Can female friendships last? It’s such a loaded question and I’ve got a lot to say.
If you have a supportive best friend or group of friends, count your blessings. If not, welcome to the club. You are in the majority. Why does this happen you ask? There’s so many reasons why female friendships end and today, I’m sharing my honest thoughts with a candid chat. Let’s dive right into why there’s a lack of female friendships as we get older!
Can Female Friendships Last?
Analyzing Previous Female Friendships
The other day, I decided to randomly look through my high school yearbooks. There was the bittersweet realization that so much had changed since then. While I do keep in touch with many people on an acquaintance level, I’m definitely not as close to people as I used to be. I feel like this is true for so many of us.
Growing up we’re conditioned to think that we MUST have a best friend and MUST have a girl squad. We place our worth the amount of friendships we have and at times, define ourselves by our female friendships. Looking back, I didn’t have either of these things. I used to think I had a few best friends throughout different times in my life but when I really think about it, I realize that in my mind, they were MY best friend but they actually had a different best friend. This can be hard to accept because it’s so hard not to take it personally.
I was told that my friendships would likely decline after high school and sure enough, the people that I thought I would be friends with forever slowly started to drift away. They moved, got married, started careers, had kids. The latter was challenging for me as someone that doesn’t have children but I completely understand what a large change it must have been.
But that’s the thing. We want different things and I think that most friendships grow apart because we’re all at different stages in our life. I think there’s a misunderstanding that we can no longer relate to one another but sometimes, we don’t even try. However, this is not the only reason why I think female friendships fall apart as we get older.
Why don’t we have any friends?
Personally, I know that I’m not the same person that I was when I was younger. I’m not even the same person that I was a few years ago. People change and change is not necessarily a bad thing. What once fit into your life years ago may not have a place anymore and as we change, our female friendship circle changes too. It doesn’t make us bad people… it just means that we are growing more into who we are authentically.
Some Female Friendships Not Meant to Be Forever
There’s a saying – friends are there for a reason, season or lifetime. There’s a purpose behind each friendship. Perhaps if people fall away, it’s because we’ve done our part in each other’s lives. It doesn’t mean that we no longer have to speak to each other. Of course, we can reach out to people from the past but don’t expect everyone to be the same as they once were. We all grow and learn and evolve into the people that we are meant to be.
We Get Busy
Life is BUSY. We grow up, get married, have children, and start careers (perhaps even build businesses). All of these things take time and space in our lives and it can be hard to make time for anything else. As an adult, we juggle so many things and sadly, female friendships get put on the back burner.
We Don’t Do the Work
Friendships are like any other type of relationship. They take work. You HAVE to put effort in at some point to keep it alive. Most people are understanding that others have different, separate lives but if no work is put in at all, the friendship seems to fade away.
Different Life Circumstances
Sometimes life circumstances can get in the way. Story time – My circumstances changed drastically after high school and the last thing on my mind was hanging out with friends. I was now at a point in my life where I had to work 4 jobs to make ends meet, I didn’t have extra money or time to hang out with anyone. This was definitely not by choice but I lost a lot of friends this way. People could not understand or relate and they thought that I was just blowing them off when it couldn’t be further from the truth. At a point in my life where I needed support, no one was there for me.
I noticed that as I’ve gotten older, I lost touch with the friends I grew up with and I made new ones at each place I worked. However, for the last decade or so, I’ve worked independently. I was a substitute teacher, guitar instructor and blogger – all of which work alone (without coworkers). Now that I’m 100% working from home – I’m completely isolated. It’s definitely rough for people that work from home as we have to get more creative with our friendships.
This may not resonate with everyone but there are some people that get anxious in social situations, especially when meeting new people or trying to make new friends. I am one of these people. Many times I envy extroverts because it seems like they have an easier time making friends and maintaining female friendships. I think that it’s just as important for people with social anxiety to work on their confidence as it is for those without it to show understanding, acceptance and kindness.
We Have Different Values
We have different values and as a result, we want different things in a friendship. As you grow up, those values change or people change that no longer fit in with what you imagine for yourself in a friendship. This is totally okay! When you’re younger, it seems like friendships are out of convenience or connections (who was in your class, who your parents were friends with, friends of friends, etc). But when you get older, you have a lot more say in who gets to be in your life.
