Friendships need to evolve over time. It doesn’t just occur because we thought we connected with somebody, but we choose to slowly get to know that person and learn to trust them throughout our lives.
Women are very social, loquacious people. We nurture and enjoy meaningful and deep relationships with our girlfriends. They are vital to who we are and our identity starting from birth into old age. We emulate the women in our childhood and either model or change what we observe in our new found friendships.
Expectations must be realistic. Women often think, “I invited her over last time to lunch, now it is her turn to call me back!” We are all different in our initiations. Some of us are texting friends, calling/phone friends, social media friends, long distance friends, email friends, or neighborhood friends. Often times women feel rejection if a friend does not reciprocate so they stop initiating what they want and end up losing a friend.
When a relationship goes bad, or sour, we may not realize that we may start devaluing that person or feel that our friendship is not a priority in their lives. Jealousy may occur within a friendship due to a friend having a higher position, financially more independent, married earlier, had children, have a difficult time relating to their husband or owning a nicer home. These obstacles may get in the way and we as women need to look within ourselves as to why we actually feel that way. There may be a difference between envy and jealousy. Which one are you experiencing?
Susan Shapiro Barash talks about 10 different types of female friends in her research. She interviewed over 200 women of assorted ages, backgrounds, cultures, and asked numerous questions about friendships. Barash discovered these 10 different types of friendships:
1. Leader– This woman may make or break our social lives. A leader can get us into parties, can be strong and outspoken. She makes her own decisions and friends. She is often times somebody we look up to, admire, and respect.
2. Doormat– She can be described as a martyr and does not make demands or rarely questions anything in a friendship. She will absorb her friend’s sorrows because she needs to belong to a group. She will not be critical or make any conflict between her friends.
3. Sacrificer– This woman will answer the phone in the middle of the night to console a friend. When a friend does not reciprocate, then she may take it personally and feel hurt or disappointed in her friendship.
4. Misery Lover– This friend seems to care more about her friends’ unhappiness or bad news than hearing good news. When a crisis or situation improves in a friendship, she may distance herself from her friend when their life improves.
5. Frenemy– This friendship is the dark side of the User friend. She can be manipulative in her friendship and exhibit passive aggressive behaviors that accompany her relationship with you.
6. User– This friend can seem appealing, charismatic, and knows how to charm herself into your life or your family. She has a hidden agenda because it is really about what is best for her in the end, not really about you.
7. Trophy Friend– She wants to make you her friend. She offers you something that you are unable to have. She is capable of being seductive and it is thrilling to be around. She can act like she’s passionate and intimate with you, but she is not great about commitment in the friendship.
8. Mirroring Friend– Her identity resonates with your own. It’s the mirroring aspect that makes you want to be with her in great and difficult times in your life. She will match your sorrows and joy and provide great solace for you.
9. The Sharer– This friend will tell you all about the intimate details of her life and trade confidences with you. She is emotional, open, focused and friendly and wants you to be her best friend.
10. The Authentic Friend– This woman has a high tolerance for her friends’ entanglements, but she is deeply committed to the friendship. Her ability to have a relationship with you can make it through the highs and lows of life and it will operate on a mutual self respect and esteem. She reinvents her role and adapts to her friendships as they alter over time.
After reviewing this list, can you think of the different types of friendships you experience in your life? What type of friend would you like to have and how would you initiate what you are truly looking for in your relationships? I hope this article brings some enlightenment as to your friendships since you were a little girl, and which ones made it and which ones did not.