When I was in the seventh grade, the rules suddenly changed as to how to navigate friendships with my girlfriends. It all began when Elizabeth, my very best friend, my BFF, and I set up a time to spend the night together. No matter who else asked us to spend the night with them, we always saved this time for just the two of us…. We liked to stay over at each other’s houses and enjoyed staying up late talking, playing our favorite Beatles songs and discussing what color of lipstick would look good on us when our parents let us start wearing make-up. It was a favorite time for us both and we were very loyal to each other; that is until Billy Bob Cameron came into the picture. I wasn’t boy crazy yet nor did I think Elizabeth was, but she turned out to be different than I had counted on.
Elizabeth calls me on Wednesday night and tells me she has a surprise to share with me. Billy Bob had asked her to meet him at the movies on Friday night and her parents had agreed to drive them to the theater and sit in the row behind them. She counted it as her first “date”!! Her excitement was palatable and she acted like this one thing, a boy asking her out on a “date”, was the best thing that had ever happened to her. I made the conclusion that it was better than the relationship with me.
I never asked her about our previous commitment to spend the night together nor did she ever refer to it. This was the beginning of a silent agreement between all of us girls. BFF or not, if a boy asked you out, it was understood that was more important than a previously scheduled time with another girl. I don’t think I was even conscious of forming this new belief; however, it was firmly imprinted in my mind after that night. I got it all right.
As I grew up, the same silent sabotage with my girlfriends continued. In college, if I was talking and laughing with a girlfriend and a boy wandered up to stop a minute and grace us with his presence, well, we all knew when to back off and forget all about what we were talking about. Let’s face it girls, boys were more important than girls. But are they now?
As I try to think about today, I hope it is not true; however, I think I used the same secret code after my divorce when I was “dating”. And yet, who is it I turn to in times of trouble or when I need to talk through something? I love my husband and talk with him about important aspects of my life; however, as he tells it, his vocabulary as to emotions is much smaller than mine. It is true what they say that women use about 5,000 words a day and men only use 2,000. We need someone to spend those other 3,000 words with. It doesn’t have to be an “either-or” situation. I can respect both men and women in my life and use the same rules with both: respect, honesty, and integrity.
In truth, a close girl-friend relationship is priceless and makes life come together for me. I am grateful for all the women in my life who have supported me and loved me. Sometimes, when a boy had let me down, the arms of my girlfriends were the ones who would hold me and helped me back on my feet.
Here’s to girlfriends as our soul sisters!