Women: Is It Healthy to Not Have Any Female Friends?

40 comments
March 22, 2011 ‐ By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

Do you know a woman that proudly proclaims that she’s not friends with other women? Or do you know a woman that doesn’t have any female friends because she claims all women are “catty” and “jealous?” Do you have trouble getting along with other women?

I’m not going to say that women aren’t validated in their mistrust of other women, because the truth is that some women can be downright vicious and have made “Haterism” a religion. Just look at how women behave on shows like Basketball Wives and Real Housewives of Atlanta. It’s no wonder women are so guarded with one other.

But why do some women stab each other in the back? In most, if not all cases it boils down to insecurity and fear. But no matter the root cause, women who act catty towards other women, as well as women who choose to swear off other women, are all just dealing with a deeper psychological issue. Make no mistake- it’s not healthy for a woman not to get along with any other woman. It’s no different than when a Black man writes off all Black women because he thinks we all act a certain way.

Can I fault some women for not wanting to be friends with other women? No. Oftentimes women take this stance because of some significant hurt or trauma at the hands of another woman (or women). The notion of “I don’t get along with women” is a defense mechanism. And it’s understandable defense mechanism.

I’ve been hurt by a handful of female friends and several acquaintances throughout my life. And I was extremely guarded with women during my college years when I found out that my “good friend” was spreading nasty rumors about me. I avoided close female relationships for years because I didn’t trust women. That was my defense mechanism. And it was a defense mechanism that kept me from fully experiencing the joy of having other women in my life.

Unfortunately women hurt other women. It’s a harsh reality and we’ve all been there. We’ve been lied to, lied on, talked about, hated on, you name it. It hurts and it scars. But is it any different than our experiences with men? Think about it ladies. When a guy cheats on you, lies to you, or uses you, do you write off all men?  It’s a fact that a man can screw you over just as easily as another woman can. And if you’ve even been royally screwed over by a man you cared for, then you know how much it can hurt. You may want to hate all men, close off your heart to all men, but you don’t. Why? Because you want love- we all do. And because we all ultimately want love, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and learn to just get a lot better at picking subsequent men. The same rationale should be applied when dealing with women. It’s not about being BFF’s with all women, because quite honestly, some women are definitely not to be trusted. It’s about learning from our negative experiences with other women, so we don’t miss out on the love that other women can bring to our lives.

Women need relationships with other women. It has been shown that having female friendships boosts emotional, psychological, and physical health. And I don’t care how many male friends you may have, or even if you have one of those really cool token “gay husbands” that make for a great shopping buddy, when all is said and done, every woman should strive to have at least one female friend that she can proudly claim. And if you don’t, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Having male friends is cool and all, but it can never fully substitute for the health and happiness that comes from a bond of womanhood.

Have you ever been the target of “catty” and “jealous” women? How did you handle that?

Do you think it’s healthy to not have any female friends?

If you liked this article and want to know more about our writer, Dr. Phoenyx, fan her on Facebook! Dr. Phoenyx is a young woman who passionately believes in “women empowering women.” She is a physician, writer, & media personality. And her goal is to educate as well as entertain with her witty, thought-provoking commentary on issues that matter to women.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/lani.destacamento Lani Destacamento

    I wanted to believe this. But just like others, I have been back stabbed by someone who claims she is my friend. She badmouthed me to our boss, of all people! She also broke my confidence by spreading gossip and telling others personal stuff that I told her is just between us. I don’t want confrontation and drama so all I can do is drop people like that from my life.

  • MaliceUnchained

    “Women need relationships with other women. It has been shown that having female friendships boosts emotional, psychological, and physical health”

    I disagree. I feel healthiest, happiest, and most content without any female friends, and I don’t care what others think about that. When people are catty or jealous, I drop them, block their e-mails, and ignore their calls. Now that the genders are more equal, men are beginning to act this way too, so they get the same cold shoulder from me. All I need is my husband. “Friends” are a total waste of time.

