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September 22, 2021

Woman to Woman: Making Female Friends is Harder than Dating.

 

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Am I the only one who thinks it’s a challenge to make other female friends?

I am struggling to make friends.

I am a 45-year-old woman who, in the last few years, relocated to a new state—and then COVID-19 came.

I won’t use that as too much of an excuse, though, because I have become extremely introverted in my old age. I am also sober and a vegan, which makes some people revolt in horror when they realize I don’t eat meat or drink. I do attend recovery meetings, which is a great place to meet people, but they have been on Zoom for a while.

When the ladies go out to eat, I find myself not wanting to join because it’s slim pickings for a vegan in a normal type of restaurant. I’ve become particular about what I eat, and I hope that doesn’t make it sound like I’m trying to be bougie or privileged, but it has taken me a long time to find a way of eating that works for my body and mind. It has become difficult for me to watch others eat meat and dairy, and so for that reason, I usually choose to abstain.

I’m not a coffee drinker but would gladly go meet someone for tea or decaf. I think mostly it has just been super weird with Covid restrictions. I would take a walk with someone, or a bike ride, or even a yoga class, but I do struggle with intimacy and small talk with other women.

Am I the only one who thinks it’s a challenge to meet other female friends?

It almost feels worse than dating for me because it seems like women already have their own friend groups. I feel like an outsider and the weird one from somewhere else. To make it worse, I am a West Coaster in the Midwest and much more outspoken than most who are “Minnesota nice.”

How to find a friend when you hate people?

While I struggle with accepting people as they are, I am working to be less judgmental and to stop picking others apart. After all, I, myself, am far from perfect. I have come a long way from where I started—and I need to extend that same grace to others.

That said, these five pet peeves are ones I am still struggling with (that make it evident why I have no friends).

1. I know a few people who are trying to lose weight and are exercising more, yet they can’t stop having pizza delivered and going to Starbucks for double mocha latte Frappuccinos.

When I went vegan, I could no longer eat cookies, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and all those sugary, garbage drinks from Starbucks, which made me realize how addicted I was to all of those sugary pastries. It’s hard to know how these items are affecting our well-being while we are stuffing our faces with them, but once you take them away and detox, it’s crazy to realize how the addiction has a hold on us.

After I watched “Super Size Me” in 2005, I stopped eating fast food and I don’t complain that I need to lose weight—but when I do, I know that I have to actually do something about it rather than stuff my face and then complain that I shouldn’t be eating it.

If you don’t want to suffer from debilitating health problems related to diet, change it. Get stronger than the desire to stuff your face. Our weight loss goals are 80 percent of what we eat and 20 percent what we do in the gym. If you can’t do it alone, seek help from Overeaters Anonymous or another program. I wouldn’t have been able to get sober on my own—I needed support. It’s okay to ask for help. Wake up and live. Part of that is having self-control and recognizing that there might be a deeper issue like food addiction or an eating disorder at play. Seek help.

And if you just want to eat what you want, then fine, but don’t talk about how many calories it is while you scarf it down and about how much you will need to exercise afterward. Just eat it and shut up about it. There are no quick fixes. (Eff you, MLMs.)

2. People who say they love animals but still eat them.

Seriously, quit covering your eyes and ears. An animal is an animal and some are not here for your salivary pleasure while others are for petting and loving.

There is some really bad sh*t going down in animal agriculture. Check it out here.

3. People who don’t have kids and say they are soooo busy.

Yes, I get that Fido needs to get fed and walked and his sh*t picked up, but have you ever had a baby hanging from your bosom? Have you ever fed, diapered, and held a baby all day while everything that you needed to do fell to the wayside? I am not complaining, but if you are retired or don’t have kids, don’t come at me with the “I’m so busy” card. I’m not buying it. I have one kid and a spouse at home and you will never hear me say “I’m so busy” around my single mom friends or parents with multiple kids at home. I bow down to the lone and single mommas and those with multiple children. And if you are “so busy” but don’t work full time as well, STFU.

4. Fake nice.

I would rather you just come off like the b*tch you are than be fake nice to me. I can see through that façade. Don’t fake nice me. You think you have your act polished, but there are cracks in the veneer. Therapy is good to release all of that pent-up passive-aggressiveness. Try to be real for once. You don’t have to pretend like everything is great. Tell the truth. It’s freeing. Punch a pillow, find a friend you can be real and authentic with. What we don’t let out will implode.

5. Skechers.

Enough said.

~

Now how am I going to overcome the way other people are?

Well, some people would tell me to say the Serenity Prayer and to stay calm. Some would tell me to accept others as they are and to continue to work on myself. Maybe next, they would tell me that the irritation I feel is something I am projecting on to these people because I have deep triggers and work to do. Others would tell me to stay in my lane and set more boundaries.

I think the fact is: people are going to annoy us. You probably have your own list of pet peeves.

Yes, they may trigger things in us that come from our shadows and deep parts that want to be healed. I can buy that. I also think that we are just not going to like everyone—and that is okay.

Do we need to be kind and respectful to people? Sure, but do those people who annoy me need to be my best friends? No, and that’s where boundaries come in. We can spend a few minutes chit-chatting with Susan in the break room, but when she invites us over for tea, we can make sure we have other plans. I am not a glutton for punishment and my time is precious. If I think I could have a connection with someone, I will make the effort—and some people may surprise us—but after a few tries, I let that person know we probably don’t have much in common and I save my time and energy for people whose company I better enjoy.

In the end, yes, let’s keep working on ourselves and keep our side of the street clean. We won’t connect to all humans, so let’s find those who make us want to be better people, let’s find those who get us and who we can be ourselves with. I want to find friends who make me laugh and who I don’t have to prove my worth to. I want to be around people who care about their health and well-being. I am vegan and sober, so I won’t be attending anyone’s BBQ or bar hangout. I need to find people who have similar morals and values and who care about the earth. I love church and my faith is important, and so I probably won’t be best friends with an atheist. I love children, and so I probably wouldn’t choose a friend who hates them.

In getting to know ourselves, we then find people we can connect with and call friends. I’d say tribe, but I think that word is super offensive and not PC.

So here’s the deal: you’ve gotten to the end of this article and I seriously am at a loss. I have loads of acquaintances, but I haven’t had any of those deep, fun friendships since high school. Maybe after having kids and growing up, they are harder to come by. I have moved multiple times and started over, so I no longer see the people who once knew me inside and out. I love lots of people at work and have “relationships,” but I don’t know if others would consider me a friend. I have my writing friends who are mostly virtual and my family at home.

I hear a lot of people saying they don’t have any friends in person. Could that be the case for many of us now that Covid has blasted our personal relationships to the back burner? I wonder if it matters if we are introverts or extroverts as well? I get pretty envious when I see girls on girl trips with lots of girlfriends. I’ve had that before, but it’s been years. I mostly feel like a recluse now.

After reading, you might not want my advice on how to make friends—but maybe I need yours!

I would love to hear about some of your pet peeves and how you find friendships that stand the test of time.

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