Hello Dear Readers,
Some people watched Sex and the City for the clothes. Others enjoyed an inside view at life in a glamorous city. And still others (I’m talking to you, guys) undoubtedly were drawn to the no holds barred depictions of sex. I was in it for the friendship.
That four women from completely different walks of life, with completely different interests and morals, would form such a close bond was a bigger fantasy than Carrie being able to afford multiple pairs of $800 shoes on a freelance writer’s salary.
Though I knew it was a fantasy, I envied the easy closeness that Carrie shared with Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte. No matter what else was going on in these busy women’s lives, they still managed to meet for brunch every weekend. And even more incredible, their friendships survived huge blow-ups and nasty fights. Remember all the times Miranda got frustrated with Carrie’s on-again, off-again relationship with Big and told her she was being a fool? Or the time Carrie walked in on a private moment with Samantha and the UPS guy and turned a tad judgmental? They even dated each other’s exes and managed to escape with their friendship unscathed. This gold-star depiction of female friendship was well worth idolizing…and envying.
However, in my experience, it’s been very different. At various times in my life, I’ve been part of a group of female friends, but none of these groups enjoyed the easy camaraderie of Carrie’s foursome. Someone was always left out (this happened a lot if it was a group of three). If one of the group couldn’t make it to an event or outing, the rest of the pack talked about her (and usually, not very nicely). These friendships never seemed to last, and we certainly had more in common than Carrie did with her friends. It was an unsettling feeling to know that you were being dissected behind your back (just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you).
Forming a group of like-minded female friends is as tricky and complicated as finding another couple to hang out with you and your significant other. It can take years to find two people that two other people like equally. With so many amazing people in the world, I have no idea why this is so difficult, but it seems to be.
Another fantastical aspect of Sex and the City is how the friends were able to patch up any argument or fight, no matter how severe. For myself, I’ve found having an issue with a female friend to be a very tricky problem to have, and unless it’s a huge detriment to the friendship, I tend to just let it go. When I have needed to bring an issue up, I’ve debated with myself for days over the best way to phrase it, the best way not to offend. And I’ve failed miserably, every time. I can count the number of girlfriends who’ve survived an issue or some kind of dispute with me on one hand with a few fingers missing. And it’s sad, because in most cases, the issues were not worth losing the friendship over. They were worth bringing up and resolving, but not worth killing the bond over. However, over time I’ve come to realize that if the friendship was meant to be–or strong enough–we’d still be friends and that silly dispute wouldn’t have changed things.
I loved the friendships on Sex and the City, and I wish real life was like that. Has it been for you, Dear Readers? Do you think that depiction of female friendship was accurate, or not?
Interestingly enough, the original novel by Candace Bushnell does not focus on the friendships between the women in the same way the TV series did. Perhaps she was afraid her novel would get categorized as fantasy. 😉
An intriguing topic, Holli. Do you think women and men are different in this aspect of life?
Thanks for your comment, Graham. As I’ve never been a man, I can only speculate, but from what I’ve seen and been told, I think we are different.
Men seem to be able to weather disputes with each other more easily, and they don’t seem to take things as personally. Then again, do their friendships have the same depth? Many people think female friendships go a lot deeper. It’s difficult to say without being able to walk in the other gender’s shoes.
In my experience, male friends have been much easier to get along with in general, which is why I have many of them! 🙂 But I do treasure my female friends as well.
Yup…total fantasy. :0) I’ve had a number of female friendships and like you, have been thoroughly dissed behind my back ( I know this because inevitably one of the group talks about it when trying to get back at another member). I get very very tired of this kind of dynamic and prefer my female outings to be one-on-one if possible, because you are right that people tend to gang up.
The disputes have happened with me as well. Some get resolved, some don’t. And others are in a constant state of flux.
The one interesting thing I’ve noticed is that as I get older (I’m 47), my women friends and I get tougher, and not afraid to say things that may hurt, but only because we care about each other and want to offer advice. Disputes are more easily resolved these days. Maybe we are thinking that life is too short to pussy-foot around issues that will become elephants if not addressed. (too many animal references in that sentence?;0)
Hey Lisa — you’re back! Returned from your formerly “anonymous” status. 🙂
Thanks for your comment. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has experienced this. I expected some backlash, to hear that it must be me or the people I chose to be friends with. (That could still happen, and it might be true.)
I hope that I notice the same trend that you have. I actually found that people I’d known from elementary school were more able to accept flaws and let disputes blow over than people I’ve met as an adult. I must be choosing my friends more wisely these days, because it’s been a long time since I’ve had an issue with a friend, thankfully! I don’t miss those days at all.
Loved the article!
Being an atypical female, I never got the female bonding. Most of my friendships are with guys. I wish I could have a really great female “bestie”, but I’ve come to accept that this is not in the cards for me. (Heck, I even had a “bridesdude” in my wedding…)
I also think friendships are tougher to maintain as you get older. Life tends to get busier (kids or not), and myself I find it a challenge to schedule a get-together with even one friend.
Of course this will be the part where I start self-criticizing and wondering if it is me or just normal. With your perspective, I’m feeling a bit more normal 🙂
Thanks for your comment, TS. I’ve found that being friends with men doesn’t protect you from having issues with women, because if the woman in your friend’s life doesn’t like you or feel comfortable with the friendship, watch out!
I do agree that, in some ways, it is tougher as we get older…we’re not just seeing our friends in the hallways at school anymore. But, at the same time, people tend to value friendship more as they get older, too. Hopefully the two trends balance each other out.
Glad I could make you feel a bit more normal! 🙂
You’re too right in your observation! I also find this kind of unconditional friendship unrealistic. I think it can work for a short period of time when the friendships are new, but eventually the claws come out.
I’ve heard (someone correct me if I’m wrong) that the Chinese character for “gossip” is two of the characters for “woman” placed side by side. Place three characters for “woman” together, and that’s the character for “trouble”!
Thanks for commenting, Angela. Wow…I’m not sure I like that characterization, as men gossip, too! However, three women together can certainly be trouble. At the insurance company, I found out the hard way what happens when there are too many women with too much time on their hands. The claws definitely came out!
I have wonderful girl friends, but it took me plenty of time to cultivate them, and with new friends, I’m still wary of inadvertently offending them.