  • lousqueen

    I Believe all Women are catty and evil .. I don’t trust none of them a mile away .. So I stays to myself .. I have A Wonderful Husband .. He’s all the friend I need and Jesus !!!!!!!

  • zooks

    women can certainly be bff with other women…in my case i have 4 best friends that grew up with and we have been friends since w ewhere 5…we had our quarels when we where teenagers etc but the friendship grew stronger when we got older…so stuff like women cant be friends i think it had to clealry do with women who are insecure, have some kind of competitive character and want to be the center of attention or just want males around them. 

  • Corinne

    The problem with this is that it stems from some childhood trauma and was left unresolved, usually involving a girl’s mother or another adult women in her life.

    When adult women cannot get along with other adult women, they have deep psychological scarring from their moms. Either their moms walked out on them or was verbally abusive towards them. I know plenty of black women whose moms belittled them, put them down or left them to be raised by their dads. This is the foundation of their mistrust of other women.

    To enjoy sisterhood you have to nurture these relationships and if you were never nurtured, how can you be a nurturer? Its not simply that all women are catty, jealous and difficult–they are hurt. Hurt women seek to hurt other women. Its a vicious cycle that lots of black women choose not to deal with for fear that they will appear weak–especially in the eyes of men.

    Another problem is that this society teaches people to ‘go for what you want’ and this is all too often at the expense and comfort of others. Many black women are not trying to be nasty, its just that they are looking out for self and it comes off as bitchy. Your best bet is to understand these type of women and learn how to minimize the hurt that you feel when you walk away from an encounter with them. For every black woman who is nasty towards you, there are ten who are willing to love and nurture you like a sister.

  • Dana

    I had two close friends who once lied to me when we all went to a convention together.   I had my own room in a hotel and they had rooms of their own (or so they said), but they were sharing a room and even though we hung out, it boiled down to they didn’t want to share a room with me because my ex-boyfriend was there and they were afraid I’d get upset and spoil their fun (we were in our 30’s and 40’s-not kids).  All it did was spoil the “friendship”…we’re still friendly, but I wouldn’t call us friends…I’ll never trust a woman (other than my daughter) again.

  • Lrnl94

    Every woman I have met has eventually has blown me off after a short time knowing them, then I later found out through a mutual acquaintance that she was threatened by me. I would NEVER mess with anyone’s boyfriend or husband. It is not my fault these woman are threatened or don’t trust their men. It’s ridiculous how these woman are so paranoid thinking I want to fucc their men. LOL Just because you think he’s attractive does not mean every other female will too! I respect relationships. I can get along with anyone and I respect myself enough to call you out if you think you’re going to treat me like crap. Obviously an Ahole isn’t going to like it when they’re called out on they’re A-hole behavior.

    I have picked the wrong female friends in the past. Selfish females. One that had used me in their alibi to cheat on their spouse with another married man. I distanced myself and she wanted nothing to do with me. An alcoholic mother that would only call on me when she needed something. I supported her sobriety which it meant she wasn’t driving drunk anymore. Another female friend that hit my car backing out of her driveway but wouldn’t take responsibility for it, lying about not having insurance but would pay me in a couple months for the damages. My insurance company found out she had insurance.

    My own sister is catty toward me. I am nothing but nice to her (to anyone), until I call her out on her cattiness. I told her I have an STD. Later when I was talking happily to her on the phone about a man that I have know for 6 years who was coming to visit, who also knew about the STD, she said “what about Mike?” She had to bring up my STD, like I had forgotten about it. There was no need to bring it up other than to throw it in my face. She claimed she was concerned for him. I told her she ought to educate herself about all STDs and if she did she would realize that the STD is not life-threatening. She is almost 300lbs, she hates herself and that’s not my fault. I don’t want a relationsip with her because whenever we are in contact she pulls this kind of crap woth me. Recently she invited me to a party she was throwing. I told her I had other plans and that I couldn’t make it, a lie because I don’t want to be around her. Do you blame me? She said ” Thanks for coming. I’m glad you’re almost 40 and still making all the right choices and hurting the ones that love you” Really? Yeah, berate me into going. BTW, she is twice divorced and her last boyfriend was physically abusive and is in jail. She is in no position to criticize me for my choices. No one is perfect and everyone makes bad choices.

