Saturday, August 14, 2010

Women and Friendship

Women and friendship, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

Close-knit girlfriends who are there for you always, through thick and thin, bringing bottles of wine in your time of need? Who you can call at 3am just because you need to talk and they'll groggily be glad to hear from you?

Alas, this is not Sex and the City. This is real life. And while some lucky ladies may have a friend out there who she could call at 3am, it is the very rare bird who actually feels like she can. Or would.

More commonly, our lives are filled with acquaintances: People we spend time with, chatting about things like our childrens' schools, work, what's on sale at Penney's and other mundane topics, but never really getting to the nitty gritty.

Sure, there are some friends with whom we come closer to the sandpaper of life--gingerly touching with a fingertip--but then turning that index finger and using it to point. At her? At ourselves? Pointing, no matter in what direction, is easier than exposing a wound, open for another person to see.

But then, there is another question: What would happen if we were to continue rubbing? If we were to force ourselves through the discomfort of touching those rough surfaces, allowing our friends and ourselves to break through the protective barrier that we all keep around us (thin though it may be)? And what if, instead of pointing, we were to lay the fingertip on the table, open, wounded, and allow one another the opportunity to nurse it with the antibiotic salve of friendship?

It might be like in the Sex and the City movie (the first one), when Samantha spoon-feeds a few bites of hot cereal to Carrie, who has been jilted and is completely miserable. Whose friends know she is miserable because instead of putting on a brave face and acting "okay," she openly cries in front of them, then gets into bed and won't come out for two days.

But then again, it might not be like that (we logically remind ourselves, "Those girls are in a movie!"). That's the risk that we women, who go through life acting like acquaintances yet wishing we were soul mates, would have to take. It would be uncomfortable. And it would take two people both doing it at once.

It would take getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I've often wondered, if we women were to put a moratorium on "surfaceness" and a stronghold on "safeness," could women and friendships be different? What do you think?


  1. The words "thank you" are not sufficient, but thank you for rubbing the sandpaper with me for 25 years.

  2. Not only has it been a pleasure to rub the sandpaper with you all these years, but if you needed me to I'd also bring you wine, answer your call at 3am, spoon-feed you hot cereal...and appreciate that you felt safe enough to let me do it! Love ya!


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