The other day, we received a reader comment that really made us pause. A reader who identified herself as Jasemine said:
“Ever since I was ditched by two friends nearly 3 years ago, I have sworn I would never have female friendships again. Their actions hurt me deeply and I have never got over it. So for me the sisterhood and all things supposedly connected to women’s friendships are a farce to me.”
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Hurt by the betrayal of a friend or supposed friend. It’s easy to become bitter when you’ve been “ditched.” But we don’t believe swearing off female friendship is the answer. That’s why we wanted to reach out to Jasemine and let her know that the “sisterhood” is indeed real, and available to all. We hope you can help!
First of all, let’s acknowledge that it’s not a pink and perfect world out there in girlfriendland. Friendships do end, for a variety of reasons. Lives evolve, circumstances change, people move on. Sometimes girlfriends are just mean and rotten. But losing a friend (or two) does not make you “unfriendable.” Actually, the opposite is true: A friendship breakup is a great learning experience. It can show you what you don’t want in a friend, or what you can do differently next time you find a potential pal. More often than not, the problem may be about them, not about you.
“If you’re feeling angry at a girlfriend who did something that hurt you or made you lose trust, it’s important to try to figure out what happened. Did you make a poor choice? Did you become too close too soon? Did YOU do anything to provoke the breakup?” says “friendship doctor” Dr. Irene S. Levine, author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend. “Sometimes, however, the reason for the breakup is impossible to decipher. Jasemine’s friend may have had something else, entirely unrelated to the friendship, going on in her life that was simply too painful to share. If you don’t know what happened to a friendship, it’s often because there’s a missing piece of information. Try to forgive and let go of the lost friendship or else you’ll lose out in the end.”
Readers can find advice on how to make new friends in several places on this site, from the Girlfriends-in-Chief as well as some fabulous guest bloggers. But that’s not necessarily what Jasemine needs right now. Girlfriends, would you share your experiences? What does female friendship mean to you? Is “the sisterhood” a farce? Have you ever been “ditched” by a girlfriend? How did you recover? What advice do you have for Jasemine? Here’s hoping she reads your responses and gives female friendship another try.