We live in a world that prioritizes romantic relationships between men and women. I think one of the most forgotten, yet just as valuable relationships a woman can have is in her friendships with other women.
I also understand that many women do not share my same sentiment, due to friendship trauma.
What is friendship trauma, you may ask?
It’s simple. Trauma after experiencing a bad friendship. And whether or not you want to admit it, I think a LOT of us have experienced trauma from women we were once friends with.
And, just like any other trauma we experience in our intimate relationships, experiencing friendship trauma can re-wire our brains. So much to the point where we don’t have long standing, healthy relationships with women and why we may feel unsafe around them and unable to trust them.
Perhaps that is why it is easy for you to forgive a man 50 million times who constantly disrespects you but the moment a friend of yours is unable to make a birthday dinner or something, she’s cut off with no remorse.
Or, perhaps that trauma is why you refer to women as “females,” and you rant and rave about how every “female” is a snake and can’t be trusted.
Or, why you feel like you get along better with men vs women.
But I don’t know. Everyone is different.
I’ve had my share of friendship trauma. And I once shared the EXACT same sentiments as y’all. So I get it, I truly do. As a result, I use the word “friend” sparingly. I watch people before I decide to let them get close. I don’t tolerate cattiness or drama. And I try to give everyone chances and clean slates, regardless of what I have experienced in the past.
In elementary school, I used to get bullied by girls that were my friends one week and hated me the next. The girl I considered my best friend went out her way to humiliate me constantly and it almost always had something to do with a raggedy ass boy.
Freshman year of high school, I was best friends with a girl who called me up one day and said that she “had to stop being friends with me” … it was random and out the blue. Later I found out it was because of her way older than us boyfriend but it still hurt my feelings.
Freshman year of college was nothing but drama within friend groups. I was roommates with a friend from high school in the dorms and by December, she hated me. I won’t say I’m completely innocent in this situation but it was amazing to see how a light can switch from on to off in a second when it concerns people. She and another group of bitty’s got together and tried to bully me online, put all my business out there, and tried to fight me.
A person I was friends with since the age of 15 just up and stopped talking to me and unfriended me on every social media app we were friends on.
Hell, last summer a girl I was friends with since college blocked me off everything random as hell. We never fell out or anything. But maybe, she had a problem with me.
So yeah, I know what it’s like to be jaded and cautious when it comes to making friends with other women. I honestly didn’t make solid women friends until later in college. I’m still making new friends, ending other friendships and evolving into a better friend for others. Not a perfect friend, but a good one.
I tweeted this on my now suspended twitter account last week and it went viral.
Many people shared stories of their friendships woes and dumped a lot of their unresolved hurt in the quote tweets and replies. I knew women had experienced friendship trauma, I just didn’t realize how common that is and that’s sad.
It’s people out here who desire friends but don’t know how to make them.
It’s people out here who get friends but don’t know how to keep them.
It’s people out here who have friends but it’s always full of unnecessary drama and cattiness.
It’s people out here who have good friends but past trauma makes them think they aren’t deserving, so they self-sabotage the friendship.
It’s people out here who ARE good friends but they lack empathy, have a hard time minding someone else’s boundaries, and place unrealistic expectations on others.
It’s people out here who ARE good friends but they don’t have good conflict resolution skills.
It’s people out here who ARE good friends but trauma makes them feel that others are non-trustworthy and so… they isolate themselves. Then have resentment because they are lonely.
Sometimes, being a friend can be exhausting. Because everyone has different ideas on what a friend is and what a friend should be, on top other people’s unique experiences with past friendships.
Unfortunately, not many people give others grace and a clean slate to allow others to show up for them. Or be a friend to them. It’s the pre-conceived notions that they have, for me.
However, when you know that you deserve healthy friendships, that is only half the battle.
You have to BE a healthy friend, too.
And by healthy friend, I don’t mean being that person who shows up to everything, does everything, overextends etc.
There is a difference between being a genuine friend and wanting a consolation prize for being a good person. And here’s a secret: if someone has to hear about how you did XYZ as a friend when issues arise or the friendships fades, your intentions wasn’t good in the first place.
By healthy friend, I mean mirroring the qualities that you seek in others.
If you want honest friends- be honest.
If you want empathetic friends – be empathetic.
If you want friends that won’t snake you or be catty, don’t be a snake, and don’t be catty.
Admittedly, I know that you can mirror ALL the qualities you want in a friend and you still get BURNED.
And that shit hurts, don’t it? But those people burning you is a THEM problem, not a YOU problem.
Conflict in any relationship is normal and it should not be feared.
Unfortunately, due to how many of us may have saw conflict be handled in our childhood, there is a reason behind why many of us choose to be passive aggressive when it comes to handling conflict.
Instead of talking to your homegirl straight up (with care and honesty) about what’s bothering you, you would rather take mental notes and let it build and build until one minor thing makes you erupt.
Pressure bursts pipes baby, I’m sure it is not that deep. And if it IS that deep, then why couldn’t you stop being afraid of conflict and just address it head on?
Unresolved friendship trauma can also make you feel like you don’t need friends
… when we know that’s a lie. Everybody on this earth needs a friend.
Good friends though, not just people taking up space.
Being a good friend takes PRACTICE. It takes self-awareness and honesty.
Ask yourself: how important is having good friends and being a good friend to you?
For some, it’s hella high on their list of priorities. For others, it is very low.
And either is okay. Just be honest!
How do you know your friendships are even healthy?
I think it’s a gut feeling.
It’s not about the lack of arguing or conflict from time to time but about how you HANDLE it.
I think it’s when you are able to enjoy people for WHO they are and the relationship y’all have. It’s not a transactional relationship based on who they know or who you know and what y’all can do for each other.
You don’t have to question them, watch your back, or nothing. You know they have your best interest at heart and vice versa.
When your differences don’t affect the friendship but enhance. Birds of a feather don’t have to flock together and all friends don’t have to be the SAME. Individuality is needed. It is key.
You also accept that your friends have other friends. You cannot be everything to one or a few people.
At the end of the day, friendship trauma is REAL, just like any other trauma. But I encourage you to find out who you are outside of that…. because you deserve it.
All women deserve healthy friendships.Tweet
Especially after experiencing friendship trauma.