the victim of a hate crime, on the account of being Jewish. I was the only one at home and, despite no physical harm was intended, I was extremely shocked and hurt. It turns out it was a neighbourhood kid who got caught. It was then I realized the importance of always speaking up when it comes to racism, in all its forms, even when no offense was meant behind a careless remark. Children are not born racist but what they hear and see makes them so.
    I would love to know the outcome of your story.

    January 28, 2013
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    • I have been on her case about dating this man. She’s already been divorced 3 times. Her choices in the men she is dating are poor to say the least. I was on the verge of leaving this budding friendship with her but apparently, my constant plugging away at her about this thug got through to her! She admits she just wanted a good story for her blog! I don’t know if I believe that but at any rate, it isn’t a good reason to date an ex-con! Ultimately, I told her to add a page to her blog that is fiction and she could be the heroine in it and be as wild as she likes! She hasn’t responded to that one. She said she won’t date this guy anymore so that could partially solve the problem. But the one post where she says that he is Italian (because otherwise she just says that he belongs to the mob), bothers me. There are other mobsters: Russian mobsters come to mind. But she seemed to deliberately point out that he was Italian. As bold and confrontational as I was with her about how dating this con was bad news, it seems odd (?) that I haven’t spoken up about it. Part of me feels that since I probably put pressure on her that one more comment from me would be the last straw! lol. But no. No, I can’t fool myself with that one.
      She’s only dated him a couple of times. She met him accidentally somehow which I don’t completely understand. I’m leaving out a lot of details of her story and they are all extreme red flags to any level-headed woman!

      I once had a coworker ask me if I knew anyone in the Mafia! Apparently, since she knew I was Italian, she thought I might know someone in the Mafia! I was so shocked! I replied, I know a lot of Italians who would be offended by that question. To satisfy her curiosity (I guess) I said I knew someone online who claimed to know some people in the mafia. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it’s only a small percentage of Italians who are the ones who cause trouble. The majority are hard-working, creative people who helped build this country!

      There is a small part of me that wonders if she knows that I’m Italian. If you search my blog thoroughly enough, you could find that admission. I ask myself, could it be her passive aggressive way to get back at me for butting into her life, even if I was looking out for her? Sigh, relationships are a pain in the *SS. I should just be a hermit. I don’t really have this kind of time to spend on this woman but I can’t help myself for wanting to see women do better.

      I think maybe her self esteem is too low. She may be too damaged for me to cultivate a friendship. But, she has qualities that I like too. She’s open to new experiences. Maybe too open. (I can be that way too.) She’s kind. She has shown gratitude for my help and has even tried to help ME! (No small feat! LOL!) I’ve had friends tell me that I can’t be told ANYTHING! I know you’re right. I know what I have to do. Part of me is afraid I’ll hurt her feelings or embarrass her. She’s going to be embarrassed. I can hear my former therapist saying, “But what about YOUR feelings!” OK already voices in my head. Shut Up!

      I’ll get back to you Claudia.

      January 29, 2013
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  4. Claudia, you must have some non-Italian girlfriends, yes? How would you handle it if one of them said something derogatory about Italians? Say, for example, she was dating a former convict who happened to be Italian and she’s writing about it on her blog. Would you tell her it offends you that she mentioned that this guy was Italian? Would you be offended by it? Or would you drop her faster than fritto misto?

    January 28, 2013
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  5. I only have one requirement of a girlfriend: that she not be “crazy”. Crazy to me is a woman who dates or lives with a man who abuses her either verbally, emotionally, or physically. I can only deal with that for so long and then I have to leave the friendship because I can’t stand to watch or listen anymore to her pain.

    January 28, 2013
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    • Gosh, you touch such a sensitive issue. How do you make another woman see what she sometimes doesn’t want to see?!

      January 28, 2013
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      • I cajole, plead, explain, share knowledge, share experiences, show frustration, offer suggestions, and comebacks to her every “rationale” and when it doesn’t work, I leave the relationship because it’s too exhausting and I don’t have the skills that a therapist has which, would be someone who has the patience to chip away at this person’s negative belief system but is also being paid to hang in there.

        January 28, 2013
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  6. Iron deficiency? A deficient man more like it … as to the camouflage jumpsuit … the ultimate fashion oxymoron. And honey = taffeta only has it’s place if you are under nine.

    December 18, 2012
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  7. silvia
    silvia

    11. Love you even more when, once in a while- and to be honest I can’t recall the last time it happened- you get the Micky Mouse face

    December 17, 2012
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    • It’s more like Daisy Duck….and no, it hasn’t happened in a long time. I am convinced it had to with iron deficiency

      December 17, 2012
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  8. daldaeyes
    daldaeyes

    Love it! totally agree!
    Eva

    December 17, 2012
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    • Thank you. Hope you have plenty of those girlfriends in your life!

      December 17, 2012
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