    I’m 38 and have one great female friend.

  • bunny b

    I have one close female friend. When I was younger, most of my friends were females. But as I grow, the number of female friends slowly diminished…especially in high school and college. It is ironic because I was in a drill team my whole high school career. I was surrounded by girls, we spend everyday together. Out of 50+ girls, I was only able to call 1 or 2 of them "friends". Maybe being surrounded by girls made my sick. I witnessed alot of backstabbing, gossips, and other hurtful things girls do to one another. In college, I was convinced to join a sorority. Although I went through pledging and successfully "cross", my relationships with my pledge sisters were that of enemies. I felt they had something against me, they were not friendly and didn't make an effort to want to hang out and get to know me. After I became an active member of the sorority, some of my sorority sisters dislike me for some unknown reason. I'm already introverted so I didn't make an effort to befriend them after all that negativity. I felt alone and hated. the "sisterhood" I hoped for was a disappointment. After 3 years of being in the sorority and having to stress out about who dislikes me and why, and feeling uncomfortable about being judged, I left.

    Until today, I struggle to make females friends that I can trust. There are even women that dislike me who don't even know me personally. I think like they are jealous or feel insecure about themselves that they have to spread false rumors about me.

  • http://theihealthstore.com Gettinbyjustfine

    I believe that some women can be catty, but not all. I am also smart enough to know that some men can be catty as well, finding that one out blew my mind! I feel that I get along with a man just as well as I would a woman and in high school had a best female and best male friend.

    There's a number of people that I talk to but not really anyone I can call up and pour my heart out to outside of my family or beau. I am independent of my beau and own 4 online businesses that pay my bills and allow me to save money for my future. I guess since I left high school, I have had quite the dry spell as far as friends go. I just never went out of my way to "make friends" but I have always been friendly to anyone who is friendly. The result is that even if people can't remember my name, if they see my face they remember me and want to talk so we do. But, I spend lots of time working and because I don't smoke, go to bars, etc., we don't end up really doing any activities together. I've been invited to some really good BBQ's and dinner parties, but I don't have a best female friend to call up and go shopping with.

    It's important to know, I am okay with this & I also don't knock all women as being catty or haters. Honestly, I have to say that I am introverted and don't feel an urgency or need to connect with other women. Even when I was without a man, I felt no sense of urgency to find one. And so I believe that when I connect to what would be a really good female friend, I'll know and so will she, but until then my life is not on hold, I am not discontented or catty, and life goes on. I connect with my family or my beau. I share lots of laughs with people that I try to keep at a distance but don't really count anyone as a friend and haven't for at least a dozen years now.

  • Hazelgrl

    I get along well with both men and women..but have always only had a couple of close female friendships..think part of it could because I am a little on the shy reserved side..some people may find me hard to get to know.. since it takes me a while to let myself get close to people..that goes for female friendships and in dating relationships..My experiences with female friendships is if they are single they always ditch you once they are in a relationship..I had one past friend that use to screen her calls and not answer the phone unless her boyfriend was calling her.. made me get insecure and think how many other girls proubly do things like that to their friends..and I dont really like the gossip or drama.. anyways thank God for giving me two close sisters who will always love me for who I am

  • Nigerian Sista

    I have mayb 2 female friends in my life and I am quite content with that. I had to learn the hard way that you can't be friends with everybody just because they seem to ACCEPT you. In my case, the so calles 'friends' that I came in contact with were rarely ever sincere and seemed to enjoy 'competing' with me. Who needs that? I don't. Constantly comparing and critiquing and dishing out verbal jabs., it's too stressful! The only thing I will say is that going out by yourself gets redundant, but I'd rather go out by myself without the extra BS.

