For a few years since graduation, I have fought my own inherent nature, but have finally accepted this fact about myself: I don’t play nice with other girls. I can count on one hand the girls I would genuinely call friends, and one of them is my older sister. When I see pictures of people’s weddings with 5+ bridesmaids, my brain yells HOW ARE YOU CLOSE TO THIS MANY GIRLS? HOW DO YOU HAVE THE TIME? I wouldn’t go to the opposite end of the spectrum and call myself “one of the guys” either, I just never learned how to develop a genuine friendship with my own kind. Let me explain.
I’ve always gone to private school. From the age of three until 8th grade, my co-ed class was no bigger than 65 people. Even if you weren’t the most popular kid in the grade, you had friends. Sure, there were cliques and bullies and every other stereotype under the sun, but when you go to school and play on the same sports teams (or drama club or whatever it is the kids are into these days) with the same 50 faces for 10+ years, everyone learns how to get along. I have an easy-going and somewhat shy nature, but I was always able to get along with all my classmates and make lasting friendships with many. If I weren’t so damn lousy with keeping in touch with people, I’m sure I’d still be close to several of them.
All four years of high school were spent at an all-girls Catholic school. Once again, I was thrown into a group of 58 other girls. Similar to before, we all learned how to get along with one another. I made great friends with the girls on my field hockey and soccer teams. Once more, I got along with most everyone in my class, and always had plans for the weekend if I wanted something to do.
College was more of the same. I went to a very small private university and joined a sorority. Here was yet another group of 40 to 50 girls all clamoring to be each other’s best friends. For myself, “paying for my friends” was one of the best decisions I could have made. My university had a deferred rush system where potential pledges wait until the Spring semester of their freshmen year to go through the recruitment process. At this point, I had realized I never really learned how to get along with girls in an environment where I didn’t necessarily have to be spending time with them. Joining a sorority put me in touch with some great people that I still try to keep in touch with now. However, almost none of them live within a 200 mile radius of me and our efforts to keep in touch have been getting weaker.
That’s a lot of backstory, but now out of college and far removed from sorority life, I’ve realized I just don’t know how to make a solid connection with other twenty-something women. Aside from the college friends that moved back to my own city, I can’t think of a single girl I have developed a strong or lasting friendship with. There’s always been a built-in common ground with the girls I’ve grown close with over the years, whether it be school/sports/sorority etc. When it comes to guys, I’m never worried about what I’m saying, or if I’m pissing anyone off. I feel more comfortable, and therefore more inclined to spend time with them. When I’m around groups of girls my age, I get so anxious that I’m going to offend someone that I’m just never fully myself. I try to smile and make small talk, I try to find that common ground. But the older I get the more my hatred of small talk ends up making me appear standoffish and cold.
To some extent, there’s indifference on my end to genuinely know someone when it seems like most girls I meet these days are more interested in subtly-not-so-subtly making sure everyone at the table knows they’re the bitch in charge. I’m getting old and crotchety. I hear myself in my head thinking “no new friends, I have enough friends” followed right after with how sad it would be to cut myself off from making a life-long friend in someone. I raised the question of why I don’t have a lot of girlfriends to my boyfriend one time, and he was spot on when he told me I don’t really try to. But where in the hell do you start?
Fuck it, maybe I’ll just get a dog..
Image via Shutterstock