Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Be a "Girls' Girl"

The other day I was reading some celebrity gossip column (no shame in admitting a little interest in pop culture). This lady was saying how she didn't like Angelina Jolie because she wasn't a "girls' girl" and this individual was all about "girls' girls." That comment really stood out and stuck with me.

Growing up I always had way more guys as friends than I did girls. I contribute a lot of that to the fact that my major interests all revolved around sports, my greatest childhood friend was my younger brother, and I was just never that into the drama that was usually associated with girls. The girlfriends I did have, I realize now, I wasn't always a very good friend to. I was always so hypersensitive about everything they did or didn't do to/for me. I had one guy friend that would describe me as "very chill," but I doubt any of my girlfriends would say the same. While I was fiercely loyal, I always just wanted one very best friend, and I could careless about anyone else. 


This attribute was fine growing up, and even in my first year of college when I continued my habits. However, this tendency began to really backfire on me when the guy friends I had left on their LDS missions the next year, and the girlfriends I did have, all got boyfriends. 

 I was so lonely. I prayed and prayed that God would send me a friend. He sent me K. While K and I dated and into our first few years of marriage, I only noticed my lack of girlfriends occassionally. We were totally that annoying married couple that just hung out with each other. If we did hang out with others, it was always K's friends that he had had since high school. Yet again, I found myself the only girl in the situation and sticking to my old habits of only one good friend.

A. Lot. Of. Selfies. haha, that should have been a sign!

As I started my teaching career, I made a few girlfriends that also taught at my school. In retrospect, they created the friendship more than I did. It was a combination of lack of effort and just getting used to not having a ton of friends. I wasn't some hermit. I talked to people at work and church, and I had K when I wasn't at either of those two places. Even still, not a lot of people to feel a feminine bond with. I began to really see how disastrous these habits were when I became a mom. You NEED other woman who can relate and understand the struggles you go through as a woman and mother (the recovery after childbirth? Why doesn't society talk about that more--I felt blindsided!). There are so many things that men just don't understand. I realized that, while I might not have always been a "girls' girl" in the past, motherhood had thrown me into that category--and I was quite happy and relieved to be there.

As we've moved to Chicago, I'm finding myself in an all too familiar 'girlfriendless' territory. The beauty of this situation, however, is that I have a real chance to turn my circumstances around. I really could have always turned my circumstances around, it just would have been a lot harder and taken a lot more effort. I'm determined to not let this opportunity slip me by. We've been so blessed to have had a lot of people be so open and friendly to us already. (Side note: people that aren't LDS, how on earth do you meet new people when you move into town? Especially if you have kids, so it's not like you're going to the bars or anything every night.) 

This was such an important part in my self-discovery. I acknowledge the mistakes I've made with friendships in the past. I hope, as I cultivate new friendships here in Chicago, that I can be relaxed--anything anyone does for me is a bonus. In the past, I always had such ridiculous expectations for my friends to live up to. It took me getting married to start to realize that I can't expect people to read my mind. 

Who you will be friends with is always a mystery, so I need to give everyone a fair chance. In the past (so painful to admit this, but remember, I'm here to be real), I was so eager to get to the deep ties that bind friendships together that I thought I could weed out people based on comments made in large group settings, clothes they wore, amount of make-up applied, etc. It's not that I'm shallow and hold these aspects in high regard, I just figured it was a way to fast track the process. 

Finally, it's so important to have friends. In the really dark moments when my friends all had boyfriends and I felt really alone, I thought that it didn't matter. I didn't need close friends and could get by with just boyfriends or aquantances. That is so not the case! I can go the gym by myself, but it was so much more fun when I went with my sister, in Seattle. It's not that we always talked a lot while we were there or did the exact same workouts--it was about the companionship. I realize now that you need a variety of friends that can enrich your life in different ways. Going about life alone can be easier at times, but it's so not worth it. Friendship and companionship are worth the trouble!

When I've talked about this in the past, with other women, they always say "me too!" What the heck is wrong with us? Why do woman do this to ourselves?

What do you feel is your greatest attribute as a friend (this is your moment to brag, let it out)? What is something you want to work on as a friend?

Girls' Girl vs. Guys Girls...thoughts?

Anything else you want to say about it!


  1. I agree. Even after having kids, I turned my nose up at people with their "mommies' nights" like what the heck, you don't love your family? They are not enough. I think I just knew too many people consumed with "mommies' nights" or "me" trips or finding themselves again because they were lost in their role as mother.

    I found that there is a great balance where I can love my family but not feel guilty about taking a once a month break from them that it mean I don't love them or being their mom/wife. And even then, we spend the night talking about our families, so it was so fun and so what the doctor ordered. Girls rule ;)


    1. That's an interesting concept to bring up--feeling guilty about having friends. It really is a delicate balance between taking time for yourself in order to stay the mom your kids need!