  • Afrikan_King

    I am alarmed by a female who does not have any female friends and Iam disgusted by women who have to many male friends. There needs to be a balance and you women need to understand that all information is not for everyone. You should know who is who, and who is capable of what in your inner circle………….less backstabbing will take place.

    GOD Bless all my sisters,

  • Noire

    My best buddy happens to be a gay man. I have only 2 women friends I can say are close to me, but my gay best man is closer to me. I hate women and I'm a woman and I know that women are catty and conniving. Especially black women. Black women sabotage other black women. They are so gossipy. I stay away from them all. Anyone who gossips, I stay far far far away. If they think I'm stuck up for not talking to them, is because I have standards and I prefer to take the higher ground than talk about other women behind their backs.

  • ARCELIA

    I'VE BEEN "FRIENDLESS" FOR 10 YEARS….I'VE BEEN HURT SO MANYY TIMES BY WOMEN…NOW I'M READY TO RECONNECT WITH THEM.

    I THINK AFTER BEING ALONE FOR SO MANY YEARS I CAN GET VERY LONELY….NOBODY TO TALK TO OR HANG OUT WITH IS A REAL DRAG.

    SO FOR NOW I JUST HAVE ASSOCIATES.

  • debby

    thank you so much for your honest, truthful and heartfelt message. I completely agree with your analysis, especially when you said "I just felt I wasnt appreciated as much as I adored them". I too am 28, and I am in the same situation. Sometimes I get confused, wondering if I am the problem, or if I am being to picky or sensitive, but then I read your message and I feel hopeful that great and true friends will enter my life, when the right time comes. I wish you the best of luck and I think you are extremely courageous to make a stance for what you believe in and how you think people should treat you. You strike me as someone who is courageous and self-aware. Stay strong and the right people will enter your life. Thanks again for your post, really it struck a cord in me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DrPhoenyx Dr. Phoenyx Austin

    I'm sorry to hear about your experience. You seem very hurt- and I'm sorry. But I have to say that I think you just need to get better at picking your friends versus acquaintances. I believe every woman should strive to have atleast one genuine female friend. It is possible- there are many great women out there- don't write us all off. – Dr. Phoenyx

  • http://www.facebook.com/DrPhoenyx Dr. Phoenyx Austin

    Thanks for checking out my article Tasha! And I totally agree with you. Ladies need to empower one another. Let's keep the moment going :) – Dr. Phoenyx

    • Tasha

      Thanks Dr. Phoenyx!

      You are awesome!

  • Leslie C.

    We SHOULD start a circle of our own! Lol- We'll call it US vs them! Ditto to everyone on here! Women are F's= Females,
    Foes,
    Fake,
    Fonies!

  • RED

    I remember like yesterday well over 25 years ago an Uncle telling me that I used the term "Friend" to casually. He told me in life you will learn that at any given time you will be able to count on one hand the number of real friends you truly have. That number five has always included my mother, my sister, and hubby. Having had some painful lessons I did go through an anti-extended female friend season. I am in my mid forties now and I have learn that it is okay to have other females in your life. You just need to wisdom of God to know what and who they really are. "The Tree" analogy is great. Know who your roots are. My mom, sis, hubby, are my roots. Branches these people can be trusted with certain aspects of you. Leaves are there for a season when the season is up LET THEM GO. You never see Trees chancing after their leaves. The Trees just simply grow and bloom again in the next season.

    • dgrrl

      "You never see Trees chancing after their leaves."
      I love this!

  • Tmoe

    i relocated to the atl in 2005 leaving my dear friends home in the chi. I havent met anyone here that i thought interesting enough to connect with. It seems that most women are in competition for the men here that most seem to not nearly be worth the effort. We seem to not have time anymore to cultivate healthy relationships whether be because of men careers family whatever the case life does not seem to provide us with the time nor the desire to deal with new people that cannot provide you with anything tangible. While the emotional support is definently a plus its still not enough to put in the work that makes a great female/female friendship.

