Challenges All Female Friends Face
If you are fortunate enough to have a girlfriend you’ve known since childhood, then that is a very special relationship that you should work hard at keeping. There’s nothing like a friend who you used to play in the mud with, who saw you through your rough teenage years, who knows all of your family drama, who was there through every (good, bad and bizarre) boyfriend, and who cheered you on while you got established in you career. When you really think about all of that, you can see how a childhood friend is irreplaceable. You can try to tell new friends your whole life story, but it’s just not the same as having had them there with you. That’s something to keep in mind when life throws your good female friendship some curve balls. Don’t give up on it. Here are challenges all close female friendships face.
Your spouses don’t get along
It’s hard to believe when it happens. You and your best friend have so much in common. You love each other so much. You could seriously live together (and have!) and love it. How could your significant others not love each other? Well don’t forget you and your BFF still have some differing qualities, and it’s possible that your life partners appeal to those sides of you. You, your BFF and your two SO’s may not be the best friend foursome you’d hoped, but that doesn’t mean you and your best friend can’t keep up your connection. Just don’t drag the men along.
You don’t like her spouse
The issue may not be that your significant others don’t get along. The issue may be that you’re not crazy about your friend’s choice in a life partner. When it comes down to it, all that should matter is that she is still just as good of a friend to you as ever. You may want to voice your opinion on your friend’s significant other to her, but know that, if she has already decided to marry him, doing this will almost definitely just cause a rift that is hard to repair.
You have different parenting styles
If you and your best friend both have children, you’re bound to babysit for one another. But any time you leave your child in the hands of someone else, from in-laws to paid babysitters, there are bound to be disputes over parenting styles. You and your friend will probably get in arguments about how to take care of one another’s children. Just don’t forget that your children will grow up, and these arguments will be a moot point. Try not to fight too much about issues that will only be temporary.
Your children don’t get along
You pray and dream that your children will be best friends just like you two are! If your children don’t get along, it can be so upsetting that you start blaming the other person’s child. “They don’t get along because your kid is like this…” etc. Look: just laugh it off. Life is long. Your children will probably get along one day.
You have differing financial situations
Life may not work out, financially, the same way for both of you. This can make getting together for double date activities difficult. You may not be able to vacation or dine together as much as you’d like. But still, make the effort to do things you and your friend can both afford to do. Don’t lose sight of what matters: drinking wine with your best friend is better than a fancy vacation with strangers any day.
Different money=different friends
If you and your friend do end up in drastically different financial situations, this could mean that your exterior friend groups change a bit. When your finances are different, your interests and hobbies are different, and so are the friends and acquaintances that come with those. And it’s great to make new friends! But just don’t leave your childhood friend in the dust because, again, that connection is more special than any club, group or hobby you get into.
One works; one is a stay-at-home-mom
You and your best friend may go very different directions with your work and parenting. If one of you is a career woman, and the other chooses to be a stay-at-home mother, you may go through a rough patch where you feel like you don’t understand one another’s lives. But just know, even though one of you has laundry and kids draped over her and the other has five PDA devices, you’re still the same kids who used to play in the mud together. Don’t get too caught up in your grownup aliases.
A needy spouse
One of you may end up with a needy spouse—a spouse who doesn’t like when his partner goes on trips and leaves him at home, or a spouse who doesn’t know what to do with himself if his partner is out for girls night. It can be a bit annoying…on everyone. You can gently tell your friend that her partner needs to learn to be a bit more independent. But typically, this is the type of thing your friend will need to get sick of and address on her own.
Expanding/changing friend groups
Your spouse is going to come with his own big network and circle of friends. Deciding when to include everyone for a dinner party (your friends and his) can get complicated. Sometimes you cannot afford to host everyone. And sometimes, you know the groups won’t mesh. Your best friend may feel left out sometimes. But she’ll be dealing with the same dilemma on her end, with her spouse. Eventually, you’ll both understand these things just happen.
One flails out of control
At some point, you’ll both feel a little lost in life. This could be after graduate school when you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The decision is scary, so you just shack up with some surfer who lives on the beach and run away from reality. You throw away your cell phone. Okay, this may not be exactly your story, but you get the picture—at one point, you become self-destructive and unreliable. Or your friend will go through this. Don’t cut off the friendship over it; it’s a phase almost everyone in the world goes through and gets over.
Eating disorders and severe dieting
It’s so common for women to go through some period of disordered eating in their life. This usually comes during stressful times, like college, a new job, or after a breakup or divorce. If this is you, then your friend is going to worry about you. She’s going to worry so much about you that she may start to act like your mother. While it feels like she’s judging you, remember, she just really cares about you.
The work friends versus your BFF
You have to become friends with your colleagues. It’s a part of the career game. But they can take up a lot of time and not really mesh with your best friend. It’s not that they aren’t nice to your best friend—they just talk to you about work stuff, and your BFF has no idea what’s going on. It’s okay: the same thing will happen to her. Just keep carving out special alone time for the two of you.
The unhealthy breakup habits
Whether it’s a divorce or a breakup, some love rift could cause your friend to get into some destructive behaviors. She could turn to alcohol, lots of casual sex or even more dangerous substances. It’s hard not to want to be very militant with your friend when this happens but just know that, after a tragedy, most people need to get a little out of control before they get back in control. All you can do during this time is be there if she needs support, but try not to let her destructive habits interfere with your life.
You may just end up living in different parts of the world! Then you’ll have the “I visit you more than you visit me” arguments. Just remember, it all comes from a place of desperately wanting to see one another. Try not to approach this as a, “Whose job is it to travel now” perspective. If you have more free time and more money, then at that time, travel to see your friend. You’ll be amazed at how you forget about the “unfairness” of it once you’re hanging with your BFF again.