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Most women have a girl crush (or two or three). This is basically a woman whom they may or may not know personally, but admire and who inspires them to do better or achieve certain things. That would be a healthy girl crush. On the other hand, there are women who have shallow admiration for other ladies, perhaps because of their physical beauty or material things, who let that fondness cause them to act all out of character in hopes of winning over their affection and being seen as valuable in their eyes. That, my friends, is not a good look.

I didn’t think about this until recently when a group of girls and I were hanging out again over a few days. Some of us are really close, others are more associates or distant friends, and some of us were meeting and chilling with each other for the first time. That right there is always an interesting dynamic, as bad things tend to happen when too many women get together. That sounds stereotypical, but any girl who has tried to hang out in a group of three or more for any extended period of time knows how much truth there is to that statement.

Anyway, as we were hanging, the conversation naturally turned to how is so-and-so and where is so-and-so, I began to notice that the way certain people talked about friends who weren’t out with us that night wasn’t much different from the disgusted tone used to describe other people we’re not even cool with. That’s when I started to notice there was a mean-girl element to the conversation. Because I wasn’t really up on all the perceived drama with certain people, I kept quiet and just observed the dynamic, which made my close friend ask me if everything was alright later that evening. I told her, frankly, I thought some people were being plain hateful and fake, and she reminded me that this tends to happen when some people in the crew get around select others and I thought back on other occasions where the same thing tended to happen. She was right, but what I still didn’t understand was how the mere presence of one friend would suddenly make you talk about another like a dog, yet when said influencer wasn’t around, your demeanor was totally different.

After a couple days passed and the behavior continued, in addition to more clique-like activity with different segments of friends breaking off from the larger group and even acting a little funny toward everyone else, I needed an explanation. That’s when one of my friends broke it down for me: Some of these girls were suffering from thirsty girl crushes. Initially, I laughed, but as she explained the coined statement I totally got it. Basically, the issue for some of the women is they had become friends with their girl crushes, which to them felt like some sort of honor. And in order to maintain that honor and sort of prove themselves to the crush, they felt like they always had to conform to certain behavior and even impress their crush in certain ways, which unfortunately was usually dogging other people, often other people who are some variation of a friend to them.

I know, it’s not totally mind-blowing, but more so scary. I’ve been known to have some jealous tendencies and I have a nasty habit of comparing myself to other people. But I realize that no matter how much of a crush I may have on another woman who has some qualities about her that I like, I’ve never allowed that to push me to do shady things that deep down I wasn’t comfortable with or that were disrespectful toward other people. Sure, I’ve gotten caught up in the peer pressure of gossip culture, but not to impress the next chick with the best joke or make someone like me more. I was usually just running my mouth way too much and letting emotions get the best of me.

What was most unfortunate about this realization was knowing that the reason my friend could pinpoint the issue with these girls was because she was a victim herself. Earlier this year, she’d told me about some behavior with the same ladies that really shocked me and was totally out of character for the person I’d known for seven years or so. And as she talked about these other girls I knew she was talking about herself as well and how easily she’d allowed herself to be influenced by negativity in order to fit in with these girls, some of which were the “popular” girls, or the cute girls, or the party girls, or whatever superficial label we can apply that causes people to want to be or at least be around these types of women. What was even more frustrating was that despite some women not even living in the same city as one another, just a few hours in the presence of these unworthy admirers caused them to become totally different people than they were in their respective environments. At some point, this could have been me, and it might have been in the past, but as I looked at some of the ugly behavior coming from some of these pretty women I just remember sitting and thinking, bottom line, I’m not impressed and I don’t understand why you are either.

Nothing’s wrong with a healthy girl crush and admiration is cool. But when the people you look up to have you doing things out of character and jeopardizing your real relationships, it’s time to pump the brakes.

Have you ever let your admiration for someone influence you to do things that were out of character?

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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