I didn't want female friends.. until I hit rock bottom.
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
What do you do when the "I don't have female friends" attitude is no longer a badge of honor, but an admission of loneliness?
“Ugh, that’s exactly why I don’t have female friends—too much drama.”
I was in my college boyfriend’s dorm, hanging out with him and his roommates. We spent many nights like that, cuddling on his much-too-small twin bed as his friends munched on Doritos and played video games.
I found myself in this scene often: the only girl surrounded by a bunch of guys as we spoke about basketball and underground hip hop. For some reason when the conversation turned to women, I found myself voicing the same refrain: I did not have many female friends.
And I was bragging about it.
I proudly touted the stereotypes against my own gender: Women were catty. They talked too much and were interested in frivolous things. They were too complicated.
I was working to differentiate myself by lamenting my own gender. By distancing myself from the other women, I was trying be perceived as edgy, a different breed of female.
But after a few years passed, life hit me hard, and I realized how wrong I was.
Women helped bring me back to life when the stress of new motherhood had me crying alone in the car. The “mommy group” I joined was full of women strong women charged with the responsibility to raise our next generation .
When I ventured into entrepreneurship, it was women who taught me how to develop business skills and demand what I am worth. I joined networks, attended panels, and had coffee dates with professional women across my city, and it completely obliterated those studies that tell us women are competitive and isolating.
When I got married, it was my bridesmaids who not only helped to beautify me before I walked down the aisle, but encouraged me after I said “I do” by checking in and supporting me during a wild first year of marriage.
It has been women in the spotlight who have inspired me to work toward greater heights: Serena Williams rocked the tennis court after giving birth; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is challenging the status quo in Washington; Stacey Abrams is the ultimate picture of intelligence and dignity.
It was women at church who prayed for me during a dark time in my early twenties. Church women’s prayers have covered me since I was a baby, and even recently when I was giving birth to my own son.
By perpetuating stereotypes of women, I missed out on years of the compassion and support and fierceness ONLY WOMEN can give. And now that I have had time to reflect on the attitude I once carried, I understand that it was a result of being hurt by other girls during some of my most formative years. The answer, I know now, was not to cut myself off from female friendships. Instead, I should have established an entirely new circle and drawn nearer to the power of sisterhood.
It has been women who have challenged me and shown me how to be strong… as a mother, a business woman, a daughter, and wife. Women showed me my beauty and increased my faith.
It is in the company of women where I come alive.
So the next time you overhear a girl tell others “Ugh, that’s why I don’t have female friends,” tell her ‘I’m sorry to hear that”.
Then befriend her, because she needs you more than you know.
Have you ever subscribed to a stereotype about women? Do you still believe in one now? How has bias against your own gender stood in the way of you experiencing the joys of female friendship? Let's chat in the comments!
-By Danielle Bayard Jackson
Certified women's coach, author, founder of Give it a Rest Movement