  • TruthNeverSleeps84

    I don’t have a problem with females but can honestly say that I have never had a close female friend from the time I was a small child. I often wish I did have that close net group of women that I can depend on but, when I meet potential close friends I’m the one that’s usually trying hard to make it a good friendship while the other person takes the support, love, money, and time that I give. Ex: In college I met a friend thru a mutual person that we actually hated. I’ve cleaned her house, spent alot of time there b/c she wanted company (I should have been studying), helped thru medical issues, man issues, gave constant advice, greased her scalp, did her hair (yes I’m that kind of committed friend), & a few other things. When I couldn’t make it to her birthday celebration b/c I was sick, I made sure I called singing Happy Birthday, swollen tonsils & all and still managed to go out (still sick & it rained terribly) the following week. What did I get from the relationship? Maybe some food from time to time. But not even a call on my previous birthday & was totally absent from my b-day party my BF through for me. It happens alot to me so I just keep a guard up when it comes to women. Some just use you for what they want…I want close female friends but also want the same support, love, advice, companionship & respect back! Until then, I have no real female friends….

    • http://www.facebook.com/DrPhoenyx Dr. Phoenyx Austin

      Unfortunately, people, especially those that are "givers" experience situations like yours. I still hope you won't give up on female friendships. Bob Marley has a wonderful quote that goes like this: "Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." This is something to always keep in mind when people hurt us. I still belive it's important to have atleast one genuine female friend. And remember, everyone's going to hurt you- even your friends. It's just part of being human and flawed.

  • http://mynameismisswhite.blogspot.com Miss White

    Great thought provoking read! I hate to hear women say something along the lines of "I don't mess with females". I like your comparison of how quick we are to cut off women in relation to men. I wouldn't say that I don't have any female friends but I'm very cautious of who I let in a certain space. Everything most definitely isn't for everybody but I do think that having different friends for different functions is important. http://mynameismisswhite.blogspot.com/2011/03/i-w

  • heater

    It's all in how you pick them! My circle of friends has been close for over 10 years and we're growing stronger. I'm a firm believer in like minds attract so…maybe just maybe that's why some women can't get along with one another.

  • lee lee

    Sounds like you just dont know how to pick good people to be in your life! Just like you have to learn how to pick a good man for yourself you have to learn how to pick good women. No relationships are forced on us..WE CHOOSE THEM! Sounds like you dont know how to pickem! Your response to swear of female relationships is an obvious child-like emotional one.."Im never being friends with a woman anymore..humph"…So what happen when you swear off men when a few decide to treat you wrong?? Take responsibility for your choice in the people you decide to have in your life.

  • Ms_504GV

    I have great friends, back home in Florida. I've relocated to the NOLA and haven't made 1 friend, not even associate/hang out buddy. I've never had a problem with female friends and don't understand why its so hard for black women (as we age) to converse. I think 30 is the peak to find that friend you can chat/travel/ and have a good time. But the women I tend to run into (in NOLA) are the ones with men/baby daddy problems. I can't relate to those type of situations, because for 1. I don't have kids 2. Never had a man problem where is cheating on me/ beating on me/ going to jail/ not working. And the advice I try to give comes off as rude and satirical. I never intend for it to sound that way. I know us women are not going to always be problem free. Thats why need to support each other, be able to get out there and be open minded.

    • yadi

      "But the women I tend to run into (in NOLA) are the ones with men/baby daddy problems" – where are you hanging out? or where are you running into these types? maybe go somewhere where upwardly mobile ppl frequent…

      well, anyway…i'm n.o. thru and thru but i tend not to have female friends. i had two female best friends as a kid but that's about it. there are times, however, when i would like a female bff but not often.

