New Members Needed.
This one is a particularly hard one for me to write. I'll start with the short version. I started life out as very much a "boys, girl". Most of my friends, when living in India, were boys, I liked their ease, their straightforwardness, their ability to let go and move on. There are no emotional pulls, as there may be with women. Moving quickly to NZ, I was 6 years old, so survival taught me to stick to girls, be-friend them, play with them and ensure you do your best to stay interested in playing "girls games". Remember, this is a time before gender fluidity was even news, so keep reading.
Some girls more than others, were a little more high maintenance, very emotional and more likely to hold a grudge. My experience with female friendships weren't and aren't always this complicated. I have amazing women in my life, that are independent, don't hold grudges and when emotional stay rational and calm while still telling it like it is. Because of them, I have such an appreciation for combined kindness and strength in character. Because of them, I know that being a woman is a privilege.
But when do female friendships blur between sisterhood and sorority? When that friendship is toxic, unhealthy and makes you constantly question your values, that's when you know it's time to let go.
We've all been there, the subject of the gossip circle, the lead story of "who should we exclude today", or the more prevalent topic in your mid-20's and 30's, who's going to be real? Who's going to witness me ugly cry and still stick around, and most importantly, who's not going to be an emotional burden on me. I've discussed self-awareness on here and that seems to have resonated with some of you. But let me ask you one thing, do you feel good when you're around said female friend? Does she empower you to be better, work harder, succeed? Does she love you unconditionally, like a sister would? Does she pass judgement, whether to your face or online, or passive aggressively though quotes? I'm guilty of some of these and because I'm aware of the effect this has on my surrounding sisters, I know that sometimes, silence and distance does more to heal and repair than to pry and continue the vicious circle. Sometimes, toxicity is best left to wear thin and disappear.
So as an example, I had a female presence (I don't want to call her friend, as the term friendship should be reciprocal) once given distance, would seem to time her appearance when I was in my happy place. Things would be going smoothly and then bam! She was back. I almost felt like she had a sixth sense for this, like she just knew when it was time to interfere. And often the questions she would ask would disrupt my very notion of happiness. This is the toxicity I mentioned earlier. The reason the questions are toxic is because there is a tone of judgement. For instance: I would explain what's happening and an idea I would have for a particular venture and the response would almost always be: "Why do you think that's a good idea?", not "That's a good idea, how do you think this would work for you?" and "Can I do anything to help that idea move along quickly?". The initial is peppered with judgement, I'm not talking over text, I'm talking face to face, the latter is helpful, asks for insight and then offers help. That is the basis of sisterhood to me. When you are excited to see that person because they make you feel good about yourself, and a simple text message doesn't spiral you into anxiety.
I know we've all been there, as women we are incredibly complex, we are sensitive, some more than others and that's fine. But just be conscious of what constitutes healthy and ensure your boundaries for what you consider happiness to be respected. If you feel anyone disrespects this, than you know that it's become a sorority, you've got rules to abide by and a heirarchy to fulfill, and that, my sisters is not friendship. Leave that chapter for another 'potential new member', that's a whole other story for someone else to finish.
Now get out of there and go pledge to live your life to your fullest potential with both men and women who love and nurture your very being!