  2. This was so interesting to read because it's one of those things no one ever talks about/admits! I think I've always been a girl's girl so I can't relate to the opposite, but I can relate to feeling like I don't have friends. When Tony and I moved to AR I didn't know a soul and it was so lonely. I realized that I had always had that best girl friend and now I had to start fresh. Making friends as an adult is way harder than it is as a little kid! It was hard at first but I can say this has been the best situation for me (and it will be for you too!) I've learned to be way more outgoing and notice other people. We are actually looking into moving right now and I cry every time I think about it because I will miss my girl friends so much.

    Here are the things I have found to be true--
    1. everyone likes to be invited to things. I used to be shy and not want to "bug" anyone by reaching out to go do something. Everyone assumes people are out with friends when really 99% of the time we're all just home assuming everyone else is out!
    2. Some of my very best friends have come from visiting teaching. Be a good visiting teacher and you're guaranteed at least two friends (your companion and whoever you visit teach. I visit teach 3 people so yay 3 friends haha)
    3. initiate play/lunch dates--I don't do this as often as I used to (it's easier when it's warm out) but I used to say "play date at my house, bring something to contribute to lunch" It was fun to have a little potluck during the day and let the kids run wild.
    4. When someone new moves into the ward I always try to invite them to something. I figure they are probably looking for friends and especially appreciate someone going out of their way.

    I need to work on developing my friendships. This post has given me that reminder to do so :) Thanks Joree!

    1. These are really good thoughts. As life progresses you find yourself taking on several roles. I agree visiting teaching where you live can be a great avenue to help others and also yourself if you have the right attitude. It certainly helps to chat with women because you are right we view things differently than men and have experiences that are not the same. I have found that you have to feel confident in friends keeping confidences as well. Sometimes a friend "blows"the friendship by not doing that. But trust is important, and nothing replaces being able to just have a great time with the girls. One of my favorite things has been going to a super book club with ladies that are not from my usual ward. This has been a great way to know some outstanding gals and to share ideas as well as actually enhance my thinking process. The books that are chosen are chosen by the host and we visit and have a great time after the book discussion by all. Afterwards treats sometimes match the book, sometimes not, are provided by the host. We trade going to each hosts homes-so that is fun as well. The family of the host home disappears for the night, and it is a fun night away from the kids too, once a month. We do not do it in the summer months. I joined in after being invited for many years by my dear friend Holly Smith. I believe I have been a regular attendee for over ten years. Friends are great. I like the motto my dad always taught us, "don't worry about yourself, always help others have a good time." This goes well as we develop friendships with everyone, think about others and help them to enjoy situations, and think less of ourselves having a good time in social settings.We can be good neighbors, take things and just smile and say hello to people. Look them in the eye when they talk, have basic common courtesies. We can always improve. Sitting by someone who is by themselves, asking them questions about themselves, instead of talking about ourselves, just basic manners, being genuine and loving. Sisters are fun , but not everyone has blood line ones nearby, so we can create sisters with our friends as we serve and love others. In the church we are blessed to have an instant access to a lot of friends wherever we may live. We can always smile and be friendly, with caution of course. We can break out of out shy shell, as we work on being the best friend ever to others.

    2. Megan, I love how you brought up inviting other people over and how other people want to be invited. That's a good reminder for me, even though I'm the new person, I can still invite people over. So important to not just sit and wait for people to invite me!

      Minnie, I love the book club idea! I was apart of one in Seattle and I need to find one (or start one) here in Chicago. So nice to have stimulating conversations!

  3. Great post. I loved your honesty. Something I want to work on as a friend is keeping in better contact with ladies I already love so much but am far away from. Like, you! :D

    I am not much of a phone person, and don't have texting on my phone, so I use facebook and read their blogs, but I know I could do better in reaching out. Like actually commenting on their blog posts! ;D

    Here is what I learned about making new friends after marriage.

    I love Joree. That is all.

    1. I love you, Tracy! I'm the same way with not keeping in contact with people. This is something I am hoping to be better about with this move. I'm totally reposting your post! I read it when you wrote it, but had forgotten about it!

  4. This is all so true! I could rant about it, but I'll just second everything you said. Girls are so hard to make friends with, and I make it even harder on myself because I'm just so awkward around them! But I'm definitely making more of an effort since I started staying home. Maybe it gets easier as you work on it... hopefully :) I'm in the same boat. It's just so sad that you guys had to leave. Miss you :(

  5. I am soooo awkward too! I've decided I'm just going to own my awkwardness and find friends that can appreciate it! We miss you guys, too! Your comment made me realize you and I could have hung out all the time this year if we hadn't moved :( someday, maybe we'll come back...or we can all rendezvous in Texas!