  • Mabel

    I have always had close female friends and would have it no other way. I have male friends too, and they ALWAYS want to try something. I have never had a female friend hit on me, all my male friends have at one point or another. I find it easier to maintain female friendships and cherish all the women who I have been friends with at whatever time in my life.

  • Nee Nee

    I think it depends on the person. However,from my experience, everytime I have heard a female say she doesn’t have female friends because of the cattyness, the hating, the backstabbing ect ect, it was always because she was the one who was like that. Alot of the times, they are the ones who need all the attention from men. Any female friends of theirs will disruppt that whether as just friends or a potential boyfriend. I think that it is important to be careful who you call your friend when it comes to females however. I have only two good female friends and a handfull of aquaintences. It is very hard to trust other women, but to say you don’t like other females to the point where you refuse to have female friends, to me it just means you have an issue with yourself. Especially us black women. We need to quite acting like everybody is out to do us harm all the time. Also it is true, men can do the dirtiest things to us, and we will still have their backs.

    • A Female Friend

      ” …everytime I have heard a female say she doesn’t have female friends because of the cattyness, the hating, the backstabbing ect ect, it was always because she was the one who was like that.”  I completely agree with that. 

      Three years ago, I made the conscious effort of finding female friends and now I am fortunate enough to have seven women in my life that I can call at any time… and having gone through a recent, very sad breakup, I have been calling them at all times! 

      But, in the process of making friends, I also came across those women who said they didn’t have female friends because of the “drama” and, after giving them a chance, two out the three hit on my boyfriend, told him lies about me and when he called them on it, one turned around tried to tell me the same lies but about him.  

      You will encounter all kinds of people, and as others have said, it’s up to you who you choose as friends.  Those kind of women (or people in general) are not welcome in my life and I choose to not let them in.

  • Sarita Alexander

    i definately get along better with men, because, yes, women can be catty, jealous, etc. but i do have 3 extremely wonderful female friends with whom i've been friends with for 18 years. we may go through ups and downs, but any relationship hits bumps and takes work. i think most women feel as if they don't have to work on those friendships as much as their romantic relationships with men. i think it's just the opposite. should there ever be a problem in my love life, i know my girls are there. he may not always be there.

  • Intrinsic Beauty

    I believe that women are capable of being friends. If they both are mature. I cut loose most of my female friends, with the exception a few, because they were too jealous, petty, immature and/or self-righteous.

    • SmileyTee

      In that case I can't say that I blame you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/DrPhoenyx Dr. Phoenyx Austin

      These women that are jealousy, petty, ect.. are insecure. That's what it boils down to. They are insecure because they look to others (most often men) for validation. Thus, they can't handle when another women is one the scene and possiblly stealing their "shine." But just like their are different types of men, there are different types of women. And it's good that you believe women and be friends- and it's great that you've learned to recognize the mature women from the immature ones. – Dr. Phoenyx

  • Syreeta

    I have great female friends. Most of them are older and they have great lives/families/jobs/ambitions. They are just all around good people. I think the reason we don't have issues is because we all have different interests and priorities in life. We are not each others competition in any way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/DrPhoenyx Dr. Phoenyx Austin

      That's great that you have such a wonderful group of female friends Syreeta! I'm sure they bring immense love and joy to your life- it is definitely something to be valued and cherished! – Dr. Phoenyx

  • tweeta

    i dont have close female friends ( besides my sisters and mom) and its not because i have issues with other women…i just dont

  • menissance

    yup, its true…women aren't real friends of each other…they'll be friends with whatever woman they can benefit from being friends with until they find a man to mooch off of (NOT ALL WOMEN, BUT A LOT)…plus, most women female friends are double agents, conniving to fucc ur BF/husband if she finds out he's a good man lol…why u think us men like meeting our GF female friends, we know eventually, they gonna want to fucc us…and now women are being subjected to the lies, deciet and drama that a lot of women are about and realizing why us men do what we do and not trust females or want to be in committed long term relationships with most of them

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