Since reconnecting with my pre-motherhood girlfriends, I’m a little surprised to see that so many years have passed and we’re still entertained by discussing topics that were relevant in our teens. The chats are so juvenile that I’m slightly embarrassed by my interest level in keeping up mindless conversations, yet and still, I’m still overly eager to soak up all the good tea.
I’m 25 and knee deep in that phase where you absolutely know better, but you still don’t give a you know what. In my teenage years, I was known to be a bit of a gossiper. I used to be able to take small bits of information about a person and turn it into an inner-circle scandal. Experience has taught me better and I no longer want to be caught in the middle of some he-say, she-say. But I will say that I’m not exactly opposed to conversations about people I don’t have an emotional attachment to. But what troubles me in terms of sharing information is when it’s done with close friends about other close friends. Sometimes it just makes me uncomfortable. For instance, when we’re all in a group and one of the girls shares some deep stuff about all the ratchet activity going on in her life, we as friends do our best to provide her with supportive and non-judgmental advice. When she leaves for the night or isn’t present during the next conversation, I’ve found that at least one of the remaining girls has found some clever thing she should have said before said friend ended the conversation. So is it wrong to discuss your friends and their business when they aren’t present, even if it’s chatter amongst other girlfriends?
When good friends get together and mention a non-present part of the clique, it should never be in a malicious manner. But I’ve found that with long-term friendships, when we become thoroughly invested in the lives of our friends, our opinions of their standard of living can come off a bit judgmental and mean spirited, but only because we care about the choices they make. Some of my close friends are battling serious problems—they are involved in abusive relationships, are unemployed and unmotivated, and some are partying way too much when they have bigger responsibilities to tend to. When you love your girlfriends like blood relatives, you want them to do better. When they fail to improve their circumstances when they are fully aware and capable of doing so, it’s hard not to have an opinion about it. Because of this, side conversations with the rest of the inner circle come to life. I’m torn between thinking it’s just a simple form of venting, and wondering if it’s unfair.
I want to be a good friend to all my girlfriends. I never want to be caught in the middle of anybody’s personal drama. I’m sure my friends have had side conversations about my shortcomings and I’m perfectly okay with this, because they’ve always managed to be a good support system. What I hope for myself and for my girlfriends is that the sidebar continues to sound like venting and not purposeful bashing. For this can be the difference between being a part of a group of loud mouth frenemies vs. concerned sisters from other misters.
Do you think it’s wrong to discuss the issues of a friend with the rest of your girlfriends when said friend isn’t present?Opal Stacie is a freelance writer out of the Miami area. Connect with her via twitter @OpalStacie.