Toxic friendships aren’t talked about enough, in my opinion. These are really tough because it’s losing situation each way… at least it feels like it. If you remain in the friendship, then you’re miserable. And if you decide to leave, then you feel like you did something wrong in order for the other person to treat you that way. I’ve been in this situation and it’s tough.
In fact, a few years ago, I went through a very healing phase in my life where I cut out every single toxic relationship. Friendships, family, it honestly didn’t matter. I was focused on my health – mentally, physically, emotionally and this was the best decision. I realized that I want female friendships that are supportive, encouraging and positive – someone that has my back and celebrates with me instead of putting me down.
Sadly, toxic friendships seem to prevalent these days but you absolutely do not need to stay in this type of friendship for the sake of being friends. Do what is best for you and your health, regardless of someone else’s feelings or your dedication to being loyal to the friendship.
The Friendship Breakup
In my opinion, a friendship breakup is just as bad as relationship breakup – maybe worse in some circumstances. Regardless of the circumstances, we may feel betrayed or used or we may even put the blame entirely on ourselves. Regardless, I think that it’s important to mourn the end of a friendship.
When we are young, I feel like we think that we have to be friends with the same people forever. However, if you go through a friendship breakup with this mentality, you may be caught in the vicious and unhealthy cycle of continually breaking up and mending the friendship. And as much as you want that friendship to work, this isn’t good and it’s honestly not worth the heartache. In my opinion, it’s vital to give yourself some time to grieve and move on just like any other relationship.
Choosing Not to Have Female Friendships
As someone that works entirely from home, I don’t have co-workers. And sadly, in the industry I work in, it’s hard to make authentic friends that don’t just want to use you. It wasn’t until I cut off some very toxic family members that I realized that I had a pattern of attracting toxic relationships (friendships included) into my life. I made a huge change at that very moment.
I decided not to have any friends. Not by circumstance… but by choice. I felt that it was more important to put that energy towards working on myself and getting to the root of why I attract these toxic female friendships. Instead of relying on other people to make me feel confident, worthy and valuable, I figured out how to do this for myself. This is the first time in my life where I put myself ahead of other people and I have come out of this with more wisdom, confidence and self-assurance than ever.
Firstly, I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with not having friends. You’re not weird and it’s not a red flag – in fact, I don’t like when people say that because we all have different circumstances and reasons as to why we don’t have friends. We are conditioned to think that we have to have friends and I think this need has increased over the last few years.
The Girl Squad Mentality
The “girl squad” mentality has been amplified with the rise of social media. We see BFFs and groups of friends doing everything together – spa days, shopping, traveling, chatting, etc. It’s in our faces all the time so it’s really easy to feel like you’re missing out. We think that there’s something wrong with us because our friendships don’t quite look the same. However, it’s important to remember that social media is an illusion most times.
Female friendships look different for everyone so it’s not fair to compare yours (or lack of) to a stranger online… or anyone else in your life. Some friends are meant to stick around for a lifetime and others for a much shorter time. We also don’t need to have just ONE friend or one specific group of friends to do everything with. Having friends that share our interests and hobbies can be fulfilling as well.
We can also be our own friend. Having female friends is nice but having a great relationship with yourself is even better. You absolutely do NOT have to have friends for the sake of having friends. However, I feel that if you do want to attract the right kind of friend, it’s important to know who you are, what you want and what your expectations are in a friendship.
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Final Thoughts on Female Friendships
I’m finally at a place where I’m open to healthy and authentic friendships. I don’t feel the need to keep female friendships around out of politeness, convenience or obligation. And I realize that my life doesn’t revolve around other people – I am completely whole on my own and don’t need another person to make me feel worthy.
In my opinion, female friendships can be wonderful if it’s built on a healthy foundation. It’s important to open your heart up to others but it’s equally important to have boundaries. I also want to note that if you don’t have any friends right now, it doesn’t mean that you are destined to be without friend forever. I’m a firm believer that the right one(s) will come along when the time is right.
But if you’re ready and don’t want to wait around, here is a little bit of advice for making friends.
Advice for Making Friends
- Don’t put so much pressure on yourself or on other people to be perfect.
- Be patient with yourself and with others. We are all going through different things.
- Don’t expect too much of others. If someone doesn’t text you back within five minutes, it will be okay (I promise!).
- Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Utilize Bumble BFF, local meet up groups, classes, friends of friends, family, etc.
Female Friendships Video
Watch this video for an even more in depth conversation on female friendships!
Have you experienced any of this? Do you have anything to add?
Would love to hear your thoughts!